Double Standards


By Mike Small

We live in a democracy of double standards.

Je Suis Charlie and all that, but Steve Bell’s cartoon is just racist. Worse than that, it’s not funny.

A relentless anti-Scottish rhetoric has become mainstream. To protest is to be ‘chippy’. To complain is to be ‘precious’.

But the test is this. Can you imagine a Scottish newspaper publishing an equivalent cartoon about the English? You can’t and I’m so glad you can’t. It would be thought outrageous and bigoted. You can’t imagine someone coming on your television and arguing that the English language should die. You can’t imagine a vastly paid BBC presenter calling someone a ‘one eyed English idiot’.

We don’t need to rest on the English alone to peddle this sort of stuff. We have our own bigots here.

Poor Allan Massie is suffering from selective memory: “We have already seen vile behaviour in the course of the Scottish referendum campaign, with insults flying, open hostility in the streets, and a nationalist mob braying outside the BBC in Glasgow. The mood in Scotland remains tense and ugly – and those living south of the border should take note because the mood could quickly sour there too.”

He seems to have forgotten about George Square where a unionist mob ran riot through Glasgow while the boys in blue failed in their basic duty.

Fear breeds anger and hatred and the deep pool of self-loathing that many Scottish unionists draw on is becoming ever more apparent. “If, as many fear, the Scottish Nationalists take control of English affairs that mood will turn to fury” he complains without telling us where such fury would go.

“Democracy is at stake” we’re told with an irony bypass he seems oblivious to. For decades Scottish votes have been wasted and we’ve tolerated a government we didn’t elect.

To vote is to undermine democracy.

“A government formed with the support of a party that rejects England and the English – what would English MPs and English people make of that? Why on earth should the English tolerate this? Who’s speaking for English independence? Middle England would be furious and, speaking as a Scot, I have to say it would be right.”

“The English bulldog has woken from a long sleep, and is beginning to snarl” he writes (If Scotland rules England, I can foresee the Thames foaming with much blood) in threatening tones. Massie, channeling Enoch Powell, has descended from High Tory to float off to somewhere on the far-right consumed by a torrent of cultural self-loathing and political apoplexy where he may disappear amongst the pages of English tabloid bile.

How to respond to such bigotry of Bell, Massie and Mitchell?

It should be confronted and called out again and again. But we should rise above it. Our agenda is social justice. Let others speak of rivers of blood if they like. We are about hope, change and solidarity. This disgraceful narrative of casual racism should be mocked but not mirrored. Progressive England and progressive unionists should stand up and not act as apologists for this. It will be interesting to see if they have a voice.

Comments (100)

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  1. bringiton says:

    None of these “proud” Scots will be forced to live in Scotland against their will.
    Since they see no issue with England running Scotland’s affairs,presumably they consider themselves as fundamentally English.
    The smoke and mirrors deployed by the Westminster to cover up England’s domination of Scotland’s affairs is about to be swept clear and these “proud” Scots are going to have to decide where their identity lies.
    Perhaps that is what is exercising them at present?

    1. Donnie says:

      As Bella says, ‘rise above it’. Bringing England into this just plays Massie’s game. You can address the problem without making it Scotland v England.

      1. Spot on, Donnie”

  2. ronald alexander mcdonald says:

    How do you define “progressive unionists” Mike?

    1. Frederick Robinson says:

      The Highland Clearances….to Devolution and….a selective (selected by Scots) referendum the ‘progressive’ Scots refuse to accept the result of, despite having set it up themselves (choosing which ‘Scots’ qualified to vote; adding 16-year olds on the (mistaken) assumption that would swing it their way), then, losing the vote, casting aspersions on everybody else.
      Not progressive enough for you?

      1. Dodgardiner says:

        Not sure what your point is – Indy supporters accept that we didn’t get the result and are focussing on making our votes count as a voice for Scotland.
        The ‘winners’ are now screaming that if we vote for a party which will stand up for Scotland then the (hopefully) 20-30 SNP MPs somehow rule the 500 British Nationalist MPs.
        You won, we are playing by your rules within your system and you are still greetin about it ffs why don’t you just deny us the right to vote because that’s what you really want.

  3. Big Jock says:

    Yes our newspapers would be ridiculed and reported to press complaints, for printing anti English propaganda.

