300 academics sign open letter to PM over ‘xenophobia’

Baroness Helena KennedyQC has signed the open letter.
Baroness Helena KennedyQC has signed the open letter.
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Almost 300 academics, writers, lawyers, academics and musicians have signed an open letter Prime Minister Theresa May calling on her to “rein in” her government’s divisive and “xenophobic” language over proposals to make firms disclose the number of non-British workers they employ.

READ MORE: UK Government backs down over ‘foreign worker lists

The letter, which goes live to the public to sign today at www.notforeign.com, follows the row which broke out after Ms Rudd’s speech to the Conservative Party conference last week.

The speech attracted criticism from a range of high-profile organisations including the British Chambers of Commerce, whose director general Adam Marshall said having a global workforce should not be seen as a “badge of shame”.

READ MORE: Hard Brexit could shut door on open economy - CBI chief

Signatories to the open letter, which was written by the Glasgow-based Irish journalist, broadcaster and writer Dr Peter Geoghegan, include theatre director Cora Bissett, writers Denise Mina, AL Kennedy and Christopher Silver, Ian Hamilton QC, Baroness Helena Kennedy QC, Dr Dan van her Horst, University of Edinburgh, Rev Peter Macdonald, leader of the Iona Community and Dr Duncan Morrow, chairman of the Scottish Government independent advisory group on hate crime, prejudice and community cohesion.

The letter says foreign nationals are “not a separate caste in our society – they are our friends, partners, colleagues and neighbours...they are part of who we are” and calls on the UK government to rule out policies “premised on dividing workplaces and communities based on where they were born”.

Dr Geoghegan said despite moves by the Tory Party in recent days to tone down Ms Rudd’s words, he was greatly concerned about the inflammatory sentiments and language being used.

“I’ve been living in the UK, mainly Scotland, for over a decade and I’ve always felt very welcome and tried to contribute to public life. But I woke up on Wednesday morning after Amber Rudd’s speech and said ‘I think I want to leave’.

“The last thing a society needs is this sort of dehumanising language dividing people into ‘foreign’ or ‘non-foreign’. It is quite xenophobic and can leave some people feeling more emboldened, that ‘maybe it’s OK to say that someone doesn’t belong here’. History will show that once you start talking like this it’s difficult to stop.”

Dr Geoghegan added: “This is very dangerous politics which has opened up a Pandora’s box. It has been reported worldwide in papers like the New York Times and people are wondering what on earth is going on here.”

The full list of signatories:
Idrees Ahmad, University of Stirling

Dr Christina Alt, University of St Andrews

Dr Colin Andrews, artist and academic

Peter Arnott, writer

Dr Sarah Artt, Edinburgh Napier University

Neal Ascherson, writer and author

Dr Timothy C. Baker, University of Aberdeen

Aly Bain, musician

Sophie Bancroft, musician

Tom Bancroft, musician

Derek Bateman. journalist

Stephen Barket, museum consultant

Katherine Isobel Baxter, University of Northumbria

Victoria Beesley, artistic director

Henry Bell, writer

Francis Bickmore, publisher, Cannongate Books

Professor Ruth Blakeley, University of Kent

Stuart Bowman, actor

Professor Andrew Bowie, Royal Holloway, University of London

Stuart Braithwaite, Mogwai

Dr Emma L Briant, Sheffield University

Alan Bissett, playwright

Cora Bissett, theatre director

Sean Biggerstaff, actor and musician

Ross Bond, University of Edinburgh

Alex Boyd, artist and curator

Alison Balharry, Ex-Senior Editor, BBC World Service

Dr Liz Oakley-Brown, Lancaster University

Dr Julie Brownlie, University of Edinburgh

Professor Judith Buchanan, University of York

Dr Tanja Bueltmann, Northumbria University

Professor Emeritus Frank Bechhofer, University of Edinburgh

Dr Anna Bryson, academic

Professor Douglas Cairns, University of Edinburgh

Professor Marco Catani, King’s College London

Professor Justin Champion, Royal Holloway, University of London

Maggie Chapman, Rector of the University of Aberdeen

Lyle Chrystie, Director, Reiach and Hall Architects.

Dr Licia Cianetti, Royal Holloway, University of London

Dr Douglas Clark, University of Exeter

Marie Louise Cochrane, storyteller

Stewart Conn, writer

Lucy Conway, arts project manager

Dr Marcello Costantini, University of Essex.

