ON most days, in the space of a few hours, online xenophobes tell me I have no right to hold opinions on Scotland’s future.

I get labelled a “traitor”, told that I’ll never be Scottish, or told I should be deported to Rwanda, with people often tagging Boris Johnson and Priti Patel in tweets.

I’m Jewish and my family faced the horrors of the Holocaust, but some people online compare me to a Nazi and say my support for an independent Scotland is “directly related to the nationalism that led to the death of my ancestors”.

It hurts me to say it, but the blatant xenophobia and antisemitism seems ever more present among those who profess to be “anti-nationalist”. For too many, this is the dark reality of being a New Scot involved in politics - and it’s polluting our political climate.

I’m 27 years old and arrived here as a child with my parents, after Poland joined the EU. I was born in Poland, I’ve spent a bit of time living in England and Sweden, and I couldn’t think of a better place than Scotland to call home. I never imagined myself as an activist or a member of a political party before the 2014 independence referendum, but like thousands of other working-class young people, I got inspired and energised by the positive vision of an independent Scotland.

The vibrancy of the Yes campaign was characterised by its inclusive, embracing nature. I’ve seen public meetings held in Polish, Yes signs in various languages, and the all-encompassing idea that if you chose to make Scotland your home, you’re a Scot just like everyone else. Back then when I got politicised, and today after almost a decade of activism, I’m guided by a simple but powerful belief: it’s not about where we come from, but where we’re going.

I passionately believe that Scotland can do so much better with independence, and that people who live here - whether they’re English, Scottish, Syrian, Polish or Ukrainian - should be in charge of Scotland’s future. That doesn’t mean I’m a nationalist - I see myself as an internationalist, wanting to ensure Scotland can play its full part in the world to tackle global challenges. It shouldn’t be a controversial position to hold, but it’s one that led me to receiving a torrent of online abuse.

As right-wing newspapers and commentators normalise xenophobic language, it filters through to an increasingly xenophobic Tory government - you only have to look at their Nationality and Borders Bill and their toxic anti-refugee policies to see what the Conservative Party is now all about. That further normalises xenophobia, which is why online trolls now feel so emboldened to pile on abuse at New Scots.

The National:

Olaf Stando on the campaign trail

It’s without a doubt that New Scots make Scotland a better, more vibrant place, which is why I’m determined to help make politics a less toxic environment - especially online. I couldn’t be more proud that refugees and all foreign nationals legally resident in Scotland are able to vote in Scottish elections. It is thanks to this that I’m empowered, as a Polish citizen, to have a say on the future of a country I live in and love.

In order for a new generation of New Scots to feel like they have a full role in building that future, we must do more to tackle xenophobic abuse wherever we find it - whether it’s on Twitter timelines, on marches and parades, or on the streets. Let’s choose the politics of Kenmure Street - a Scotland which stands up for migrants and treats everyone as equals - and not the gutter politics of Downing Street, which enable xenophobia and online abuse.

READ MORE: Home Office take note: we’re all from Kenmure Street now

The rights we New Scots enjoy today should never be taken for granted - but it also shouldn’t be the sole responsibility of New Scots to defend them. When the second independence referendum comes, I look forward to another campaign that’s inclusive, progressive and outward-looking - where people born in Wroclaw, Liverpool or Lviv stand shoulder to shoulder with people born in Wick or Largs.

Once Scotland becomes independent, we’ll be able to create a migration system built on compassion, not demonisation of migrants. Until then, every single day, I’ll keep calling out the vile xenophobia that runs completely counter to what Scotland is - an open, welcoming, and proudly internationalist country.