The snarling of the beast

It was always going to happen. British Nationalists were always going to find something to latch onto. They were always going to find some vulnerability that they could exploit. Simply be virtue of the fact that they were constantly attacking Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP on any grounds however spurious, it was pretty much inevitable that one of those attacks would find some wee tear that they could pick at. When you blast away in all directions with a scatter-gun then you’re almost bound to eventually at least graze one of your chosen targets.

Although, for obvious reasons, not much was said about it at the time, this was part of the reasoning behind the drive to hold a new referendum last September. It seemed obvious that, given the British establishment’s frenzied determination to find – or fashion – some dirt on a senior SNP figure, the longer this effort was allowed to continue the greater the chances that it would have some measure of success.

Forget the ‘conspiracy theories’ about highly placed British civil service ‘moles’ in the SNP administration with orders to sabotage one or more SNP politicians at the first opportunity. I’m not saying the British establishment is not capable of such conduct. Only that they are probably not competent. Appalling as the British political elite may be, civil servants are generally decent people with a strong sense of duty and very much focused on their careers. They are not easily corrupted.

And it isn’t necessary anyway. Civil servants are just people and subject as all of us are to human folly and frailty. One of them was going to screw up in some way at some point. And it is becoming clearer by the day that there were one or two senior civil servants in the vicinity of the First Minister who are perhaps more prone to human weaknesses and defects of character than most. And certainly more so than is desirable in a senior civil servant.

It was only a matter of time. The more time they were allowed, the greater the chance that British Nationalists would strike lucky.

Why a civil servant and not one of the senior SNP politicians themselves? Why was it more likely that a crack would eventually appear in the machinery of the Scottish Government rather than in any of its leading personalities? Simply because those leading personalities are the first generation of front-line figures in a new party of government. They haven’t risen to power through established structures which could help them over humps and cover their arses where necessary. In order to get there, they’ve had to keep their noses, not merely clean as in free of dangling snot, but clean as in pristine. Antiseptically clean.

What makes the allegations against Alex Salmond less than credible is the fact that his reputation is of such immense value to him, together with his awareness that the British establishment and its media hyenas were constantly raking through his bins looking for any titbit they could exploit. In all of history, few politicians have come under such intense and prolonged scrutiny. British Nationalist frustration at being unable to find anything is palpable. Those less prejudiced might consider the failure of such a massive effort to find evidence of wrongdoing to strongly suggest that no such evidence exists.

Similar considerations apply regarding the insinuations against Nicola Sturgeon. Together with the confused and contradictory nature of those insinuations. Almost as if her attackers are trying to cover all possible permutations of wrongdoing regardless of whether they make any sense. Which leads us to consider the reputations of those attackers compared with that of Nicola Sturgeon.

That there is a smear campaign against both Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon is certain. Since at least 2007, there has not been a moment when there wasn’t some kind of smear campaign against one or both of them either in progress or in preparation. The current exercise in negative propaganda appears to be gaining more traction than any that have gone before. But this may be a function of the resources that are being applied to the effort rather than an indication of any substance behind the allegations and insinuations.

Of one thing we can be fairly sure; this smear campaign is opportunistic rather than conspiratorial. A senior civil servant has behaved in a manner that is dubious, at best. The British Nationalist beast’s primitive instincts have been triggered as it senses potential weakness. It is responding with all the petty, mindless viciousness we’ve come to expect from politicians bred in the British political system.


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The cancer

Jackson Carlaw is the individual who also complained about the Scottish Parliament Corporate Body purchasing an outfit for the use of Holyrood’s official piper. The cost was around £1,000. But the issue for Carlaw isn’t the expenditure of public funds. It’s the fact that official piper is one Stuart McMillan – Scottish National Party Member of the Scottish Parliament for the Greenock and Inverclyde constituency.

As the Scottish Parliament’s official piper Mr McMillan has played at numerous events and does not charge for services. He has thus saved the public purse rather more than the amount spent on the piper’s outfit which, in any case, remains the property of the Scottish Parliament.

I mention this to illustrate just how petty, puerile and senseless British Nationalists like Carlaw can be when it comes to attacking the hated SNP.

The issues surrounding the allegations against Alex Salmond and the conduct of the investigation by British civil servants are, of course, very far from being as trivial as other matter that the likes of Carlaw have latched onto in their desperation to smear any SNP figure. But Carlaw’s motives are just as malicious.

The bitter resentment and hatred of the SNP harboured by the British parties squatting in the Scottish Parliament is a cancer at the heart of Scotland’s politics. Our nation will not be well until we remove that tumour.


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Play the game!

Lesley Riddoch’s theory seems to be that if the SNP plays nice with the British parties then maybe they’ll let us join in their game of British politics. And if we play very nice they may even reward us with the baubles and beads of high office. And if we play very, very nice, they could even see their way to letting us exercise our democratic right of self-determination.

And, if we are really quite exceptionally nice for long enough then perhaps, when we choose to restore Scotland’s independence, they won’t throw a petulant tantrum and get all “standoffish, combative, self-harming, dogmatic and partisan”.

Now, I appreciate that Lesley presents this as a very tentative theory. She swaddles it with caveats, provisos, conditions, qualifiers and disclaimers. But it seems to me that what she describes involves a massive investment of trust and compromise by the SNP with absolutely no firm assurance of any return at all. And whatever dividend there may be amounts to nothing more than what we already own or are clearly entitled to.

It all sounds lovely. Everybody getting along; working together; treating each other with respect. All collegiate and cooperative. All harmony and light.

It’s just not British! And that’s the problem. Lesley’s notional “unity government” faces two rather significant obstacles – the nature of the British political elite; and the nature of the Union.

