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Why nationalists aren’t racists

Posted on May 31, 2012 by

Despite the launch of the rainbow-coalition Yes campaign on Friday, we’re still fighting the assertion that Scottish nationalism is both racist and bigoted – one typified by a recent article by George Galloway in the Daily Record.

I have to admit to a guilty soft spot for the MP for Bradford West. I know he’s ridiculous in many ways, but I like him. Watching George on Question Time recently, I knew he’d be entertaining and sometimes disrespectful. It’s a nice change from the grey men of politics we usually see. I like the idea that some politicians have the bottle to say and do pretty much what they want and sod everyone else. Not always pleasant and often enough to make your toes curl with embarrassment, George is, at least, a character and we could do with a few more like him in politics.

But as I read the article he wrote for the Record, in which he talked about seeing people who have “what can only be described as a virulent hatred of English people and a belief they are the source of Scotland’s troubles”, I began to wonder what country George was looking at.

As the referendum campaigns get under way it’s important that the peddling, by some Unionist politicians and media personalities, of the view of Scotland as a land of bigots and racists is challenged – loudly and often. I feel aggrieved when I read that Scots hate English people, and the assertions that George Galloway and others make that somehow abusive comments made in response to articles online or in the press reflect the wider Scottish nationalist agenda could not be further from the truth.

Politicians need to get a grip on reality, stop the point-scoring and get down to what matters to the man and woman on the street. If George and others looked around and talked to real people rather than relying on internet responses to provocative articles, then they would find that people are living with the independence debate in their daily lives with little or no fuss.

There is no “virulent hatred” running through the offices and workshops of our small country. No calls for rivers of English blood from crofthouses in Sutherland or tenement buildings in Glasgow or fishing villages on the coast of the Solway Firth. Many people aren’t talking about independence at all, and where people are talking about it, they are talking about it as part of their daily lives, talking about it with their friends, colleagues and family. Amongst those friends, colleagues and family there are English people, and the discussions are generally NOT about hanging and flogging them.

In the same way as George Galloway suggested that internet posts are representative of the whole of the nationalist-supporting public, we also await the suggestion that football is a stark demonstration of racism in Scottish society. As soon as the European Championship starts this summer, the fact that Scots would support anyone rather than the England team will be trotted out as an indication that Scots are racist almost to a man.

Yet if you follow football to any degree, you would know that Man City fans would sooner almost anyone won other than Man United; that Hearts fans would support anyone rather than Hibs; that Arsenal fans would prefer anyone won than cheer for Tottenham. Given the England-centric nature of the football coverage on television, it’s hardly surprising that footie-mad Scots roll their eyes and cheer for Sweden.

Scottish nationalism is an inclusive political movement. The persistent drive to insist that it is, at its heart, fascist or racist, is cynical scaremongering by politicians with their own agendas. And you can bet that agenda isn’t “making life better for those who truly do suffer at the hands of racist abuse”.

It would be naïve to suggest that racism doesn’t exist in Scotland today or that it won’t exist in Scotland tomorrow – even if that tomorrow is an independent Scotland. There are racists in Scotland – some have been responsible for awful crimes. There is however, also a casual racism borne of ignorance and fear rather than hatred. This racism must continue to be confronted and challenged, and there are many people ready to do that. When it is pointed out to those who use this sort of language that it hurts feelings and its use suggests racism, many do learn to change their behavior.

The Scottish Government and its ministers is committed to that challenge. It’s important that their efforts are not reduced to squabbling over internet responses with politicians who may feel that Scots are always ready to blame someone else for their ills. George Galloway is doing the exact same thing – people aren’t giving him a hard time because he’s a Unionist, but because he’s a bampot Unionist. Many see him as a clown and a self-serving media whore, and he only has himself to blame for that.

Comments like the ones made by Galloway lead to people believing that you can’t live happily here in Scotland if you’re English. They’ve led to me being often asked “Don’t you find it difficult being English and living in the Highlands?”, the answer to which is “No – never”.

There are Scottish nationalists of every colour and race, as there are Unionists of every colour and race. Look around you – wherever you are just now, whether you are minded to be a Yes voter or a No voter, look at the people you work with, the people you live with, stand at the school gates with, the people you serve in a shop, restaurant or pub. Are they English or Scottish or from somewhere else? Does it matter? Do they care where you are from? I doubt it. Interested in your life and your story they may be. Plotting your imminent demise or some wicked racist atrocity, they are probably not.

I never heard the saying “All Jock Tamson’s bairns” until I came to Scotland but there is a feeling in Scotland that you can be here and be Scots no matter where you were born. A great many people with Scottish parents or ancestors delight in their Scottishness. Most people coming to live here in Scotland from elsewhere feel at home, like this is their country now. Scotland gets under your skin, into your heart.

So for George and others – your Scotland may be a land full of English-hating bigots and those who would “rise up” and turn on their neighbors and friends, but mine, and most other people’s, isn’t. If that’s what you find then I would respectfully suggest that you change the company you keep and take your head out of your computer screen. If you came up from Bradford and walked the streets a wee bit, drank in the pubs a wee bit, dropped in at some toddler groups or youth clubs or workplaces, I would happily bet that you would find many of “Jock Tamson’s bairns” happily playing, living and working together. The referendum is not going to change that.

The original version of this article appeared at National Collective.

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54 to “Why nationalists aren’t racists”

  1. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    On the subject of politicians not afraid to come out and say what they think, incidentally:

    Most of the time Davies is a rather nasty right-wing Tory, but in this particular case I can only grudgingly admire his disinclination to pull punches when faced with a complete arsehole.

