Anti-English taunts drive family over the border

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The Independent Online
AN ENGLISH family who moved to Scotland are packing their bags to return south after enduring what they say has been a year-long stream of racist taunts and attacks. Their two young daughters were threatened with having their throats slit and windows of the family home have been smashed.

The last straw for John and Jane Annable, who moved from Nottinghamshire last year, came at the weekend when their house at Musselburgh near Edinburgh was broken into - a burglary they are convinced was carried out by their anti-English tormentors.

"We know the people who did it," Mrs Annable, 31, said yesterday. "They were actually out in the street when we got back, laughing about it and shouting, 'Fuck off back to England you English bastards'."

Though the Commission for Racial Equality maintains such extreme anti- English behaviour is rare, there is increasing evidence of an ugly side to the Scots' rekindled sense of nationhood. The Annable family seems to have been unlucky, though they say most English residents in Scotland live in smarter areas than themselves.

Mrs Annable is half Scottish and the family moved north after she traced her grandmother to Musselburgh. They moved out of their first home in the Granton area of Edinburgh when "racists" smashed every window in the flat.

Mr Annable, 35, disabled since a mining accident 13 years ago, said it started with stones, but in the end their attackers were throwing rocks. "The children got beaten up all the time and called English scum."

Similar hatred greeted them in Musselburgh.

Police were called when eight-year old Amy was attacked in the street, a window was smashed and eggs thrown at the front of the house. A car window was broken days before the burglary, in which pounds 20,000 of property was stolen. "It is the fact that we are English. They are going by outside the house shouting, 'Go home you English bastards'.

"We are going now. Someone is coming to give me a price for the removal and I would like to see us out of here within a couple of weeks," Mr Annable said. His wife claimed the trouble came from just two or three families who were not typical - "they're the scum of the earth" - and a lot of neighbours had been good to them.

Mrs Annable, who is a care assistant, said she was too nervous to go out unless it was to work.

"I definitely think the Scottish Parliament has something to do with this. They like detaching themselves away from England and want to make their own country. We are not wanted," she said.

Inspector Gavin Buist, race relations officer with Lothian and Borders Police, said a correlation had been noticed between the announcement of the Home Rule parliament and anti-English incidents.

"Anti-English abuse is often dismissed as harmless banter, but when people are attacked and a family's property is vandalised, that is not banter," he said.

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