The turd way of politics

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We live in a topsy turvy world where black is white, where up is down, where inclusivity is castigated as racism and real racism is excused. Imagine that the BBC was filming a documentary following the work of a senior SNP politician, and that politician had been caught on camera calling the English “turds”. Would the BBC have acquiesced to a demand from the Scottish Government that the remark be expunged from the programme and not broadcast? Hell no.

The racist remark would have been the highlight, or rather lowlight, of the show. It would have spawned a spin away series of discussions and earnest panels of London based Scots intent on teaching us that anti-English bigotry forms the foundation of the Scottish identity itself, never mind it being central to the independence movement. There would be a series of newspaper articles from the Daisleys and Cochranes and Iain Martins of the press lecturing Scotland for its appalling racism and telling us that only the Union can protect us from such primitive atavism. SNP baddery would be in full and inglorious flight.

We would be told that it wasn’t just the minister who had sinned, but that the entire Scottish nation was at fault. The minister in question would be hounded, doorstepped, and compelled to issue an abject and grovelling apology before going into a disgraced retirement from public life, where he or she would be forced to subsist on a diet of milky tea and triangular cucumber sandwiches with the crusts cut off, while watching reruns of a particular fitba match from 1966 on an infinite loop.

Meanwhile independence supporters would be falling over ourselves to distance our movement from the comments. I’d certainly be amongst them. We’d be joining in the criticisms and making it clear that such sentiments have no place in the Scotland that we seek to build. Because they don’t.

Compare and contrast with what happens when it’s a senior member of the Conservatives who airs a traditional English prejudice. When the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg was making her documentary following Boris Johnson’s embarrassment of a career as Foreign Secretary, the less than diplomatic diplomat was caught on camera calling the French “turds”. Then under pressure from the British Government the BBC pulled the sequence.

Anti-French racism runs long and deep in English culture. That doesn’t mean that all English people hate the French, far from it. It doesn’t mean that modern English identity was created in reaction to French domination, although there is certainly a historic legacy of Englishness as something distinct from and formed in opposition to the Norman French domination and conquest of that country.

Yet there has not been, and there will not be, any expectation that Boris Johnson’s racist comment about the French should require any deeper examination of racist attitudes in England towards the French and other Europeans and the role that this racism may have played in the creation of the mythology of Brexit. However it is certainly indisputable from any uninvolved observer – Fintan O’Toole springs to mind – that anti-European racism and English exceptionalism are fundamental to the resentments that led to Brexit, whereas anti-English racism in Scotland is marginal and is rejected by the vast majority of independence supporters.

Boris Johnson has a long history of casual racism. He’s made racist comments about black people, about the inhabitants of Papua New Guinea. He wrote an article saying that the only problem with colonialism is that Britain doesn’t rule the colonies any more. He wrote a racist poem about the Turkish president. He allowed the publication of a racist poem about Scottish people when he was editor of the Spectator, and he himself has written racist comments about Scots. When he was on an official visit to Myanmar and was visiting a Buddhist shrine in Mandalay, he attempted to recite Kipling’s poem, either unaware or uncaring that it expressed some deeply racist and offensive comments about his Burmese hosts. In fact, just about the only nations that Boris Johnson hasn’t been racist about at one time or another are Anglosaxon ones.

This racism is shrugged off by Boris Johnson’s supporters. It’s just Boris being Boris, they chuckle, telling it like it is. That’s because Boris Johnson voices those racist sentiments that they themselves possess, and he says them for them. It allows them to be racist by proxy, enjoying the pleasure of their prejudice without having to take responsibility for it. They seek an England which wraps itself in the comfort blanket of a past when the UK bestrode the world and gunboated its way over the objections of lesser breeds. That’s what Brexit represents to them. It’s a rejection, a return, a reaction. It’s why they are obsessed with WW2, the last time that England’s mythology saw it stand gloriously alone – if only because they forget the Free French, the Free Poles, and all the other Allies.

Scotland is a different country. Scotland looks to the future and not the past. The evidence of that lies in the yawning disdain that Scotland has for royal events, in the paltry crowd which came out in Edinburgh to witness the retropageantry of the Queen’s visit to Holyrood. There are more people on a double decker bus. No one cared about the Royal Company of Archers, the Falconer General Pursuivant, or the Flummery-in-Chief’s medal bedecked uniform.

