Sunday, 29 November 2009

The great St Andrew's day forgery

Joan McAlpine like many within the SNP stripe that dominates Scottish blogging are reflecting today on the second assassination of an SNP blogger within a week.  Rumours abound that the Scottish news media are involved in a conspiracy to discredit the SNP, well I'm not convinced.  On the most basic level the SNP are the government and I wonder why it comes as a surprise to their supporters that they attract bigger headlines than the opposition - wasn't it ever this way?  There is more to it than that however - and it's a much more fundamental problem for the SNP.

The outing of Mike Russell's Constituency Office Manager today in the Herald and Scotsman is a very different story from that of Wardog last week.  As I noted in this previous post, in response to a comment left on another blog, there is now a clamour within the grubby grasping mainstream media to "challenge bloggers" - irrespective of party allegiances, and their action today confirms this - so why the apparent focus on the SNP?

It may be in search of cheap column inches, as I believe it was in Wardog's case, but this week there was a scalp worth collecting and differs little from the Damien McBride affair in substance as far as the Scottish news media are concerned.  The SNP blogging community are all too often quick to smear other bloggers, the mainstream media, politicians - in fact anybody who raises their head above the parapet and dares utter a supportive opinion on the "United Kingdom", an epithet so despised by nationalists.  This aggressive stance makes them high visibility "easy targets" for our moribund press.

The SNP lack political ideology, they are a single-issue party whose members and supporters come from a range of political philosophies, with one thing in common; the false constructs of "nationhood" & "ethnicity" often drawn from greed, self interest or a belief in some bizarre form of geographically endowed superiority. All concepts which have been, and will continue to be, at the root of much of the death and disaster throughout mankind's shabby tenure on this planet. Their disparate, and often desperate, grass root support are a band of voices who will brook no dissent on the Independence question and are extremely effective at garnering animosity in equal amounts to their own from those whom they alienate; perhaps that is in the nature of those who can believe in an illogical "superiority" philosophy - could it be that in their hearts the SNP supporters see the flaws and feel compelled to scream more loudly to compensate?  That noise-level alone will ensure that SNP blogs will be the Scottish news media's targets of choice, it's not their flawed ideology but its delivery - their press a mirror image of their own intolerance.

It's the patron saint of Scotland's "day" tomorrow and the SNP will release a document on how they intend to forge a Scottish national identity.  Well I have news for you Mr Salmond - as far as I'm concerned nationalism is a forgery - as for geographical saints and medieval god-bothering? ...don't get me started


  1. I can't get excited about the claiming of a political blog scalp, as you say, different from Wardog who was a citizen with an electronic soapbox.

  2. Exactly Jess, shedding no tears here either - you play the game then take the pain...

  3. You know, I just want to be governed by Edinburgh for the greater good of Scotland, not by London for the greater good of, well London.

    We've tried that and it doesn’t really work terribly well. Tory or Labour, it's all about the City and being important and hanging on America's coat tails, like the UK still mattered a toss.

    I love the idea that my wee country would be a total nonentity in the great scheme of things. America wouldn't expect and demand that we went to war even though we shouldn't. Bin Laden wouldn't want to bomb us. We could get on with running our country.

    Of course I'm bright enough to see that we would have the same greedy stupid self serving arses that other countries have. Lord knows you've only got to look at the English cabinet past and present to find the likes of Brown, Browne, Darling, Alexander, and on and on and on.

    But it would be nice if the economic policy didn't revolve around a place 500 miles away. It would be really fine to think that all our taxes were being used here. And that our 59 MPs' votes weren't outweighed by 590 that were "foreign".

    As for the SNP? Well of course they are a broad church. There isn't one brand of people who want their own country to be their own country. But they are doing a fair job of running the country within the confines of doing it on pocket money, and loads of it going right back to London in taxes.

    I've nothing against people who want to have the "security" of living within a state with WMDs, which does whatever it is told by America, as is shown by the frightening tale unfolding in the papers today. In my opinion, if we have to do that we'd be better off in a more federal EU.

    Well, that's what I'd like. I'm Scottish first and last.

    To each his own though.

  4. Tris, what you describe is political disenfranchisement not a logical platform for justification of socio-political disintegration. You are not Scottish first or last, that is an emotional attachment to notional artificially constructed borders that do not delineate anything real. Borders are simply the markers of military and political achievements of the biggest bullies of the past. Leaders who led the poor into battle whilst requiring them to settle their disputes with lives - entirely irrelevant to a cohesive cultural "differential". Do you believe one human being born one yard south of the border fundamentally differs from one born a few yards north?

    What is more, membership of a large European Federation will mean one country in 27, or more graphically 5 million out of 500 million - that is more representative, how?