  2. Peter Mirtitsch says:

    I am Scottish by birth, although if you see me you may be fooled into thinking I am of an alternative persuasion. I have at least half a dozen ethnic groups in my makeup, and have more English born relatives than Scottish, yet not of these clowns can tell me WHO I am being racist towards. Admittedly I have been accused of being on a par with someone who claims to have a black friend when I pointed out my best pal and soon to be best man is English, as he was born in Corby, although he spent almost all his life in Sunny Ayrshire.

  3. redcliffe62 says:

    Not sure if Galloway truly believes what he writes. He is clever so he should know better.

  4. redcliffe62 says:

    There is no reason the Saltire cannot be flown above Hampden as per the IOC. It is a political move from Lord Coe, no more than that.

    My sister in law was an official 2000 Olympics photographer in Sydney. She has some amazing stuff. 

    According to IOC protocol, four flags could be flown at Olympic Games venues – the Olympic five-ring flag, the official flag of either the city of Sydney or SOCOG, the NSW flag and the Australian national flag. 

    This would suggest that saying only the Union Jack could be flown as only one flag is allowed is hogwash. And the saltire as the place the event is held on can be flown as per the IOC.
    In fact, it was agreed to even add the aboriginal flag as an additional flag, making FIVE, which flew at most venues as well as the above.   

    Tony Burton at the time confirmed the following re the flying of flags for Sydney.
    The same rules would therefore apply for 2012. Despite Coe forgetting this.


  5. YesYesYes says:

    What an excellent piece. Thoughtful, non-dogmatic (no tubs being thumped here) and so reasonable that it almost (not quite) makes me embarrassed at my contempt for the Labour-Tory coalition. But perhaps most important of all, a very effective antidote to the nonsense that is spouted by Galloway and other apologists of unionism.
    Like others who contribute to this site, I could write lengthy, and reasonably eloquent, missives about the theory of self-determination and the enviable practices of numerous other small independent nation-states across the world that put our small country to shame. But we’ve all read those before and that’s precisely why this piece is so refreshing and original.
    We must nail this lie that has been handed down from John Smith House to the Scottish Labour party faithful that ‘internationalist’ Scottish Labour is making a noble stand against the ‘separatist’ nats. Their latest party line on this seems to be, ‘I don’t want to live in an independent Scotland in which England is a foreign country’.
    On the surface this might appear to be a killer argument for the ‘internationalist’ Scottish Labour party. But, as with most things Scottish Labour, on closer inspection it doesn’t make any sense. I’ll refrain here from developing further the argument that the idea that my Irish grandfather  – who was born in a country whose border was located a mere 80 miles from where I was born and brought up in Scotland – was somehow ‘foreign’ to my family and I is patently absurd. So patently absurd that I refuse to believe that even a complete idiot like Anas Sarwar would suggest it.
    No, we need to take another tack here, however compelling it may be to return to the subject of Sarwar’s idiocy. What we need to acknowledge here is what this ‘England would be a foreign land’ line tells us about the mindset of Scottish Labour or, rather, Scottish Labour in its anti-‘nationalist’, ‘internationalist’ guise. What this line tells us is that Scottish Labour considers all nations outside the UK to be ‘foreign’. Fair enough, you might think. After all, isn’t that consistent with the vocabulary that many people use, reflecting the way that many people think of and see the world?
    But hold on a minute. What kind of genuine anti-‘nationalist’, what kind of genuine ‘internationalist’ would refer to the people of other countries as ‘foreigners’? I can understand why UKIP, the English Tories, the BNP, New Labour, the English Defence League etc consider the people of other countries as ‘foreigners’. For these parties/organisations are unashamedly English/British nationalists and, however loathsome they may be, you do at least know where you stand with them. They don’t claim to be anything other than what they are.
    But why would a party, the Scottish Labour party, sheltering under the veneer of anti-‘nationalism’ and ‘internationalism’ refer to the people of other countries as ‘foreigners’? I think we should be told. 

  6. Kenny Campbell says:

    Well according to Jay Smith in the herald comments the SNP and Scotland succeeding with a yes vote would lead to the end of the world as we know it
    Quote “How about no longer a member of the G7, G8, G20, no longer a permanent member on the United Nations Security Council, no longer a top table seat or major influencer of the IMF, World Bank, NATO, EU. No longer have an independent currency. How about seeing the Falklands and Gibraltar handed over because a rump UK is no longer powerful enough militarily or politically to defend them? Hundreds of lives wasted. How about a new conflict breaking out in Northern Ireland as nationalists cajole a Unionist population into Union with the Republic of Ireland, more lives wasted. The SNP are currently gerrymandering the referendum, gerrymandering who can vote, gerrymandering what the age range will be, gerrymandering the wording, gerrymandering the timescale! And filling the internet with cyber nats. Say NO to the gerrymandering and say no to the bullying tactics of the SNP.
    I suspect Jay maybe just another cover for agent provocateur posting a la Mr McKeown from West Midlands A man who amazingly despite his huge and unmatched contribution to the debate in the Herald comments page has never had a post on any subject edited to my knowledge.

  7. Kenny Campbell says:

    @ Peter Mirtitsch
    Having been there numerous times I always thought that Corby was just part of Glasgow anyway so I’d challenge that you that friend isn’t really English 🙂

    This racist thing is just another negative smear , if we’re not for dumping the Queen(news to me and I suspect Alex Salmond) we’re potentially creating issues in Spain or Northern Ireland with this Independence rubbish…..

    Much as I enjoy Georgeous George’s rants on TV I just think he does it for that reason alone now rather than for a specific cause. So he is in fact now a celebrity rather than a politician.

  8. Peter Mirtitsch says:

    😀 Good point Kenny. Corby is a massive Scottish enclave, and TBH his parents were practically passing through at the time, although that doesn’t help alleviate the taunting…lol

  9. Howard Price says:

    Great article Sue, and right on the button.  As another English born person living in Scotland, I’ve never encountered anything like Galloway suggest in the DR article

    As for Galloway himself, I’m sure he weighed up which would get him more airtime – Unionism or Independence, and made his decision based on that

    He’s great value for money, and can be a fine orator; his US senate performance was classic.  

