Saturday, 8 October 2016

Gone, gone the damage done


There is a reason I’ve been writing so much since the EU referendum and with perhaps a higher intensity than before. I returned from holiday in early July only to find one of my friends and colleagues in absolute bits. I remember that whole period of uncertainty leading up to the EU referendum as a time of stress. I disliked the campaign that both sides were running. Remain ran Project Fear Two, which is why they lost and deserved to lose. But I thought some of the claims made by Leave were clearly ludicrous. I don’t expect the NHS to get much more money because we are leaving the EU. But then I don’t think the NHS should get more money. The problem with health in the UK is not lack of money. If you give the NHS more money it will go on inflated salaries for doctors, who now think they should be paid as if they were merchant bankers. It will go on administration and it will go on waste. We have a health service with a methodology from the 1940s and an ideology that has been discredited the world over. Is it really a surprise that it doesn’t work? Socialism doesn’t work and nor does socialised medicine.

I came out on the Leave side of the argument. This has partly to do with my contrariness. I have always been a Tory because in part it was so much more fun being a Tory in the 1980s when absolutely everyone I met just loathed Margaret Thatcher. Well this time around the whole establishment plus nearly all the academics, plus nearly all the students thought that voting to leave the EU was not only thick, but vulgar. This is especially the case in Scotland. So naturally I looked at the arguments and found myself coming down more and more in favour of Leave. Perhaps I will be proved wrong. No-one can predict the future. But I have not been proved wrong yet. My side keeps winning the referendums. Long may this continue. 

But have you noticed something. Britain is healing from the wound that was inflicted by the EU referendum. Most people have moved on. There is some debate about what sort of Brexit we should go for. But for the most part disappointed Remainers have come to terms with losing and are working with Leavers to help create a better Britain. Compare and contrast with Scotland.

My friend had along with the rest of us suffered a great deal of stress due to the Scottish independence referendum in 2014. In the course of the next couple of years she became ever more worried about the downturn in Aberdeen. Her husband works in the oil industry. On top of this she was concerned about the economic consequences if the UK left the EU. What would happen to her investments? What would happen to house prices? The result of the EU referendum was a shock. I certainly didn’t expect Leave to win. I don’t think anyone much expected that. The polls got it wrong, the betting got it wrong, the markets got it wrong. But you know what she was fine. She was absolutely fine until the Scottish nationalists started making threats.

Suddenly Nicola Sturgeon was continually on television adding to the uncertainty. She was stirring up trouble, plotting away. It was too much. All of the memories of the independence referendum came back and my friend found it tough to take. She had something of a nervous collapse and had to have a couple of weeks off work. It wasn’t Brexit that caused this, it was Scottish nationalism.  




I was reasonably relaxed about the result of the EU referendum. Whatever happened I would not lose my country. But if the SNP ever won an independence referendum I would be homeless. The UK is my home and the UK would cease to exist if Scotland became independent.

It is for this reason that I write as I do. This is personal. I have seen the damage that Scottish nationalism does to Scottish lives. The SNP have kept us all in a state of permanent tension. Who can really relax when our country is continually threatened with destruction? Some deal with this stress by writing and by fighting back against the threat. Others find they don’t have this outlet and crack.

I don’t think there is quite this sense of trauma among the Scottish nationalists, though who can tell. I am fortunate in that I don't actually know any Scottish nationalists.  Until around twenty years ago, almost no-one in Scotland expected that there would ever be an independent Scotland. The only party that supported this was tiny and hardly got any votes. It is hardly then traumatic to remain in the country you were born in and to retain the citizenship you’ve always had.

I accept that there was great disappointment on the part of the Yes side. They came closer than they thought they would and for a moment believed that they had a chance, but when they lost they returned to the world they had always known.

But look what the campaign did. This is why it has been so damaging for both sides. Many Scottish nationalists have ceased to have any feeling whatsoever for the UK. Many of them are openly hostile to Britain and want nothing whatsoever to do with being British. They see themselves now as exclusively Scottish. It is for this reason that they get so worked up about flags on packets of strawberries. But we do continue to live in the UK. We are British citizens whether we like it or not. To not feel something that you are is strange. It is like saying I am cold, but I don’t feel it. I don’t think this is so much trauma as dissociation from reality. A German person who hates Germany because he feels exclusively Bavarian is rare indeed. A Catalan who hates Spain is more common. But the truth is that the Bavarian is a German and the Catalan is Spanish. Look at your passport if you are in doubt about this matter. So there is an element of self-denial even hatred of self in the response of Scottish nationalists. I don’t know how they feel about this. Perhaps some of them do indeed find it traumatic. Then again they all maintain how they found 2014 so joyful. So if it is a trauma it is a hidden and rather repressed trauma. That might explain quite a lot.

