Glasgow Uni to carry out ‘Go Home’ van research

The vans were dubbed racist by their opponents. Picture: PA
The vans were dubbed racist by their opponents. Picture: PA
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THE Westminster government’s controversial “Go Home” immigration campaign is to be investigated by a project run by a Scottish university.

Researchers at the University of Glasgow will examine its impact on local migrant and non-migrant communities as well as how it has affected public debate.

The £200,000 grant for the 18-month long study is one of the first to be awarded by the Economic and Social Research Council’s Urgency Grants Mechanism aimed at responding quickly to “urgent or unforeseen” events.

Hard-line

In July the UK Home Office launched a high-profile, hard-line approach to illegal immigration which attracted widespread criticism after vans bearing the message “go home or face arrest” drove round six London boroughs where it was believed a number of illegal immigrants were living.

Posters bearing the message “Is life here hard, why not go home” were piloted in the UK Border Agency offices in Brand Street in Glasgow.

Dr Emma Jackson, urban studies journal research fellow at the university who will work with colleagues at the University of Warwick, said: “Understanding the impact of the ‘Go Home’ posters and related campaigns is crucial.

“We need to understand how such policies affect the lives of migrants, local communities and good community relations.

“Public and political debate on migration and borders will continue with the Scottish Independence Referendum in September 2014, and the general election in May 2015.

“This provides a real opportunity to examine the impact of policy interventions on public debate about immigration across the UK. Glasgow is a key case study in the research as posters reading ‘Is life here hard, why not go home’ were piloted in the UKBA Brand Street Offices.’’

Universities across UK

The project will be carried out by researchers from universities across the UK and in conjunction with the Scottish Refugee Council, Glasgow Refugee Asylum and Migration Network, Migrant Voice and the Runnymede Trust.

Community groups in Glasgow, Cardiff, Barking and Dagenham, Bradford, Birmingham, Cardiff, Ealing and Hounslow will also be consulted.

Researchers will also work with community groups in and Glasgow, Cardiff, Barking, Dagenham, Bradford, Birmingham, Ealing and Hounslow.