    But really I think George does what George thinks will give him maximum exposure. He obviously love his celebrity status.

    He’s not really a serious politician, and for all his firebrand socialist pretensions I think most people realise this.  


  10. Joe says:

    I was blocked from reading the full Herald article as they said I had to enable cookies.
    Tsk tsk. This is now against EU rules under the new online data protection and security ( or some other such EU stuff).
    At the least they should now be displaying a notice to visitors about their use of cookies and should certainly not be demanding that people  enable cookies. They can have a paywall and stop visitors but apart from that they shouldn’t be forcing acceptance of cookies on a free to view site.

  11. Arbroath1320 says:

    In answer to Jay Smith I would just say this.
    If you are so scared of losing your seat at the G7,G8,G20, U.N. Security Council, NATO, E.U. etc then why don’t you move down south, I’m sure they will retain all the seats you want.
    Any way would we REALLY want to be sitting at these institutions? After all from what I’ve seen, for the most part, they are nothing more than a collection of “talking shops!”  Nothing ever seems to come out of them other than a bunch of back slapping hand shaking photo ops. Best we just get on with doing what is best for Scotland, leave the “talking shops” to those who fancy themselves as “world leaders!”

  12. Kenny Campbell says:

    I’m done with the Herald. You can’t get anything posted that is any way undermines their sensationalism or that undemines Labour’s bluster.  I also can’t read any more from the imbecile from the West Midlands who clogs up the whole bloody debate with total and utter nonsense(shite).

  13. Longshanker says:

    @Sue Lyons

    Disingenuous counter preaching on a ‘civic’ site which casually refers to voters as ‘retards’. There’s a thing.

    George Galloway is referring to ‘internet bravehearts’ as the bigots/racists. Not the Scots. He’s also warning that there are ‘lurkers’ ready to stir up latent prejudices in order to have someone to blame for Scotland’s ills – pre and potentially post referendum.

    The constant harping on about Unionists in this illuminating site could easily be exchanged with the word ‘English’ and it wouldn’t change the flavour or intention one bit.  

    There may be some mileage in Galloway’s claim that Alex Salmond could help temper some of the intolerant language used by the Braveheart Commandos of the Internet World. 

    What I’d like to know though is: What’s your excuse for coming up with a counter argument which is every bit as disingenuous as George Galloway’s?

    At only one point does he actually criticise the Scots as an entity: “But when I lived in Scotland I must say, I always thought us aye ready to blame somebody else for our ills.”
    Some would argue that that’s fair comment.

    As alluded to by you, there’s a casual anti-Englishness which runs through a wheen of Scots. Like you, I don’t think it fits the racist label when you actually challenge it, but it’s there, despite the broad sweep denial of this piece.  

    Lurkers could make use of it for their own political ends. That’s the fear of Nationalism. Almost by definition Nationalism needs a common enemy with which to unite its supporters.

    That’s why the ‘independent minded’ are suspicious of the SNP. It also part explains why the likes of the Yes campaign people were almost up their own backsides in their efforts to prove that it was a multilateral declaration of independence. 


  14. Dál Riata says:

    The problem as I see it, is that the almost daily output of poisonous articles against an independent Scotland will do as they are intended and work their way into the consciousness of the ‘undecided’, and when push comes to shove on voting day the fear engendered will cause many to put their mark beside No.

    People such as ourselves, who take a huge interest in Scotland becoming independent and are, perhaps, more reliant on each other and other such sources for the ‘real’ truth, are aware of the ongoing dishonesty from the MSM. However, as of this time, I would say this is not the case for a majority of Scotland’s population: that majority still use the MSM as their source for “the news” and accept it unquestioningly.

    Maybe one of the print media will break ranks before the vote, though doubtful. The only one who might would be The Sun, but they would do that only if they were sure the Yes vote was going to win, as is their want!

    The “racist” stuff is just more smearing rubbish. The infuriating thing is that, as of now, not one member of the MSM is willing to counter that lie, content to let it hang in the air like a bad smell.

    I know there’s still a long way to go, but I do despair sometimes.

    If independence were to be lost through intelligent adult debate I would be desperately sad, but I would still accept it as the will of a majority of the people. But … if Scottish independence were to be lost because of fear-mongering, smearing, disinformation, lies, etc. from the MSM and their Establishment backers … I would be extremely fucking upset, to say the least ….

    There are about thirty months to go before the vote. Here’s hoping the ‘honest’ truth will out between now and then – somehow. 

  15. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “The constant harping on about Unionists in this illuminating site could easily be exchanged with the word ’English’ and it wouldn’t change the flavour or intention one bit. “

    Are you desperately trying to be so offensive and stupid that you get banned, so you can count it as some sort of victory? Because, y’know, fuck off with this idiot pish. I’ve lived in England for 21 years. I despise Unionists, but the English are a lovely people and they’re just fine by me.

  16. Dál Riata says:

    L’agent provocateur @ Longshanker est arrivé …

    More Unionist troll poison. 

  17. Scott Minto (Aka Sneekyboy) says:

    So turn the argument on its head…

    Ask a Unionist if they believe they should be ruled from Brussels…

    If they say NO then call them racist and anti-belgian…

    Maybe one or two might just see how idiotic such an assertion actually is!

  18. Peter Mirtitsch says:

    I would have to disagree about the words “unionist” and “English” being interchangable, since, I don’t think that the Scottish Sections of the assorted Unionist parties are English or would even appreciate being described as such, since they all claim to be fiercely proud of their Scots identity. Our problem with the unionists does not extend to the English, since they can’t actually vote in the referendum, and the only influence they have is through the actions of the England based parties in London. The English themselves are a varied people, and the Northerners appear to have more in common with the Scots than the Southerners.

