A song of migration #WeAreScotland

There was a hashtag trending on Twitter yesterday, #WeAreScottish. It was Scotland’s response to the xenophobia, racism, and British exclusionism of Thrasher May and her government of pygmy minds. Ordinary Scottish people took to social media to state our rejection of the inward looking Brits-first ideology of the Conservatives and to affirm that our Scotland is accepting, tolerant, and multicultural. We are Scotland says that a Scot isn’t just a person who was born in Scotland, a Scot is someone who makes Scotland their home, who chooses to be Scottish, who chooses to identify with Scotland. A Scot isn’t just a person who is Scottish by the accident of birth, it’s also a person who is Scottish by design and Scottish by adoption.

Being Scottish is a state of mind. It doesn’t matter where you were born. It doesn’t matter where your family comes from. It doesn’t matter what religion you espouse, or none. Scottishness is blind to race. Scottishness doesn’t depend on ethnic origin. We are all Scottish. Scottishness means you live in Scotland, you identify with Scotland, you choose Scottishness. It means you strive to make Scotland a better place for all who live here. Scottishness means you’re part of the journey that this country makes, that you share in its story and you become one of its story tellers. The modern Scottish shennachies who tell tales of Poland, of Africa, of Syria and weave them into the fabric of this land.

The Tories say that foreigners must be registered, and Scots register their protest and solidarity with migrants. Scotland is a country with a long history of emigration. Hundreds of thousands of Scots left this country because they sought to make a better life for themselves. Hundreds of thousands left because they were dispossessed and had no choice. Many left because Thatcher and her minions had blighted Scottish communities with unemployment and hopelessness. So Scotland knows what it’s like to have to leave. And we know how important it is for emigrants to find stability, security and acceptance in their new home. That’s why we know how important it is for modern Scotland to make that same offer to those who have honoured Scotland with their choice to come and make their lives here, those who bless Scotland with their talents, their skills, and their experiences which enrich this country even more. They come here and they become us, and they say “We are Scotland.”

Sadly there were the voices of small minded and large mouthed Unionist critics. How long will that hashtag make nats feel good about themselves eh? carped those who didn’t see fit to complain about the Tory xenophobia which the hashtag was a response to. It’s just sanctimonious rubbish, said people who were silent when EU citizens were being terrified and threatened by Conservative bullies intent on using human beings as bargaining chips. Because in modern Scotland, for many Unionists it’s more important to complain about those who resist the ordure into which the Tories are plunging this country than it is to resist the Tories who are causing it. They are the people who cannot allow a Scotland whose people can feel good about themselves, who thrive on the misery of Westminster, whose self-esteem rests upon the rest of the country being too wee too poor and too stupid, because they’re too wee too poor and too stupid in spirit and would feel diminished by a small country with a big heart.

Some of them even welcome what the Tories are doing. But they are Scottish too. It’s just up to the rest of us to demonstrate that the small minded net curtain twitchers, the bigots and the billy boys, those whose wallets are more important than their hearts, are a small minority. They are part of Scotland but do not speak for it. We’re bigger than that.

Yet others are victims of the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis, which states that your view of the world is shaped by the language you speak. Because English uses the same word nationalist, to refer both to those who seek independence for their country and who reject ethnic nationalism and exclusion, defining citizenship as a matter of choice and self-determination of the self, and those who have an independent country but seek to aggrandise it at others’ expense and who define citizenship in narrow exclusionist terms, they wrongly believe that the two concepts are the same thing. They’re not the same thing at all.

Scottish nationalism is not nationalism in the second sense, it’s independentism. Scottish nationalism is the radical belief that a country is best governed by those who choose to live in it, that a government of a country should be elected by the people who live in that country. It’s the belief that citizens aren’t just those who were born Scottish, but those who choose to become Scottish. British nationalism is nationalism of the second sort. British nationalism is exclusionary, parochial, and inward looking, harking back to a golden age of an empire that’s long past, an empire that was built on blood and oppression. Scottish Unionists prefer to perpetuate the confusion. It suits their Tory masters.

