The real racism in the independence campaign

The Guardian / Observer has proven to be the big disappointment of the independence campaign.  If you do manage to construct a coherent shelving unit out of the Guardian’s one dimensional flat packed reports, you’ll get a shoddy and poorly manufactured piece of crap that won’t take the weight of a lying leaflet from Better Together.

You’d expect that sort of thing from the Mail or the Telegraph, but when the referendum campaign kicked off I did, naively perhaps, harbour fond hopes that the liberal traditions of the Guardian might just allow the Scottish indy case a fair shake of the stick.  But no such joy, the Guardian out-Mails the Mail in its eagerness to depict independence supporters as atavistic English haters.  The UK media is united in singing from the same “ooo aren’t they racist” songsheet.

The Observer was at it again this Sunday.  A report on Alistair Carmichael’s latest fact-free whinge contained a number of accusations that the independence campaign has been disfigured by racism and intolerance.  Of course it’s only Yes campaigners who do that sort of thing, what British nationalism being the only non-nationalist nationalism ever.

I can’t be bothered dissecting the contents of Alistair’s interview.  He’s a waste of space and if he didn’t exist no one would feel the need to invent him.  Ali wants us to take him seriously, and gets upset when we don’t.  You don’t get respect for talking out your arse, Alistair, you get mockery.  The rest of us learned that lesson in nursery school.

However he raised a couple of points that should not go unchallenged.  Alistair said that it was wrong to claim that the people of Scotland and the people of England have different values.  And this would be true.  The people of Scotland and the people of England do, by and large, have shared values.  We share those values with the rest of Europe, and just about everywhere where most people aren’t fundamentalist god-botherers of one sort or another.  The problem however is that this is not about sharing or not sharing values with ordinary English people, it’s about Scotland not sharing values with Westminster.  It is convenient for Alistair and Better Together to confuse the difference.

Alistair was very annoyed that he’d been called a Quisling.  He was called that because he diminishes Scotland’s prospects and potential, he either knowingly lies or he repeats untruths he does not challenge, and he colludes in the stereotypes and racism which form the prism through which the Westminster elites view the Scottish independence campaign.  But this is not the same as rounding up Jewish people at the behest of Nazi occupiers and sending them off to death camps, which is what yer actual Vidkun Quisling did.  People were afraid of Quisling, with very good reason.  Alistair is not a Quisling, he’s an Uncle Tam – a figure of fun and ridicule, not fear.

However it allowed the reporter to indulge in another bout of mud slinging.  Ooo aren’t the Scots terribly racist.  We need Westminster to keep our atavistic impulses in check for us.

When the Guardian does deign to cover Scotland with something approaching intelligence, it discusses the effect independence might have on England – or to be more exact, on the English political elite.  Because in Guardianland Scottish independence isn’t really about Scotland at all.

How foolish of those Scots to complain that Scotland has a different political culture to the rest of the UK.  Scotland is exactly the same as England, only with scenery.  Scotland is nothing more than a region of the UK with a burning hatred of all things English due to ancient historical grievances.   That is, to the Metropolitan commetariat, what defines us.  If Scotland is defined as nothing more than a region of the UK where people hate the English, then any Scottish independence campaign must be a racist campaign.

But the reports in the UK media of the racism that supposedly disfigures the Scottish independence campaign are themselves racist.  They play to racist stereotypes of semi-civilised Scots who need Westminster to civilise us.   They do this in the hope that voters will be discouraged from engaging with the independence debate, so that the power of the Westminster elite will remain unchallenged.

The real racism in this campaign lies with the Guardian, the Daily Mail, and the Uncle Tams.  Racism, like homophobia or sexism, is fundamentally about power.  Who has power, who exercises power, and who is to be subject to that power.  The British establishment have the power, and they use it to keep Scotland shut firmly in a constitutional box where the democratic wishes of the people of Scotland can be contained and ignored, and Scotland’s resources and potential can be harnessed to the demands of the Westminster elite.  In order to maintain their privilege, Scotland must be trivialised and diminished.  Calling supporters of independence racist and anti-English is a means to that end.


15 comments on “The real racism in the independence campaign

  1. yerkitbreeks says:

    Reading this, I’m still amazed how identical things are 50 years on since The Claim of Scotland – which I guess you saw serialised recently.

  2. […] The real racism in the independence campaign. […]

  3. Eilean says:

    Sometimes it seems that the forces stacked against independence support are overwhelming. Better Together, BBC, MSM, Westminster the whole rotten cabal. It can feel relentless at times.

    They are being “fun oot” though little by little their lies and half truths are being exposed and people are getting the message.

    Thankfully Scots are renowned for their fighting spirit and humour during adversity. We will need it in the months ahead.

  4. You should have your essays grouped and published, cheaply I hasten to add, and made into a wee book.

    Just the thing to crown souce and then have the Yes army distribute with their newspaper?