Scotland’s independence movement is defined by a civic nationalism which welcomes Poles, Portuguese, and the English who enrich this country by doing it the honour of choosing to throw their lot in with it and becoming a part of its story. Scotland seeks connections, alliances, friendships, because we know that we are a small country and total isolation is neither possible nor desirable. Scotland’s independence movement has a realistic sense of itself and its place in the world in a way that proponents of Brexit can never have, because Brexit is fundamentally driven by exceptionalism and the fantasy of a total independence that in the modern world can only be enjoyed by a superpower.

England is no superpower but in their nationalist exceptionalism the Brextremists still dream of being one. That’s the disconnect of Brexit. The only way to bridge the vast chasm between Brexit’s imagining of England and the reality of a medium sized European country is to fill it with resentments and the casual racism of Boris Johnson. It cannot be that Brexit’s England cannot achieve its goal of domination and total freedom because England is not as powerful as they want it to be. It can only be because the French are turds, the Scots are beggars, and the Germans are arrogant.

Scottish independence is driven by a realistic assessment of Scotland’s place in the world, and that realistic assessment must also tell us that we cannot wake England’s Brextremists up from their dreaming. Any attempt to do so will only be rebuffed in anger and fuel their resentments. All that Scotland can do is to protect itself. That means independence within Europe, forming alliances and friendships with other countries which likewise have a realistic assessment of their place in the world. The Brexit dreaming of English nationalism will only lead to a living nightmare.

Tony Blair once described his politics as the third way but his lies and mendacity only led to widespread disenchantment with politics in the UK. Now British politics is to be defined by Boris Johnson’s racism and Brexit – the turd way. Scotland has a better and a more honourable choice. That choice is independence.

32 comments on “The turd way of politics

  1. “Yet there has been, and there will not be, any expectation that Boris Johnson’s racist comment …” typo? Missing not?

  2. Bob Lamont says:

    Beyond the willing “typo-police” and corrections, an excellent synopsis of the current mirage.
    The title “Turd way of Politics” a cracker even Bliar might approve of through clenched teeth, but a portent of what’s to come whichever prospective PM lands their “precious” poisoned chalice… Excellent..

  3. Daibhaidh Geenwell says:

    Another excellent piece highlighting the differences between the motivators of politics in England as compared with those in Scotland. At the risk of sounding like Jordan Peterson the two countries have very different metaphorical substrates, their stories are very different. Their outlooks and aims are completely opposed both in terms of how we look after our people at home and how we relate those in the rest of the world. Time for Independence.

  4. Gordon bradley says:

    I’m English in England.
    You wouldn’t believe the casual racism and xenophobia you hear around the pubs here. The gawping pig ignorance and stupidity !
    I’m in despair !

    • Andy Anderson says:

      I am English in Scotland Gordon. Come and join us and escape the situation you find yourself surrounded by. We have idiots here, just not nearly as many.

    • Robert Harrison says:

      I do gordon ive seen it all before shows England hasnt changed on bit since i left in 2015 and you paul wake up what gordon says is fact this is common English practice even when i was a kid.

      • weegingerdug says:

        I lived in England for many years Robert. I don’t need to “wake up” to anything. But too often you cross the line and indulge in anti-English racism yourself. That’s not going to be tolerated.

        • Graeme says:

          Well said, Paul. There is ABSOLUTELY no place for Anti-English racism on this page, or in the Indepenence movement as a whole.

  5. Andy Anderson says:

    I have come across this ‘turd’ perspective a couple of times whilst manning my local Yes group street stall. There are several variants of it.

    We are all one country.
    We won the war so should leave the EU
    Foreigners take our jobs
    Theresa is wonderful standing up to non democratic Europe
    Coloured people should not be in the NHS
    Brexit will rid us of foreign invaders

    The list is long. The sad thing is those saying these words have no idea what they are talking about.

    Our media are often complicit are they often forget to challenge this type of comment as you highlight Paul with the Boris turd comment.

    Mild racism will always exist but the ignorance must be confronted

    • Shagpile says:

      I agree Andy, but there is a side to this ignorance coined in phrases which are common place in our evolving language which may well have not been if we were more open and tolerant earlier.

      Racist like “Came up the Clyde on a banana boat”, or misogynistic like “Do you think I zip-up the back”?

      Now I agree with political correctness but not consumed by it. It can be at times OTT. But people should always respect another human being and their Human Rights.