Linda Cracknell, writer

Professor Jonathan Cross, University of Oxford

Mike Cullen, playwright, screenwriter

Dr James Cummings, University of Oxford

Neil Cunning, architect

Justin Currie, singer

Professor Polly Dalton, Royal Holloway, University of London

Dr Callan Davies, University of Roehampton

Alex Davis, academic

Jonathan Dawson, Head of Economics, Schumacher College

Selma Dimitrijevic, playwright

Kris Drever, musician

Justyna Jablonska-Edomonds, cellist

Dr Ann-Marie Einhaus, Northumbria University

Oliver Emanuel, playwright

Dr Clara Eroukhmanoff, Royal Holloway, University of London

Angus Farquhar, Creative Director, NVA

Dr David Farrier, University of Edinburgh

Dr Francesca Ferri, University of Essex

Alec Finlay, artist

Dr Aikaterini Fotopoulou, University College London

Dr Gavin Francis, author and medical practioneer

Andrew Franklin, publisher, Profile Books

Ian Fraser, financial journalist and author

Malcolm Fraser, architect

Chris Fremantle, Gray’s School of Art

Ye Gao, University of Aberdeen

Professor Ian Gadd, Bath Spa University

Professor Yvonne Galligan, academic, Queen’s University Belfast

Dr Peter Geoghegan, writer and journalist

Andrea Gibb, screenwriter

Harry Giles, writer

Professor John Gilles, University of Edinbrgh

Dr Helge Gillmeister, University of Essex

John Glenday, writer

David Gow, editor

Dr Andrew Gordon, University of Aberdeen

Dr Philip Grant, University of Edinburgh

Michael Gray, journalist

David Greig, writer

Martin Green, musician, Lau

Owen Green, musician and academic

James Grimley, architect

Angela Haggerty, editor, CommonSpace

Dr Claire Haggett, University of Edinburgh

Mandy Haggith, writer

Dr Graham Hall, Northumbria University

Professor Sandra Halperin, Royal Holloway, University of London

Gail Halvorsen, architect

Rachel Hamada, journalist

Dr Scott Hames, University of Stirling

Ian Hamilton QC (Scots retd).

Dr Catherine Happer, University of Glasgow

Zinnie Harris, playwright

David Harrower, writer

Dr. Matt Hayler, University of Birmingham

Professor Jonathan Hearn, University of Edinburgh

Dr Tracey Hill, Bath Spa University

Dr Dominic Hinde, writer

Nick Holdstock, novelist

Sue Hollands, teacher

Paul Holleran, National Union of Journalists

Dr Dan van der Horst, University of Edinburgh

Dr Rachel Howell, University of Edinburgh

James Hunter, writer and historian

Kieran Hurley, playwright

Professor Hazel Hutchison, University of Aberdeen

Kirstin Innes, writer

Pete Irvine, author and event organiser

Professor Kathleen Jamie, poet

David Jamieson, journalist

Professor Roger Jeffery, University of Edinburgh

Dr Will Jones, Royal Holloway, University of London

Professor Claire Jowitt, University of East Anglia

Dr Frauke Jürgensen, University of Aberdeen

Pat Kane, musician and writer

Professor Ahuvia Kahane, Royal Holloway, University of London

Robin Yassin-Kassab, writer

AL Kennedy, writer

(Baroness) Helena Kennedy QC University of Oxford.

Dr James Kennedy, University of Edinburgh

Ann Kenrick OBE, Director, Franco-British Council

Justin Kenrick, anthropologist

Dr Andy Kesson, University of Roehampton

Dr Suk-Jun Kim, University of Aberdeen

Professor Barry Langford, Royal Holloway, University of London

Andy Law, architect

Kirsty Law, musician

Mhairi Law, photographer

Pat Law, artist

Greg Lawson, musician

Ella Leith, researcher

Emma Lennox, writer

Jenny Lindsay, spoken word artist/artistic programmer

Peter Lipman, lawyer

Liz Lochhead, playwright and former Makar, National Poet of Scotland.

Josie Long, comedian

Gerry Loose, poet

Professor James Loxley, University of Edinburgh

Georgina Lucas, Bath Spa University

Dr Scott Lyall, academic

Tom Lyne, musician, composer, producer

(Rev) Peter Macdonald, Leader, The Iona Community

Professor Murdo Macdonald, University of Dundee

Professor John MacInnes, University of Edinburgh.

Dr Peter Mackay, University of St Andrews

Andrew Mackenzie, visual artist

John MacLaverty, filmmaker

Mary Macmaster, musician

Iain Macwhirter, writer and journalist

Giulia Mari, King’s College London

Adrian Martinez, University of Edinburgh

Scott Masser, architect

Naomi McAuliffe, human rights campaigner

Nicola McCartney, playwright

Peter McColl, former Rector of the University of Edinburgh

Aileen McHarg, Professor of Public Law

Professor David McCrone, University of Edinburgh

Rachel McCrum, poet and performer

Lesley McDowell, writer

Mairi McFadyen, academic and cultural activist

Hannah McGill, critic and columnist

Neil McGuire, designer

Lou McLoughlan, director and cinematographer

Dr Nasar Meer, University of Strathclyde

Dr Mitch Miller, artist and illustrator

Denise Mina, writer

Kate Molleson, music journalist

Pàdruig Morrison, community activist

Dr Duncan Morrow, Ulster University and Chairman, Scottish Government Independent Advisory Group on Hate Crime, Prejudice and Community Cohesion

Dr Ealasaid Munro, University of Glasgow

Dr Lucy Munro, King’s College London

Rona Munro, playwright

Dr Emilie K. M. Murphy, University of York

Oisín Murphy-Lawless, Human Rights Postgrad Student.

