Sometimes you feel like banging your head against a brick wall at the rank stupidity of some people, like the idiots on Twitter who tweet at the National to express their displeasure that the paper employs an anonymous person who thinks he’s a dog to write comment pieces. I am of course entirely anonymous, which is why I always publish things under my real name … Oh wait. But then I must still think that I’m a dog, and naturally that invalidates everything I have to say, because you know, I think I’m a dog because of the title of this blog. Perhaps I need more pretty graphs.
Despite the fact I know for a fact that I’m human of course I should bow-wow to those who know my personal identity better than I do and tell me that I think I’m a canine, these being the same people who read Alison Rowat’s Midge column in the Herald but don’t stop to ask her what it’s like going about your daily business believing that you’re a small biting insect.
This is because Unionists are experts in telling the rest of us what our identity is. They can tell us that we’re really British when we know that we’re Scottish. They can tell us that the question of Scotland’s constitutional status is about identity when we thought it was about governance. They can tell us that we’re blood and soil nationalists when we believe in the simple proposition that a country is best governed by people who actually live in it. They can wave the red white and blue and cheer for the Queen and deny point blank that there’s such a thing as British nationalism, there’s only Scottish nationalism and nationalism is wrong. That civic nationalism that you thought you believed in doesn’t exist, because a Unionist knows better than you do what you think and what you believe. They are actually privy to our innermost thoughts and can get inside our heads. And there was me thinking that annoying whine was tinnitus.
There’s been a whole lot of whining from Unionists on social media of late. It’s the sound of impending defeat and it gets louder and louder the closer we get to the 5th of May. The Union is dying in the whining wails of a Union which is already over. The Union died the day after the Scottish independence referendum when David Cameron stood before Scotland and told us that it was all really about England. It died when the Unionist parties used the Smith Commission as a means to screw over the SNP. It died when Westminster rejected every single amendment put forward to the Scotland bill by Scotland’s MPs. The Union is dead in all but name, and it was the Unionist parties who stabbed it in the back in their rush to secure their own short term interests. The yoonatics on social media whine because they know their cause is lost. They whine because their Union is dead and they’re the ones who killed it. They whine because they’re on the wrong side of history.
The latest deafening whine as we stand beside the roaring engines of Yoonforce 1, otherwise known as the Scottish media, is that the SNP isn’t left wing enough. It’s not radical. It’s not progressive. Coming from a media that has devoted itself to preserving the British state and the intergenerational privileges of the British establishment, the system which has created the poverty and deprivation that blights so many of our communities, the word hypocritical isn’t quite strong enough. Calling the Scottish Unionist media hypocritical is a bit like calling Vlad the Impaler a leading provider of out-sized toothpicks and castle ornamentation.
For the first time since 1707 Scotland has a government that puts the interests of Scotland first and foremost. A government that is not in thrall to interests outside of Scotland. That’s what the whine is about. They say we’re living in a one party state because they want us to surrender to parties that are not beholden to us. It’s the strangest one party state in the world, a state where the one party has the media lined up against it. But it’s a state of unionist privileges being lost and that will never do. Get back into your shortbread tin, Scotland. Don’t dare to imagine that you can define your own future or the kind of society you want to live in. That’s not your job, that’s the job of your Unionist media.
The whines want to blame Scotland for their own incompetence and lack of credibility, for their vanity and arrogance, their hubris and their downfall. But most of all they want to blame Scotland for the pages of the history books turning against them. We’re living in the last days of the Whinited Kingdom.
It’s only four weeks until the May election. The ballots haven’t been cast but Scotland has already made up its mind. There’s no going back to the days of the past, the days of patronage and cronyism. Scotland is a different country from the land that returned dozens of Labour MPs who sat as lobby fodder and sat on their hands. All the whining in the world isn’t going to bring it back.
The howling of the yoon is the nostalgic longing for a past that never existed. It’s all the things that it accuses independence supporters of, backward looking, emotional, and rooted in an identity politics that seeks to define other people instead of allowing them to define themselves. It bewails division while expressing hatred and fear. It longs for a quiescent Scotland that knows its place. It’s the political manifestion of the Cringe, an unarticulated belief that deep down we need another, larger, country to look after us and to save us from ourselves. Because really, we’re a bit rubbish.
That’s not the Scotland I want to live in. A Scotland that throws itself on the tender mercies of the Westminster Parliament, an institution which is incapable of reform, is never going to solve its problems, it’s never going to tackle poverty or social inequality. The most radical act that Scotland can take will be for all powers and responsibilities to fall to a Scottish parliament that is accountable to the people of Scotland and beholden to them alone. Then we can begin to salve the wounds of 300 years.
The reason the Unionist media bemoan the SNP’s lack of progressiveness and radicalness is because they hope to distract us from the reality that independence is the most progressive and radical step of all. Independence is what really scares them, and Scotland is still striding towards it, out of the Whinited Kingdom.
BARKING UP THE RIGHT TREE Barking Up the Right Tree has now been published and is an anthology of my articles for The National newspaper. You can submit an advance order for the book on the Vagabond Voices website at http://vagabondvoices.co.uk/?page_id=1993
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