      I balk sometimes at the blatant misandry from the mouths of some feminists, yet accept they have a point to make which could have been better represented… a bit like “zip-up the back” in reverse, but there you go, back to ignorance.

      And back to Paul’s (yet again) excellent post… this is the media moulding our language as a tool to define British exceptionalism. We really have to “respect the Romans” you know, and when we’re forced to; eventually, they might consider hanging us up the right way. Paul really nailed it.

      • mogabee says:

        Confused at why both your phrases of being gullible are classed as ‘racist’ and ‘misandry’.

        • Shagpile says:

          Not sure what you wish me to clarify, but…

          The former phrase I assert is racist. The second misogynistic. I further assert that some feminists make comments which are misandrist in nature.

          Descendants of slaves (on banana plantations) arrived in ships to the UK (Windrush) in the 60s. A clue to my assertion. Also in the 60s, as Ghandi observed, “first they laugh at you” regarding equal rights for women… “burning bra’s”, my second.


          True to form… the “Windrush Scandal”… who cares? As Andy commented above.

          Scoffed at by “MSM in Chief” the BBC!

          Yes, they will keep us hung upside down until we concede… wonderful race the British.

          Does that help?

          • Shagpile says:


            Not being consumed by political correctness, by which I mean, it can be misused/misshapen as a tool for bigots. “Some feminists” as a case in point.

  6. bringiton says:

    After 1707 the Edinburgh and other revolting Burgh mobs didn’t go away,they just got democracy.
    We’re back and won’t be taking any more crap from Toffs,especially those from south of the border.
    These “toffs” view democracy as mob rule and will do everything they can to prevent it from having any say in “their” UK.

  7. Why do people keep mixing the union of the crowns with the union of the Parliaments, the queen would still, after independence, be the queen of Scotland until the Scottish people voted otherwise

    • Anne Martin says:

      Maybe, but she would be Elizabeth I of Scotland and II of England.

    • Daibhaidh Geenwell says:

      True and hopefully the people of Scotland will vote otherwise for Scottish Republic.

      • deelsdugs says:

        Aye, Scottish Republic sounds good to me…

      • Muscleguy says:

        To ensure it though immediately after a Yes vote (as soon as hangovers allow) we need to mint a Republic campaign for iScotland. The polls are against us, sadly, but such polls can be shifted.

        Liz is live to the issue though, which is why as well as protocol, she comes up here, resides at Holyrood House (she dislikes it) in order to open our parliament every year. The Royals will not be easy to dislodge and will try very hard to fit into iScotland. We cannot assume the public will agree with us.

        Not to mention the Lodge and the hardcore Yoons will fight us tooth and nail over it. Are you up for that?

  8. Dave tewart says:

    I have lived in Papua New Guinea.
    They have their problems that are left over from the mother of all parliaments.
    What I did learn from the Highland people is that they enjoy their cultures but they have also grown as a nation.
    I witnessed a group from one village handing over cash to the next village to support a man who had been laid off work due to a vehicle accident. The accident was deemed to be the fault of the first village’s chief and so compensation was being paid.
    In the past the compensation would have been ‘An Eye for an Eye’.
    I had a local gardener to keep the place tidy.
    I wanted to grown tomatoes outdoors, something we can’t do in Scotland. Bought a packet of seeds and he watched me plant them.
    He went off and returned with a tomato, cut it in two, showed me the seeds inside, and planted them beside my packeted ones. He thought I was mad buying seeds when a tomato has plenty.
    Their parliament is continually changing PM because of a voting system that was left to them by their colonial masters.
    Have a look at the island and see the crazy way the island is delineated, straight line borders that take no notice of the actual features on the ground, The western end was Dutch and the eastern end split between Germany in the north and Australia in the south.
    Their are reputed to be 700 individual languages spoken with Pigeon English a mixture of European words the common communication tool. Many locals speak several, I struggled with pigeon, johnson was a fool to call them as he did, they are just Humans with all our inherent tribalism traits, they have some very clever inhabitants and some politicians who can manipulate the population.
    At least they have their independence.

  9. Welsh Sion says:

    Off topic:

    Adam Price, AC/AM, Plaid Cymru Leader in Caerdein/Edinburgh last Thursday.

