Breaking the glass of the fishbowl

So there you go, you write a blog article about the double standards of British nationalism, and how violent metaphors and imagery are the norm for opponents of independence, but if supporters of independence were to use equivalent words or imagery, there would be outrage. And then the very next day the zoomers of Scotland in Union go and like a Tweet from a well known British-nationalist-so-he’s-not-a-nationalist-at-all troll displaying a blunderbuss and the caption that he’s ready for the SNP day of action. Because that doesn’t condone violence at all.  Oh no. It was just banter.

It ought to be superfluous by now to point out that had a similar image been approved by an independence supporting organisation, there would be demands for the police to investigate hate crimes, which would shortly be followed by acres of anguished commentary about the violent evils that Scottish nationalism have unleashed on a society that was perfectly content to thole bouts of Tory rule until that pesky SNP came along and spoiled everything. Witness the anger and pursed lips that were provoked by the infamous Tory Scum Out banner. But a British nationalist and a photo of a weapon with a threatening caption, it’s just a spot of banter and only a humourless separatist could object to it. Calling opponents Tory Scum is a very bad thing, threatening opponents with a blunderbuss, that’s just fine.

The fact is that British nationalism in Scotland is a violent ideology. Before independence became a mainstream political idea in Scotland, British nationalism in this country most commonly manifested itself in Orange Parades and songs about being up to your knees in Fenian blood. Now independence supporters have taken the place of Catholics as the favourite bogeypersons of British nationalism. We all know that the real reason that opponents of independence don’t organise mass public events, marches, or rallies is because if they were to do so those events would be indistinguishable from an Orange Parade combined with a Britain First rally and would attract a significant number of far right extremists.

British nationalism in Scotland prefers to operate in the dark, because coming out into the light would expose it for the intolerant ideology that it really is. The real reason that the parties and organisations which oppose independence don’t organise large scale public events is because they’re afraid of how ugly so much of their public really is, and they don’t want mainstream Scotland to see it.

The willingness of opponents of independence to use violent imagery is only to be expected after all, and not just because British nationalism is an ideology which glorifies warfare and the military. The whole justification given for keeping Scotland within the UK is based on fear, scaremongering, intimidation, and negativity. The favoured arguments of opponents of independence rest upon telling Scotland how poor we’d be, how helpless we’d be, how hopeless we’d be. There is no vision, no poetry, no soul in British nationalism in Scotland. It cannot convincingly paint a portrait of a Scotland that is a better and a happier place for being a part of a UK in which it is systematically ignored and sidelined and its democratic will subordinated to that of a larger neighbour. British nationalism is an ideology of threats. When the basis of your politics is a threat, it’s a very short step to indulge in threats of violence. The essence of British nationalism in Scotland is “You’d be nothing without us.” It’s an abusive relationship as a political principle.

British nationalists reject the label nationalism, and not just because one of the abiding myths of British nationalism is that it’s not nationalist at all. Partly they do so in order to avoid dealing with the mental contradictions and contortions of believing that Scotland and the UK are both nations and that Scotland is simultaneously a nation and a region. Partly they do so because the myth of British exceptionalism tells them that being British means you are above petty nationalism, a curse which only afflicts lesser nations.

How many times have you heard a confirmed opponent of independence say something along the lines of, “But I just don’t think about nations at all. It’s only you nats who do that.” The British state regards itself as a nation state, and British nationalists don’t think about the role of the nation state in the exact same way that heterosexual people don’t think about sexuality, able bodied people don’t think about disability, or men don’t think about sexism. The British state is the political water in which British nationalists swim, and they are the goldfish who are happy to be swimming in circles inside the fishbowl which contains and constrains it. It’s only when you want to swim free that you bang against the glass. When you don’t challenge your boundaries you can live in the comfortable ignorance of telling yourself that the boundaries don’t exist and that you are boundless.

The violent imagery and metaphors from British nationalists are only going to get worse. As it becomes increasingly clear that the British state’s grasp on Scotland is slipping, that Scotland is getting closer to regaining its independence, the fear of the fearmongers will grow ever more strident. They will project their own intolerance and intimidation onto us, because there is no one more quick to claim victimhood than the powerful who fear losing their privileges and power.