    It is racist. But for me I am used to it. The old saying about scratching the surface, and finding the true unionist underneath is so apt. What’s coming out now is something that was thinly veiled for 50 years. The English unionists and media tolerate the Scots, only as long as they keep their mouths shut and know their place.

    Lets be honest about this. The English society see themselves as the centre of the universe and always have. They are anti French,anti German ,anti Irish and now anti Scots.

    Time we left them to fester on their deluded self importance.

    1. maxikerr says:

      “Well said Jock”.

    2. Frederick Robinson says:

      If you followed Steve Bell regularly, you’d find that he’s capable of ‘worse’ than that; it depends on the sensitivity of his subjects. Scots clearly more sensiitive than you’d imagine from some of the anti-Unionist/-Westminster/-English (and vice versa) garbage and filth spewed out during the run-up to the referendum. Or even the guy on this website (forgot his name as soon as I saw his ‘cartoons’) who can’t even be bothered to do his own drawings and simply shows distorted photos of e.g. Jim Murphy or David Cameron with cross-eyes or their tongues sticking. REALLY satirical stuff.

      1. Clootie says:

        More nonsense. An anti Westminster stance has NOTHING to do with my opinion of the English. However The bile being produced by the unionist owned MSM is “hate speech” against Scots.

    3. They look down on everyone who isn’t them.
      Because they don’t know who ‘they’ are after 1000 years of Norman brainwashing.
      It will hurt when they finally see the truth but long term England will be the happier for it.

    4. Hugo says:

      Couldn’t have put it better myself…..we must cut political ties with this system.Leave our “friends” south of the border to their own corrupt devices.Come the GE in may we have the chance to really give a louder voice to Scotland…let’s not miss this time ! leave the pointless, childish nonsense and insults to them.

  4. jimnarlene says:

    The unionists asked Scotland to stay, Scotland stayed. We are taking part in democracy, within the rules of the Westminster democratic setup. If the unionist parties do not like it, why were they so desperate to hold on to us, with promises of listening and as near federalism as it is possible. Are we not better together? Or is that the case only if Scotland votes for Westminster based parties? Rarely getting the government, the Scots voted for.
    These racist attacks, for that is what they, are unacceptable, unfounded and would not be tolerated, if the subject matter were not the Scottish people.

    The unionist side won, the referendum; they are now losing the plot, get over it. The yes side have and are playing the Westminster game, to give Scotland a voice; long since stifled by the self serving establishment, an establishment still enamoured with it’s self and the lapdog of the rich and powerful.

    1. Frederick Robinson says:

      Any group of 4 million voters (the North East, Yorkshire, my Midlands, the West Country, even chunks of the South East nowadays) could say as much, and with as much cause. You may be right about the establishment; but the establishment (with some exceptions) varies all the time.

      1. barakabe says:

        Frederick why are you even on these pages other than to troll? Most of us on here know everything you’re going to say before even you say it. Its predictable & boring. We know you’re a unionist. Big deal. Go & play with your unionist chums. Yes we know everything the other side thinks ( we’re not stupid- we’re actually very well informed up here with that tinternet thingymaboab). The establishment varies all the time? Jeezus wept!

      2. gralloched says:

        OK Fred ! OK !
        You won ! You won !
        Collect your prize in may.

  5. My comments to Steve today and back in April after the Salmond one

    From: John Robertson
    Date: Monday, 9 March 2015 12:25
    To: Steve Bell
    Cc: Maurice Smith , Keith Bird
    Subject: Today’s Nicola Cartoon

    How about an HSBC and the Guardian cartoon – feart?
    Fatuous Corporate Dupe?

    Professor John W Robertson

    From: Steve Bell [mailto:[email protected]]
    Sent: 29 April 2014 19:51
    To: John Robertson
    Subject: Re: Cartoons of course

    How dare you accuse me of being anti-Scottish, ye fatuous nationalist dupe. As a half breed myself I can say what I like about Salmond, and youse can stick yer report on bias up yer airse.

    On 29 April 2014 16:50, John Robertson wrote:
    Please stop the anti-Scottish stuff
    You don’t understand
    It’s upsetting me because I still love all your other work
    Gonnae no dae that?

    1. IAB says:

      I wouldn’t even contact him. He ceased to be funny or satirical years back. I point this racism out to people whenever I see it. Massie isn’t getting the reaction he wants and people are beginning to tire of Daily Mail Tory propaganda and Bell is past his sell-by date. This stuff serves to make the No voters think and hardens the resolve of the rest of us.

