POLITICS

Ian Smart, Top Scottish Lawyer, In Race Row After 'Poles And Pakis' Independence Tweet

07/05/2013 14:26 BST | Updated 07/05/2013 14:27 BST

A top Scottish lawyer has sparked outrage after posting on Twitter that it would be better for Scotland if the Tories were in power for 100 years than "the turn on the Poles and the Pakis that would follow independence failing to deliver."

Ian Smart, who is the former president of the Law Society in Scotland and a member of the Labour party, became embroiled in a race row after saying that Scotland would turn on Polish and Pakistani immigrants if independence didn't fulfil nationalist expectations.

After a volley of tweets from Scottish nationalist supporters, Ian Smart sought to clarify his comments, saying that he used the offensive racial slur "consciously for effect," and that it was "obviously not my language".

He later posted "I'm saying that those who now blame the English would, after independence, have to find somebody else to blame. Simple point."

He continued to reiterate to other angry tweeters "failed independence projects invariably turn on internal minorities".

He later wrote a blog post on the Twitter storm, arguing his case further, saying

"Throughout I have attempted to make the simple point that the part (and it is only a part) of the nationalists' support that currently blame the English for all our woes, would, inevitably, on finding that Independence is not a cure for all our ills, look round for somebody else to blame.

All historic precedent suggests that will be an internal minority as it was, to a greater or lesser degree of seriousness, for the Jews and Gypsies in Hungary; for the Anglo-Irish in de Valera's Ireland; for the Russians in the inter-war Baltic Republics and indeed for the Asians in Uganda. It is the inflated hopes that (some) have for Independence: the automatic eradication of poverty; full employment; the reversal of all benefit cuts; the insulation from all world economic factors and, on top of that, tax cuts all round, that leads one to the inevitable conclusion that many of these hopes would be dashed."

A Labour spokesman said: “We do not condone any language which can be viewed as offensive and would call on everyone taking part in the referendum debate to do so respectfully.”

An SNP spokesman told the Daily Express: “The tweets are highly offensive, not just to everyone who supports a Yes vote, but more particularly to Scotland’s Pakistani community.

“Mr Smart, a former President of the Law Society of Scotland, really should know better, and we would call on him to delete the tweets and issue an appropriate apology for ­using a term which is derogatory to Scots of Pakistani origin.”