Saturday, 15 October 2016

It's Scottish nationalism that suffers from xenophobia


Whichever fat fingered BBC technician “accidentally” substituted some film of a psychotic rampaging gorilla for the latest film of Nicola Sturgeon making threats deserves some sort of award. Give that man a Nobel Prize for services to humour. There is a long history in Britain of turning people like Sturgeon into a figure of fun. Throughout our history we’ve been coming across little people who like to give us ultimatums.



They usually look rather funny even when they try to look stern and serious. They gesticulate as they whip up a crowd of adoring worshipers. Sometimes they bang their shoe on the table as they tell us that they will bury us. Other times they simply underestimate us. Britain will have its neck wrung like a chicken in three weeks said some little man who has now been forgotten by history. “Some chicken … some neck” said a man who hasn’t been forgotten by history.

Since June we have all been waiting for disaster. The least Polish sounding man in history Donald Tusk keeps making threats. Perhaps someone on the BBC could push the wrong button again and show a clip of a rampaging elephant in a kilt. EU politicians keep telling us how they will make an example of Britain by showing that anyone who dares to leave the EU will be punished. It’s like a re-run of the Grexit crisis of 2015. Stern Angela Merkel wasn’t willing to give anything to Greece and although the Greek people were brave enough to say No their Government wasn’t. But then Greece has a long history of being a vassal state and hasn’t done anything of importance since Aristotle. Somebody should remind these people that Britain in not Greece.

If the EU is a prison with guards who are ready to shoot anyone who dares to leave, this is not a reason to stay. This is a reason to start digging tunnels called “Tom”, “Dick” and “Harry” and once more show our European friends that there is a way to escape tyranny.

Nicola Sturgeon desperately needs taking down a peg or three. In my local SNP shop you can buy framed Sturgeon portraits to hang on your wall. The cover of the last SNP manifesto consisted entirely of a picture of her. This is outside the normal conditions of British politics. How many Labour supporters had posters of Harold Wilson? How many Liberals had posters of Joe Grimond? For goodness sake few indeed were the Democratic Unionists who had posters of Ian Paisley. A person with a framed picture of Margaret Thatcher would be considered an obsessive even by Tories. We laugh at such people. We prick their bubbles. No one but a deluded fool commissions a monument to themselves with one of their quotes attached to a rock that will endure forever. It won’t last by the way. It’s no more permanent than the Ed Miliband stone. These people always build monuments to themselves but they end up in the graveyard of statues. "Two vast and trunkless legs of stone". Nicola’s supporters may be tempted to rename Irvine Sturgeongrad, but these sorts of names don’t last.



How many of her red lines have been crossed since June? Firstly she was tempted to hold an immediate referendum on independence because Scotland voted one way while other parts of the UK disagreed. But she didn’t. Then she said if Scotland didn’t get to stay in the EU, she would hold another independence referendum. But she didn’t. Now she says if Scotland doesn’t get to stay in the single market she will hold another independence referendum. But she won’t.

But you must take me seriously cried the little gorilla. This time I really did see the wolf. OK I confess the last few times I was making it up, but this time you I’m really, really serious. I imagine the wolf may struggle with actually swallowing this gorilla, but then again this isn’t actually a problem because there isn’t really a wolf. There never was a wolf, just a little gorilla that keeps crying "wolf".

There was quite a lot of rather ludicrous fuss on the news about Nicola Sturgeon’s latest threats. But what it amounts to is this. She is going to start consulting about a bill over which the Scottish Parliament cannot debate because it is outside its competence. The Scottish Parliament likes to have debates about things it doesn’t control. Just like Nicola Sturgeon it loves to wave its arms around making gestures, looking stern and talking big. The correct response to this is laughter. It is for this reason above all that Nicola the gorilla is the best peace of political journalism I’ve seen all year.

Figures of fun keep saying funny things. It is this above all that makes them figures of fun. But what is it that makes something funny. It is above all contradiction. The picture of a priest caught glancing back at a pretty woman in a mini-skirt is funny because of the contradiction between what the priest should be thinking and what he is actually thinking. The humour in Nicola Sturgeon’s speech is her portrayal of other people in Britain as xenophobes. The humour is the contradiction between her opinion of herself and her own values and what they are in reality. The essence of Scottish nationalism is xenophobic by definition. For a xenophobe to complain about xenophobia in other people is always in the end humorous. Once more the correct response is to laugh.