Scotland is a land which belongs to all of us who live here, those who choose to move here, those who decide to make their homes here, every bit as much as it belongs to those of us who were born here. Migration is the story of Scotland, from Fergus Mòr Mac Earca and his forty ships who brought the Stone of Destiny from Ireland, to the English refugees who fled from William the Conqueror’s Harrying of the North, to the Syrian refugees who have made their home on the shores of the Firth of Clyde. The songs of Scotland have always been sung by immigrants and emigrants. Scotland’s song is a song of migration. Migration defines us, it makes us who we are. It’s a song which the Tories in Westminster want to silence. Let Scotland respond with a chorus of voices, singing a song of self-determination.

Audio version of this blog post, courtesy of Sarah Mackie @lumi_1984, https://soundcloud.com/occamshaver/a-song-of-migration-wearescotland-wee-ginger-dug-8th-october-2016

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40 comments on “A song of migration #WeAreScotland

  1. Hugh McBrien says:

    This. A thousand times this. That sounds like a good song. Let’s sing it loud and strong, and hell slap it intae those xenophobic isolationists.

  2. Robert Harrison says:

    Well Informed article hope more spread this around as I’ve shared this on social media as it explains the difference between the two nationalists views of Scotland and the rest of britian

  3. Beautiful post. Thanks. #wearescotland

  4. That last paragraph is stunning man! Could turn it into a song for freedom and get it adopted as the anthem of an independent Scotland. I can see it.

    • Douglas says:

      Scotland’s Story by the Proclaimers? It’s not in the top five of polls for a Scottish Anthem but it is so much more of a welcome for those who choose to be Scottish. Much kinder than Flower of Scotland. Freedom Come Aa Ye is even better but is less accessible because, sadly, Scots language is less well known.

  5. carthannas says:

    Dìreach miorbhaileach a Phòl, ceud taing! Thanks Paul, stunning!

  6. muttley79 says:

    I have been amused for quite a while by people in Scotland, (and the people I have known tend to be Scottish born who have said it), who when they talk of ‘nationalism’, they invariably mean Scottish nationalism.

    But in regards to these people, they do not seem to be willing to acknowledge the existence of British nationalism. It is the unspoken nationalism to their understood ‘nationalism’, which of course to them is Scottish nationalism. I don’t know why they do this or the reasons behind it. Are they British nationalists themselves, and they simply don’t recognize it, or do they recognise it subconsciously, and do not want to deal with it or discuss it? It seems to be a kind of psychological transference or projection.

    The same thing is evident in many Scottish unionists politicians and many in the MSM. It seems to me that there is an open and out there nationalism in Scotland, which of course Scottish nationalism, and there is another nationalism, which is essentially hidden and concealed. It is only manifested in the open by the likes of the Orange Order, and some fans of a certain football club in Glasgow.

    For Scottish unionists politicians, I have thought for a fair amount of time that for them much of British nationalism was/is of an opportunistic type. Take your Gordon Browns and Alistair Darlings. They saw the chance to make a career for themselves in London, a chance to become part of a political establishment that offers the chance for considerable personal enrichment and advancement. They saw Westminster as a big state power, where their considerable talents would be put to their most proper and most fitting use. After all Scotland in comparison to the London elite is small fry, not worth really bothering about too much at all. Maybe support a bit of devolution here and then a vow there. But to spend your political career fighting for real power for Scotland was unthinkable to these types.

    • John Edgar says:

      Your last sentence needs a qualifier. Was that guid or bad.
      Sadly, it was/ is bad. Brown denied he was a Scot and referred to himself as a North Briton! A term of opprobrium meaning “you Scots do nor matter”.
      Another side mick within Labour, Robertson, referred to Scotland as ” a minor entity in North Britain”.
      These Labourite, Westminsterite centrists, who spouted faux socialism and now work for the banksters, must look back with a heavy heart, or maybe not. Their party in Scotland is now a minor entity in itself.

      • muttley79 says:

        Of course it was bad if you support independence. After the pioneering first few generations of Scottish Labour politicians, Keir Hardie, Maxton, Wheatley, Johnston etc, they gradually became Westminster establishment politicians. They might not have been in power often but they became a firm part of the British Labour machine and network at Westminster. Incidentally, I recently read Gordon Brown’s biography of James Maxton, and even Brown admitted that Maxton at once stage of his career more or less supported independence.

    • Brian H says:

      Reflects my own view from way before Indy Ref days. I’m old enough to be a small-is-beautifulest as well as self-determinista. Well said, Mr K!

  7. Maria F says:

    This was beautiful and moving Paul. A nice reflection of the Scottish soul. Thank you for indulging us with it.

