Chris Deerin, yes that Chris Deerin, Chris Deerin of “voting No is the moral choice” Chris Deerin, Chris Deerin the apologist for British nationalism because it’s not nationalist at all Chris Deerin, Chris Deerin who’s never come across any mud he’s been incapable of slinging at the independence movement Chris Deerin, has just published an article in the New Statesman in which he acknowledges something that independence supporters have known for quite some time. It’s actually the British state in its Brexit incarnation which is the practitioner of the narrow inward looking xenophobic nationalism which Chris has always decried, whereas the Scottish independence movement is an advocate of inclusivity and firmly rejects the narrow ethnic based nationalism which is on the rise and which blights so much of the world.
Anyone who has read this blog, or the output of any of the mainstream of the Scottish independence movement already knew that. This blog, just like other outlets for the mainstream independence movement, has always argued for an inclusive Scotland, welcoming of new Scots wherever their place of birth, and I have always advocated a vision of Scottish identity that is defined by where we’re all going together and rejected one based on where people come from. Because the Scottish independence movement is about the future, not the past. It’s not about your genes, it’s about your heart. It doesn’t matter where you were born, where your family came from, by coming to live in Scotland and contributing to Scottish society, by committing to this damp cold and heartwrenchingly beautiful and sometimes infuriating country perched on the edge of a continent, you’re just as Scottish as anyone else. Scottishness is not defined by ancestry, or by place of birth. Scottishness is a state of mind.
In fact just yesterday I blocked someone from posting on this blog because they were advocating that a vote in an independence referendum should be denied to people born in England. We don’t need xenophobia in the Scottish independence movement. We already have the British state and the Home Office for that sort of thing. The whole point of Scottish independence is to create a better society, a better country, and we’re not going to do that by drawing up hierarchies of who’s a more authentic Scot. There is no place for that sort of nonsense in our movement. We hold our faces to the sun, and we welcome the dawn of the new, the new Scots who do us the honour of choosing to come to Scotland and to build their lives here, to contribute to making this a better place for all of us. They illuminate and enlighten us all.
Contrary to the assertions of the knee jerk British nationalists who are blind to their own nationalism, it’s that outward looking acceptance which defines us as a movement. It’s a broad and multicoloured tartan ribbon that runs through the heart of the independence movement. The point of that tartan is that there is a colour there for everyone. This is what makes us morally superior to the ethnic nationalism and suspicious xenophobia of the right wing Brexit advocates who dominate and drive the British Government, and I make no bones in stating that. Because, yes, we are better than the Jacob Rees Moggs and Boris Johnsons of this world. And unlike the British Labour party our solidarity is truly international. It doesn’t stop at Gretna, and it doesn’t stop at Dover either.
Those who base their desire for independence on a narrow ethnic and exclusive nationalism are the exception not the rule within the Scottish independence movement. Of course such individuals exist, but they do not define the independence movement. They do not shape the direction we take or determine the vision of the Scotland we seek. They are roundly rejected by the mainstream of the Scottish independence movement, but that doesn’t stop apologists for the British state trying to define all of us as anti-English bigots. However their British nationalist counterparts to do increasingly define the direction that the British state is taking. Far from being rejected by the mainstream, the bigot-Brits have colonised the mainstream of British nationalism. British nationalism is increasingly defined by all those slurs that apologists for British nationalism and the British state hurl against the Scottish independence movement. That is the realisation that appears to be dawning on Chris Deerin.
Chris Deerin hasn’t come out in support for independence, but he does appear to be coming to the slow recognition that the values and strengths that he once saw inherent in Britishness are no longer to be found there. They are instead to be found within the Scottish independence movement. Paradoxically, the only way to preserve the good aspects of the British state is with Scottish independence. Tolerance, acceptance, being welcoming to the outside world, connecting with it and engaging with it, a social security system that protects and defends the vulnerable, a comprehensive and universal health service, all these things are now at threat of destruction by the British state and its insane drive off the Brexit cliff. They can only be maintained and cherished within an independent Scotland because those are the values that the independence movement espouses, values which are being rejected by the Conservative defined Brexit that is in store for the UK.
There have been some seismic changes in the political landscape recently. The British state has destroyed its credibility in Scotland. The devolution settlement lies charred and burnt in the ashes of British nationalist arrogance. People we never thought would ever support Scottish independence seem to be changing their minds. Even the man who drafted the Vow now disavows it and espouses independence. We have to be accepting of the sincerity of people’s change in mind and change of heart. It is imperative that we accept them with open arms. The more prominent that someone was within the Better Together campaign, or the more forceful that they were as an advocate for the UK back in 2014, the more powerful the impact of their conversion to yes. Their change of mind must be welcomed with open arms and a warm heart. The hurt of 2014 must be left behind. We’re playing a different game now, a game we’re going to win. A heart that is capable of change is a heart that beats stronger.
All of which means I’m going to have to start being nice to Chris Deerin now. And if that’s not making a huge sacrifice for the cause I don’t know what is. I draw the line at being nice about Tom Gallagher though, the man who called me a Gaelic imperialist for drawing a Gaelic map of Scotland. We all have our limits.
Mapa Gàidhlig na h-Alba / Gaelic Map of Scotland
The Gaelic map of Scotland is now available, the cost is £15 plus £7 P&P within the UK. Please note P&P outwith the UK is more expensive. P&P to Europe is £10, P&P to the rest of the world is £15. If you require multiple copies of the map, you only need pay once for P&P, up to 3 copies of the map which is the maximum that can fit in one postal tube.
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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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