A passport to patronisation

Like a fish that doesn’t notice the water, for generations Scots either didn’t notice or silently tolerated the continual slights, disdain and patronising contempt in which Scottish distinctiveness was held by the Unionist establishment and its apologists. But we do notice now, and we voice our disapproval, and this is dismissed as grievance hunting by a Unionist establishment and its apologists who see no reason to change. Grievance hunting means that for many lifetimes they’ve acted like dickheads and their dickheadedness was tolerated, but now all of a sudden they’re being called out on it. So in their eyes it’s not their fault for being dickheads, it’s our fault for pointing it out – that’s grievance hunting. Their being dickheads is a part of the natural order of things.

Ill will hunting is like shooting fish in a barrel. The truth is we don’t need to go hunting for grievances, grievance surrounds us like the water fish swim in. Grievance is the water as long as Scotland remains a part of the British state, because the British state was founded in contempt for the lower orders, whether they be Scottish, Welsh, Irish, or English. The difference in 2015 is that Scotland has found a means of articulating its dissatisfaction and in doing something about it that’s far more productive and positive than the inchoate rage of a riotous rampage in London.

This week we got a new grievance to hunt. Or more accurately, a new grievance was dumped in our lap by dickheads who’ve been dickheads for so long that they’ve lost the ability to realise that they’re being dickheads. A new UK passport design was unveiled this week, the new design’s biggest – indeed only – success was the skill with which it managed to piss off several different sections of society. It was that rarest of beasts, a celebration of creativity which was entirely lacking in imagination. It looked like the end product of a meeting of BBC executives to discuss ideas for programmes with Great British in the title. Take a random assortment of Great British icons that you’ve found by typing “Great British icon” into Google image search, apply a few photoshop filters, then spew them across the pages of a passport. It looked like the beginning of a creative process, not the end result of one.

Dubbed the Creative Britain passport, the design pissed off creative types for its lack of creativity. It pissed off feminists for its insistance that men are way more creative than women are. There are only two women deemed important enough to figure in the passport, and one of them is someone no one has heard of. With one token exception, everyone is featured is white. And the Great British creative passport pissed off Scottish people for its failure to recognise any Scottish creativity at all. On the other hand, if you’re a white, middle class, English male, then this is definitely the passport that recognises you. But then apparently the creativeness of white, middle class, English males can represent everyone – the creativeness of women or Scots can only represent women or Scots.

There are only two women featured in the passport, and no Scottish, Welsh, or Irish people at all. Scotland does get a mention of sorts in the shape of a representation of Edinburgh Castle and a couple of bagpipers alongside an Asian dancer. We’re nothing more than a part of the exotic multicultural seasoning on the British blandness. The role of Scotland in this great Union is to disguise English nationalism as British nationalism and so magically transform it into non-nationalism. This is what makes being British better than being foreign, because being British magically innoculates you from nationalism – a disease found solely amongst the lower orders like colonials and Celts.

It’s not like there’s any shortage of Scottish creativity. Arguably Scots created the modern civic nationalism that this passport purports to celebrate. The Declaration of Arbroath was a decidedly mediaeval document in many ways, but what is most certainly wasn’t was a declaration of ethnic nationalism, and even from those very eary beginnings the Scottish sense of identity recognised that you could be a Gaelic, a Welsh, a Norse, or an English speaker and still be Scottish. But the very last thing a British passport might want to recognise is that there’s such a thing as a distinctive Scottish civic national identity that’s far older and deeper rooted than Britishness.

There are plenty of other examples of Scottish creativity which shouldn’t upset a British nationalist passport designer. The list of inventions and innovations in art, culture and science given to the world by Scots is long and distinguished : Television, the telephone, penicillin, tubular steel, tarmacadam, wire rope, teleprinters, the pneumatic tyre wheel. Encyclopaedia Britannica, logarithms, steam engine, central banks, the hot blast oven, steam hammers, adhesive postage stamps. The portrait gallery, light bulbs, the oil refinery, geology, anaesthesia, kaleidoscopes, and a cloned sheep called Dolly. Economics, radiotherapy, flush toilets, refrigerators, hypodermics, insulin, screw propellors, and wave power generators. There’s so much more but it doesn’t do to bore except to add that the master of doggerel is Scotland’s own William Topaz McGonagall.