    2. Bugger (the Panda) says:

      So S=teve Bell si a half breed.

      Just the one half?

      1. Mae Carson says:

        I thought he was just a halfwit, is that the same thing?

    3. Frederick Robinson says:

      So, John Robertson, it’s all right for Steve Bell to take the mickey out of everybody except the Scots? Diddums. Assuming the ’emails’ are genuine and not your fantasy self-emailing. By the way, I used to teach EFL, rather than SFL (Scots as a Foreign Language), so I may be mistaken, but shouldn’t that last sentence be ‘No gonnae dae that?’?

      1. IAB says:

        I teach EFL and speak Scots as a first language and John is grammatically correct.

      2. Doug Daniel says:

        You’re unfamiliar with the lighthouse keepers from Chewin’ The Fat, then?

      3. Hugo says:

        Takin the mickey is one thing but this stinks of racism.I would like to think that this kind of crap will help to persuade NO voters to rethink what they did in September and to make the right decision in May, which is to vote for SNP. I can smell the fear from Westminster all the way up here in Scotchland. Our day will come.

      4. Emails are real. I was surprised when he replied and that he was so angry. Still not sure why he was.

    4. Lynsey says:

      They’re ma baws an Ah’m playing wi them?

  6. Alastair McIntosh says:

    Curiously, as this came in I was just researching the source of Milton’s saying:

    “They who have put out the people’s eyes reproach them of their blindness.”

    (For the academics, it’s John Milton, “An Apology For Smectymnuus,” Section VIII (1642), The Prose Works of John Milton, )

  7. From Maurice, the exquisitely funny – Je suis bellend! My ribs hurt!

  8. Robert Graham says:

    yep the fiction of we are all better together crap unmasked we us the rulers will grant you lot extra even though we don’t need to powers to distribute your pocket money as long as we agree with what you are spending it on this lot have never really grasped this devolution thingy have they ?? like they haven’t really grasped how we get a little pissed hearing 1966 /2-3-4-5 times a year every bloody year since even when they are talking about the bloody weather or even the latest must see cookery programme and this latest cartoon by clowns oh just a joke ok oh cant you take a joke jock oh you’re too sensitive aye right stick yer jokes up yer bloody arse -just a wee joke by the way funny isn’t it don’t you think

    1. Hugo says:

      Steve Bell is obviously a radical,fearless,brave and very very clever commentator. One thing which has to be asked however is would he, in his bravery, have insulted Muslims,jews or made reference to ISIS in the same way……I think not. That shows how brave he is, a shitebag not worth bothering about. Our day will come.

  9. Rosa Alba Macdonald says:

    Worse than the racism is the inherent sexism: the lack of consideration of the impact of this on people who are survivors of familial abuse.
    Not only will it evoke flashbacks in some of us or a feeling of unease, queasiness and set us off kilter for a while, it turns the issue of incest into a matter of ridicule, and as such, challenged any progress in challenging attitudes to, or protecting those who have gone through this.
    There is a photo for International Women’s Day doing the rounds: “I can’t believe I am still protesting this shit”. Truly this.

    On a broader scale, this cartoon recalls the anti-Semitism of the 19th C. How little have we progressed – it is not unreasonable to wonder if we will see cartoons involving ravaging the dead or consuming new borns at this rate.

    And all this tension and agression, a country torn assunder of which columnists speak: I have seen it only on Twitter or in the halls of Scottish Labour activists. My staunchest Unionist friends have moved on; my staunchest Independentista friends regrouped and renewed their campaign, now for Home Rule with wistful looks to future Independence. All come together in assorted gatherings, regularly with no bloodshed or even unfortunate verbal exchanges. I cannot imagine Stonehaven is unique in this.

    1. Steve Bowers says:

      I’m in Stonehaven, just waiting for more leaflets to deliver.
      Unfortunately a very well known local lady “unfriended” me on FB on the morning of the 19th. I messaged her on the 15th asking her ( and partner ) round for a wee snifter on 20th and saying I couldn’t wish her luck with the ref cos it went against everything I believed in but it would be nice to meet up afterwards, she didn’t reply but on the morning of the 19th she sent me a very brazen message of the “ha ha ha you lost, back in your box ” type of thing.
      I pointed out that there was nothing worse than a bad winner as did a few other FB friends, at that point she unfriended and hasn’t been seen since.
      Not sure I’m I’m happy or sad about it, bit of both really if I’m honest.