From the Pro UK point of view things have turned out to be rather different. When I began campaigning I emphasised that I was both Scottish and British and that there was no contradiction in being both. I still think this. I was born in Scotland (not that this matters), I went to school here. I spoke the local dialect fluently. My favourite author has always been Walter Scott. I would wear Tartan from time to time and in a vague way thought that the Jacobite cause was just and that the Hanoverians were usurpers. What this means is that I took the Tory side of history. I felt mild patriotism about Scotland and still milder patriotism about Britain. I dislike flag waving. I dislike flags.

But look at the result of the campaign. This is what the SNP have destroyed. They have taken away our peace of mind. They have also diminished our sense of Scottishness. I don’t know if this is how all Pro UK Scots feel. I think some have been stronger than me and have fully retained their sense of Scottishness. But for me it has diminished and become a diminished thing. The SNP were successful. They won the battle over flags. Now the Saltire is their flag, the Union Jack is mine. Whenever I see a Saltire I think Scottish nationalist. If someone has one in their button hole or on their Twitter profile I immediately assume that they are a Scottish nationalist.

I would never now show any Scottish symbol. They are all lost to me. I would not wear a tartan skirt. I would not go to a ceilidh. I would not go to a Burns supper. I have lost my flag and I have lost a part of my identity. Of course I do not deny that I am Scottish. But I think of Scotland now as the equivalent of Aberdeenshire. I likewise do not deny that I am Aberdonian. But I don’t wear any symbols of Aberdeenshire. I fly no Aberdeenshire flags or wear a Dons strip while walking up Union Street. I rarely now speak Doric. I hardly know anyone who does. It is something from my childhood that is gradually being forgotten. I remember that time when there was no division in Scotland. When we were all just Scots and our identities had not been politicised. The independence referendum changed everything. Before the rise of Scottish nationalism I didn’t question Scotland’s being a country, but I followed through the logic of the argument. If Scotland was indeed a country in the normal sense of the word then it ought to be independent, so I was forced to conclude that Scotland was only called a country. Thank you SNP. Not only did you threaten the UK, you caused me to lose my sense of living in a country called Scotland. 

So I too in a way am in the position of denying myself and denying what I am. Of course I’m happy to say that I am Scottish. After all this is where I was born, this is where I am from, this is the language I can speak and the accent that I have. But it is not something I anymore will ever emphasise. I would put North Britain on my letters if I ever posted any letters anymore. 

We have gone through too much in the last few years in Scotland. Not everyone feels it at all. The Scottish nationalists think of these years as a triumph of democracy and popular engagement with politics. The joy of it that Scotland has not been so divided since the Covenanters. But the Scottish nationalists are no closer to winning. In fact they may be further away. What happens when this mass movement actually realises this fact. How do you reconcile yourself to being British forever when you hate Britain?

The trauma on the part of the Pro UK person is I think greater. We thought for a moment that we would lose our country. We were at no point in the UK’s history closer to doing so than on that September night in 2014. I would rather lose a war than lose my country. And then we had no victory. All sorts of reasons can be given for this. Perhaps the upsurge in SNP popularity was simply because people thought something was possible now that previously they had thought to be impossible. The campaign for independence created a desire for independence that had never been there before. This was David Cameron's mistake. He should never have allowed the vote. But then we should never have created the Scottish Parliament. We should never have made concessions to Scottish nationalism by granting it ever more power. We are where we are. Neither side is happy. But neither side can win. Whatever happens Scotland is divided. Perhaps now we are divided for ever. I used to say that the only solution to the problems of the Soviet Union is to leave. Perhaps the same can be said for Scotland or perhaps we have already reached peak nationalism and now it is already in decline. We shall see. But I think it has become a frozen conflict. No solution is possible, but no peace either. It begins to be pointless even to write about such things. 