  8. jrmacclure says:

    One of my favorite quotes from Gandhi: “Violent nationalism, otherwise known as imperialism, is the curse. Non-violent nationalism is a necessary condition of life.”

  9. andygm1 says:


  10. Macart says:

    I thought Mr Salmond’s act of putting the power to decide in the hands of the people was one of the bravest actions of a politician in Scotland’s long history. I can honestly say that I’ve never been more proud of our Scottish Government than now. Their actions since the Brexit vote have been both exemplary and inspiring. The FMs speech at the opening of parliament is one of the stand out political and civic declarations of recent times.

    It also goes without saying that I have never been more proud of this site and its host. When it comes to those cynical voices and their ‘how long’ query? THIS is how I’ve felt about Scotland and its population my entire life. I felt this way before there was such a thing as social media and hash tags and I’ll feel this way tomorrow too and for (hopefully) many tomorrows thereafter. So they may have a bit of a wait.

    Very well said Paul. (cheers)

    • Patience is a Virtue says:

      Indeed Macart…

      An extract of the First Minister’s speech at the opening of the Scottish Parliament…

      “So allow me to reflect on who we are in Scotland today…..

      ….We are more than five million men and women, adults, young people and children, each with our own life story and family history, and our own hopes and dreams.

      We are the grandchildren and the great grandchildren of the thousands who came from Ireland to work in our shipyards and in our factories. We are the 80,000 Polish people, the 8,000 Lithuanians, the 7,000 each from France, Spain, Germany, Italy and Latvia. We are among the many from countries beyond our shores that we are so privileged to have living here amongst us.

      We are the more than half a million people born in England, Wales and Northern Ireland who have chosen to live here in Scotland. We are the thousands of European students studying at our universities and our colleges. We are the doctors and nurses from all across our continent and beyond who care for us daily in our National Health Service.”

      Compare and contrast with the utterances of a Conservative regime that purports now to claim ….. ahem… the ‘centre ground ?!’…with the edict that ‘foreigners must be registered’.. I would say more than wee bit to the right of centre.

      The First Minister certainly speaks for me.

  11. katherine hamilton says:

    Woof Woof!

  12. Craig P says:

    Emigrants eh. Makes me think of this old classic (don’t mind the crap graphics – the music’s the thing)

    • Illy says:

      Yeah, that’s a good one.

      I’d complement it with this one: (whe’ever you hear that sound so sweet, you can call that place your home)

    • Took me back, Craig P.
      The Battlefield Band were playing in Tubingen when we visited my Bro in Law, Belfast Born, while he was working on the European satellite in the University Town back in 1990, I think. He’s now in Pisa, and got his name on the score sheet for the Gravity waves EU joint research project.
      I recall hearing a Spanish folk group in the Ville Close fortified old town of Concarneau singing Kishmul’s Galley in Old Breton Spanish (I think) early in the Noughties.
      We have family all over this globe, in Australia, Canada, The States, Italy, France, Ireland, and there are even still some of us left in Scotland.
      We are Scotland, we are the world.
      I refuse to be denied access to Europe by a narrow minded little political movement.

  13. Beautiful stuff written by the WeeGingerDug aka Paul. Perhaps this could be the preamble of a Scottish Constitution?

  14. Alan Fletcher says:

    The UK Foreign Minister Boris Johnson is an American born “foreigner”, how’s that work out for May and her retoric? https://www.britannica.com/biography/Boris-Johnson

  15. Anne says:

    You can be a citizen of more than one country if you qualify. I am.

  16. Charlie von H says:

    Respect. This was my contribution because I aspire to being a better human being.

    African by birth. Scot Welsh German French Dutch Portuguese by DNA. Live in Eng, start my long walk to Scottish freedom soon #WeAreScotland

  17. Kato Raggity says:

    Scotland has traditionally been the last place in Europe. Every time the British isles got invaded or had an influx of immigrants came in everyone moved up one place north to Scotland after that at that point there was at that time no where left to go. So Scottish people are if you like the bastardised race of Europe. We have taken all comers for centuries we take people from all over the world and make them our own. As a Sikh friend said to me in Scotland I’m a Scot with a turban down in England I’m a bloody foreigner. We’re better than a neo nazi Tory vision of the future. Scottish is a state of mind not an accident of birth

  18. Simply superb, Paul. Thank you.

  19. Guga says:

    I am Scottish, born and bred, despite having lived and worked in many countries overseas for long periods of time. I can trace my Scottish ancestors back to the 1600s. I have relatives in America, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, and even England. They all have different passports to me (bearing in mind that I have to have a YUK passport because of our colonial masters), but that is totally irrelevant. They are, and will remain, relatives, not foreigners.