Nicola Sturgeon just like every other Scottish nationalist cannot bear to live in the same country as people from England, Wales and Northern Ireland. If this isn’t xenophobia what is? What is it about these people from England, Wales and Northern Ireland that she so dislikes that she cannot bear to share a country with them? It is that they are not Scottish. Again, if that is not xenophobia, what is?

What is the nature of Nicola Sturgeon’s complaint about the EU referendum? Essentially she is complaining about being outvoted. But this complaint only works on the assumption that the people in other parts of the UK are not like her. If Scotland became independent, I might be outvoted. The region in which I live, for example Aberdeenshire, might be outvoted. So being outvoted is not really Nicola Sturgeon’s problem. After all this is a feature of all democracies. Nicola Sturgeon’s problem is that Scotland should be outvoted. Why should this matter? The reason they always gives is that Scotland is my country while the UK isn’t. I am Scottish, but not British, they say.

The essence of Scottish nationalism is that people from other parts of the UK do not have a shared identity with me. If they were to accept that other British citizens had a shared identity with Scots, then there would be no more problem for Scots to be outvoted in a UK wide election than for Scots to be outvoted in a Scotland wide election. The reason that Nicola Sturgeon cannot bear being outvoted is because these people outvoting her are not Scots.

Moreover she is saying that she cannot bear to live in a country where these non Scots can outvote her. She would have no problem at all if only Scots could outvote her. Why do people like Nicola Sturgeon so dislike Westminster? The reason is because Westminster is elected by people from England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Well what is the problem with that? The problem is that these people are not Scots. Again if this isn’t xenophobia, what is?

At Appomattox Court House in 1865 there was a famous conversation. Robert E. Lee on discovering that one of the Union officers present Ely S. Parker was descended from the Seneca tribe remarked “"It is good to have one real American here” to which Parker replied “We are all Americans”. General Grant forbade any cheering on the grounds that “The Confederates were now our countrymen, and we did not want to exult over their downfall”.



Perhaps it was this moment that lead to peace in the USA such that now it is unimaginable that there should ever more be secession. It is the refusal of people like Nicola Sturgeon to accept that she has a shared identity with her fellow citizens that means for her the war is never over. Imagine if she had another referendum on independence and she lost it again? Would she then accept that she had been defeated finally? How many days would it be before she was demanding another chance? Referendums only have a point if they can decide an issue once and for all. If they cannot do this, they only cause division. The UK has had far too many referendums. I voted to leave the EU, but I would gladly stay if the condition for doing so was that there would never be another referendum in the UK.

The UK is a nation state of around 65 million people. Scottish nationalists are saying that we want the nation state we live in to cease having a population of 65 million people and instead to have a population of 5 million. But this in effect is to deport 60 million people. Nicola Sturgeon in effect wants to banish 60 million Brits in order that she can only live with Scots. If this isn’t xenophobia, what is?

But why can’t she bear to live in a nation state with 60 million Brits. The reason is because they are Brits and she is a Scot. At bedrock this is Nicola Sturgeon’s problem with the UK. She is Scottish, while they are British. This is identity politics at its worst. But then all nationalism at root is always about identity politics.

Scottish nationalists like to try to hide the roots of their philosophy. They have all been carefully taught to describe themselves as civic nationalists.  But this is a mere fig leaf. It is very easy indeed to test the limits of civic nationalism.  How would it be if a few hundred thousand people from other parts of the UK decided to move to Scotland? By the standards of civic nationalism they would all immediately be Scots. But what if these people continued to feel British too? What if they opposed Scottish independence because they felt the same identity as people in other parts of the UK? What if these few hundred thousand people put Scottish independence beyond the reach of the SNP forever? Would you really still be so welcoming?

No-one became a Scottish nationalist because of the idea of civic nationalism. Scottish nationalists vote for the SNP because they feel patriotism only about Scotland and not about the UK. If you felt patriotism about Britain you thereby would not feel outvoted any more than someone from Vermont feels outvoted if he votes for one presidential candidate, but this candidate loses. You only feel outvoted if you think that these others who outvote you do not share your identity. If you thought that people in other parts of the UK were your fellow countrymen you would not complain about the EU referendum. It’s only because you think they are not your fellow countrymen that you complain. But what is someone who is not a fellow countryman. He is a foreigner. What is someone who complains about being outvoted by foreigners? He is a xenophobe.