    Nationalism is notionalism, and the SNP "homecoming" Scottishness many cling to is an artificial Victorian concept, as Tom Devine alluded - Highlandism, a synthetic concept of projected imagined origins dressed in tartan.

    The Scottish people will vote, one way or another, at some point in the future - what will happen if they reject the nationalist argument? They have already, which led to sour recrimination - the SNP give me the impression that they will continue fighting the same cause again and again, that surely is not fair. If only they were as committed to promoting proper regional representative democracy within the current structures, rather than the sad and lonely SNP vs the Unionist world. To me the SNP are simply another single-issue group, with more in common with the RSPB; and little or no original ideas, other than short term vote winners.

    Separatism will be the downfall of humankind, and dislike or mistrust of "geographical others" is a prime example of this entropy in action

  5. Yes Polaris. I believe that someone born just over the border would feel English, not maybe because that is what they are, but because that is what they are brought up with. It is more so if one lives in a nation where control is exercised from elsewhere. I’m sure Egyptians feel Egyptian, where as Jordanians feel Jordanian.

    I'm sorry if you think me stupid for feeling like that. I do though. I am Scottish first and last and I'm afraid that nothing you tell me about how I feel will alter that. I fear I may know myself and my feelings better than you, with respect.

    I say I would rather live in an integrated EU than an integrated UK because I believe that the European way of governance is superior to the American one which pertains in London and always will. The UK is just a vassal of the USA.

    Nationalism may be a notion; it may be emotion, but if I feel it, I feel it and nothing will ever make me feel English any more than Korean or Swedish. I'm not.

    If this Scottish population ever get the chance to vote (unlikely of course as the English-based parties don't want us to) but if they vote against it, in my opinion within another 5 - 10 years, dependent on how elections go, we can try again. We must never really sit back and say well, that's it, we just have to be a county in the north of England forever. Why is it unfair to keep trying to get your freedom?

    Every year more young energetic and adventurous people come into the voting age group, and some older people, who prefer to stay in the safe status quo with Big Brother's arms around them, die off. The possibility is that time will see a different demographic. I don't mean every 6 months like the EU, with Britain’s compliance, expected of Ireland.

    Isn’t it rather insulting to call the SNP a pressure group like the SSPB or whatever? They form the government of this country. They were voted for by the population.

    Finally I don't dislike others for geographical reasons. I love England and for that matter America, and Iceland and Greenland, but I'm not English, American, Icelandic or Greenlandic. I do have (everyone says this, but it’s true for me) some great English mates. But, I don't want my laws made for me by the English, rules and laws which are unsuitable for my country but fit the needs of the southern part of England.

    I know of no one who is less biased about people on the bases of their geographical origin, colour, creed, sex, sexuality, age and disability or otherwise.

    You can't take my being Scottish away from me. Never! I don't care if, in your opinion it is a romantic notion. So, maybe I have that romance.... maybe I’m glad I do.

  6. Polaris you're use of negative and pejorative terms to describe nationalism and the desire for independence reveals a bleak outlook on life. Your view that mankind can only be saved by transferring sovereignty to some distant entity unaffiliated to any particular people or nation is naive.

    Let the nations of the world retain their sovereignty and come together in friendship and hope in a collective future untethered to elitist constructions. What's wrong with that?

  7. Negative and pejorative terms are entirely appropriate when describing an ideology founded in negativity, that employs its volume to silence critics.

    Scunnert you and I will never agree on this, we have devolution, we have local councils - exactly what degree of resolution in the tiers of bureaucracy and political representation do we need? Why is Glasgow or Edinburgh independence laughable, when Scottish isn't? I believe in representative democracy, but the effort put into further fractionation of political systems to represent a fictional Georgian/Victorian identity is absurd - more politicians more overhead - and no real change in the quality of lives for the bulk of us.

    Retain sovereignty? Based on a sovereign territory? That is elitist by definition.

    My outlook on life is a realistic one based entirely on life experience - my hope is that one day mankind will begin uniting, not fighting over lines on a map. We can start with what we have, that's fine by me, but to further dilute it is not a way forward - and will bring no benefit.

    I am insulted that you think I wish for "transferring sovereignty to some distant entity unaffiliated to any particular people or nation" that's fairytales, and I am too long in the tooth for those. What I want is a focus on alliances not partisan fantasy geographical genotyping - that is naive...

    Q: Wha's like us?
    A: Pretty much every other person on the planet you dolt!

  8. Tris - I don't think you are, or any other Nationalist (so far), is stupid. I am surrounded by fervent car carrying SNP members; my parents, my partner and one of my brothers. I think, no dearly believe, that no-one will benefit from an independent Scotland - but am willing to be convinced, however what I have heard so far falls well short of a compelling narrative for just such. As simple as that...

