Reading, and agreeing with, Mike Small’s piece for Bella of 14th March 2016 entitled “Willie’s Big Bold Package” I’m struck again by the level of inaccurate and pernicious commentary that is allowed to pass for journalism of a unionist political nature in Scotland.
It is beyond wearisome to continue to read on a regular basis absolute rubbish that makes suggestions that Scots in favour of independence are fascist “blood and soil” nazis. This is lazy, repetitive, entirely unfounded in reality, and shows a clear disrespect for around 50% of the people of Scotland.
Following the recent British Broadcasting Corporation’s Dundee Question Time debacle one of these regular hacks expressed his embarrassment at how he felt complainers that the episode of the show was unrepresentative of the locus had shown Scotland up and made Scots look ridiculous in front of the rest of Britain.
Then, just to gild the lily a wee bit, in his view, he thought he’d throw in the standard false dig alluding to believers in a sovereign Scotland being haters of others not of a Scottish accent, suggesting sarcastically that non-Scots accented residents of Scotland should perhaps be compelled to wear a badge to identify them, presumably akin to Jews in nazi Germany. This is outrageous language.
The thing is this geezer knows that his statement is outrageous, as do we, but other fellow Scots fall for it,and some of Scotland’s neighbours south of the border, who are already fed all sorts of propaganda by their right-wing media to protect the benevolent loving embrace of the senior controlling partner in the bad marriage which is the Union.
The issue for many with regards to the episode of Question Time under discussion was certainly nothing to do with accents, or where audience members were born, and everything to do with fair representation of a city which voted 57% in favour of independence.
For the umpteenth time since the beginning of 2014 (and if these nutters keep suggesting it we’ll keep countering it) let’s clarify the fact that supporters of an independent Scotland come in all recognisable human colours and races, all shapes, all sizes, Maryhill to Mumbai accented, gay, straight, transgender, religious, agnostic, socialist, social democratic, there is probably the odd, very odd, lapsed Tory in there too if you look very closely. There is even a guy with a rickshaw!
The important thing to note though is that nowhere present in the entire body of this diverse movement slowly pushing forwards towards an independent Scotland will you find hatred, racism, jingoism, xenophobia, militarism or any of the other unhealthy elements which appear in other areas of “British” culture. What you will find is a burning desire for social justice and fairness, and positivity about creating a better future in abundance.
For every school of opinion there are the odd fringe “characters”who should be avoided (castigating a politician and calling them names for how they look or dress rather than questioning their political views or decisions is not ok in my view) but even at that the vitriol of the pro-Union version of the bedroom keyboard wallopers, I would suggest, has taken the debate to a sinister level at times beyond any argument that could be considered reasonable.
There are very clear targets in the sights of the Indy community, these being the neo-liberal establishment of corporate Great Britain as embodied by the likes of the city state of London and its buddies in the Palace of Westminster, but certainly not the people of England, or the rest of the UK.
One of the worst elements of this campaign to mark supporters of independence as racist is that it is designed to build up mistrust and hatred amongst others, spreading division. A type of propaganda which has been used to great effect in Scotland for many years with regards to religion.
There is no getting away from the fact that Scotland has had in the past, and still does to a certain extent, in certain areas, an issue with sectarianism. Where did that arise from? It came from the same organised establishment encouraged British nationalism as we see being deployed in the independence debate. Scotland’s more populated central belt has been subject to a long-standing establishment societal project, by design and tacit approval, to control the working classes. This has been achieved by encouraging two sections of the community to consider themselves as separate entities, the other seen as a threat to a way of life, a group to be suspicious of, thus causing mutual division and resentment between common like-minded Scots, similar in all things apart from which type of primary school they attended.
The achievement of this project in the past has been to let the 1% get on with helping themselves to become even more obscenely rich, whilst the rest,the people doing the work and struggling just to survive are too busy mistrusting each other to actively organise together to radically improve their lot in life. Hopefully, as we saw some evidence of during the referendum, some of these barriers are starting to break down. In 2016 it’s time for the dinosaurs to become extinct.
As noted by Wings Over Scotland the other day it is ironic, going back to Question Time for a moment, that one of the ‘random’ Dundee audience members who was selected to ask a question turned out to be a former Labour candidate for the 2015 UK elections who had to resign after publicly comparing the children of Scottish Independence campaigners with the Hitler Youth.
If Scotland is to ultimately achieve independence we need to challenge these views vigorously and comprehensively every time they rear their ugly and hateful heads.