The difference between this time and 2014 is that they can no longer pretend to themselves that we represent no real challenge. They know that we are. They also know that they have nothing positive to offer, because no one is going to believe a Vow Mk II. All they have left are threats, scare stories, and the mewlings of imagined victimhood. That’s going to be the British nationalist playbook for the second Scottish independence referendum. But this time we’re not going to let them get away with pretending that the Scottish constitutional debate is a debate between nationalism and non-nationalism. There is no unionism, because there is no union.  There is only a unitary British state with the window dressing of devolution.

All that opponents of independence have to offer is the nakedly xenophobic British nationalism of Brexit and swimming in circles in a fishbowl bedecked with flegs. We’re breaking through the glass and swimming in the open ocean.

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39 comments on “Breaking the glass of the fishbowl

  1. susan says:

    Well said Paul. British Nationalism in Scotland is a very ugly creature.

  2. susan says:

    Actually, British Nationalism ANYWHERE is an ugly creature.

    • benmadigan says:

      Totally agree Susan, Was just about to add your very comment.
      Regarding what Paul says about threatening, aggressive language from the British State, I would just like to remind people that negotiations with the EU are carried on by a “War cabinet” and the incidents at the recent Salzburg meeting are referred to as “The Salzburg Ambush”
      Furthermore at any official ceremony and none, all we see are British regiments parading and marching. And we are expected to admire their “pomp and circumstance”.
      As an example watch how the irish President was welcomed, for the first time ever in the UK. The poor man, his wife and entourage look as it they are under military arrest

  3. Andy Anderson says:

    Every word spot on.

  4. grumpydubai says:

    Yet again, well said.

    Successful just causes are won peacefully but with great fervour and a wholesome vision and belief in the people.

  5. […] Wee Ginger Dug Breaking the glass of the fishbowl So there you go, you write a blog article about the double standards of British […]

  6. I have a sense that as it becomes more apparent that May will not be deposed, that there will be no snap GE, and Parliament on all sides reject May’s Chequers’ Blancmange, which the EU has rejected anyway, what Rees Mogg, Fox, Gove, and Farage have wanted all along will happen.
    No Deal.
    When that penny drops, our English neighbours, the 48% who voted Remain, and notably London, won’t take it lying down. There is already a clamour for a People’s Vote on the terms, or in the No Deal scenario, lack of terms.
    I’d imagine that the 52% Leave are sold on the Make Britain Great again, Take Back Control, no immigrants, jingoism; so No Deal will be seen as ‘better’ than a ‘Bad Deal.
    ‘A Bad Deal’ in the Little Britain zealots eyes being any of the Norway/Canada/ Remain options which have been roundly dismissed by the Anti European Brit Nats, from the Red Blue and Yellow Tory ranks.
    I can envisage marches, demonstrations, and violent social unrest breaking out in London in the first instance if No Deal is implemented from April 2019, and lorries are grid locked at Dover, foreign travel is restricted, and ultimately forbidden, and supplies of vital medicines and foodstuffs run out, and Martial Law is introduced to prevent looting and civil unrest.
    London first, then spreading like wildfire to Birmingham Nottingham, Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool and Newcastle.
    There is no upside to Leave.
    Up Here, we must be ready.
    We have our fair share of nuts and psychos.
    The next few weeks will be some of the most significant and momentous weeks in our history.
    It will get very bleak soon now.
    I observed before; what they are proposing is to surround Scotland with barbed wire and hem us all in prisoners in England’s last cash cow colony.
    There is no more time.
    We are not goldfish.

    • Andy Anderson says:

      I feel you may be correct Jack although I hope it does not to scary should we get a no deal disaster. Events will indeed help some to change their view on Independence but we still need to convince them.

      This is a good aid to show the range of the Scottish economy now.

      Just click on the first slide and let it start. This is easy to pass onto others that fear change. It can give hope that we can do it particularly as we do not have full control now and it looks OK. Better after we do of course.

    • Hazel says:

      “There is no upside to leave” I agree for us mere mortals, but since watching the Tax Justice Network Video ‘The Spider’s Web’ this week .
      It does look like getting out of EU before new tax laws kick in next April is great for the elite with offshore gazillions. They protest it is a coincidence – yeah!