    2. Frederick Robinson says:

      Anti-Semitism was not politically-based. Like the SNP/Salmond/Sturgeon, Farage especially, but also Cameron, Osborne (booed by 80,000 people at the Olympics), Miliband (can’t eat a bacon sandwich, betrays his brother, looks like a cartoon) etc.,etc., etc. They all choose to put themselves forwards to ‘show us the way’; and are likely to get criticised. Your ‘incest’ comment has some validity in the light of the familial abuse you mention. But (a) Steve Bell didn’t commit the abuse (b) logically, if ‘Scotland’ (as defined by Alex Salmond/the SNP is to be the self-defined (and -limited, even Scots-born-and-bred but outwith ‘Scotland’ not ‘referendum-Scots’) nation he/they visualise(s), is not what Bell suggests – more, rather than less, likely?

      1. Frederick Robinson says:

        (Sorry: didn’t finish my second sentence:) ‘etc,.etc.,etc. – all get lampooned by Bell, Martin Rowson et al ALL THE TIME. It’s a tradition dating back to the 18th century. And maybe even earlier).

    3. Andrew Macnair says:

      Great posting. Thanks

  10. Monty says:

    I don’t think the cartoon is about the Scots or Scotland it is about the SNP

    1. In what way does it illuminate the nature of the SNP?

      1. Shaun says:

        The fact that it consists of the two main SNP figures?

    2. Darien says:

      Aye, right!

    3. andyshall says:

      Spot on, Monty. To accuse Steve Bell of racism is the sort of ludicrous guff that seems to spring from a worrying form of political authoritarianism. Bringiton’s anti-racism meanwhile seems to be a call for ethnic or political cleansing – is this really the progressive vision of a new Scotland ?

    4. bearinorkney says:

      You should just have left it at the first three words Monty.

  11. Robin Kinross says:

    Steve Bell’s punchline is very second-hand – it is borrowed from the conductor Thomas Beecham, who was probably thinking of English folk dancing:
    It was probably funny the first time round, but it’s been quoted to death.

  12. Was anyone arrested and/or charged with criminal behaviour in George Square back in September – I know that two innocent lassies were arrested but after four plus months were released without charge. What of the perpetrators of abuse and violence? Anybody know the answer?

  13. Big Jock says:

    John -Please tell me that the reply you got was tongue in cheek? Can’t believe people are that bigoted!

    It’s quite interesting that the most anti Salmond people are the London/Jocks.

    1. Tongue in Cheek – at first I thought that but not so sure now.

  14. Anton says:

    Although I find myself uneasy about David Mitchell’s post, the accusation of this post that he’s arguing that Gaelic “should die” is flatly untrue.

    What he actually says is that “Gaelic is still a living language and I hope it stays that way…let’s support those who speak it…I wish it well and hope it survives.”

    Not Bella at its best.

  15. June Stewart says:

    I posted a comment about Allan Massie’s tabloid trash talk on the Mail’s website but I guess my request for intelligent, factual and considered journalism fell on deaf ears. His use of terror journalism is appalling, thank goodness for Bellacaledonia, Common Space, Wings Over Scotland etc for providing news platforms that reflect the truth, as Walter Lippmann quoted “There can be no higher law in journalism than to tell the truth and to shame the devil.”
    Guess we know who the devil is ……

    1. Ben Donald says:

      Is he losing his marbles? Is this really the subtle, humane author of “A Question of Loyalties”?

    2. David Williams says:

      Nice to read a calm and intelligent comment. Thanks June.

  16. Whaboutery

    Tom Gallagher too?

    1. What can you make of that guy? I am genuinely mystified by his political position.

  17. Ken Waldron says:

    Bell’s cartoon strangely would only make sense if the incest jibe was aimed at the Englands political elite…after all Prime Minister Cameron, Mayor of London, Boris….Chancellor Osborne… the queen & royal family etc ARE actually ALL related…

  18. Andrew Skea says:

    The best solution is for everyone to reject Nationalism and co-operate to fight for issues that we believe in.
    Look what happens when countries descend into Nationalism – Serbia, Ukraine, etc.