Scottish nationalism is grounded in xenophobia. Fundamentally it is grounded in dislike for our large neighbour. The UK in fact is one of the least xenophobic countries in Europe. We are not threatened by parties of the far right like those that exist in many European countries including France, Austria and Greece. Most Brits welcome people from elsewhere and we are willing to share our identity with them. It is not xenophobic of course to want to limit immigration, otherwise there would be no such things as borders. But like it or not ever Scot is a British citizen. To be unwilling to share your identity with someone who is a fellow citizen is clearly discriminatory. To act towards your fellow citizen as if he were a foreigner on the grounds of where he lives, or the accent that he has is clearly a form of prejudice. To make a speech describing others as xenophobes while leading a movement that is itself inherently xenophobic is comical. It’s really is high time Nicola Sturgeon became a figure of fun.


36 comments:

  1. '
    Nicola Sturgeon just like every other Scottish nationalist cannot bear to live in the same country as people from England, Wales and Northern Ireland. If this isn’t xenophobia what is?'

    You don't get it. Although I can't speak for all 'pro-indy' supporters, the above statement is way off. Astonishingly so.

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    1. Maybe it is slightly off, however the one statement that is correct is "the essence of Scottish nationalism is xenophobic by nature"

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  2. '
    Nicola Sturgeon just like every other Scottish nationalist cannot bear to live in the same country as people from England, Wales and Northern Ireland. If this isn’t xenophobia what is?'

    You don't get it. Although I can't speak for all 'pro-indy' supporters, the above statement is way off. Astonishingly so.

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  3. Another very useful and thoughtful contribution to the debate we need to be having now, Effie. There has been precious little analysis of Scottish nationalism and its relation to other countries' experience of the rise of nationalism. I know a few nationalists and at the root of their vote for independence and the SNP is xenophobia. I cannot think of one of them who has not as long as I can remember indulged in "soft" racism against the English. For many years this attached itself mainly to sport (football, rugby), some cultural perceptions (English not as egalitarian as Scots) and a sense of moral and virtuous superiority.
    All of this was very "soft" i.e. confined to pub or dinner table banter. All of a sudden there is an explosive rise in SNP and nationalism, mainly fuelled by the failures of the large Unionist parties. But now there is an outlet for this "soft" racism to be vented. A whole lexicon of hatred has been developed to describe our English brothers and sisters - fellow Brits - which would be outlawed if used against any other group in our society. "Westmonster," "Tories" (spat out with particular vitriol", "Paedo-rings", "corrupt establishment" etc all used to further the feeling that somehow Scotland has been short changed by three hundred years of successful union. Scotland is treated as second class. These born again nationalists will not even acknowledge that the things which are devolved - such as roads - are the responsibility of the Scottish Govt. We have inferior roads compared to England and it is all Westmonster's fault. As you say, if this isn't xenophobic I don't know what is.
    Something nasty, hate filled and insidious has been unleashed in Scotland. SNP did not even participate in the constitutional committee which set up the devolved parliament. They didn't want any part of it but they are the greatest beneficiaries of it - yet it is still a "sleekit", "feart", "unco corrupt" English parliament which is to blame for all out woes.
    What I'd like to know is why the rhetoric and bile coming out of the SNP conference not being investigated as a hate crime? If Nigel Farage was to say Theresa May's days were numbered, or to warn her in tones which suggest something nasty will be unleashed if she defies the Scottish people (i.e. Nicola Sturgeon), the media would be all over it. Guardian readers would be quaking in their Uggs as they saw this as final proof that the right-wing conspiracy is upon us.
    William Hague had a piece in one of the nationals recently about the rise of right-wing nationalism in Europe. Yet he failed to mention the one country where this has caught a grip and is actually in power - Scotland. Perhaps he was doing what the English always do - ignoring us!

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    1. Wow - between Effie's piece and your great reply here is the clearest reasoned description of the hidden 'soft' racist and xenophobic face of Scottish Nationalism that I have read.

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    2. SNP beat the drum of nationalism. It casts a long and dark shadow. They could not even control it now even if they wished to.

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    3. That brain injury still bothering you Bucky....

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  4. Sturgeon recently made a speech on identity politics, mentioning the English. It's only 2 minutes long and well worth seeing what she has to say for herself: https://mobile.twitter.com/theSNP/status/786944769096167424/video/1

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  5. "If the EU is a prison with guards who are ready to shoot anyone who dares to leave, this is not a reason to stay."