      • Jim Morris says:

        Good reminder of essential viewing to understand the why of Brexit. It is a done deal, there will be no watering down or cancelling of Brexit. Sadly, for I am 100% pro EU.

    • benmadigan says:

      I fear you may well be right Jack. Let’s hope Nicola has her ducks in line to make sure that scenario doesn’t develop in Scotland

  7. The main thing is not Brexit but independence. Concentrate on what a Scottish Government will NOT do with our taxes. Not fund weapons of mass destruction or the means of delivery, not fund aircraft carriers without planes, not fund English infrastructure such as high speed rail, cross London rail, repairs to Westminster buildings and all other government building in England and abroad, all the employees in such buildings including the House of Lords, all grace and favour residences. In fact, ALL THINGS the Westminster Government DEEM IS TO THE ADVANTAGE OF THE SCOTTISH PEOPLE.

  8. bringiton says:

    Scotland was subsumed into England’s union through the exchange of dark money and the threat of violence should we refuse.
    Nothing has changed since it’s inception and the English establishment continues to operate under the same modus because it works,or at least has until now.
    Unfortunately for them,many Scots have discovered democracy and the power of that to influence outcomes.
    What we need is for a majority of Scots to understand the absolute necessity of electing the government of your country and not having it elected by others.

  9. robert harrison says:

    If I hate anything the most about England and it’s people it’s just one thing that supremist bullshite it’s makes me want to hijack trident and wipe england out of existence there hypocrisy is bad enough treating others of different nationality like garbage makes me sick getting violent because they fail to push there crap on others makes me mad especially when they go I was only messing around when you try to stop them after they attack but thinking the whole world should just give them what they want when ever they want as they are the master race no a civilisation like that deserves to die as they are no differant than terrorists themselves and that’s there only weapon now terror soon we are rid of England and it’s interference of Scotland affairs permanently the better for all except England.

  10. Contrary says:

    You are so good at getting to the root of an issue Paul, and this is a good reminder that the British nationalists and their press and media outlets have ALWAYS done what the are doing; spreading fear and dissatisfaction – the thing is, we have moved on, we see that things can be different and can be done differently. They aren’t very agile with their tactics, have to say.

    I mind thinking re the first indyref, is it possible we could be lifted out of the 300 year depression & have enough zing left to make a go of it? Enough people proved to me that there was indeed enough zing, and there feels like there is much more now.

    They are going to keep on keeping at it until we are well under the cosh and most thoroughly depressed again (not too many depressed people think there is any point in trying the change things, or that they are worth it,,,) – they won’t stop trying even after independence I’m sure, but at least we will have a good thick layer of protection from them.

    Of course, if England broke up into regions, became a federal state, or indeed was no more – I mean, surely the likes of Yorkshire could easily be a country in its own right. Really, the entire political structure needs to change, radically – no one in England has a choice out of the parties that stand just now – then life might be a whole lot more pleasant for everyone. It would solve the English folks’ current problem of weak national identity – stick to the identity they do know, and that’s regional. I’ve never seen a Geordie having any issues with being a Geordie. Yep, maybe the whole English thing is a goner.

  11. Kate McEwen says:

    The scary bit is watching those without a brain cell between them espouse ‘British Nationalism’. See You Tube….
    I despair 😦

  12. Macart says:

    Pretty much. British Nationalism is ugly. It is abusive and yes it does heavily rely on a total lack of self awareness. A false sense of superiority coupled with an enormous societal cringe in those supportive satellites it ironically relies upon most of all for its existence. It doesn’t do partnership. It doesn’t understand true union of equals or unity. Its support is heavily reliant on intimidation and fear as political tools.

    And it knows its end is almost here.

    This ideology of fear and abuse IS going to fight all the harder for that foreknowledge. MAKE NO MISTAKE. However, in offering more fear, intimidation and abuse it WILL thoughtlessly speed up its own demise. Doesn’t matter if its one year or ten. British Nationalism (which they inform us isn’t nationalism at all) is the mother and father of its own downfall.