Instead of choosing absolutely anything from the embarrassingly long list of Scottish cultural and scientific achievements, the people who designed the new UK passport were so bereft of knowledge about Scotland that all they could think of to represent us was a tourist postcard image of pipers outside Edinburgh Castle. That right there is exactly what the British establishment thinks of when it thinks of Scotland. A wee piper outside the castle with his cap on the pavement at his feet to collect the pennies from the passing tourists up from the South for the Festival.

What makes the new passport design typically British is that it’s condescending and patronising. Those are Great British values we can do without. It’s grievance hunting to point any of this out of course, because middle class white southern English members of the British establishment – and those who’ve swallowed their values and outlook wholesale – have been treating Scotland with the same hauf airsed ignorance for centuries. The Scottish fish has noticed the water, and it smells bad. We’re fed up swimming in Great British sewage, and we won’t accept their passport to patronisation.


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54 comments on “A passport to patronisation

  1. Bugger (the Panda) says:

    It hardly seems enough to congratulate you on maintaining an inpeccable standard in your prose.

    Re the “UK” Passport having no iconic Scots images. Maybe that is the tacit understanding that we will have our own Passport and they will retain the empty title of “United Kingdom?”

    I am quite happy for that to be so. In fact my dearest wish.

    • jimnarlene says:

      Mine too!

      • Chris Foster says:

        Definitely mine as well. In the meantime, though, my passport is due for renewal in a couple of months. Arrgh.
        The thought of being in possession of this new-style passport makes my flesh creep and my blood boil.

  2. jimnarlene says:

    It’s got a wee bit o the Falkirk wheel. It’s still dickheadish.

    • Alan says:

      A wee bit of the Falkirk Wheel, so wee you might miss it, and it’s overshadowed and enclosed by a much bigger wheel, the London Eye. The symbolism isn’t subtle.

      • Guga says:

        The Falkirk Wheel is a work of magnificent engineering. The London Ferris Wheel is just that, a Ferris Wheel. The symbolism is that excellence in engineering is insignificant, if its connected to Scotland, but a fairground Ferris Wheel is all important when it is in London.

  3. […] Source: A passport to patronisation […]

  4. BampotsUtd.wordpress.com says:

    Reblogged this on Bampots Utd.

  5. […] A passport to patronisation […]

  6. Paul says:

    I would hope that we are gone by the time they have to renew that passport. It was bad that there were only two women, but to ignore the “others” in the so called UK was bizarre?? Shakespeare on every page! I’ve been a reader of this blog for a while. No offence meant if offended anyone.

  7. kat hamilton says:

    had to renew passport around a month ago. felt complete frustration at having to accept this uk version of what they view me as, a british subject. i can only use a saltire cover and snp leaflet to cover over the offending bits. even when at airport i hope the officials note my disapproval of this offending item. thank you naysayers, my heart sinks every time i need to use this.

  8. mogabee says:

    Being patronising is a skill ingrained in many from birth. “Scottish culture”?..get away!

    As for the passport, only got a couple of years left to renewal, seriously considering not travelling abroad as whatever the west leaders have done, it’s certainly not made life safer.

  9. Guga says:

    The new English passport design is a disgrace. It serves to illustrate the contempt that Scotland is held in by the English. Bill Shakespeare (the well known plagiarist) is on every page but no mention of any of the great Scottish intellects or inventors. Even the Indian colonials get greater exposure than the Scottish colonials, with the latter seeming to be an afterthought.

    I think that until such time as I can get a Scottish passport, i.e. when we regain our independence, I might apply for an Irish passport. The Irish government might be sympathetic to our plight as they well know the contempt the English have for the people of their colonies. They are likely to also realize that this new English passport appears to be a deliberate attempt by the English to humiliate the Scots, the Welsh and the Northern Irish.

    If anyone does actually get one of these colonial passports, might I suggest that they have a rubber stamp made and use it to stamp SAOR ALBA, and a Scottish flag on every page of this offensive document.

  10. wee folding bike says:

    You missed out the bicycle. That was one of ours too.

  11. douglasclark says:


    Do you seriously think I could apply for an Irish passport? Because, if it is not just polemic, I probably will.