But the SNP should be made aware of the damage that they are doing. Neil Young once wrote “I’ve seen the needle and the damage done”. Well when I visited my friend who was struggling mentally because of what Nicola Sturgeon kept threatening I could say I’ve seen the SNP and the damage done. How many people in Scotland have been left traumatised by this never-ending struggle that we are doomed to fight continuously without a chance of reconciliation? How many of us have lost something precious “Gone, gone, the damage done.”

67 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. You wouldn't happen to be one of the people that comments on Effie's books on Amazon would you? The 5 star rater for each and every one of her novels and on the same day? Effie...Is that you?

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  2. People are struggling to feed their kids and your pals worried about their investments... Earth is a distant planet to you.

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  3. Geez peace you selfish ignorant Britnat moron.
    Eat your cereal and get to the back of the bus.
    Brexit will finish your cherished xenophobic empire.
    Thank fuck.

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    1. Good eloquent response. You're really helping to win people over to your side of the argument. Wee Nippy will be proud of you.

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    2. And your response that calls Scotland's FM "wee nippy" is a "good eloquent response" is it?

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    3. She only speaks for the minority of Scots.

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    4. Pete is that you? Pete Wishart....? Is that you?

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  4. Britain has healed from the wound caused of the EU referendum? Have you not noticed the upsurge in hate crime, flatlining of the pound, borderline xenophobic plans by the UK Government and companies planning to move jobs and investment elsewhere?

    The EU referendum has plunged the UK into a hectic mess and we are still no further to knowing what Brexit will even look like.The EU will want to put their interests first and make the UK the example of what happens if you leave so it's very unlikely that we will get a good deal.

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    1. ^This.
      And all before article 50 triggered and we actually leave EU.

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    2. "The EU will want to put their interests"

      Their best interests are served by working with the UK not against.


      "make the UK the example of what happens if you leave so it's very unlikely that we will get a good deal."

      Doubtful, on a purely ecconomic basis.

      Do you see this as being the best tactic the EU can muster to keep its house in order? On pain of punishment to dissenters?

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    3. "The EU referendum has plunged the UK into a hectic mess"

      Lol.

      It's terrible, exports up, stock market up. Even the IMF had to admit they got it wrong.

      "Have you not noticed the upsurge in hate crime"

      Nope.

      "flatlining of the pound"

      Currencies fluctuate all the time and volatility post Brexit is no surprise and something predicted by the remain campaign. Things may get more expensive, people will carry on. No biggie really.


      "borderline xenophobic plans by the UK Government"

      "companies planning to move jobs and investment elsewhere"

      Yup, not unlike the environment created by the SNP, uncertainty for business, identity cards to know who is who and where they come from...

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  5. Replies
    1. Another well thought out response.

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    2. A well thought out response to a chaotic, self-pitying diatribe would be inappropriate. She needs help.

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  6. 'But I have not been proved wrong yet' - seriously ?

    Effie's off her meds again...

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  7. Rising inequality, xenophobic hatred on our streets, foodbanks aplenty and an isolationist Tory Government who seem intent on pretending the British Empire is in its glory days but hey, let's worry about 'your friend's' investments.

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    1. "an isolationist Tory Government who seem intent on pretending the British Empire is in its glory days"

      Yup, how can anything good come of winding the clock back. Those days are gone. No better than separatists wanting to revive a set of medievil land borders.

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  8. Replies
    1. Although I did like the quote from Neil Young's 'needle and the damage done'. The song's about heroin, which probably played a substantial part in the thought processes that led to this outpouring. Top flight comedy. I wonder if she'd ever consider entertaining adults as well as children.

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  9. I think this is one of your best blogs, Effie, and touches on an important point that needs to be examined more closely. Apart from the damage done to individuals' mental well-being the national psyche has also been damaged. I think you encapsulate this accurately in the description of how those of us who lived quite happily with being Scottish and British now look on Scotland as an unfamiliar country. Whatever the future of Scotland - as an independent country or as an equal partner in the free union of the United Kingdom - it will need to be prepared to live with and to heal the damage done by nationalism to us individually and collectively.
    One of the institutions which I now take a completely different view of is the Church of Scotland which I was a member of until recently. It was silent during the Indyref campaign yet came out unambiguously for Remain during the EU referendum. Like the saltire, tartan, ceilidhs, Burns' nights, football and so many more cultural and historical signposts I took for granted during most of my life, the Church of Scotland is viewed by me with great suspicion as something else nobbled and tarnished by nationalism.
    The history of nationalism shows us that it never ends well for a country which is swept along by its populism, self-righteousness and dream of greater glory. Should the nationalists be successful all of our history will be rewritten. Those who think that the last 300 years will be portrayed as anything other than a dark age of oppression and colonisation by an avaricious and imperial England are kidding themselves on. We are by no means through this dark night yet but as long as there are writers like you to shine a light then there is hope.