    1. Yep, look what happens – Finland, Latvia, Slovakia, Mauritius, Costa Rica, New Zealand etc.

      1. ian says:

        Well said,dont you just love it when they dont get their facts right.The union’s had 307 years to work how much more time do they need.

  19. Richard Harris says:

    “I’ve worked for the paper (Guardian) from the days when I regarded it as a bourgeois, SDP-loving crapsheet. In some ways nothing has changed, except that nowadays the SDP-lovers would be considered far too leftwing.” -Who? Steve Bell 2010.

    Scotland is really now the litmus for the Guardianista faux-left and its Deeply Decents. Owen Jones, Steve Bell – Madame Toynbee, Marty Kettle and almost all its assorted hackery stamp and curse. Things move, and not by “Us”? Never.

    It used to be organised labour that the SDP shivered from and loathed. The mob at the gate. “You know, Thatcher has her good points etc.” Now its radical Scotland.

    “Despise Scottish Politics”? – just rearrange the letters Steve.

  20. I hope the Daily Bile make it more racist then eventually the blind NO’sers will twig[The one’s with half a brain that is].
    As an aside. Has anyone noticed how many Charlie Pride songs apply to Westminster?
    Crystal Chandeliers [against expenses]
    The Mansion On The Hill [to look down on Scotland].
    The Snakes come out at Night [with Blue Nun wine and go to Annabels night club in London]
    The above applies to the Unholy Trinity.

  21. liz says:

    This type of commentary in the Brit Nat press, is to try to stir up a violent response.

    They want to be able to ‘send in the troops’ like they did in NI.

    Because there was no social, media around then, we all got our info from the MSM, you have to wonder just how much was stirred up by the Brit establishment .

  22. Alistair Gray says:

    I agree with the article re the ugly anti-Scottish context of much of the English media at this time.

    But Steve Bell’s cartoon in itself I think is unobjectionable. As an earlier poster points out, it’s about the SNP, not the Scots.

    The thrust of the cartoon is that the SNP has only one objective – independence – and that independence has no rationale other than an appeal to kitsch culture, here parodied as “incest and Scottish country dancing”, in echo of the famous saying that one should try everything once except incest and morris dancing.

    I think Steve is quite wrong to see the SNP as a single issue party, and he seems to have no understanding at all of Scotland’s motives for seeking independence. So I find his cartoon technically clever, but satirically stupid. All the same, I can’t really see that he’s out-of-order other than for his enduring ignorance of Scottish politics. If Steve drew the same cartoon with UKIP and morris dancing, he’d have a point and we’d all laugh.

  23. Good piece by Mike Small, it really does need calling out. The rest of us don’t have their luxury of a platform for the right of reply. The Bell cartoon is just disgusting on so many levels, nothing clever or funny.

    The independence movement has the best and the brightest in cartoonists, and writers, so we must rise above this gutter press. Massie just sounds plain deranged, but it is also incitement.

    I have made a complaint to IPSO, and made a donation to Salmonds viewfinder, so I feel a bit better. I know my SNP branch colleagues will be further fired by this latest, following as it does on David Hamilton’s sexist, derogatory remarks about the FM.

  24. Ken MacColl says:

    I was at the first rally outside the BBC Scotland (sic) Pacific Quay HQ and it was on orderly, good natured mixed crowd with many families, youngsters and dogs on leashes. I spent part of my time there speaking to a couple of police and they said to me that there was no need for their presence, I am willing to bet that Massie was not there and find it strange that if there was any irregular behaviour on the BBC’s doorstep it was neither reported at the time, recorded or included in the news. ” A nationalist mob baying outside the BBC in Glasgow” is simply fiction.

    When on holiday in Europe I occasionally used to buy the Guardian as the best choice of a bad lot because I remember at one time it was liberal, left of centre and contained good feature writing. Its relevance to Scotland was never very evident and before the referendum it had clearly just become yet another South East of England broadsheet although it has to be said that it has nobody quite as ridiculous as Alan Cochrane contributing on a regular basis.

    1. Lynsey says:

      I was at the third Anti-BBC bias peaceful protest and even met with the police in advance to help organise the stewarding for the day with others and the relationship between the organisers and the police was more than good – they were immense and really respectful of what they saw. Nothing like a ‘mob’ lol He is just making stuff up. If he had been there, he couldn’t have failed to be impressed. What a party atmosphere, such a positive feeling, full of hope and aspiration. Pity the poor guy who doesn’t get the point and makes his judgement based on his own fetid imagination.