  19. Peter Mirtitsch says:

    Scott, very true. It is hilarious when you hear the onionists go on about “strength as part of a greater whole”, yet throw their hands up in horror at the suggestion of closer ties to the largest trading bloc in the world….

  20. Dál Riata says:

    @Rev Stu
    I really cannot understand why you allow Longshanker to troll your site. He is offensive – deliberately so. He brings nothing to the debate except rancor and animosity. Please do your site, a good site, and its contributors a favour by banning this guy. As I mentioned above, he’s poisonous.

  21. Peter Mirtitsch says:

    Dal, I assume you have visited assorted onionist sites, or even Facebook pages, as have I. Thing is, the one thing they all have in common is that virtually any statements against the onion or onionism can get you banned. One or two of those I have looked at are comical, where they read like some sort of self congratulatory club. One Facebook page which was for Conservative Friends of the Onion started well, with a lot of responses. After a couple of days, almost all dissenters were banned/blocked (Me at least twice) Now, a couple of months later, we have about 300 likes and hardly any posts…lol

  22. Juteman says:

    I can’t figure George out, and i remember him well from his days in Dundee on the GMC of the local Labour party.

    On one hand, he dislikes nationalism, yet was proud of his Irish catholic routes, and supported a united Ireland.

    You would think he would want Palestinians to be content in their ‘union’ with Israel, but was happy to fly the Palestinian flag over Dundee city chambers, and twin Dundee with Nablus.
    A mixed up guy.

  23. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    I do tend to agree that it’s slipping more and more over the line between “aggressive, forthright argument” (which is fine) and “deliberate trolling” (which isn’t) now. We’ll see how it goes.

  24. Sue Lyons says:

    @longshanker – I dont really understand what you mean when you say “disingenuous counter preaching” but however….    George Galloway used the article to suggest that all the net stuff is indicative of racism which runs through the entire Nationalist argument. I dont believe that.  My article was also slightly edited and the original reads – “There is however, also a casual racism borne of ignorance and fear rather than hatred – the racism of the “paki” shop, the “darkies”, “the incomers”,” the tinks”. This racism must continue to be confronted and challenged and there are many people ready to do that.” I was not alluding particularly to anti english feeling. In as much as the fact that some people may harbour racist views they are not indicative of Scottish Society as a whole.

     I dont even think that there has to be a common”enemy”  more a common purpose but I guess that depends on the perspective you are looking at this from. If I consider the ppossibility of there being an “enemy” then the “enemy” which YOU suggest –  along with George Galloway  – is “the english”is in point of fact, actually Westminster.   As much as some media people and some politicians would like there to be a truly racist, fascist agenda at the heart of Nationalism – there is none.  To continue to pedal this assertion is to demean our society and the debates that are taking place.  There are bampots on both sides – but in reality people are just people and they are gettingon with their lives and talking about the referendum together. 