    For the sake of true unity and partnership on these islands, it has to end and so does the home of its chiefest author. Thone big hoose on the Thames. How it practises politics. Its venal, archaic and trenchant system of government. Most of all, its class ridden, corporately compromised and self serving protections.

    Mr Corbyn wants radical? Well it doesn’t get more radical than the peoples of the UK drawing up a new social contract of unity and getting the political class telt. It doesn’t get more radical than the peoples of Scotland choosing their own form of government. One which truly reflects their needs and wishes. One which WILL have a written and codified constitution which clearly outlines the rights and responsibilities of both the citizenry and their government.

    I’d say the best chance for politics and society to begin the process of rebuilding across all these islands, is for the electorate, the peoples of Scotland, to provide the best example it possibly can.

    If we can do that and do it anywhere near well? I’d say there’s hope. 🙂

    Worth a thought.

  13. Tol says:

    If you are going to break the fish bowl from the inside you have to build pressure for change.

    Its time for YES to change the very air in Scotland fill it with Scottish stores. I am constantly in awe of the seemly never-ending list of Scottish minds, actors and activist I only learn about on social media.

    It is time to free the suppressed history and stop letting the UK dominated view of the world stifle Scotland’s role to only that of supporting character or stereotypes.

  14. Welsh Sion says:

    What with ‘my’ First Minister, Carwyn Jones (Labour), officially starting the race for his successor as Leader of Labour (Western Colonies Branch) and new FM today – result due in December and Plaid Cymru due to announce if Leanne has kept her place as Leader or if either of the other two candidates (all three are espousing the ‘I’ word, by the way) on Friday, then these are certainly ‘interesting times’ for those of us studying politics in the various countries on these islands.

    Rumour has it that Carwyn is going as he was undermined following the Carl Sargeant affair, but something makes me think it has more to do with Brexit and/or that he doesn’t get on with Jezza. The Tories and UKIP also have new Leaders in Cardiff Bay this autumn. The Liberal Democrats have a sole Assembly Member (seconded to the Labour Government Cabinet as Education Secretary) and a new Branch Manager (Western Division) as of last autumn.

    If you do have a few minutes spare on Friday, Scotland, I’d ask you to turn your eyes to my country, and one of your natural friends and staunchest ally (we do, after all, suffer and have suffered in similar ways from ‘the common Westminster/Establishment enemy’) and seewho will be the Leader of the sister Party of your own SNP.

  15. Graham Rae says:

    Wouldn’t go starting talking about what heterosexuals do or don’t think about sexuality, or what men think about sexism. The latter blanket statement is sexist in itself. Turn that around, have a straight person disparagingly talking about what gays or women think about…and watch the outrage. And I have worked with the disabled, and am very conscious of them. Which is why the Tory pogrom against them angers me so much.

    All this modern sexuality obsession stuff has gotten very, very tiresome. Personally, I couldn’t care less who fucks whom. Never have, never will, and have found it flattering when hit upon by a couple of good-taste gay guys in my life. But when you start breaking things down by sexes, or races, or sexualities…that way lies divide and conquer. And extremist psychotic American collegiate ‘thinking.’

  16. Col says:

    The first goldfish to ever use a glass cutter to escape it’s captivity. Who said goldfish have a 3second memory? In any case. We need to educate and show up the brit nats this time for what they are. Hangers on to England’s coat tails with no allegiance to Scotland, it’s ancient history or more importantly it’s future prosperity. Unionism equals subservience to our neighbour in a way that being a part of the European union doesn’t. This has to be highlighted. The BBC has not educated the population of the UK for as long as I’ve lived, to put it bluntly it’s filled people’s heads full of shite. Especially regarding the European union. They are more obsessed with the politics of the US

  17. Funny thing Paul, but I was talking to a British Nationalist who told me that he would fight to keep his country together. He didn’t seem at all phaised when I accused him of being a Physical Force British Nationalist.

  18. Hits the nail right on the head Paul. The reality of British nationalism, once seen from above tree height and recognised, and its relationship with what it consider a subservient Scotland, cannot then be unseen.