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    1. "it never ends well for a country which is swept along by its populism, self-righteousness and dream of greater glory."

      Isn't that such an apt description of the recent Tory party conference?

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    2. Personally I now look upon the United Kingdom as an unfamiliar country.

      The UK Government is making plans to force companies to list how many foreign workers they have employed, our Prime Minster has said that foreign doctors working in the National Health Service will only be here for a 'interim period', there are plans to stop foreign students from studying in the UK, and there has been a hate crime boom in the UK since the Brexit vote.

      I no longer recognise my country. The UK has always had its flaws but it's now an utter shambles. We don't even have a competent opposition to oppose the government and there is little hope of a change anytime soon.

      The only hope I see is in Scotland and the potential of us becoming an independent country. Like her or not the First Ministers positive attitude to EU nationals is something to be commended when we have a UK Government with borderline xenophobic plans.

      I want to be part of a internationalist country and it is becoming clear that is something the UK as a whole doesn't want. I don't dislike the English and I will always see them as our neighbours and friends but the politics and priorities of Scotland are frankly not the same as they are in England. The longer we ignore that fact and pretend that we're all just one big happy union the more the divisions and resentment will deteriorate.

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    3. The division and resentment in Scotland was created solely and deliberately by Salmond and then his now mouthpiece Sturgeon.

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    4. "Like her or not the First Ministers positive attitude to EU nationals is something to be commended"

      Lol, swallowing the shallow posturing of Sturgeon/SNP is nothing to shout about.

      They care nada for EU nationls, a case of going through the motions, keeping the wheel of the grievance machine oiled, Nicola 'Snow White' Sturgeon against those 'wicked tories in big bad WM' that keeps the faithful on side, a pathetic pantomime.

      She cannot of course mix mention of England or the English with this narrative, but when challenged the Sturgeon will be at pains to explain how she has many friends who are English. Funny how racists always cite this as proof they are not racist. So much so it's a virtual calling card.

      There are none more xenophoic than Sturgeon/SNP. Civic nationalism my backside, a different cut of meat from the same diseased animal is all it is.

      Who can forget the hand wringing regarding Syrian refugees, about the time when WM was 'cool' on opening the doors, right on cue Saint Sturgeon opens wide the doors of her own home. Needless to say she slammed them firmly shut once the photo op was over.

      http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2016/08/year-nicola-sturgeon-refugees/

      The only scandal here is Sturgeon's feux outrage/concern.

      The only tragedy are those whom fall for it.

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  10. This is pretty sad. It's like a study of Stockholm syndrome.
    The next step is just to tell people you are English.

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  11. "She had something of a nervous collapse and had to have a couple of weeks off work. It wasn’t Brexit that caused this, it was Scottish nationalism."!!.....Seriously???? I think someone needs to get a grip!

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  12. "She had something of a nervous collapse and had to have a couple of weeks off work. It wasn’t Brexit that caused this, it was Scottish nationalism."!!.....Seriously???? I think someone needs to get a grip!

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  13. This is a heartfelt blog and I respect (though disagree with) it.

    But it's written with remarkable selfishness.

    The reality is that roughly half of Scotland wants their nationality to be British while half want it to be Scottish. Has the writer no regard for how 'the other half' has felt for decades?

    Every time I have to tick a box that says I'm British, or select UK rather than Scotland from a drop-down menu, I feel the my identity is lost...I am having to describe myself as something that I don't feel.

    That's the state that this blog's author fears...yet it's the one in which I have lived for decades.

    Surely if we are all democrats, as I suspect we are, we have to accept that the minority must accept this reality. I hope (and firmly believe) that, in the near future, I will finally have my turn to describe myself with a nationality that feels right.