    The EU's rules on the Single Market is hardly comparable to the Berlin Wall (the opposite, if anything). No freedom of movement, no Single Market, no exceptions - not even for Brits who think they're better than everyone else.

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    1. Where is your evidence that we Brits think we are better than anyone else? National arrogance can be found all over Europe!

      Yes, the EU has rules attached to being a member of this club. I have no problem whatever with that and you are mistaken if you think that everyone in Britain supports the Tory Brexiteers and the fact that too many of them want to still be in the Single Market and to not to have to abide by EU rules on freedom of movement.

      I voted to leave and my vote has been vindicated by the unpleasant tone of some EU officials over the last few weeks and months. Too many of them have been promising extreme pain for Britain just because we dared to leave. To me, that indicates their fear others may join us and also isn't a good advert for EU membership. What sort of decent club has to promise pain for an escapee from it? The EU is more like a prison than a worthwhile club for proud countries to belong to.

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    2. Where is your evidence that we Brits think we are better than anyone else? National arrogance can be found all over Europe!

      Yes, the EU has rules attached to being a member of this club. I have no problem whatever with that and you are mistaken if you think that everyone in Britain supports the Tory Brexiteers and the fact that too many of them want to still be in the Single Market and to not to have to abide by EU rules on freedom of movement.

      I voted to leave and my vote has been vindicated by the unpleasant tone of some EU officials over the last few weeks and months. Too many of them have been promising extreme pain for Britain just because we dared to leave. To me, that indicates their fear others may join us and also isn't a good advert for EU membership. What sort of decent club has to promise pain for an escapee from it? The EU is more like a prison than a worthwhile club for proud countries to belong to.

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    3. So good you had to say it twice....

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    4. At least I didn't insult the poster like too many of your cybernats do. I've come across quite a few on the web and their paucity of arguments is only bettered by their insults and generally agressive tone.

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  6. Interesting and intriguing article - thank you. Nationalism is by its nature divisive, faintly unpleasant, usually ends in tears and really, has no place in the modern world. It is not the same as patriotism. I am, I think, a patriotic Briton and Englishman, proud of my roots (which, incidentally, include some Scots - aren't we all hybrids, anyway?), but I am not a nationalist. I was in Glasgow the other weekend. Scotland were playing Lithuania at Hampden Park. The fans, dressed in kilts etc, looked great - I was jealous because England doesn't really have that kind of identity! But you could sense, appreciate and applaud the pride. Another thought - many nationalists have chips on their shoulders and their perceived ills are always someone else's fault. I fear Nicola may be of that type. Perhaps she should try 'Strictly Comes Dancing' - might loosen her up a bit.

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    1. Yes, it is a shame we English don't have a national dress like the Kilt. I think Kilts are great and wish we had something similar to give us that sense of identity. I've often been envious of he Scots for their kilts!

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    2. Yes, it is a shame we English don't have a national dress like the Kilt. I think Kilts are great and wish we had something similar to give us that sense of identity. I've often been envious of he Scots for their kilts!

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  7. Well said Effie erudite as usual says it all .

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    1. Of course it does Freddy....of course it does.

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  8. Well, it’s a wet Sunday afternoon so I thought I would see what is on the other channel… Hmm… lots and lots of unsupported statements which, when taken together, aim to influence the reader. However, if the statements are dissected, the aim can appear farcical.

    Take, for example: “Nicola Sturgeon just like every other Scottish nationalist cannot bear to live in the same country as people from England, Wales and Northern Ireland.” Apart from the omission of punctuation, the lack of logical thought has failed to spot the recursive hell of self-loathing destined for an SNP supporter from England, Wales or Northern Ireland.

    There is more. ”Why do people like Nicola Sturgeon so dislike Westminster? The reason is because Westminster is elected by people from England, Wales and Northern Ireland”. Spot the flaw?

    “Scottish nationalism is grounded in xenophobia.” Now, this is getting silly. Must be time for the adverts so I will change channel again.

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  10. Blah Blah Blah Scotland does not exist in Effies wee head. That's cool but the fact that you look to ridicule half the country as a result of this shows how insecure you are.

