Fife councillors agree action plan on region's slavery links

Picture ; John Devlin.Picture ; John Devlin.
Picture ; John Devlin.
Tories argue ‘we should be looking forward - not back'

Councillors in Fife have agreed to an action plan which will look to enhance their overall approach to the education and understanding of the history of slavery.

It will include the creation of an educational improvement programme, allowing the history of slavery to be incorporated into schools across the region.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The plan will also look into identifying any Fife locations which publicly celebrate and/or glorify people or places associated with slavery with recommended actions which are educationally important.

Poster at Black Lives Matter rally held in Holyrood Park, EdinburghPoster at Black Lives Matter rally held in Holyrood Park, Edinburgh
Poster at Black Lives Matter rally held in Holyrood Park, Edinburgh

The plan was agreed at today’s meeting of the full Fife Council.

It was put forward by Councillor Garry Haldane, and backed by Cllr Derek Noble.

Cllr Haldane said: “In recent months, the topic of slavery has raised its head, and a call for action is being heard loud and clear across the world.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“For years and years, this issue has either been ignored or forgotten. I am not looking to distribute blame or point fingers, but we are responsible for the consequences.”

He said the plan will focus on acknowledging Britain’s contribution to, and involvement with, slavery ,and will look at tackling the “bias ingrained in society” to challenge further prejudice and racism.

He added: “Our children will not have the same systemic tribal beliefs that previous generations have had, and we do not want to pass this on to future generations.

“We are different but we have the same humanity. We all hurt the same. We all bleed the same and we should all be treated the same.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Fife Conservatives moved a group amendment against the plan.

Cllr Tony Miklinski said: “I fully and absolutely oppose any form of racism wherever and whenever- it’s abhorrent. The difference is we don’t agree with the motion. We agree with the motives but not the methodology. We should be looking forward not backwards.”

He noted that a slavery action plan does not fit in with the country’s current need for fighting coronavirus. He commented that efforts should go into improving the economy and the environment as well as a ‘levelling up of society that is fairer for all.’

He added: “Where does a slavery action plan fit into that?”

Tory councillors also raised concerns that the motion could lead to the tearing down of statues – a fear dispelled by Cllr Haldane.

The action plan was carried by 53 votes to 13.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

> Hannah Brown is the Local Democracy Reporter for Fife & Angus

Thank you for reading this story on our website. In order for us to continue to provide high quality and trusted local news on this free-to-read site, I am asking you to also please purchase a copy of our newspapers - the Fife Free Press, Fife Herald, St Andrews Citizen and East Fife Mail.

Our journalists are highly trained and our content is independently regulated by IPSO to some of the highest standards in the world. The dramatic events of 2020 are having a major impact on many of our local valued advertisers and consequently the advertising that we receive. We are now more reliant than ever on you helping us to provide you with news by buying a copy of our newspaper. Thank you

Allan Crow, Editor, Fife Free Press