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    1. Roughly half want their nationality to be British while half want to be Scottish? no 54% voted no
      54%Voted no in an unusually large turnout so the 45% need to accept the majority decision. The S.N.P. have lied to the people of Scotland re the once in a lifetime referendum,they have been running the country for nine years yet every problem is Westminsters fault. They are a bunch of cretins as are a large number of their supporters, the sooner Jimmy kranky and fat eck are gone the better utter scrum.



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    2. Roughly half want their nationality to be British while half want to be Scottish? no 54% voted no
      54%Voted no in an unusually large turnout so the 45% need to accept the majority decision. The S.N.P. have lied to the people of Scotland re the once in a lifetime referendum,they have been running the country for nine years yet every problem is Westminsters fault. They are a bunch of cretins as are a large number of their supporters, the sooner Jimmy kranky and fat eck are gone the better utter scrum.



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    3. "The reality is that roughly half of Scotland wants their nationality to be British while half want it to be Scottish"

      The reality, oh great sage, is you are $hite at math.

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scottish_independence_referendum,_2014

      electorage: 4,283,392
      yes votes: 1,617,989

      ... equates to a rather more diminutive figure of 37.8%

      Rounded to a single decimal place.

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    4. adding those who didnt vote to the 'no' side.....

      Excellent logic.

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    5. Dear oh dear.

      37.8% of the electorate supported independence.

      The rest did not, they either recorded a 'no thanks' or were so enthused by the prospect of independence it glued their backsides to their sofa. There is no addition, just a stark naked subtraction.

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  14. I value my EU citizenship, it gives me all sorts of benefits.

    Without its attached EU citizenship, my British citizenship offers me nothing but embarrassment.

    Even after disenfranchising our young folks and neighbours from the EU, the EU proved to be more popular than the UK in Scotland.

    I look forward to carrying my maroon EU/Republic of Scotland passport, which will be a source of pride rather than embarrassment.

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    1. What do you base this supposed popularity of the EU over the UK on?

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    2. The EU vote peaked in North Britain because Auntie Nicola, the popstar politician, told her sheeple which way to vote.

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  15. I am from Aberdeen and I also have a husband who works in the oil and gas sector. I too hoped for a remain EU result like your friend for many many reasons. However that's where our similarities cease. I am Scottish before anything else. I long for an Independent Scotland, free from the shackles of Westminster. I am patriotic to Scotland, my country. Effie longs for a nationalistic drive on behalf of Brits born in Scotland. We the Nats as you put it have a passion that you and your fellow unionists can only dream of. Why the silent majority? Shame? This will be your downfall.

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    1. Diatribe dripping with nationalistic fervour that you're too ashamed to call yourself a nationalist but dress it up in a cloak of 'patriotism'. You're a Scot Nat who supports the only Nat party in Scotland - the SNP.

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    2. Oh I'm a nationalist alright! A civic nationalist who wants my country to be sovereign. No shame in that my friend. BritNats however cannot stand to be called what they are. So what's your point caller?

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    3. Civic nationalism, a different cut of meat from the same diseased animal.

      "Patriotism is when love of your own people comes first; nationalism, when hate for people other than your own comes first."
      Charles de Gaulle

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    4. Civic

      https://postimg.org/image/7e3ooq16b/

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  16. Having read your blog several times this latest post seems to me to be the most honest of them all. It reveals that you are bereft because in the past the nature of the British state enabled you to pretend to yourself that Scotland was a valued and equal partner in the Union; however, since the independence referendum the mask has been ripped off and the true nature of Scotland's position has been revealed. It is viewed from Westminster as nothing more than a region of Greater England and is helpless to influence the events which affect it.

    Another thing which has been revealed is the contempt of the media and thousands of Below the Line commenters for Scotland and the Scots. I was in a hotel in Mull just before the referendum and overheard a conversation between three English people in the breakfast room. They spoke of the locals as charming inferiors who were getting above their station thanks to the referendum and that the Scots would come with their begging bowls to London if independence was achieved.

    You're no longer able to kid yourself, that's the real issue.

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    1. "is helpless to influence the events which affect it"

      Speaking of which, have you witnessed one of Nicola's minions exercising her influencing powers by proxy...

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6WLDALbT-o

      It exudes weakness.

