British nationalism’s problem with extremism

The recent reports about the conviction of a right wing extremist in Edinburgh for making a bomb made for, ahem, interesting reading. Nazi thug Peter Morgan was sentenced to 12 years for making a bomb. Most of the reports in the press pictured him holding up a saltire together with a sign reading “White Pride”. Most of the reports mentioned that he had connections to the Scottish Defence League. Some of the reports, including those on the STV news site and the Edinburgh Evening News, found time and space to mention that Morgan considered himself a left leaning person and that he had told police officers that he had voted SNP in the past.

Any reasonable person who is not particularly well informed about the positions of far right grupiscules in Scotland, which is most of us, would read these reports and be left with the impression that Morgan might well have been a Scottish nationalist. The reports themselves didn’t lie. They were not “fake news”. They were accurate insofar as the facts that they did report are true and correct. They just succeeded in giving a misleading impression by not mentioning some other important facts, facts which reveal the truth about Morgan, a truth that’s uncomfortable for opponents of independence.

What was omitted from just about every report was that Morgan was well known amongst pro-independence campaigners as being one of those far right British nationalists who protested against pro-independence marches and rallies, where he was more typically to be found waving a Union fleg and hurling abuse at pro-indy campaigners. What none of the reports mentioned was that the Scottish Defence League has close connections to the far more numerous and better known English Defence League, and that both organisations share many members with the British National Party and its successors. The Scottish Defence League is most decidedly not a pro-independence organisation. There are plenty of other photos of Morgan circulating on social media which show him clutching a British flag, but it’s the one with the saltire and the racist sign that the newspapers chose to go with.

The reports in the press also forgot to mention that Morgan has a history of previous arrests for assaults on independence supporters. There are reports on social media that in September 2012 Morgan was arrested for assaulting an independence supporter at a pro-independence event in Edinburgh.

In other words, despite all the implications to the contrary in the British nationalist press, Morgan is a right wing extremist opponent of Scottish independence, and yet another exponent of far right British nationalism. More alarmingly, he’s a far right extremist British nationalist with a history of violence against independence supporters who has just been convicted and sentenced to 12 years in prison for making a bomb. This nasty little man isn’t the responsibility of the independence movement or Scottish nationalism, he’s very much a creature of Britishness. Morgan is an extreme symptom of the sickness of British nationalism in Scotland, a sickness which most commonly manifests itself in sectarianism and in the casual contempt which permits opponents of independence feel free to characterise independence supporters as anti-English racists.

You can be certain that if Morgan had indeed been a supporter of Scottish independence, that this fact would have been the most important piece of information in the news reports. It would have been the headline. It would have been followed up by anguished editorials in the anti-independence press about the cancer that lurks at the heart of the Scottish independence movement, and there would be repeated calls on Nicola Sturgeon to do something about it. It would have been headline news in all the papers and the leading story in the broadcast news. Yet following Morgan’s conviction and sentencing there was a blink and you’d miss it mention on the BBC. There was no explicit identification of him as a British nationalist, as an opponent of independence, or as a supporter of the British state.  Yet he is all these things.

There are no demands from the media for the mainstream British nationalist parties to condemn Morgan following his conviction. He is a convicted terrorist who has nothing to do with those parties, and they feel no need to condemn him or disassociate themselves from him. There is no need for them to distance themselves from a convicted terrorist. His politics of hate, of violence, and racism are not the politics of the mainstream parties. However that’s not what would have happened if the situation had been reversed, and Morgan had been an independence supporting terrorist. The media howls of outrage would be sustained. The actions and beliefs of this far right wing bomb maker would have been explicitly linked to the independence movement as a whole and to the Scottish Government.

What’s really distasteful about the media’s reporting of Morgan’s conviction is the attempt that it has made to disguise his true allegiences and to imply to the unwary that he wasn’t really a British nationalist extremist, that his terrorist politics are Scottish rather than British. What’s really distasteful is that yet again it illustrates the double standards of the Scottish media. Earlier this week Wings Over Scotland noted that the catastrophic collapse in newspaper sales in Scotland was far worse than the drop off in sales in other countries. This is most likely not unconnected to the fact that the Scottish media pursues a highly partisan agenda which is not shared by at least half of the population of Scotland.