  12. It was ever the way, living as we do in Greater Serbia.
    Indeed, I can definitely apply for an Irish passport and probably will do.

  13. Steve Asaneilean says:

    But it’s aye been. As far as Westminster is concerned Scotland ceased to exist in 1707 and merely became a northern outpost of greater England.

    They have always seen England and Britain as synonymous and will be genuinely perplexed that we don’t see their icons as our icons.

    It’s got colonialism and tokenism written all over it.

    Look at the output of the BBC – not just BBC1 but 2,3,and 4. A clearer display of pandering to white middle class south county people would be hard to imagine.

    I mean who are all these people who have priceless antiques in their living rooms or who want to down size to a £600,000 house or who wonder how a soprano opera singer finds her “chest voice?

    Multicultural UK in reality on really recognises one tiny narrow band of culture as truly legitimate. But it sure as he’ll isn’t anything I recognise.

  14. douglasclark says:

    I had to check who the two women were. One is Ada Lovelace, t’other is Elisabeth Scott.

    Even I know who Ada Lovelace is, though I am somewhat amazed that anyone in government did. The mother of computing get’s a mention! All to the good. I have even read stories about her.

    Elisabeth Scott fell off my radar. She (thanks google) designed what Prince Charles would probably describe as a carbuncle on the banks of the Avon. I have been there, and the internal space is magnificent, the outside is not. So 5 out of 10.

    Off the top of my head I can think of lots of women more eligible for prominence, but, instead I checked out the UK women that have won the Nobel Prize.

    It is interesting.

    Dorothy Hodgkin – Chemistry

    Betty Williams and Mairaid Corrigan – Peace

    Dorris Lessing – Literature

    I’d have thought that the government, wanting to be credible, should have named all of them. Especially the Peace prize winners perhaps, but this is not an option. If I recall correctly, they were somewhat against the policies Westminster adopted for Northern Ireland. Hush Ladies, eat your cereal.

    Says it all, really.

    • Guga says:

      What about Mary Slessor? She, unfortunately, seems to be forgotten, even in Scotland; though she is far more worthy of being on every page in a passport than that plagiarist Shakespeare.

      • I was taught about Mary Slessor in a school lesson in 1974. I know of the good work shed did in Dundee and further afield.
        It helped that I grew up in a distric of EK that had all the streets named for Scottish innovators, pioneers and humanitarians. And David Livingstone. 😉

  15. douglasclark says:

    On another note Paul,I tried to buy your books,

    I thought we had fixed the issues I had with the system, but the books haven’t been delivered and in fairness the costs haven’t been deducted.

    What do thee or me have to do in order that this transaction can conclude?

    Best wishes.

  16. daibhidhdeux says:

    I have a few years left on the abomination I have had inflicted on me left.

    Hopefully, I’ll in possession of a Scottish one by then.

    However, it’ll be an Irish one for me if this doesn’t happen for hell will freeze over before I tote about this offensive piece of excrement.

  17. Daisy Walker says:

    I loved your comment, ‘disguise English nationalism as British nationalism and so magically transform it into non-nationalism. ‘

    During the ref, I had a conversation with a really nice Eglishman, first he wanted to know why England wasn’t getting to vote! And then he went on to say,’I’ve never thought of myself as English, I’ve always felt British’. What a sophisticated way of hiding or diluting the more unfair aspects of a countries actions.

    Thanks, again as always. Once the liar Carmichael trial is over I will donate again. The Orkney 4 have first dibs this month.

    • douglasclark says:

      Daisy Walker,

      Thanks, again as always. Once the liar Carmichael trial is over I will donate again. The Orkney 4 have first dibs this month.

      Clarify,please? I also have paid money to the liar Carmichael fund. He should not be allowed to get away with that.

      I will recile my standing orders so that “The Winger Dug” earns money just because.I’d rather he had my money than my enemies. I should like him to be outright about how we could contribute. For this is journalism,mostly. And I’d prefer to pay my dib’s here than elsewhere.

      • Daisy Walker says:

        Dear Douglas,

        I’m not sure I have to clarify or justify in what way I donate my money. And I’m really not sure why you think you need an explanation.

        However, just so you know. I have in the past donated to WGD, and I will do so again in the near future.