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  17. "the UK would cease to exist if Scotland became independent."

    When the Republic of Ireland was created, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland ceased to exist. Similarly, when Scotland becomes independent, the United Kingdom of Southern Great Britain and Northern Ireland will come into existence.

    "But the truth is that the Bavarian is a German and the Catalan is Spanish. Look at your passport if you are in doubt about this matter."

    I suggest you take your own advice and look at your passport. You'll find you're supposed to be a citizen of the European Union.

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  18. Aw the shame
    "Will no-one think of the property prices?"

    Pishing masel laughing at this drivel. Stock up on the anti-depressants, Effie. you are going to need them.

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  19. Effie , you really need to take a tour of Northern England to see what Westminster would make of Scotland without the Scottish Parliament and the SNP to defend Scotland's interests.

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  21. I wish I had written this! I felt as your friend did and would have been bereft if the outcome had been different for the Inde Ref, and I ended up on the leave EU too. Never have I felt less at home than I do now!

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    1. Hi b.lindsay.
      Did you honestly have a nervous collapse like Effie's friend? Come on, truthfully

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  22. I've read a lot of daft articles but this takes the biscuit; "ma pals gonna greet if you do that..".

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  23. Effie Deans and History woman a pair of rabid anti Scottish britnazis

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  24. Effie Deans and History woman a pair of rabid anti Scottish britnazis

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  25. Agreed Jim. Good grief, this is one of the most appallingly wrong articles I have ever read. It is so incredibly incoherent and illogical that it would take hours to dissect it. I'll look at one simple example though:

    So, according to the author, she thought Scotland was a country, but countries should be independent, therefore Scotland is not a country.

    Aristotle would be turning in his grave. This is an illogical conclusion, based on a false premise, namely, that countries have to be independent. This is not the case. "A country is a region that is identified as a distinct national entity in political geography. A country may be an independent sovereign state or one that is occupied by another state, as a non-sovereign or formerly sovereign political division, or a geographic region associated with sets of previously independent or differently associated people with distinct political characteristics." - Wikipedia, (from the UN definition).


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  26. Excellent article, but so sad that Scotland is divided by a self serving SNP whose very existence relies on a divided Scotland
    Shame on the SNP & its supporters

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    1. Indeed Richard, why does no one these days think of house prices and plummeting portfolios....Or that swallow diving pound for that matter.

      Ohh the humanity of it all.....

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    2. HOLD THE FRONT PAGE

      "people with differing views are divided".........

      The only reason you use that divisive crud against the SNP is that they were the ones who brought the question to a head.

      You were not complaining about it being divisive when your unionist parties ignored those on the other side of the argument thus making them feel alienated.

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  27. Effie Deans, The Lily of St Leonards, sadly the gist of your blog leads me to the conclusion that you should more appropriately adopt the monniker "Contary Mary".

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  28. "I would never now show any Scottish symbol. They are all lost to me. I would not wear a tartan skirt. I would not go to a ceilidh. I would not go to a Burns supper."

    Then you're letting them win.

    It's as much your background/ identity as the most ardent NAT's, don't let them take it from you.

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    1. In Effieland Scotland is not a country and has no culture of its own. British culture is Effie's identity. She has argued this plenty. So abandoning her kilt will be no hardship for her and her likes. Britnats should stick to British culture and leave ours alone. They would only make a mockery.

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  30. You know a blog or two ago it looked like you were just not going to allow separatists commenting and what a breath of fresh air that looked to be but alas they are back.

    Ban the lot of them and stop giving them a platform.

    You can't go on their separatism blogs and forums and get away with what they do here.

    (and please scrap this comments system and replace it with Disqus or something as there is no edit and you have to post a non comment to log in)

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    1. I have a policy of not getting involved in the comment section too much. It would require too much time and effort to address everyone's point. But just occasionally I make an exception.

      I can't stop anyone commenting. I could turn off all comments, but that would be a pity. I can delete comments. But that requires that I read them all. I rarely do this. Let them write what they please. It doesn't touch me. I don't even read the insults from the Nats. They are simply wasting their time.

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  31. The lack of self awareness here is astonishing, Effie.... YOU are a nationalist...A British Nationalist.

    You disguised it during the independence referendum but since the brexit referendum it has shone through you like Blackpool illuminations.

    Incredible.

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