British nationalism in Scotland has a problem with extremism and intolerance. We see it in sectarian parades. We see it in the succession of Conservative politicians who have been exposed as having racist, xenophobic, sectarian, or homophobic views. We see it in the far right Holocaust denier who protests against independence rallies.  Now we see it in people who have been convicted of terrorist offences. As long as the anti-independence media continues to dissemble, hide, and disguise the sickness that lurks at the heart of British nationalism in Scotland, that sickness will never be tackled, it will never be cured.

Even worse, British nationalism in Scotland and its apologists still pretend to themselves that their opposition to Scottish independence means that they’re not nationalists at all. As long as they continue to delude themselves in this manner, the evil of far right extremist British nationalism will never be dealt with and removed from our society. The first step to dealing with a problem is to admit that you have a problem. It’s high time that supporters of the British state in Scotland own up to British nationalism’s problem with extremism.


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22 comments on “British nationalism’s problem with extremism

  1. Ye gods! I knew nothing of this and am utterly appalled at such blatant manipulation of the facts. I shouldn’t be surprised, I know, but this really is sinking to a new low. Hats off to you, Paul, for attempting to redress the balance. If only your blog could have as wide a currency as those who seek to undermine us with insinuations and half-truths.

  2. Indyman says:

    “It’s high time that supporters of the British state in Scotland own up to British nationalism’s problem with extremism.”

    Not holding my breath on that one.

  3. […] Wee Ginger Dug British nationalism’s problem with extremism The recent reports about the conviction of a right wing extremist in Edinburgh for […]

  4. […] via British nationalism’s problem with extremism […]

  5. alanm says:

    Britain is good, so good that it should always be referred to as Great Britain. SNP is bad, very, very bad and should routinely be blamed for everything that’s not great in Scotland.

    Click to agree if you wish to submit your application for a journalist position.

    • Illy says:

      Great Britain is derived from “Greater Brittany”: ie: The extended holdings of a bit of northern France.

      Where’s Farage’s wife from again?

      • weegingerdug says:

        Actually not quite. Grande Bretagne is the French translation of Britannia Maior, as opposed to Britannia Minor, which is Brittany in France. The Latin term Minor was used in a geographic sense to refer to a region which was settled from another region. The region that the settlers came from was referred to as Maior. So Britannia Minor (Brittany) was settled by people from Britannia Maior (the Roman province of Britannia). The traditional language of Brittany is most closely related to Cornish and Welsh.

        • Ewan Macintyre says:

          According to the ancient Greeks the largest island among these isles was Britain. Therefore Britain has always included Scotland. Britain was also called Albion (perhaps referring to the White Cliffs of Dover) and intriguingly Scotland is called Alba in Gaelic to this day. The British language was British Celtic and survives today mainly in Welsh, Irish and Scottish Gaelic – according to Peter Schrijver, a Dutch linguist and a professor of Celtic languages.
          Those extremists referred to in the article have appropriated the terms Britain and British. They should not be allowed to get away with it.

          • weegingerdug says:

            According to Matasovic’s Lexicon of Proto-Celtic, the name Albion – and hence the Gaelic name for Scotland which is from the same root – comes from the Proto-Celtic *albiyo meaning “the world”. It comes ultimately from a root meaning white or light, and referred to the “place of light” ie this world, as opposed to the “place of darkness”, the underworld.

  6. Illy says:

    “The reports themselves didn’t lie. They were not “fake news”. They were accurate insofar as the facts that they did report are true and correct. They just succeeded in giving a misleading impression by not mentioning some other important facts, ”

    I call this “lying with the truth”, and most politicians are masters at it.

    • diabloandco says:

      And ‘ our’ bloody media.

    • Alasdair Macdonald. says:

      “Economical with the truth” is the usual phrase. It was uttered by the senior UK civil servant in repose to a question put to him in an Australian Court (at the time, technically, Westminster still had some authority over the Australian constitution, despite Australia being an independent country.)

      When you or I go to court as witnesses, the oath requires us” to tell the truth, the WHOLE truth, and nothing but the truth.” The civil servant had not told the WHOLE truth, but, having an Oxbridge education he oilily described himself as having been ‘economical with the truth’.

      Had you or I done such a thing the Sheriff would have informed us pretty frostily that we might be held to be ‘in contempt of court’, and the least he would do is give us a pretty severe metaphorical kick in the arse.

      However the unionist media have the special defence that they are ‘unionist’ and, in any case they are their own judges.

      • Alasdair Macdonald. says:

        Sorry, ‘response’ not ‘repose’. The latter describes what the guardians of media truth are in, when a complaint is made against them.