        Since I’ve only got a certain amount of money I can donate, the Orkney 4 will be receiving it at this time, given that now is when they need it most.

        I wanted to let WGD know that I was not taking his work for granted.

  18. Liz S says:

    What with the passport slight and Press awards having Frenchgate story as nomination for an award, I think someone is either trying to p*ss us off big time ( payback time ? ) or perhaps they are preempting the possibility of a second referendum in Scotland being pro independence and the Scots having their own national passport ( God help the Welsh ) . If only ! ( I very much suspect that they really don’t give a sh*t whether any other nation within UK is offended or not about the omissions ) . ( I have not forgotten Northern Ireland but feel they are very much pro union are they not ? )

    Once again the silence is deafening from unionist parties whose only political mission and agenda is to suppress nationalism , however surely even they think it is remiss to omit any other notable figures from the other nations within the UK for a ‘British’ passport . If they don’t …..why not ?

    I am sure some of the 55% think this is so trivial of us nationalists, however they too miss the point .

    Because let’s be honest here, if there were NO English notable figures on the passport ( God forbid ) the proverbial sh*t would definitely hit the fan in the MSM, WM and from the English people themselves…oh and UKIP would be beyond raging ! But I feel this is being seen as the Scots whinging again . ( Because we all know ‘unimportant’ and ‘trivial’ would not be their first reaction on this if the shoe were on the other foot , don’t we ? ).

    I say bring it on, keep the sh*t coming in bucket loads please, because there will come a point when some of the 55% may start to think this is not what they bought into when they voted ‘No’ and there are some things that even the Daily Sh*t spinners aka gutter press cannot justify or omit .

    We the 45% are already more than aware that this sh*t is par for the bloody course but WM parties , MSM and shameful Holyrood pro union parties may be forgetting they need to retain the faith of the 55% and I fear they may be taking for granted their continued loyalty and support .

    Everyone has a breaking point , never underestimate that injustice and pride is inherent within people , and I am sure even some of the 55% will reach their own intolerance point at some stage. If they don’t then God help us all because this sh*t is only going to get much much worse.

    SNP/SNP next May .

  19. Cag-does-thinking says:

    You sum up my thoughts on this perfectly. Another great article Paul and deserving of a wide audience. Since the referendum they have been really trying to stick Britishness to us 24/7 and it hasn’t gone down well for precisely the reasons you have outlined.

  20. jcd says:


    You mentioned the “55%” several times in your post.

    As I understand it there has been some positive movement towards Yes since it was “55%”, though progress seems glacially slow, perhaps because no one is properly getting to grips with finding and using ways to spread the facts out to the “public”.

    Reinforcing the idea of the opposition still being at “55%” doesn’t help.

    • Liz S says:

      jcd : “Reinforcing the idea of the opposition still being at “55%” doesn’t help.”

      Point taken , however I used these percentages purely in context of referendum result , though I do appreciate quoting these same percentages is open to misinterpretation and may misrepresent current figures .

      In all honesty I was not seeking to muddy the current pollster’s waters in my post.

      Sometimes when angry , one can make mistakes , but I can assure you that my sentiments are sincere. Perhaps I should refrain from posting as feel I may allow my emotions to dictate what I write as opposed to facts.

      Have a nice day anyway.

  21. jcd says:


    When I mentioned you reinforcing the idea of the opposition still being at 55% I didn’t think you were doing it deliberately to mislead or something.

    It’s just that I saw this “55%” jumping out several times and felt prompted to point out that it’s no longer accurate.

  22. douglasclark says:

    Everyone has a breaking point , never underestimate that injustice and pride is inherent within people , and I am sure even some of the 55% will reach their own intolerance point at some stage. If they don’t then God help us all because this sh*t is only going to get much much worse.

    The 55% is now around 50%. And the direction of travel is towards us. So do not despair!

    I have a difficulty. I should like to be persuasive to the 5% or so of waverers,that would make the difference.They seem to be invisible.

    We, you and i, will vote SNP/SNP next May . We, you and I will try to persuade the waverers.

    We will, in all probability, get a final victory sometime soon. I think it will be the lies that the unionists tell that finally ruins them.