    Sure we're all mental and taken in by a sorceress....BTW we dislike Westminster as it has spent the last 50 years neglecting Scotland. See 79 referendum, see de-industrialisation, see McCrone, Se Smith and Vow etc etc

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    1. My goodness, the victimhood hall of fame.

      The fate of heavy industry late 20th century in North Britain is not unique to North Britain, the is repeated all over the West. Globalisation and free market economics were the agents of this change, not WM.

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    2. The death of engineering and industrial capacity in the West will be a surprise to the Germans.....

      What about the other items, conveniently ignored as it requires too much of a brass neck to argue they are not an terrible indictment on the union ?

      I doubt you've been 100 miles from Scotland

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    3. "I doubt you've been 100 miles from Scotland"

      Xenephobia, when postcodes lend more legitimacy to opinion than good sense.

      I was born and grew up in the poorest area of the UK, had to go outside for the bog and heating was something you got only after cutting wood and lighting a fire. It was a great childhood.

      My children have UK, Russian and Burmese heritage, we've had postcodes hundreds of miles apart within the UK including time in Scotland for work and pleasure. The UK is a fantastic place. Living here gave me the opportunity to have a different life to the one I had experienced as a yoof. The same opportunities are afforded to every citizen of the UK. I could, I suppose, have dwelled on my financially disadvantaged circumstances, moaned about it, cried foul. Then again I've travelled quite widely, have witnessed real poverty and armed conflict (as it happens, borne out of separitism).

      Courtesy of my granny MacIntosh I expect my genes may well have spent more time in Scotland than yours. I may yet move back there some time, if it's still free. If you think I have any less entitlement to pass comment than your good self, that's your problem not mine.

      I have no love of flags, I am no 'brit nat', the world in my view has been made better by having fewer borders not more.

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    4. Fewer borders.....how is that working out as we glide Britannic like out of the EU... in one tactical failure we leave the greatest opportunity for all our kids to live and work freely without red tape in other cultures, with our neighbours.

      Aye....Maybe they'll get a hurl on the new Britannia with their new blue passports.

      Another one of these people who want to go back to the past and self evidently not an expert on Scotland.

      You clearly have no idea.

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    5. What about that German induistial base....crafty buggers ...How did they manage that....

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    6. "how is that working out as we glide Britannic like out of the EU."

      It's a shame about the EU, but that's democracy. Accept it and move on.


      "tactical failure"

      Yes, the EU must take responsibility for creating the conditions that allowed Brexit to take place.

      Lets not prejudge post-Brexit UK-EU relations, after all nobody knows what shape they will take.

      Somewhat brazen to use the word failure. It's not as if you're any kind of expert on the subject.


      "self evidently not an expert on Scotland."

      Surveys consistently show peoples wants, needs, hopes and aspirations are more alike then they are different.


      "How did they manage that...."

      You are asking the wrong question. The right question is how will they sustain it.

      One thing is for certain, they will need to be more imaginative than this...

      http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/newsbysector/industry/engineering/9630574/Dyson-sues-after-discovering-German-spy-on-its-staff.html

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    7. Crafty is certainly one approach, stealing the ideas of others fits into that category.

      Visionary is another entirely different approach to wealth generation, requiring imagination, original thought and hard work.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fdh0xAQ27nM

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  11. "It is the refusal of people like Nicola Sturgeon to accept that she has a shared identity with her fellow citizens that means for her the war is never over."

    The seeds of the SNP's attitudes to their fellow country men and women were sown by Arthur in the 30s. A man that looked upon the prospect of his neighbours houses ablaze as an opportunity to put food on his own plate.

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    1. Did he aye, yet somehow never charged....

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    2. Lol.. probably a plea bargain arrangement, he tells all and promises to me a good boy. The reality of arrest, internment and prison rations focusses the mind.

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    3. Yes because he comes across as that type....nice to see your jaundiced view of the justice system come to the fore....

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    4. Not only jaundiced but ill informed, 'plea bargaining' requires acceptance of guilt....yet that never transpired. Naturally you'll argue the British legal system is of course unsoiled by error...

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    5. "because he comes across as that type"

      Hmmm, what type was he indeed.

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  13. I followed a link to this on twitter. I dont think I have ever read so much BS in my life. Yes it's controversial - that's why easy, but it's complete nonsense. Is this really what unionists think?...I doubt it..it's so thoroughly unreasonable and full of school boy errors I doubt the authors sanity.

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