  25. YesYesYes says:

    Longshanker, one of the problems with trying to position yourself as a ‘voice of reason’ in this debate is that you need to be careful not to be unreasonable yourself. Otherwise, you leave yourself open to the same criticism that you’re making of others.
    I don’t understand your first paragraph at all. Are you suggesting that this piece is “disingenuous” – because it misrepresents George Galloway?  – or are you suggesting that Wings is being “disingenuous” in reproducing it because he is trying to further an agenda of civic nationalism that you seem to have a bee in your bonnet about? This would suggest that you’re drawing on Hans Kohl’s distinction between “civic” and “ethnic” nationalism and that, implicitly at least, Stuart is an ethnic nationalist wolf in a civic nationalist sheep’s clothing. This, it seems to me, says more about you than it does about Stuart. I don’t recognise this characterisation of this site at all.
    Your second paragraph is being very generous to George Galloway. I consider myself a genuine socialist and not just a token internationalist, but Galloway’s article is not only wrong-headed, it is shameful, although there is quite a lot of comedy gold in there as well. For example, in an article that purports to be opposing anti-Englishness, we’re told that if Scotland became independent, then:
    “England would be a permanently right-wing, low tax, low public spending economy”.
    What a terrible indictment of our friends down south, a “permanently” right-wing economy? Is there no hope for them, even in the distant future? But wait a minute, isn’t this also what many of us who support Scottish independence are frightened of, not just in the distant future but in the here and now or, to be pedantic, what we’ve been frightened of throughout the last 33 years, fears that have only too often been realised ?
    But George has thought of that, and here’s his next piece of comedy gold. He refers to when he used to live in Scotland, and informs us that, in reference to what he calls a prevailing attitude of  “wha’s like us”:
    “Then it didn’t matter so much. We were a small nation in a bigger multinational, multicultural social democracy, in part secured by well over 50 social democratic Scottish members of parliament”.
    Just how long has George been away from Scotland? I’ve been here throughout the last 33 years and I don’t remember this ‘golden age’ of social democracy. Even the period 1945-79 was hardly a barrel of laughs but George wasn’t politically active for most of that period so he’s not referring to that. And I certainly don’t remember Scottish Labour’s ‘feeble fifty’, as the nationalists call them, affording us much protection from the horrors of Thatcherism and Majorism. I also recall that they acted as cheerleaders for New Labour. So what period of Scotland’s recent history is Galloway referring to here?
    In his last piece of comedy gold, last, only because I want to return to your post again, Galloway tells us:
    “If we had wanted to live under Thatcherism, we needn’t have told her to stick her poll tax up her a*** and rise up against her”.
    George is right, we didn’t want to be governed by Thatcher or Major. But the fact is it didn’t matter what we in Scotland wanted, because the 18 years of Thatcherism and Majorism were the price we had to pay to stay in the union that George is such a staunch defender of. We didn’t “rise up against” Thatcherism. We were governed by Thatcherism for 18 years, against our wishes up to 1997 and for a further 13 years, after 1997, we were governed by New Labour’s Thatcheriste revisionists. And today, now that we are once again being governed, against our wishes, by David Cameron’s Thatcherite revisionists, George is at it again. And now at last, when we threaten to really rise up against it by supporting Scottish independence, George wants to stop us, in the name of, you’ve guessed it, more Thatcherite revisionism.
    It’s telling that, in all the apocalyptic scenarios that George depicts as possible consequences of independence, one other possibility that he doesn’t consider in his article is that perhaps, just perhaps, we might actually make a success of our independence – ‘success’ in the sense that we could become a progressive social democracy. I suspect that this is what he fears more than anything.
    To return to your post Longshanker, your third paragraph is just plain wrong. Unionism and Englishness are not the same. Unlike Stuart I don’t despise unionists, though I’ll admit I’m not keen on their British nationalism. A British nationalism which,  given both its historic and contemporaneous manifestations is and has been a much more malign influence in the world than the small group of hot-headed and intemperate Scottish nationalists that you and George Galloway are objecting to. This underlying reason (one of many) for the rise in the popularity of Scottish independence needs to be more widely understood, much of it is a response to our experience of the practices of British nationalism. We’re done with it.
    Your fourth paragraph raises more questions than it answers. But at least you’re a little bit more measured than Galloway here who wants Alex Salmond “to slap this kind of nonsense down”. But even before we address the question of how Alex Salmond is supposed to do this, shouldn’t we first acknowledge that both you and George are over-reacting here? There’s no question that there are some over-zealous nationalists on the internet, some of whom do give the impression that they are bigots and anti-English. So what? You will find these minorities in all countries and among the supporters of most, particularly, political causes. But there are also a lot of interesting, thoughtful, engaging and funny supporters of independence on the internet. Why assume that the former, the small, albeit vociferous minority, are representative of ‘nationalism’ while the latter, the majority, are but voices in the wilderness? It’s not my experience I have to say, either on the internet or in ‘real’ life.
    In your fifth paragraph you state that Galloway’s arguments are “disingenuous”. That’s not what you were saying in your second and fourth paragraphs. It’s not clear from what you say what part(s) of Galloway’s arguments you find disingenuous. Maybe you should have started your post with these?
    Your sixth paragraph is fairly innocuous, but this is a proclivity of many human beings. It’s a mischief-making myth, that suits Galloway’s agenda, to suggest that this is distinctively Scottish.
    Your eight paragraph is also quite innocuous as long as we both understand the same thing by your use of the word “wheen”. Then again, there’s a wheen of anti-Americans in Canada, there’s a wheen of anti-Germans in the Netherlands. I could go on but I’m sure you get the point. Sue Lyons isn’t suggesting that Scotland is a land of milk and honey. She does say that “There are racists in Scotland”, adding, “There is, however, a casual racism borne of ignorance and fear rather than hatred”. All she’s saying is that, in her experience, she hasn’t encountered the kind of widespread virulent anti-Englishness that George Galloway bases his anti-nationalist rant on. In other words, as I said earlier, she’s being reasonable.
    Your penultimate paragraph repeats one of the most clichéd arguments against ‘nationalism’:
    “Almost by definition Nationalism needs a common enemy with which to unite its supporters”.
    I don’t think that this is as true of ‘nationalism’ as you suggest, however intuitively correct it may seem. But I’ll stop there, except to add, regarding your final paragraph, you’re entitled to your opinion.

  26. Arbroath1320 says:

    Oh dear, it looks like Labour (London) inc. are not conveying some ideas from their members to dear old Johann Lamont and co.
    I found this tweet over on Guy Fawkes blog.
    I fully support calls for a referendum on the EU. It is time people were offered a chance to put this issue to bed…

    Interesting how we now have LABOUR (Londonites) calling for a referendum on remaining within the E.U. but are prepared to encourage their “Scottish” counterparts to oppose a Scottish referendum on Independence.

  27. Arbroath1320 says:

    Just a note for any one thinking the Scotland Bill that was recently passed in Holyrood is a GOOD idea, check this out.

    Any one wanting to shoot down the “Stronger together weaker apart” garbage from the A.I.B. could do worse than read this.

  28. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    Did you mean those to be the same link?

  29. Arbroath1320 says:

    Sorry Rev, I screwed up, AGAIN! 🙁
    Here’s where the SECOND link should have went to.

    Oops! 😀

  30. Barney Thomson says:

    – Juteman @ 5.20 p.m.

    I can recall Galloway’s days as an employee of Dundee Labour Party as well. To my best recollection he never actually served as a councillor but in one attempt to do so managed to lose one of the safest Labour wards to a candidate called Bufty or something similar. A comment from that time by a prominent member of the party sticks in my mind – “ach, him, naethin but a bumptious wee tosser”.

    I don’t know how much of a role he had in the twinning of Dundee with Nablus but in an executive capacity it would have been nil as he had no democratic right to represent the people of Dundee. Provost Jim Gowans and Ernie Ross MP led the twinning campaign.

    His reference to his (and my) birth place of Lochee as a “slum” hints at a “look at me. Haven’t I done great?” snobbery which is also evident in other comments and behaviours. It also left him with few admirers in his home town.

    Sorry for straying so far from the subject of the article but his claims of English racism among Scots are so risible as to defy comment. I fear that he has again courted controversy by assuming a view that is simple enough for him to understand without ever considering that it is nonsense.   