    Just so’s you now who you are talking to, I am the unacceptable face of political debate:

    [I am persona non grata on Wings Over Scotland and Lallands Peat Worrier, I have enormous respect for their analysis, but they disrespected me. The former said I was naive or summat about election processes, despite having been on the inside for years, and despite saying that I thought Glenrothes was wierd.

    The latter said I was a racist, Despite me being a contributor to the now defunct Pickled Politics, Where I had many friends.. Just so’s you know, the latter was an Asian oriented web-site and far more tolerant of me than anywhere else I posted . I miss it. You can call me daft, you can call me wrong, But you cannot call me racist, Andrew Tickell did.

    If either were merely ‘heat of the moment’ matters, I would have forgiven them, The internet is full of ‘heat of the moment’ issues. Neither issued an apology nor thought themselves in the wrong. There is bigheadedness and there is Rev Stu Campbell and Andrew Tickell.

    Not folk I would sup tea with.]

    • Liz S says:

      Hi Douglas , read your post with interest, sometimes with people it is not ” what they say but how they say it” . I think everybody is very emotive just now and I understand the frustration they feel.

      However I choose to vent my frustration and anger at those with whom I feel are against us achieving self determination and NEVER those who share the cause. My way of releasing this perpetual rage is via posts on this website , though in honesty my style may not be to everyone’s taste ( I do tend to preach a wee bit, well maybe big bit ! Ha Ha ) . Blogs such as WGD are an outlet to release the rage.

      However there is a saturation point and I think I have reached it and I have thought it best to . . back off before self-combustion occurs through thinking about the constant injustice of it all , plenty of people on here , including yourself , who can articulate very well in response to WGD blogs.

      Sorry you were ‘disrespected’ by other sites but glad you continue to add posts on here .

      All the best to you and have a lovely weekend.

      ps Katherine Hamilton thank you , but jcd actually does have a point though he did express it a wee bit harshly Ha Ha .Have a nice weekend.

      ( No hard feeling jcd , you too have nice weekend )

  23. Itchybiscuit says:

    It would be nice to be able to afford a foreign holiday. My last one was in 1983.

    No British passport for me no matter how good or bad it looks.

  24. I’ve just renewed my passport. Hopefully in ten years my new one will be solely Scottish.

  25. jdman says:

    “Television, the telephone, penicillin, tubular steel, tarmacadam, wire rope, teleprinters, the pneumatic tyre wheel. Encyclopaedia Britannica, logarithms, steam engine, central banks, the hot blast oven, steam hammers, adhesive postage stamps. The portrait gallery, light bulbs, the oil refinery, geology, anaesthesia, kaleidoscopes, and a cloned sheep called Dolly. Economics, radiotherapy, flush toilets, refrigerators, hypodermics, insulin, screw propellors, and wave power generators.”

    None of which would have happened without “The Scottish Enlightenment” which (according to a recent programme about Scottish art) would have happened without the act of union in 1707!

    • Just a pity we have ‘Central Banks’ under our belt; the greatest source of misery in the world today. Alone among an otherwise glowing list of successes.
      I often wonder what we’d have done with railways had we not been annexed. Fair bet our system would have been constructed in a more rational manner, with stations in towns rather than seven miles distant to quote one extreme example. I expect far more of it would still exist too. Just an observation on something I can claim a small degree of knowledge about, as with herself! 😄

  26. macart763M says:

    I look forward to the day when I require a Scottish passport.

    Actually I look forward to the day when I can afford a holiday. 😀

    There is no family of nations and there never was. There has only ever been an establishment operating a mock democracy through parliamentary sovereignty. Three hundred plus years only for the wealth and privilege gap of our respective populations to widen. For the rich to get richer and the poor to become more disenfranchised and a damn sight hungrier.

    The greatest con the establishment ever pulled was to convince the populace that they were powerless and helpless without their direction and leadership.

    Well the populace in this corner of their ragged arsed empire has pretty much had their symbolism and jingoism well up past their oxters and are now in the midst of having a wee cultural and political awakening. In short, HMG can take their passport, a celebration of creative Britain and stick the appalling thing where the squirrel hides his nuts. 🙂

  27. Iain says:

    Oh god. Get us out of this shithole of a United fantasy Kingdom.

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