SRtRC speaks to the wonderful Christian Allard MSP about the positive impact of immigration in Scotland
Let’s remember the words of the late Bashir Ahmed, the Scottish Parliament’s first Muslim MSP who migrated from Pakistan: ‘It’s not where we came from that’s important, its where we’re going together’.
Christian Allard MSP
As part of a range of activities to mark Fortnight of Action 2015 Show Racism the Red Card will be celebrating the positive impact of immigration in Scotland. As such the theme of this year’s Fortnight of Action is #thisismyhome. Show Racism the Red Card interviewed Christian Allard MSP to denote the contributions of immigrants to Scotland.
Thirty years ago, Christian left his home town of Dijon in Burgundy, France to travel the world. Little did he know was that he would make the first stop on his journey, his home when he met a Glaswegian lassie.
Christian came to Scotland to open an office in Glasgow for a seafood logistic group in the 80s. Shortly after Christian fell more in love with Scotland when he met his future wife and they moved from Glasgow to the North East of Scotland in Aberdeenshire with their three daughters.
With Christian’s experience in the fishing industry, he soon became involved in his community and local politics where he was warmly welcomed by the Scottish National Party.
In 1997 Christian voted for the Scottish Parliament to be reconvened after 300 years of interruption and he has voted in every Scottish, local and European election thereafter.
At the last Scottish elections, Christian demonstrated just how diverse and inclusive Scotland really is when he put his name forward to become a Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) for the North East of Scotland that he had made his home all those years earlier.
As a Frenchman living in Scotland, Christian felt humbled to have been elected to sit in the Scottish Parliament and to serve the people of the North East of Scotland as a regional MSP since 2013.
Christian is also a patron and ambassador for Show Racism the Red Card, having taken part in a number of our anti-racism events.
We asked Christian why he decided to stay in Scotland when it was only mean to be the first stop on his journey he answered:
‘While I fell in love with Scotland, I have to admit, I also fell in love with my wife’
Christian went on to say:
‘Scottish people are so welcoming. It’s not because we are better people in Scotland, its because we are good at welcoming people. If you check in with Scottish families, they will have Aunties and Uncles living across the world, it’s natural for us to welcome people. Scotland’s nation is everybody’s nation’.
We then asked Christian if he thought immigration had an important role to play in Scotland’s development to which he answered:
‘When it comes to immigration, we must realise that there are just as many people who emigrate out of Scotland as there are people who immigrate in to Scotland. We must realise the contribution of those coming in to our country as well as how people who leave Scotland contribute to other nations. We need balance like that as balance allows for a friendly dialogue’.
Christian then went on to say:
‘While Scotland is progressive regarding Equalities we still have a long way to go. Take racism for example, we are not even near where we need to be and there is still a lot to do to attain democratic inclusion and to close the gap on these issues we are facing and we can never get complacent’.