  9. Well Polaris. I guess you either feel it or you don't and I do, and passionately, fervently.

    I'm not one of these heather and mopuntain mists romantics, although it is a pretty place. I know that Switzerland is every bit as pretty.

    Nope, it's a mixture of pride in the country you belong to (all emotion), and a desire to not have my money spent for the benefit of South East England... a lovely spot, but another world from Dundee.

    The governor of the Bank of ENGLAND once pointed out that high unemployment in the north was worth it if it kept the City of London doing what ever it is that it does, more cheaply than eveywhere else. Says all you need to know from the economic point of view.

    As I said, you either feel it or you don't. It's maybe like liking or not liking opera, or oysters or Bob Dylan...

  10. Polaris - dolt? DOLT? I am flabbergasted, flummoxed, and fair fecht. You'll be calling me the "C" word next!

    How can it be elitist to wish local people to have control of their bit? That goes for everyone - all the peoples of the world, (I feel a song coming on).

    BTW - Scotland as a nation has existed since the eighth century - so hardly Victorian. Also the borders are roughly where they were when those ancient Scots fought off imperial Rome.

    Stay wee - stay free!

  11. It was a gentle expression of my frustration, sorry...

    The "homecomey" image is a modern construct. As for well defined borders: What about Robert the Bruce taking York, or Berwick upon Tweed? Or the undefined Borders? In the Eighth century much of the Western Isles, and Orkney and Shetland had their own sovereign rulers. Wasn't Bruce the first to unite Scotland under one crown in the 14th century? Where did the Celts come from - the Med? The Vikings - Scandinavia?

    Which all goes to help confirm the arbitrary nature of borders, never mind the lack of a homogeneous identity within them...

  12. Ach - Ah'll forgive ye. The Scottish Identity, while sharing origins with our cousins throughout Europe, is no bad thing. Neither is English, French, or Norwegian identity. Scottish identity developed over centuries in that place - nowhere else. That doesn't make Scots better than others or confer upon Scots some mystical powers denied other mortals.

    The choice as I see it is between peoples or transnational corporations having the power to decide our future.

    Stay wee - stay free.

  13. Happy St Andrews Day!

    A false construct?

  14. Excellent piece Polaris, thanks.

  15. @AWC - do you believe that Saint Andrew is in some way connected to Scotland, other than by the selection by a long gone cleric - he is also the patron saint of Greece, Russia and Rumania isn't he?

    @ Edwin Moore, thank you very much sir :D

  16. Well I've been stumbling through several threads trying to make those very points but you have said it much better and more succinctly. I bow in your general direction!

    Oh the St Andrew connection to Scotland: the Declaration of Arbroath says that Jesus admired Scotland's 'special qualities' so much that he sent St Andrew to protect us 'for ever'. Curiously, a recent poll found that most people who want Scottish independence believe that Andrew was born in Scotland. Hell's teeth and tonsils!

  17. Thanks Edwin, curtsy in response.

    The whole St Andrew palaver is a laugh, he is about as relevant to modern Scotland as the world noodle trade. I love the fact that most folks think he is Scottish; not a Jordanian 2nd class apostle picked randomly by an Oirish priest trying to convert the Picts - when he was adopted as a patron saint by the Picts there wasn't even a Scotland, just lots of tribal fiefdoms. As for asking most folks the date...

    All based on the biggest selling work of fiction ever - "Hell's teeth and tonsils" precisely, my heart sinks that we cling on to these dark ages traditions, and simultaneously claim to be a "modern country" - no paradox there!

  18. Oh, wouldn't it be grand if more 'Scottish' 'restaurants' served ramen and yakisoba? Only fair, after all: every restaurant in Japan plays 'Auld Lang Syne' every night at closing time. (They draw a line at the neeps, though.)

  19. Haggis and noodles - would that work? Street vendors selling skirlie and raw fish, and we could play that single released by the Japanese Prime minister at chuckin' oot time. Now that would be an internationally integrated model - citizens of the world, right up my street.

  20. The Flower of Scotland

    O flower of Scotland
    When will we see
    Your like again
    That fought and died for
    Your wee bit hill and glen
    And stood against him
    Proud Edward's army
    And sent him homeward
    Tae think again

    The hills are bare now
    And autumn leaves lie thick and still
    O'er land that is lost now
    Which those so dearly held
    And stood against him
    Proud Edward's army
    And sent him homeward
    Tae think again

    Those days are passed now
    And in the past they must remain
    But we can still rise now
    And be the nation again
    And stood against him
    Proud Edward's army
    And sent him homeward
    Tae think again

    I just love that....

  21. Me too, its the best limerick ever. Apart from its length that is.

    Seriously though - great song, but it is advocating our past remaining in the past. A sentiment I would advocate.

  22. i wish the conservatives would stay in the past...