The British political elite doesn’t do respect for Scotland’s elected representatives. It does EVEL. The Union doesn’t make provision for popular sovereignty and the kind of democracy Scotland aspires to. It imposes the sovereignty of parliament and executive as proxy for a monarch and tolerates only such democracy as poses no threat to established power.

The British establishment deals with challenges to its power in one of two ways. The challenger is either crushed out of existence, or it is absorbed into the structures of power, privilege and patronage which define the British state. What Lesley describes sounds horribly like the SNP letting itself be enveloped in the coils of the snake.

I can think of no more grotesque contradiction than an SNP MP at the head of the UK Government in Scotland. That’s not playing nice. That’s being played.


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Rejoice?

What this Panelbase survey suggests is that over 40% of Scotland’s people are content that we should be dragged out of the EU against our wishes and in a manner which is either disastrous or catastrophic. For every five people you encounter today, two will settle for Scotland being treated with calculated contempt by a British political elite rather than take responsibility for their own future.

If you are taking the bus to work and it’s full, more than twenty of your fellow passengers are prepared to sacrifice Scotland’s prosperity, democracy and dignity in the name of a political union which serves only to deprive Scotland of the power to protect its prosperity, democracy and dignity. Unless it’s a double-decker, of course. In which case, there’s around thirty people on that bus who would willingly throw you and your family under the wheels of the British Nationalist juggernaut.

In all of Scotland, that’s approximately 1.6 million voters who are intent on the Union at any cost.

How depressing is that?


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What’s the word?

I have always eschewed the use of terms such as “traitor” or “quisling” when referring to those who stand in fervent opposition to the restoration of Scotland’s independence. Indeed, I have frequently chided my fellow Yes supporters for resorting to such inflammatory language. But this leaves us with a problem.

There are people who, while claiming to be “proud Scots” or even “real Scots” (whatever that means) nonetheless strive to do actual harm to Scotland. They actively try to deter inward investment. They seek to dilute the Scottish brand. They denigrate Scotland’s public services and physical infrastructure. They undermine public confidence in our democratic institutions. The worst of them constantly portray Scotland as a place fraught with crisis and chaos; a ‘failed state’; some kind of third-world hell-hole.

The shorthand for all of this is the sub-text underlying all Unionist rhetoric and British Nationalist propaganda – TOO WEE! TOO POOR! TOO STUPID!

The problem is this. If, as I am wont to insist, we should not call such people “traitors”, what should we call them? What would be an appropriate alternative epithet for someone whose purpose is to sabotage Scotland’s economy; destroy our public services; eliminate our distinctive political culture; and obliterate our national identity?


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How mad are BritNats?

ni_terror1Andrew Lilico has done no more than explicitly express a sentiment that has always been a significant element of Brexiteer/British Nationalist ideology. A reckless disregard for the Good Friday Agreement has long been evident. But is it right to assume this to mean that they would be content to ‘lose’ Northern Ireland? There is an alternative implication that is rather more troubling. Namely, that they are assuming the British state has the capacity to deal with the consequences of a breakdown in the arrangements which have brought welcome but fragile peace to the occupied counties.

Given the all too evident belligerence of these British Nationalists, can we confidently discount the possibility that they envisage a ‘military solution’ to any resumption of violence? We know how dangerously deluded these people are. The Brexit fiasco has revealed how ‘ideologically committed’ they are to the idea of British exceptionalism. There is little effort made to conceal their fantasies of a return to a ‘glorious’ imperial past. Does this betoken a willingness to relinquish what they regard as British territory? Or does it, rather, suggest a determination to maintain Britannia’s jealous grasp of her possessions at any cost?

And, if British Nationalists are thinking in terms of securing Northern Ireland for the British state by force of arms, what might this imply for their attitude towards and intentions for Scotland?


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Don’t juggle jobbies!

brian_wilsonCarolyn Leckie writes in The National about one of the British ruling elite’s most dutiful servants. I haven’t read any of Brian Wilson’s bilious outpourings for at least a year or two – possibly more. I do, however, recall the shrill nastiness of columns pulsing with a hatred so visceral one could almost taste and smell it. The animus oozing out of the page like a noxious miasma rising from some putrid bog made even Alan Cochrane’s demented diatribes seem like light reading. I remember thinking that, if even a tenth part of Wilson’s snarling, spittle-flecked rage was genuine, this was someone in urgent need of counselling. And an individual in even more pressing need of being avoided.

This is what I determined to do. I simply stopped reading that stuff. It’s not as if it was informative about anything other than the workings of a mind afflicted by virulent British Nationalist fanaticism. One doesn’t go to the likes of Brian Wilson looking for insightful analysis or thoughtful commentary. The only reason for consuming such bitter fare is to replenish stocks of dumb prejudice and recharge the batteries of bigotry.

I am better off without it. Because that kind of obnoxiousness is pernicious. It contaminates all who come into contact with it. Wilson and his odious ilk write purposefully to provoke an extreme reaction. The mindless hate rubs off on you as you read. You may be tempted to respond in kind. But even if you simply turn away from the vitriol in disgust, you will be tainted by it. The stench of it will cling to to you. The poison will seep into your mind.

I have lately learned the benefits of ignoring British Nationalist propaganda. Being aware of its methods arms one against its manipulative power. Disregarding it completely renders one immune to its effects. I don’t read Brian Wilson’s column any more. I used to take some satisfaction from writing acerbic below-the-line ripostes to the likes of Wilson and Cochrane. Then I realised that this was clever in the same way that juggling jobbies is clever. The skill may be impressive. But the stink lingers.


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