Student who backed Sadiq Khan racism claim ‘fears for safety’

Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, sparked fury with his comparison of Scottish nationalism to racism. Picture: ALLAN MILLIGAN
Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, sparked fury with his comparison of Scottish nationalism to racism. Picture: ALLAN MILLIGAN
Share this article

A feminist researcher who supported the London Mayor after he compared Scottish Nationalism and racism has quit Twitter amid fears for her safety.

Claire Heuchan, a black Scottish PhD student at Stirling University, was “physically terrified” as she realised some of those outraged were trying to find out where she lives.

Ms Heuchan was reported to have said: “When I saw people were trying to work out my location, I became physically terrified. I started shaking and crying. I don’t feel safe.”

Attacks, including a comment on her blog calling her an African who had no right to discuss ethnic white Scottish affairs, were accompanied by calls on Twitter for the University of Stirling to sack her although she is not employed there.

Others disputed that she was Scottish.

The attacks came after Ms Heuchan wrote an article for the Guardian in which she supported claims at the weekend by Sadiq Khan that there were parallels between Scottish nationalism and racist movements.

Mr Khan told Scottish Labour’s spring conference that there was effectively no difference between Nationalists trying to divide Scottish and English people and “those who try to divide us on the basis of our background, race or religion”.

In her Guardian article, Ms Heuchan said: “Khan was not wrong to compare Scottish Nationalism to racism or religious intolerance - at least, not entirely. Someone has to say it: the parallels are clear.

“There is an obvious overlap between Nationalism and racism: both mentalities are defined by a politics of us and them. In order to valourise Scotland, to present it as some sort of progressive Utopia, Nationalists must emphasise the difference between Scotland and our southern neighbour.

“The mythos of Scotland as a friendly, compassionate country is maintained with fervour - like any other fairytale, it needs heroes and villains.

“And Scottish exceptionalism - the idea of Scotland as a land of tolerance - is a fairytale.”