How do you respond to blithering idiocy without descending into idiocy yourself? It’s a difficult question, and one which is regularly posed to independence supporters. Anger at the shit-stirring proclivities of mainstream journalists itself becomes murphed into the ‘abuse’ of poor Unionist commentators who have a god-given right to spew lying bile in a crude and transparent attempt to mislead and misdirect, and it becomes a tale of evil bullying nationalists and not a tale of a journalist who traduces his profession.
Tom Brown is described by the Record as a “legendary political commentator”. Judging by his latest jaw-dropping piece, that would be legendary in the sense of mythical monsters. Tom’s article was replete with myths and monsters, disguised as a serious intervention in the referendum debate. It was a string of insults disguised as facts. Baseless fears disguised as evidence. It was infantile crap even by the standards of a publication which specialises in infantilism.
There are four people in this world I love more than anyone else. My partner, my daughters, and my mother. Of the four only my mother is Scottish – and she’s largely Irish by descent. The others are English, London born, London bred, London raised. My daughters were born to English mothers in England. My daughters have two mothers and two fathers. I’m the only Scot. They’ve lived in London all their lives. They still live there, the Sarf London Innit joy of my existence. They are my children, the flesh of my flesh, the light of my soul. My love for them is unconditional. Tom wants us to believe that love is determined by passports. And this is the man who thinks independence supporters are narrow minded and short sighted.
Tom wants my daughters and me to believe that if Scotland becomes independent my English loved ones and I will become foreigners to one another, that my parents will be blocked by barriers of nationality from the love of their granddaughters. We will be estranged, our relationship tense and fractured. Unconditional love replaced by a stamp in a booklet at a border crossing that only exists in his mind, in the fevered frantic spin in defence of an indefensible political system.
How fucking dare you Tom Brown. You will not tell me or anyone else what our feelings will be towards our English relatives. Do you seriously believe that my children will become alien to me? That I will no longer love them just the same? That’s some nerve you’ve got there. Your fears Tom, are you own, do not project them onto me. Do not project them onto my daughters. Do not project them onto my parents. If you genuinely fear that you will no longer love your own grandchildren just the same after Scottish independence, then you are in desperate and urgent need of family therapy and counselling. Because Tom, you are the one with the problem and it is a specific problem peculiar to you, not to a nation.
By a strange coincidence, just this morning I got a letter from my elder daughter. She’s a talented photographer and I’d nagged her for a while about sending me some copies of her photos so I can get them framed, and displayed proudly on the wall. We don’t get to see one another as often as we used to since my partner’s health declined. They can’t stay here as my partner is too frail to cope with visitors coming to stay for a few days – and the truth is I want to protect my children from witnessing the decline of a man they have always looked to as their other Daddy. That’s a real barrier to our relationship, a real obstacle in the way. But it changes nothing about our feelings for one another. Love conquers all. Tom Brown doesn’t know what love is if he doesn’t know that.
Just a few days ago, my elder daughter and I had been chatting on the phone about the scaremongering in the referendum campaign and how Scots were being told that we’d be estranged and alienated from our loved ones in England. She laughed. She thought it funny. She thought it funnier when I remarked that she was already alien to me because she’s a girl in her late teens, and the workings of the teenage female mind are profoundly alien to crabbit auld gits like me. So she finally sent me the photos of her and her sister I’d been reminding her to send for months, and at the bottom was a PS. “You’ll never be foreign to us. xx”
I’m even more crabbit after reading Tom Brown’s offensive tirade. Tom tells us that it’s insulting to his grandchildren in England that they will have to apply for Scottish citizenship. The only insults here are the insults Tom throws at those of us who are far more mature and adult than he is – people like my teenage English daughter and her 11 year old sister.
Grow up Tom. When an 11 year old has more maturity than you, you’ve lost the argument, you’ve lost moral authority, you have lost any respect you once claimed to have as a “legendary political commentator”.