  10. I loved the oxymoron, ‘casual racism’, Paul.
    It appears that Johnson declared English Independence yesterday in Carlisle, by announcing that WM was the English Parliament.
    I also note with delight that Jenny Marra has tweeted that the 1707 stitch up was illegal, so de facto, there is no Union, never has been.
    Let’s all welcome her as she staggers from the Dark Side to the Enlightenment of Self Determination.

    Well, as the old adage goes, even a broken watch is right twice a day.

    I note that the National is running a Union Jackery campaign, taking on the English , and bafflingly German, supermarket chains which have taken to plastering the Butcher’s Apron over most of the packaging of their produce.

    The German chain Lidl even hasmini jacks on the price tags.

    Well, I guarantee you that the Tescos, Aldis and Morrisons of the supermarket world will remove all trace of the Imperial Fleg at the beginning of November, and replace it with Old Glory, the Stars and Stripes, when England, with Wales sucked kicking and screaming into the vortex with them, leaves the EU in a No Deal hissy fit, and is welcomed into Trumpland as the 51st State, ‘Old England’.

    The much vaunted Domestos washed chicken wings, Kentucky ‘Scotch’, and GM Rice Crispies will flood the shelves from Day One.

    Johnson was born in New York, one of the Royals who was given 2.4 million to do up his ‘cottage’ has married a Yank, and Liam Fox seems to spend most of his time on jollies to the States.

    I refuse to buy goods, fruit, food, with that hateful flag emblazoned on the packaging.

    Of course it is quite deliberate, a menacing statement of Imperial control of Scotland by Big England, and it is becoming as pervasive and insulting as the Nazi flags and symbols which spread throughout Europe as Hitler invaded country after country, until the Russians and the Yanks stepped in to call a halt to the 1930s version of Empire Jackery.
    No amount of angry e mails to CEOs will see the Butcher’s Apron removed from supermarket shelves.

    It is deliberate, it is designed to incite, goad, and threaten our citizens; of that. there can be no doubt.
    It is a coordinated campaign to put us in our colonial place.

    I urge all to leave this state engineered propaganda to rot on the shelves.

    They’ve even got Jacks on ready made Lasagne, that well known Middle England dish.

    • Bob Lamont says:

      “They’ve even got Jacks on ready made Lasagne, that well known Middle England dish.” 🙂
      If that was in Lidl, I happened to a look at that today (DIY usually) and it is made in Austria? No flag, nada. Will be trying it this week which saves on washing up.
      Oddly enough, when they do an “English” week here I’ve got to be quick grabbing Scottish cheddar as it disappears like a rocket, and yep, it was wearing a Saltire…
      It is a deliberate campaign from Government forced on producers and distributors, less to irritate than dominate and discard what was becoming highly successful branding under the Saltire, petty but such is the Ministry of Truth.
      I even saw a nice lambswool sweater in Italy a few months ago with “Made in Scotland” and a Union Jack under it on the label. Silly money anyway but the label would give me a rash.
      The Union flag was standard branding in England for years for English product and I didn’t pay it any mind, from my perspective it has always been an English flag.
      However churlish, I agree that refusing to buy the product because it bears a UJ may just force the companies to reconsider, they’re not in business to make losses.

      • Bob, here in the West of Glasgow, they even have the Jack on, irony of ironies, their ‘Deluxe’ Quiche Lorraine.
        Isn’t that a ‘Turdish’ dish?
        Johnson is a walking Ox and moron, for sure.
        Although I get a wee ‘ouch’ writing ‘moron’.
        I have a sense that it is now one of the Banned Words.
        No matter.

      • Bob Lamont says:

        “Isn’t that a ‘Turdish’ dish?” – You’re older than I thought, everyone knew it was Luton Airport in the 1970s, used to feature in a Campari ad….

    • Bob Lamont says:

      PS – Johnson, Oxymoron, less a literal than interpretive observation of the man’s persona and physique.

  11. panda paws says:

    “When the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg was making her documentary following Boris Johnson’s embarrassment of a career as Foreign Secretary, the less than diplomatic diplomat was caught on camera calling the French “turds”. Then under pressure from the British Government the BBC pulled the sequence.”

    The irony being Kuenssberg’s one of the London Scots that would be endlessly criticising the SNP if they had done the same…She’d dine out on it for weeks.

    • Bob Lamont says:

      The greater irony do you not think is to remain submerged in the interim only to surface now at his final audition for Prime Poisoned Chalicellor ?
      It’s a nest of vipers down there, no less Keunssberg…

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