  31. Appleby says:

    Considering the outright hostility by many English media outlets or journalists and politicians towards Scotland or the Scottish I think it’s absurd to try and slander the entire group of people or UK minority group with the racism claims.
    When things like “MAKE JOCK STRAPPED” and so on can fly in London, along with the constant outrageous stereotypes or barely conceled hate that would land you in court if you replaced “Scot” with “Jew” or “black” I really don’t have no time for such numpties. Resorting to such cheap tactics is akin to the “still beating your wife?” question. It’s to simply smear someone and put them on the defensive without actually debating the issues.
    The reality is that most people are normal and sane and not foaming with hate. In mixed workplaces (English/Scottish) people generally get on fine. I’ve never seen problems stemming from someone’s Scottish or English origin in the workplace. The only exceptions to the modern atmosphere of happy mingling I’ve personally found are SOME elderly south east English (especially in old folks homes and so on in southern England), who will be exceptionally rude and ignorant, frequently making comments about Scotland being some far-flung backwater with barely any roads or technology and the people being there to simply look down upon or tutting and taking exception to any and all Scottish accents, pronounciations, etc. But then these same people come from an era of “NO BLACKS, NO DOGS, NO IRISH” being an acceptable statement in England in that period, black and white minstrels as entertainment and a general atmosphere bigotry and homophobia which was thankfully squeezed out of English society to the fringes and gutters. Thankfully the sunset generation anywhere don’t represent the future, universities or workplace. Get rid of the misty eyed view of the British Empire and the poisonous media’s anti-Scots scapegoating or negative campaigning too and things will be perfect. I blame the media for stirring it up for the most part and turning otherwise peaceful people against each other.

  32. YesYesYes says:

    It has to be said, any objective person comparing the scale, and ferocity, of hostility to England that emanates from Scotland on the blogosphere to the scale and ferocity of the hostility to Scotland that emanates from England on the blogosphere would have to conclude that this is a much bigger problem in England than in Scotland. Whenever Scottish-related topics come up on a wide range of English blogs, it’s clear that some of these people don’t just hate us they really do wish ill upon us. But they, too, are a small minority in England. I suspect that the vast majority of people in England have little interest in Scotland or Scottish politics.
    How many people in England, for example, would recognise Johann Lamont if shown her photograph? Actually, that’s not a good example, as most people in Scotland probably wouldn’t recognise her either, but you get the point. People in England have more than enough issues and problems of their own to occupy them without taking on Scotland’s.
    But if you’re going to base your fears about independence on misrepresenting the significance of a small number of over-zealous nationalists on the blogosphere then, by the same token, you should be far more fearful of Scotland remaining in the union, judging by the depth and scale of hate towards Scotland that comes from the small, unrepresentative minority south of the border. 

  33. Macart says:

    A good article Sue and much appreciated. We are so often misrepresented in the press as fascists and xenophobes based on a myth perpetuated by the hard of thinking and the more manipulative political point scorer. It doesn’t seem to matter how many times you try and point out how wrong they are or that they can produce no evidence of any of the independence parties forming policies based on hatred, they always point to some nutter who can’t spell his own name ranting about ancient wrongs.

    The irony of the situation is that they don’t really have to worry about the independence movement causing division, they’re doing a bang up job themselves and causing a damn site more damage whilst doing it. 

  34. Arbroath1320 says:

    Not strictly on topic but a wee bit of “interesting news” methinks.
    The EBC are reporting that the E.I.S. are backing the Scottish government’s plans to give 16/17 year olds the vote in the referendum.

    Now I don’t want to sound overly optimistic here but I think this move has just tipped the referendum definitely over the edge and into the YES vote winning in 2014. Obviously I have nothing to back my statement up on this other than the fact that I have read/heard previously that when this topic was being discussed the impression i was left with was that the vast majority of 16/17 year olds were in favour of Independence. We are now in the situation where we have the Scottish government wanting the vote to be given to 16/17 year olds and they are now supported in this effort by the E.I.S., the teaching organisation in Scotland which has, apparently, 80% of Scottish teachers and lecturers as its members.
    Oh, while I’m in rabbit mode has every one read the motion and amendment that was debated in yesterday’s Independence debate in Holyrood?
    You can read them here. Warning your sides may be a wee bit sore after reading the amendment!
    Get out of jail no Johann!

  35. Embradon says:

    As G B Cunninghame-Graham famously (though not famously enough) said:
    “The enemies of Scottish Nationalism are not the English for they were ever a great and generous people, quick to rise against injustice. The enemy are those among us born without imagination.”

  36. Arbroath1320 says:

    Embradon, I didn’t know that G B Cunninghame-Graham knew Johann Lamont! 😀

  37. Macart says:

    Ye gods Arb, that amendment is priceless. I’ve still not got over Johann’s rewriting of history for her speech yet or the mad irony of Scotland’s Labour leader giving her historic support and backing of a treaty designed and signed by nobles and vested business interests against the popular wish of the people.

    Who knew? 🙂 

  38. Juteman says:

    Most ordinary Labour folk must be cringing at Johanns version of history

  39. YesYesYes says:

    I see that the Labour Hame domain has expired. Have they all gone to Tory Hoose in preparation for the official launch of the Labour-Tory coalition’s No campaign?

  40. Don McC says:

    I saw that about LabourHame too.  Now that one or two of the mods have moved on to become labour councillors, perhaps they don’t need the site to self promote anymore (wasn’t that the whole point of it in the first place?).

    Then again, perhaps the news that university applications from people resident in England has dropped 10% (and that drop is being attributed to the introduction of higher fees ), proving yet again that oor Johann talks complete nonsense just to try to score cheap political points, has led to Scottish labour trying to cut down on criticism of their leader by cutting down on the places where you can criticise her (coz her performance isn’t exactly improving, now, is it?)