    I also have many friends of different nationalities, and even a Polish family who I have come to consider as family to me.

    Regardless of what May-hem and her right wing fascists think, I am not going to change my attitude to either my relatives or friends; and those of them that are “foreigners” living in Scotland will remain, in my opinion, as Scottish, with all the rights that I have. However, to be sure of that, our only choice is to throw off the English shackles and be an independent nation again.

    • Guga,
      I watched Brewer droop through his BBC Where You Are Sunday Politics show.
      Stephan Getham’s list of issues regarding Brexit, a ‘Dog’s Brexit’, was dismissed by Brewer as:- ‘Ok, we get it, you don’t like the Tories.’
      The lazy journalist at his Unionist best.
      Professor WATP Two Jobs Adam Tomkins was in the studio, wearing his haughty Huffy Professorial, I’m an expert in the law, hat, and Brewer let him away with it.
      No matter what Scotland has no say in its own future.
      It is the Unionist Tribe who have no answers, other than, fuck off , Holyrood. We are dragging you out of the EU, because ’17 1/2 million British people voted for it.’
      Keep it up guys; you add hundreds to the YES vote next time, every time you strut your arrogant stuff on the Establishment’s Propaganda Wing.
      NS’s initiative in exploring the options for Scotland post Brexit, were described as having ‘fizzled out’, by the Lady Journo from the Times, to which Brewer agreed.
      What an apathetic ‘lazy’ wee programme this is.
      PS’ BBC Where You Are, the SNP are having their Conference next week. Somebody mentioned it in passing, but I think that they got away with it.
      Professor WATP, we shall be having another Referendum, whether you like it or not.

  20. kailyard rules says:

    Well, I’ll take my cue from Spartacus’s mates. I AM SCOTTISH,

  21. Papadox says:

    Anyyoon that wants to bail out of gods own country if we choose to run it ourselves, just let us know and we will arrange a wee hurl tae the border fur ye. Free gratis, it’ll be a pleasure. WAN wie only. Toodle pip.

  22. Sinclair Macleod says:

    The #weareScotland was inspirational, the unionist reaction to it was truly depressing. Instead of seeing it for what it was, they decided to criticise it. Rather than stand for decency, they stood with the Tories. There is no hope for some.

  23. Jan Cowan says:

    Thank you, Paul, for a lovely piece of writing.

  24. […] foreign scientists. And of course, because everything has to be about them, there are people who object to #WeAreScotland, frequently using American Alt-Right terms like “virtue signalling” […]

  25. Deely says:

    Thank you.

  26. “ Newspapers are still the real consensus-makers in Britain. They’re owned directly by billionaires and conglomerates, so the views of the ruling class are straightforwardly presented. “
    Frankie Boyle, ‘Scotland’s Jesus’; writing in 2013 as comment on the Dead Tree Scrolls and Levenson.
    (Published by Harper Collins Publishers, diabolical spawn of News Corp, Young Boyle? )

    The Herald England (let’s drop the pretence of calling it ‘Herald Scotland’, eh?) never tires of churning out ‘warns, and ‘will warn’ threats fed to them by Better Together.

    Or are they now officially part of Better Together?

    Are McTernan and MacDougall hot desking in HS’ Press Room?
    Have they got tickets for the Christmas Do?

    Michael Settle clacks out the latest ‘will warn’ Unionist gunge on line today. He dutifully obliges, of course; we’re all supposed to be Brexiteers now.

    Beats journalism, and working for a living, any day.

    ‘Leading academic’, and ‘constitutional expert’ Professor Jim Gallagher, who was bagman for Malcolm , ten grand a day for my name, oh, Chinese bizzinessmen, Rifkind, and Iain ‘Lord’ Lang among other prominent Civil Service wheezes, ‘will warn’ that another Independence referendum will be even more divisive than the last.

    At a wee do in Glasgow University, Prof Tom ‘will argue’ that to hold a second Independence Referendum would split the country ‘ worser’ this time, so let’s forget all about that nonsense.

