Shortbread Zeal Deficiency



Recent attempts to scar the independence debate by smearing Alan Bissett will fail (Curious case of SNP’s shift from ethnic nationalism), and offer up further evidence of a Unionist community running out of ideas. These ad hominem attacks will fail, not because they have no basis in fact – but because the movement has a completely different source of energy.

While David Torrance’s article aims to paint a picture of the writer as a foaming-at-the mouth ethnic nationalist, he is, sadly, a metrosexual poet and performer. His fellow-accused, Alasdair Gray, as anyone who has met him will know, is a gentle creative genius. Sadly if these are the guys to be framed as leading the indy movement down a dark and violent path of blood and soil then the forces of Britishness will have to try harder.

What next? That vicious proto-militia leader Andrew Tickell to threaten Better Together with some indelicate banter? Aamer Anwar to discover his McGregor roots? Vonny Moyes (pictured) – ‘I’m deficient in shortbread-tin zeal’ – raising a standard from the offices of The Skinny? Does Tasmina Ahmed Sheikh (‘Why Vote Yes?’) or Tariq Ali really threaten the coalition? Perhaps.

We have a broad and diverse coalition, and, as Ali mentioned in his Edinburgh speech, isn’t it a bit rich for a country that drapes itself in the Union Jack in a regular orgy of nationalist symbolism and a government that sponsored the Hate Van to talk of ethnic nationalism?

I’m proud that the independence movement is backed across our communities and is resolutely about democracy and civic renewal.

Clearly the efforts to smear Bissett are spurious. They’re the result of a sort of pathological deference that feels threatened and completely disoriented by people standing up for themselves or having the most basic knowledge of their own culture or history.

It’s a confusing time for Better Together – swithering between accusations of ethnic nationalism (Torrance) and ridiculing people as ‘Indyluvvies’ (Foulkes).

Which is it?

There’s a reason for this play. They have nothing to say. They are floundering around in their own limited miserablism, John McTernan swaying between attacking gaelic and defending depleted uranium, David Maddox and Co at SoS desperately trying to shoe horn Nigel Farage into their coverage of the SNP conference.

As Janan Ganesh writes in the Financial Times today (Politically Scotland has already left the union behind):

Unionists should stop fretting about their campaign. Their predicament is much worse than that…The unionist campaign is a footling concern next to the deeper unionist plight. Independence may be averted in September but the trend of history is unmistakable.


Comments (13)

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  1. “Metrosexual”? That’s SO Noughties.

  2. Gordon says:

    In the event of a close ‘NO’ vote, all goodwill between London and Scotland will be lost. The vitriol from the Establishment has gone too far.

    1. Lorraine Fannin says:

      Gordon, I think you are right, unfortunately. It seems as if the ‘Better Together’ campaign forgot that time won’t stop after referendum day and whatever the outcome, life and history will continue. They forgot that people have memories and theses may be bitter, whatever the outcome. It doesn’t make for good future relations. Didn’t anyone mention this basic human fact to the Westminster politicians?

  3. It astonishes me that David Torrance is treated seriously as a journalist. He wears his bias proudly, certainly. Is he supposed to be the Scottish media’s tame Tory?

  4. Douglas says:

    Right behind the Boy Racer….

  5. Will McEwan says:

    David Torrance displays the infantile banality of the Better Together case with very considerable accuracy.
    I have no idea why Newsnet entertained him either . He has nothing – not even a mildly coherent unionist argument – to engage us with.

  6. davidmccann24 says:

    I really do wish Torrance would confine himself to critiquing his own medium, which presumably he is more familiar. Take this example from Huff Post’s Mark Piggott:

    “Just think: no more Robbie Burns, no more Scottish football results, no Scotch eggs or weird poond-notes, and best of all: no bagpipes. Away ye go, lads, with our best wishes. Vote “yes” on 18 September: because anything else would be voting for a negative. Which would be – as I believe the term goes – “radge”.

  7. jrmacclure says:

    That article by David Torrance is a pretty thoroughly nasty piece of work. I was shocked. I had actually thought he was a fairly decent person but it contain a few remarks that are quite xenophobic.

  8. Johnny come lately says:

    Things will never be the same again. The union is broken just like the political machine which feeds off it. Westminster politicians are simply so inept, London centric and self serving that they fail to see what is under their very noses.
    Meanwhile Cameron obsessed by the UK elections staggers from mistake to disaster failing even to contemplate that he will be forced to resign in the event of a no vote.
    It is around this time that The UK government should now at least begin to prepare the English people for the possible event of the dissolution of the British state, but no, the establishment continues in its blinkered way, believing that come the day everything will be ok and everything will continue just as it always has.
    I believe that many in England will wake up on the 19th with a great shock and anger in the event of a yes vote.
    Many posters elsewhere, who have family in England have commented on the surprise and disbelief when it is explained to southern relatives that it very possible that it could be a yes vote in September. The surprise and disbelief is usually explained by the fact that many in England take their news from the media, and the media paints a picture of it’s only Alex Salmond and a few frothing at the mouth bravehearts who want independence.
    The saddest thing is- is just how out of touch Westminster and the British establishment are. They actually believe that Scotland has taken leave of its collective senses in even contemplating leaving the union. They seem unable to see that the British political system is a freak which belongs in a past century and is an affront to democracy.

  9. Alasdair Frew-Bell says:

    I do enjoy the opposition and their miserable Scotch semiotics…a hybrid of Briggadoon, Braveheart and the Edinburgh Tattoo. They are welcome to these “symbols if they bring comfort in Britannia’s declining months. Just add the Wills and Kate comfort blanket and our NorthBrit commentators ought to be able to manage the trauma of having run out of anything worthwhile to vouchsafe. A not very fond adieu.

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