  41. YesYesYes says:

    “(wasn’t that the whole point of it in the first place)?”.
    You’re a better man than I DonMcC, for I could never work out what the point of Labour Hame was. It seemed to vacillate between an ‘agenda’ of nationalist-baiting and providing a platform for stroppy teenagers with too much time on their hands – it’s disturbing just how conservative so many of our young people are nowadays.
    Of course, there is another possibility, but I hesitate to mention it. Could be we’re in line for yet another of those dreaded New Labour ‘re-launches’.  My money’s still on Tory Hoose, though. Just hope they wiped their feet on the welcome mat before they went in. 

  42. Juteman says:

    On the way to work this morning, i listened to Radio Scotland. As an old punk, it was quite interesting. Especially ‘God save the Queen’.
    Richard Jobson (The Skids) and Eugene(The Rezillos) were talking about ‘punk’.
     Seemingly young folk nowadays have zoned out, and don’t have that rebellious spirit.
    They discussed how thigs were very similar. Mass youth unemployment, etc, but young folk weren’t getting involved these days.

    Maybe the  policy of encouraging young folk to consume lovey dovey ‘E’s worked?

  43. YesYesYes says:


    Didn’t hear the programme but I do remember both bands.
    Mind you, this can cut both ways – I mean, who’d have thought, back in those days, that one day, Johnny Rotten would be reduced to advertising butter!
    We’re in a peculiar situation just now, where the desire to be ‘different’ on the most vacuous levels only seems to have succeeded in creating a dull conformity. It reminds me of an old cartoon in the New Yorker magazine from the 1970s. This was a time when artists everywhere were drawing and painting nudes, and models were taking their clothes off quicker than you could say, Johann Lamont. The cartoon shows an irate artist remonstrating with a model who’s clearly refusing to take her clothes off, and the artist says to her: “Why can’t you be a non-conformist like everybody else”. 

  44. douglas clark says:

    YesYesYes and Don McC,
    I was quite surprised that Labour Hame generally allowed my comments.
    But it became completely overwhelmed with nationalist sentiments in the comments. You, frankly, couldn’t get a decent discussion going. For there was hardly anyone willing to defend Labour. A tough gig, I’ll admit.
    I expect that it’s tombstone will have the word ‘separation’ written on it, for that was it’s sole contribution, or if you prefer lasting impact, on the independence debate. It was some wonky student writing on there that brought us that word. And it has been adopted by every unionist politician in the land. It may however be the petard they are all hoisted upon.
    The lessons they have learned will, no doubt, give rise to a Phoenix, which will have as strict a moderation policy as the BBC.
    Shame really, I quite liked writing ‘free Duncan Hothersall’ who seemed to disappear from that forum towards it’s end.

    One last point – it does show how inept Harris is at new media.

  45. Don McC says:


    ” it became completely overwhelmed with nationalist sentiments in the comments”

    I think this was a bit of a backlash to the sites initial harsh moderation policy.  Towards the end, the mods seem to lose interest and I think people kept pushing the boundaries to see what could be gotten away with.

    As to Duncan, yeah I’d like to see him make a regular appearance in another blog.

  46. Arbroath1320 says:

    Ah, the demise of Labour Hame. Wait just a minute while I wipe a tear from my eye! 😀
    Perhaps this is a precursor to the joining of websites in a similar as the joining of the parties has been achieved. Any day now we will be able to read from Tory Hame or Labour Home. 😀
    Apparently the Lib/Dems wanted to get involved in the “new” website too but no one could be found who would sit on the fence for long enough! 😀

    P.S. Could this be the REAL reason for the demise of Labour Hame.

  47. Longshanker says:


    Are you desperately trying to be so offensive and stupid that you get banned, so you can count it as some sort of victory?

    I’m obviously too stupid and idiotic to understand what YOU mean by offensive. I’d call what I said fair comment. 

    I’ll back it up if you want me to, but the post might be REMOVED. I don’t know – I’ve had to reappraise my definition of ‘arbitrary’ to mean, well, arbitrary.

    Because, y’know, fuck off with this idiot pish.

    Nice succinct civic reply – well articulated. Not offensive in the least. Well done.


    I find both arguments disingenuous. Like Sue I find Galloway entertaining and, due to his independence, more likely than most politicians to actually say something which borders on being truthful. But I genuinely think Sue is misrepresenting Galloway’s argument to ignore the point he was making – that anti-Englishness could still be used by the less savoury elements of the SNP to either drum up populist support or explain away bad results.

    You say you find the site civic yet look at some of the comments aimed at me  on this very comment thread. DalRiata calls for me to be banned as a ‘poisonous troll’?????  Stuart requests that I “fuck off with this idiot pish”. Is that civic?

    Destroy my argument if you like, but calling it “idiot pish” or troll poison. Well, it speaks volumes. Cuts to the essence of the people making the assertions if you ask me.

    My stance at the moment regarding the independence debaters, not necessarily the debate per se, is that of a Scottish ‘diddy’ team supporter when the Old Firm visit.

    When Rangers come to my team’s home ground we’re all Tim’s, Fenian B’s etc.

    When Celtic visit, we’re all Huns, Orange B’s etc.

    Both sides of the Old Firm think they’re superior to the other. From where I’m standing they’re both the same with little to distinguish them.

    If that makes my arguments ‘troll poison’ or “idiot pish” then you should look to the people making the assertion first. It almost makes and destroys the case for Galloway and Sue alike.               


    NB: I appreciate YesYesYes that you are indeed a civic nationalist. One of my favourite people in the world (unfortunately dead now) was also a civic nationalist.


  48. douglas clark says:

    You were challenged on this:
    “The constant harping on about Unionists in this illuminating site could easily be exchanged with the word ’English’ and it wouldn’t change the flavour or intention one bit. “

    It would change the flavour and intention a great deal. If this site did that then the intent would be a million miles away from the obvious agenda of promulgating civic nationalism. It is a deliberate misreading by you of everything that is said here by the authors of the posts. The irritating thing about you is that you know fine what you are doing it and you think it is in some way clever. You look to achieve an extreme reaction and revel in it when you get it. It is the very definition of flaming.