    He ‘will argue’ that ‘most people in Scotland would get most of what they wanted’ if we just accepted Brexit, lie on our backs waggling our arms and legs in the air like a dying fly, and trust in May, Patel, Johnson, Fox and Davis to negotiate for us.
    After all they have such a great track record for honesty, decency, and keeping their promises.
    Hard, Soft, or Dog’s Brexit, are the only options, he will ‘argue’.

    Well, a lot has happened since September 18th 2104, Great Constitutional Expert Gallagher.
    We now have 56 Pro Independence MPs at WM, returned on the back of the broken promises, EVEL treachery, Smith Commission stitch up, filibustered-through Scotland Act, followed by third SNP victory at Holyrood, 62% vote in all 32 LA’s to Remain, Marxist New New Labour Party, the fall of Cameron, Osborne, Miliband, Clegg, Alexander, Darling, Brown, and the ‘Fucking Useless’ 40 New Labour Gravy trainers, since the ‘settled will’ of the Scottish People, that September Day in 2014.

    We will no longer tolerate ‘most of what we wanted’; we want it all.

    Full independence and continuing membership of the EU.

    The Prof promises that when we are wrenched from the EU against the ‘settled will’ of the Scottish People, we can trust the Tory Brexiteers. Scotland will get more devolved powers, and that will satisfy ‘most people’ Up Here, and stop all this Independence nonsense.

    Agriculture, Fishing, and..well, that’s it.

    Westminster will ‘take back control’, and we can rest assured that the Grand Panjandrum Mundell will see us all right.

    Last time I looked, my head wasn’t buttoned up the back, Professor.
    I wouldn’t trust any Unionist as far as I could throw them, which in the case of so many rotund Unionists, wouldn’t be very far.

    What is it about Glasgow University? Is it a hotbed of Better Together ?
    Are my tax dollars paying for all of this BT shit?

    Memory serves that Mags Curran and Johann Lamont graduated from GU.
    Will Professor WATP Two Jobs Adam Tomkins attend?

    I’m giving a talk in my favourite watering hole later on.
    I ‘will say’, we are holding a second Indyref, despite the pearls of wisdom from the Absent Minded Professor.
    We no longer believe your lies and threats.

    BTW. What’s happened to the Herald? Has it been slung up by its ankles on a butcher’s hook, had its throat cut, and its life blood allowed to drip out of this once respected Scottish journal?
    Cut and Paste;
    Gie’s a job. I could do that; for a lot less money.
    Just call me Yosser Jack.

  27. alasdair smith says:

    I was travelling from Glasgow Central to Mount Florida for the Scotland v Lithuania game on Saturday. The train was packed with the tartan army – the atmosphere as you would expect- full of banter and song. standing room only. There was a young woman next to me with a Scotland top and her face painted with a saltire on her cheek. She apologised for bumping into me as fans were piling on and the carriage had reached capacity. She had an English accent- so I asked where she was from-. she was from London but had been living in Edinburgh with her Scottish boyfriend for three years. She spoke passionately about her love for Scotland and Scottish people because they were so friendly and welcoming and had no immediate plans to return South. There was a lot of singing as the train pulled out from the station- then it started- “If you hate the f***ing English clap your hands”. I felt embarrassed and ashamed especially after hearing the views of the young English woman. I apologised to her for the singing but didn’t really know what to say- She said she was scared to speak now because of her accent. Some fans will describe the song and sentiment behind it as banter but for a young female English Scotland fan to be subjected to this is uncomfortable to say the least. I love Scotland and believe the best future for Scotland is as an independent nation with good relations with our neighbours. The Union with England I believe is detrimental to Scotlands ability to flourish. But to hate the English even just in song is wrong and counter productive to our progression as a nation trying to project a positive case for independence and self determination. The tartan army are self proclaimed best fans in the world and yet we let ourselves down by singing an anti English song – The definition of a Scotland fan is about loving the Scotland team and nation not hating our nearest neighbour. I am not saying end the sporting rivalry with the auld enemy but isn’t it about time we stopped singing anti english songs. Come on Scotland – we are so much better than this. Love Scotland – don’t hate England. Don’t give anyone reason to call us racist.

  28. a.dun. says:

    Best Regards and good Midnight from the eastern EU.

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