Scottish First Minister Jack McConnell has announced plans to try and arrest the forecast decline in the resident population of Scotland (or read full text here), which it is estimated could drop below 5 million as early as 2009. Mr McConnell told MSPs:
|"The Home Secretary, David Blunkett, has agreed to our request to allow all overseas students from summer 2005 who graduate from Scottish universities who wish to remain here to live and work, to stay an additional two years. They will be allowed to stay in Scotland and seek any type of work during this time. And after that, they can switch into other legal migration routes."|
Personally I find this very encouraging and look forward to a more diverse future. I suspect though that not all residents of Scotland feel quite so sanguine about this and it is a fact that the Scottish Executive has been running televised public service announcements for the past several months in an effort to combat the racism which undoubtedly exists in some parts of Scotland, visible mainly in large population centres in the Central Belt which tend, quite naturally, to have the highest (but still pretty low) proportion of non-indigenous (i.e. non-UK indigenous) residents.
One would imagine that those coming from the new EU accession countries would not be affected by the sometimes mediocre climate we have here, perhaps something that does not appeal to the vast majority of those whose original countries of residence have a somewhat warmer climate than ours (from my own past I know how difficult it was to get people to accept transfers to parts of Canada far away from the Pacific Ocean within the organisation I worked for - most preferred to go to Vancouver or nearby, rather than to Montreal or Toronto, for example. And who could blame them, beautiful cities as those two are?).