    • weegingerdug says:

      I don’t have the time to organise anything like that. And I don’t want to do anything that involves fund raising or asking for donations as I receive carers allowance for looking after my partner and don’t want any problems with certain parties making complaints about my income. (You know who I mean, and you know they are that low.) But if you, or anyone else, wants to publish anything from this blog in paper form and distribute it for free – you have my blessing.

  5. […] of course the observer is a partisan for English. For only in Ireland (or Scotland and Wales) could a colonised people attempting to undue centuries of linguistic and cultural damage to their […]

  6. Macart says:

    “The problem however is that this is not about sharing or not sharing values with ordinary English people, it’s about Scotland not sharing values with Westminster. It is convenient for Alistair and Better Together to confuse the difference.”

    Hammer, nail and head Paul.

    Couldn’t agree more. Projection can be an ugly thing, but BT and Westminster have become past masters. Their use of the usual suspects in the media has been nothing short of appalling and the willingness to comply by titles such as the Guardian has been a real eye opener over the past eighteen months.

    When this campaign started I had one subscription and bought two other titles on a regular basis. Today, I buy nothing. I get my window on the world from a variety of news sites from Citizen journalism to more international sources. If I’m looking for commentary or dissection then your good self and Wings is a first port of call, followed by our old chum NNS.

    I’m pretty much done with UK news media after their approach to this debate

  7. Abulhaq says:

    Sadly I have met many English people whose perception of Scotland goes barely beyond crude racial stereotype. There is a condescending note in the conversation when our culture is the theme. Compared to England and its anglophone offspring we are considered a sparse territory indeed. I do not blame them for this. We have as a people been insufficiently pro-active in defence of our authentic patrimony. We have lazily succumbed to the shortbread tin, Edinburgh Tattoo, whisky fuelled imagery further embellished with the lurid face-paint of Braveheartary and the needs of the tourist industry; an ersatz cultural landscape in which many, even some fiery Nats, feel comfortably at home. Against this tawdry background we are attempting to repair our broken sense of identity, worth, amour-propre. The Union is fighting its corner with all the tricks learned from previous encounters with “colonials” with independence hump. The ethnic put down is standard, the oxbridge haut-nez inevitable. In such company, why expect fairness, even from the self-styled liberal journals? The liberal intelligentsia succumbed in Nazi Germany and Stalinist Russia, in Unionist UK it serves the Britannic cult. Put simply, this is our struggle. Let Perfidious Albion do what might.

  8. I would like to second what Macart says above, and add that I think this unionist tactic of trying to link support for independence with anti-English racism is potentially harmful to the relationship between Scots and English. When I read of such smears in the media, which are largely controlled by the British/English Establishment, I feel a twinge of anger. No doubt others feel the same, and such anger could end up being expressed as resentment towards the English.

    Also, what about all those English people who read the anti-independence propaganda in their newspapers and, not being exposed to the other side of the story, accept it at face value, whether it is about independence supporters hating the English or Scotland being subsidised by England? With xenophobia being apparently encouraged by the media there is a risk that anti-Scottish racism in England could become a serious problem. Unless there is a Yes vote, the consequences of Labour and the Tories competing with UKIP for the votes of Daily Mail readers in England, who will have been encouraged to support Scotland-bashing by Westminster, could be very unpleasant.

    • Macart says:

      “unionist tactic of trying to link support for independence with anti-English racism is potentially harmful to the relationship between Scots and English.”

      What they have done is irresponsible beyond measure and the effects will last a long time regardless of result. Its going to take patience and a lot of tolerance to undo the damage this strategy is causing Les.

  9. The NO campaign has been poor but relentless. With NO having the backing of pretty much every mainstream media outlet, including the ever-impartial BBC (Scottish and English (or as the English version of the BBC is called “the BBC”)), it’s been hard to get the YES message across.

    It’s up to us to keep sight of the truth in a sea of lies and misdirection coming from NO. All I can say is thank god for sites like this. If it wasn’t for New Media the fight might have been over before it had begun.

  10. Magnus Ramage says:

    I think part of the problem with the Grauniad is not so much English bias as London bias. As a Scot living in the England Midlands, I often listen to the Guardian’s politics podcast. It’s good but almost entirely London-centric – by which I mostly mean Westminster-centric, but the paper as a whole does sometimes talk as though the only place where anyone lives is London (Radio 4 isn’t much better on this front, at times). For those of us who don’t live in London, it’s acutely annoying.

    I really think they would much prefer it if the whole referendum would just go away. I’ve heard more than one item on the Euro-elections and the risk of good results (in England) for the dreadful UKIP, with a jump straight to its impact on the 2015 general election, as if there simply was no other major vote happening in the UK in 2014. I sometimes think pro or anti doesn’t come into it – they just don’t register.

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