One of the most frustrating things about the Scottish Government has been its seeming reluctance to play hard ball. Too often, it has appeared, the Conservatives at Westminster or the British nationalist press in Scotland come out with some outrageous provocation or outright lie, and the Scottish Government tries to be the calm and sweet voice of reason. It doesn’t work. When you try to placate a bully, you only empower the bully. You only make it more likely that you will be bullied in future. You’re teaching the bully that they will face no negative consequences for their bullying. They’re going to keep bullying you. Bullies will bully you if you keep allowing them to. The only way to tackle them is to stand up, look them squarely in the eye, and tell them that they’re talking shite, tell them that you demand an apology, and in doing so you expose their mendacity for all the world to see.
So it’s heartening to see that over the past couple of weeks the Scottish Government has been a lot more assertive at calling out the lies and disinformation of British nationalism. It has managed to extract an apology from the Daily Mail for the story lifted straight from a Conservative party press release trying to stir up British nationalists about the union flag, a story which was a reprehensible and shameful dog-whistle to the sectarian bigots who lurk at the heart of the jaffa cake of British nationalism in Scotland.
The Scottish Government has also called out the duplicitious Conservative administration over its failure to publish the Brexit impact study carried out by UK civil servants working for the UK government. When the Scottish Government published its own impact study which showed that under every scenario Brexit would damage the Scottish economy, the Conservatives accused the Scottish Government of scaremongering, insisting that there was no basis to the paper. And all the while they knew that their own government had carried out a similar study which had come up with practically identical findings. Now the Scottish Government is telling Westminster that it has a right to view the document, and that when it does it will publish the document for citizens to see.
Westminster says it’s not in the national interest. Because obviously no one in the EU could possibly carry out an impact assessment of their own. Westminster possesses special powers of insight and analysis that lesser foreign mortals are incapable of. That’s what makes British nationalism better than the nationalisms of lesser nations. That and the fact that it’s so much better that it’s not nationalist at all. The truth is that the failure to publish the paper has bugger all to do with the national interest, and everything to do with the interests of a Conservative party that’s putting its own survival above all other considerations.
Brexit has only got as far as it has because politicians have been willing to make ridiculous claims and newspapers which feed on hysteria and hype and xenophobia have taken those claims seriously. Because we’ve been told to be afraid of mythical monsters, those Brussels bureaucrats who will devour our bent bananas, we’re at a very real risk from real monsters who will devour our civil liberties, our economic growth, and our families’ futures.
The stakes are so much higher now. The second Scottish independence referendum will be about rescuing Scotland from the wreckage of the British state. We can only do that if we are assertive, strong, and willing to call out the lies and nonsense that we’re fed by British nationalist politicians and their media allies. The fact is that stupid questions don’t deserve a serious answer, and British nationalism with its project fear is full of stupid questions. We should treat them with the contempt that they deserve.
Remember Magrit Curran and her claim that she was afraid that Scottish independence would mean her children would be foreigners to her? It was stupid concern which had no basis in reality, a non-concern made by a mendacious politician, but which was still treated seriously. Whatever citizenship Magrit has as a result of Scottish independence, her children would also be entitled to. The truth is that even if it were true that Scottish independence would mean that Magrit Curran would have a different citizenship from her children, then the resultant alienation Magrit would feel is not an argument against independence. It’s an argument that Magrit is seriously in need of family therapy and counselling. Stupid questions and stupid problems don’t require serious answers.
Remember the story that independence would mean that we’d no longer be able to watch Dr Who? It was taken seriously by the press. You can watch Dr Who in the Irish Republic. You can watch Dr Who in the USA. I never missed an episode of Dr Who during all the years that I lived in Spain. Dr Who can voyage to the furthest corners of the where and when of the universe, untrammelled and unbound by time and space, but apparently won’t be able to go further north than Berwick. Stupid questions don’t need clever answers.
The currency question is the mammy and daddy of all stupid questions. At its basis is the attempt to scare people with the wholly unrealistic fear that somehow Scotland is going to be the only country on the planet that can’t have any money at all. Stone age islanders in the Pacific were able to develop a functioning currency, but it’s beyond the wit of Scotland. The obvious answer to the currency question is a simple one; it’s, “Why do you care?” People care because anti-independence politicians are allowed to bang on about it unchallenged, as though it was somehow a serious obstacle to independence. The reality is that as long as you have money in your pocket, and you can spend that money in the shops, it makes no practical difference if it’s a pound sterling or a Scottish pound. Scotland will have a currency, and that currency will be stable, because countries with far fewer resources and far weaker economies than Scotland have successfully established stable currencies. Insincere questions don’t need sincere answers.
The goal of opponents of independence is to make the independence movement waste time and energy on questions which are fundamentally unimportant. We shouldn’t let them. We should stand up and call them out for the shite that they’re talking, the nonsense that they’re speading. We should stop pretending that stupid questions deserve serious answers.
The biggest threat to Scotland is a British nationalism that feeds on myths and spreads lies and stories. It can only bully us if we allow it to. Let’s look the British nationalist bullies in the eye, and call them out for their ridiculous scaremongering. They’ll blink first.
The Wee Ginger Dug has got a new domain name, thanks to Indy Poster Boy, Colin Dunn @Zarkwan. http://www.indyposterboy.scot/ You can now access this blog simply by typing www.weegingerdug.scot into the address bar of your browser, the old address continues to function, the new one redirects to the blog. The advantage of the new address is that it’s a lot easier to remember if you want to include a link to the blog in leaflets, posters, or simply to tell a friend about it. Many thanks to Colin.
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