  7. Alice Timmons says:

    As a former journalist, I’ve often said I can make facts say anything. Give me six simple facts about something, and I will give you six diametrically opposed stories about that thing. But what I was taught while training in the 70s was that those facts should be presented without slant or bias and my own opinion should be invisible.

  8. Stuart Mcnicoll says:

    I’m sure the Police asked this character, would have indeed gone to great lengths to determine just what or who was the intended target of the device. Police intelligence would have known which side of the fence he sat because he would have been a ‘ person of interest ‘. Have the Police revealed his links or in any way indicated the target. I’m sure these thoughts crossed even the dullards in the msm.

  9. Macart says:

    They are what they are. What it says on the tin. That’s NOT on the side of the angels I’d say.

    There is no such thing as a proud Scot but and never has been. There are apologists for the UK state who identify themselves with that state definition of Britishness. And these days? That’s not a good thing either.

    It’s an identity and definition that stands for elitism, exceptionalism, isolationism, intolerance, intimidation and selfishness. They hide behind the words union and unity without having the slightest understanding of what they mean. Mind you, who has time for looking up definitions when they’re a bit busy telling folk who to hate, alienate and exclude.

    They talk of ‘no borders’ whilst building walls and demanding curbs on immigration to keep the wrong sort out. They talk of loyalty to the fleg and state whilst breaching long standing national and international agreements at will. Their gratitude for past good relations and successful settlements? That of kings. They talk of democracy whilst allowing their favoured representation to undermine that democracy. In their world, democracy is what they say it is.

    They require your tolerance in order to preach their intolerance. They require your concept of democracy in order to work within and undermine that democracy.

    I repeat. They are what they are. It was their choice.

    Personally, I choose not to be like that and I define who I am.

  10. tintochiel says:

    You, Macart and Grumpy Stu keep me relatively sane, Paul.

    “They talk of ‘no borders’ whilst building walls and demanding curbs on immigration to keep the wrong sort out.”

    I’m sure Mags Curran will be along shortly, Sam, to feel your pain 😛 .

  11. M boyd says:

    The question is what will we do with these guys post Indy? They clearly represent a violent threat to an independent Scotland – free passage to rUK or 20 years in the pokey?

  12. hettyforindy says:

    Today I was in a charity shop when an old lady, English, said to the guy at the counter, ‘it was terrible, in 2014, I knew a very nice old chap up on holiday and happened to buy an umbrella with a union jack on it, the only one he could find in a hurry, the shop assistant said he should be very careful, the independence referendum was the next day’, he was terrified and had a heart problem, isn’t that terrible!’.

    Shop assistant, ‘welcome to Scotland eh!’. Old Britnat woman, ‘yes, ha ha ha’. She had clearly spotted my YES badges.

    I had to bite my tongue, but the implication that this old English guy with a heart condition to boot, felt threatened in Scotland by pro independence folk, is just a disgrace.

    Re; the article and thanks Paul. This bomb making extremist British Nationalist, who I had only vaguely heard about, will be locked up where?

    The media in painting this little s***e as having any connections to the independence movement in Scotland, and that he supposedly voted SNP once, ( we will never know if that is true!), is all for the attention of those who are not necessarily even living in Scotland, but of course it totally panders to the anti Scotland anti SNP, anti independence agenda.

    ‘See you ARE a narrow, racist, dangerous place, don’t go there tourists, EU citizens, stay away from Scotland!’ That’s their message, and it works otherwise, these state run propaganda Britnats would not do it.

    It will get worse, there will be false flag stuff when the next Indy ref is announced. The independence movement was and is a peaceful, forward looking, positive inclusive one, desperate to escape the clutches of the dangerous, backward and destructive, British Nationalist state.

    It’s what the Britnats hate, but it is too bad, because more and more people are coming to realise how destructive the Britnat state now is, especially to Scotland and the people of Scotland!

  13. Robert Harrison says:

    This is why I hate the media and those who work for them because all they are doing is manipulating facts to fit there anti independance agenda and that agenda goes into anti Scottish turf a lot because they go manipulating facts then again the bbc been at it since Wilson was prime minster when labour strong armed the bbc in helping them in the 1976 local elections wanting ammo against the snp and the bbc gave it to them back then leave out he’s a die hard britnat has assaulted independence supporters and only leave the pics of him being racist and hold a Scotland flag that’s manipulating the fact and a true journalist should be ashamed of themselves if this is what there boss wants aired and change there work place from within if there was any real journalists left in the likes of the bbc which I seriously dobut there is.

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