  49. Dál Riata says:


    Yep, and I’ll say it again, right at you this time: 

    You are offensive – deliberately so. You bring nothing to the debate except rancor and animosity. I have asked Rev Stu to please do his site, a good site, and its contributors a favour by banning you. As I mentioned above, you’re poisonous.

  50. Kenny Campbell says:

    Why choose the moniker Longshanker unless its being provocative.

  51. Morag says:

    When I inadvertently called him “Longshanks” some months ago – in all innocence, as I’d misread his username – he jumped down my throat.

  52. Appleby says:

    He’ll jump on anything as an excuse to show off his pettit lip and make his usual huffy noises and of course milk it for all he can. Such is the life of a troll. It’s the same all the time. Even his “good behaviour act” is absurd and so flimsy.

    With luck he’ll find something better or more productive than being rude or annoying to strangers online to occupy his time and use up his allotted precious few years.

  53. Mark says:

    Seemingly young folk nowadays have zoned out, and don’t have that rebellious spirit.

    I love punk, but this is just two old guys saying things were better in their day.

    They discussed how thigs were very similar. Mass youth unemployment, etc, but young folk weren’t getting involved these days.

    Do they not watch the news ever? These days young people are part of Occupy, or UK Uncut, or Anonymous. Abroad, there was the Arab Spring ffs. Toppling a dictator isn’t quite as rebellious as writing a three minute pop song though, I guess.

    Maybe the  policy of encouraging young folk to consume lovey dovey ‘E’s worked?

    I must have missed that policy of encouragement. Was it when the government made Ecstasy a class A drug despite all medical advice? Or when the police arrested folk for ‘possession with intent to supply’? Or do you mean the hysterical poster campaign launched by the alcohol industry which used Leah Betts’ death to push the message that their product was ‘safer’?

    I remember Criminal Justice Bill marches in the 90s where folk were still high on E from the night before. E was a huge part of counterculture at that time.

  54. YesYesYes says:

    You’re right, IMHO, to draw attention to Occupy, the Arab Spring and so on. But since I started this, with an earlier comment, I think I should chip in here. What I meant when I said in my initial comment (June 1st, 7.01 pm) that, “it’s disturbing just how conservative so many of our young people are nowadays” was, of course, to draw attention to the conservatism of the Scottish Labour party as is evident on Labour Hame (which seems to be back now incidentally but, so far, no obvious ‘re-launch’) as well as elsewhere.
    In a way this shouldn’t surprise us, for, although it’s true that in its history, Labour has had socialists in it, it would be wrong to characterise Labour as a ‘socialist’ party. Even in its origins, with reference to the old ILP, we need to remember that Keir Hardie and Ramsay MacDonald only turned to the politics of Labour after they were rejected as candidates for the Liberals. We also need to remember the reason why the name Independent Labour Party was preferred over the suggested alternative at the time, Socialist Labour Party, the latter was deemed too controversial.
    In other words, and to cut a potentially long story short, New Labour wasn’t so much an aberration from ‘old’ or any other ‘ideal’ Labour party, rather, given the Christian reformist beliefs of Blair and Brown, for example, it was a kind of return to, or continuation of, important elements in the origins of the Labour party. The best way to see many of these people is that they are conservatives (with a small ‘c’) who pride themselves on not being Tories, people for whom not being Tory is a political badge of honour. And as we know, being conservative but not being Tory, can get you a long way in Scottish politics, or sometimes not, just ask Murdo Fraser!
    It was maybe my follow-up post (June 1st, 7.51pm) that did the most damage, though, as far as prolonging this implicit criticism of young people today is concerned: “We’re in a peculiar situation now, where the desire to be ‘different’ on the most vacuous levels only seems to have succeeded in creating a dull conformity”. In fact, I wasn’t referring exclusively to young people in this second post which is why I used the first person plural. I’ll spare you my further thoughts on this except to provide a brief justification for the point.
    Of all the things I meant here, what I was primarily thinking of was the cumulative effects of market fundamentalism on us. This is what is so different about our society compared to its predecessors after the 1930s, including even the 1980s and 1990s. In some ways, we’ve regressed back to the period before the 1930s, in terms of our reification of markets. The desire to be ‘different’ manifests itself in so much of our culture and language that, often, we’re not even aware of it. The “vacuous” levels that have produced this “dull conformity” that I was thinking of are too numerous to mention.
    But the point I was making was to link these cumulative effects of market fundamentalism with these “vacuous” desires to be different. In other words, today, the desire to be ‘different’ on the part of many people is not so much an expression of dissent, as it was in previous decades, but is an expression of their conformity to the cumulative effects of market fundamentalism. It has produced what Chomsky called a “manufactured consent”, that finds expression in trivia, consumerism and the blunting of dissent.
    Young people are no more homogeneous than any other age group. But one final point, about all age groups, I’d like to chip in with, is this. It’s not difficult to find examples of resistance and dissent in our society. One thing we do need to resist is this conventional wisdom that the decline in voter turnout is an expression of ‘apathy’. More often than not, it is no such thing. Many people who don’t vote have made this decision as an expression of their politics not as an expression of ‘political apathy’.
    In fact, many people who don’t vote are much more politically active than many people who do vote. After all, for most voters, voting and political participation, in this narrow sense, only requires a mark of some description to be put in a box at irregular intervals and maybe keeping up with the ‘political’ news and current affairs in the press. But many people who don’t vote are engaged in a wide range of political activities, activities which can change people’s lives and outlook, everything from direct action, protests, self-help, co-operatives, community engagement and so on. Looked at from this perspective, we might say that the truly politically ‘apathetic’ in our societies are people who vote, for they are the ones who are perpetuating the present order and are most resistant to change!

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