Dr Catriona Murray, University of Edinburgh

Andrew Scott Murray, musician

Findlay Napier, musician

Professor Catherine Nash, Queen Mary University of London

Jemma Neville, arts charity director, writer

Emeritus Professor Mike Nellis, University of Strathclyde.

Ian Newton, stone carver

Dr Lesley Orr, historian

Dr Clémence O’Connor, University of Aberdeen.

Fintan O”Toole, author and journalist

Aidan O’Rourke, musician and composer

Don Paterson, poet

Dr Yannis Paloyelis, Kings College, London

Alison Peebles, actor and director

Christine Peters, retired headteacher and London Challenge adviser

Dr Catriona Pennell, University of Exeter

Professor Greg Philo, University of Glasgow

Professor Gill Plain, Head of the School of English, University of St Andrews

Karine Polwart, musician and writer

Sonia Ponzo, University of Hertfordshire

Tim Porteus, storyteller and writer

Dr Eoin Price, Lecturer in English Literature, Swansea University

Dr Wayne Price, University of Aberdeen

Dr Christos Proukakis, UCL Institute of Neurology

Dr. Syrithe Pugh, Senior Lecturer, University of Aberdeen

Professor Aaron Quigley, University of St Andrews

Chris Rankin, landscape architect

Professor Narender Ramnani, Royal Holloway, University of London

Professor Dan Rebellato, Royal Holloway, University of London

Professor Kathy Rastle, Royal Holloway University of London

Paul Reddish, third sector leader

Neil Riddell, journalist

Dr Liliana Riga, University of Edinburgh

Emma Ritch, Executive Director, Engender

James Robertson, writer

Professor Barry Rodger, University of Strathclyde

Dr Johnny Rodger, writer and academic

Kirsty Rolfe, Queen Mary University of London

Dr Michael Rosie, University of Edinburgh

Dr William Rossiter, University of East Anglia

Dr Julie Scanlon, Northumbria University

Professor Philip Schlesinger, University of Glasgow

Dave Scott, equalities campaigner

Adrian Searle, publisher, Freight Books

Dr Niklas Serning, University of the West of England

Donald Shaw, musician and composer

Professor Jo Shaw, University of Edinburgh

Christopher Silver, writer

Francesco Sindico, Reader in International Environmental Law, University of Strathclyde

Dr. Miroslav Sirota, University of Essex

Amble Skuse, composer and artist

Antonia D’Souza, University of Essex

Ali Smith, author

Professor Barry C Smith, University of London

Professor David J. Smith, University of Aberdeen

Dr Helen Smith, University of York

Dr Katherine Smith, University of Edinburgh

Regius Professor Jonathan Spencer, University of Edinburgh

Dr Catherine Spooner, Lancaster University

Professor Matthew Steggle, Sheffield Hallam University

Andy Stentiford, Creative Director, Funktioncreep

Dr Igor Stiks, University of Edinburgh

Professor Pete Stollery, University of Aberdeen

Professor Lyndsey Stonebridge, University of East Anglia

Professor William Storrar, theologian, Princeton University

Dr Steve Sturdy, University of Edinburgh

Andy Summers, architect

Jim Sutherland, musician/composer

Malachy Tallack, writer

Preti Taneja, Research Fellow in culture and human rights

Professor Digby Tantam, Deputy Principal, NSPC

Dr Will Tattersdill, University of Birmingham

Nicky Thomson, architect

Dr Tara Thomson, Edinburgh Napier University

AJ Taudevin, playwright

Dr Julie Taylor, Northumbria University

Simon Thacker, musician, composer and educator

Dr Andrew Tickell, law lecturer and writer

Professor Manos Tsakiris, Royal Holloway & The Warburg Institute, School of Advanced Study

Helen Tugendhat, human rights worker

Jean Urquhart, The Ceilidh Place

Dr Saskia Vermeylen, Strathclyde University

Dr Elia Valentini, University of Essex

Dr Sara Patricia Wasson, Lancaster University

Stephen Watkins, University of Southampton

Moira Weitzen, architect

Professor Gary West, University of Edinburgh

Professor Nathan Widder, Royal Holloway, University of London

Sharon Wiener-Ogilvie, academic

Professor Arnold Wilkins, University of Essex

Dr Eley Williams, Royal Holloway, University of London

Nik Williams, free speech campaigner

Professor Richard J. Williams, University of Edinburgh

Glanville Einstein Williams, academic

Kevin Williamson, writer

Richard Wilson, production manager

Ryan Van Winkle, poet

Howard Wollman, University of Edinburgh

Professor, Charles W.J. Withers, University of Edinburgh

Chris Wright, ethnologist

Dr Rebecca Zahn, University of Strathclyde

Hailey Zislis, University of Edinburgh