  19. heartsupwards says:

    This subject of British State sponsored terrorism cannot be addressed lightly. Forces in the British Isles have been playing this game a very long time. The British Nationalist, if you wish to call them that, professionals have been dedicating generation after generation of people to keeping political movement to extricate from the accepted governance at a minimum and employ a constant variety of techniques to do so. The approach to deal with the softer of us in influencing through fear of being wrong in wanting to escape to the approach of violence to produce fear of wanting to escape. You only have to remember BBC deliberately showing the Holy Cross school Belfast footage at teatime news for all children in UK to keek at how far the establishment will go and how low their foot soldiers will stoop. The crimes against children in places like Airdrie followed the next day. A fair test of the triggers among us that are in place. If we are clever enough to get a FAIR vote then we should be clever enough to prepare for the civil violence that WILL follow.

  20. duncanspence says:

    I love this! Thank you.

  21. Big Jock says:

    I was in Kos on holiday and heard the funniest line ever. A woman in union Jack sandals came up to me and my wife and said: “Do yow Speak British”. That to me sums up the intelligence of the average Brit nat ,Brexit voting moron!

  22. JGedd says:

    Observing (though not closely) the Labour Party conference – it is revealing just how English, British Nationalism is. Aided, I suppose, by MSM coverage, it is apparent that Scotland and its issues are noteable by their absence, apart from a comedy turn by Dickie Leonard and a disturbing comment from a former miners’ leader regarding killing off nationalists in Scotland. (Has he forgotten the miners’ strike and the violence directed against miners in their communities as well as the concerted efforts of the MSM to traduce the reputation of the miners’ unions with lies and distortion?)

    Soon we are to be subjected to more full-throated British/English Nationalism from the Tory Party Conference. Batten down the hatches, there is a hurricane coming with Force 10 blowhards. ( I don’t watch these things but still I feel the backwash.)

  23. Malcolm says:

    Can anyone tell me how to find Indycar Gordon Ross on YouTube.

  24. Catherine Kerr says:

    This time last week I was at dinner with 4 English people and one who I have now called a racist half breed, which sounds very tough and racist.. He is half Irish-from Sligo and English. He said that Scotland is not a country we are North England. I knew he and his friends were winding me up, but the fact they thought it was acceptable to do this made me leave the dinner

  25. Macart says:

    Probably worth mentioning, but Britnats are also noted for what they don’t wish to own responsibility for. Which covers a helluva lot of ground tbh.

    Why won’t indy supporters just go away they ask? Mibbies if their government of choice behaved with something akin to humanity is a pretty good catch all answer.

    Or mibbies this’ll jog their memory:




    I’d say that’s why we’re not inclined to go back into thone shortbread tin. Tends to upset reasonable folk when their rights are taken away or when they’ve been misled into giving away things that belong to them.

    Worth a thought.

  26. Sally Mags fronted tonight’s Ministry of Truth Broadcast from Pacicfic Quay.
    Headlines News!!!!!
    David Porter sat across from May in Downing Street while she insulted Scotland, and our FM.
    Nicola Sturgeon was put back in her box, and ‘ordered’ by the Maybot to get on with what the English Premier considers is the parish council FM’s day job, which doesn’t include being at the forefront of Brexit negotiations with EU27.

    The Blue Tories will get the best deal for Britain, and the Scottish ‘colony’ will just have to lump it; aye right.
    And Porter sat there like a noddy dog saying nothing, allowing this arrogant imperialism to go unchallenged. Nothing about 62% Remain, nothing about ,well, anything.
    He was a prop,like the carefully folded Butcher’s Apron of St George.

    More and more Brit Nats are repeating the hoary old chestnut, the lie, the distortion, that Scotland voted to stay in the UK in 2014, and that’s an end to the matter..for ever, and a day.

    BBC Scotland is just a contraceptive pullerd on by their English Masters and Mistresses to give Scotland a right good shafting from the safety of deepest England.

    Of course Sally closed the Brit Nat Broadcast by reminding us all that T May had told the FM to get on with the day to day job, just in case one of the 61 year old dog whistle regulars had nodded off.

    Pointless little God Save the Queen Rule Britannia NHS Scotland shite propaganda drivel from the ministry of Truth.
    Respecting the will of the people of Scotland and serving them is NS Day Job, BBC.

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