  25. Donald Mitchell says:

    Offence is taken, not given. I choose not to be offended by this cartoon, although i agree it’s not very good.
    It can’t be racist because the SNP is not a race but merely a political party and therefore fair game for cartoonists.
    I would also contend that Scots are not a race but a people, we are not a minority or in any way victimised, we don’t need any protection from free speech at all.
    The danger for the Yes movement is that we become chippy and defensive when we should be confident and optimistic. I believe that Scottish voters have turned against Labour primarily because of their negativity, always the victims, never their fault; that mentality is exactly what we must avoid. We’re big enough and ugly enough to treat provocation for what it is.

    Je suis Steve!

    1. Anton says:

      Well said.

  26. emilytom67 says:

    Having lived and worked in England and married an English girl I have had first hand experience ot their dislike of us obviously not all of them but in general,most of it arises from complete ignorance of anything relevant about us,they know nothing of us and care less,but through history from circa 16th century we have been beset by weaklings/quislings and so it is even to-day,we have a rump of the populace that do not see themselves as Scots the Orange Order in particular,there is no dialogue with them they will not be convinced otherwise,maybe they should “walk” in leafy Surrey and find out what their fellow English Unionists think of them.

  27. Colboy says:

    When all else fails, throw a few insults around.These so called journalists (?) are only acting like spoilt children because they have just found out that their delusional vision of real life is not what they demand. Stamping their feet in anger and goading their intended audience. It reminds me of the film, ‘the Exorcist,’ the nearer to the truth of the impending demise of the ‘beast’ (read Establishment), the greater the bile and vitriol being spewed out. As with all bullies, they rely on intimidation to effect their purpose and unfortunately, their numerous victories make them even more bullish. Don’t rise to the bait, as this is the only thing they have left. To stir anger and hatred and invoke some response which will hinder the inevitable demise of the Establishment, Scotland’s progress and it’s release from a rotten system. Oh! and by the way, what has Susan Boyle EVER done to Steve Bell’s cartoonist??

  28. Dave says:

    I wouldn’t class what we’re seeing as racism, it’s more xenophobia or nationality discrimination. It’s a distinction worth making in order to avoid the perception of hysteria.

    1. Brian Fleming says:

      Strictly speaking, Dave, aye OK. But racism is nowadays pretty generally used to cover ethnic stereotyping and abuse. This is sensible, given that genetically races don’t exist anyway. Words are what we make of them. I don’t consider it hysterical to call this racism. I was pretty indignant myself, never having heard of the quote it is supposed to be based on. Knowing of that now, I can see where Bell is coming from, but even so, it’s a pretty insulting and very unfunny cartoon. Je ne suis pas Steve. Je ne suis pas Charlie aussi. Deliberately insulting something another (minority) culture holds as holy is very low behaviour, and pretty stupid too. If I go into a dangerous part of a town at night, anyone who attacks me is of course responsbile for their behaviour, but i’m also to blame for reckless disregard of my own safety, particularly if I go out of my way to provoke them. Disturb a wasp’s nest and risk getting stung.

      Anyway, the fear of being held hysterical should not inhibit criticism. If it does, it’s just another victory for the bullies.

    2. Hugo says:

      Xenophobia that’s the one !!

  29. flit2013 says:

    The original joke is that you should try everything in life once – except incest and Morris dancing. So it was really a joke against English men in funny hats with bells round their ankles. The cartoon just isn’t funny at all because it doesn’t connect with the original theme. Steve Bell’s standard can be very variablle – this is not one of his finest. If it referred to sheep shagging then it would be funnier but that is a reference us Welsh usually have to endure, not Scots. And there are plenty of jokes about English public school boys and sodomy….some of them are even reckoned to be true. Lighten up people, we all know the Guardian is a unionist paper

  30. flit2013 says:

    The original joke is that you should try everything in life once – except incest and Morris dancing. It was about English men with funny hats and bells round their ankles. The cartoon just isn’t amusing at all. Steve Bell’s standard is very variable – this is not one of his finest. If it referred to sheep shagging then it would be funnier but that is a reference us Welsh usually have to endure, not Scots. And there are plenty of jokes about English public school boys and sodomy….some of them are even reckoned to be true. Lighten up people. We all know the Guardian is unionist by inclination. And we’ll have to out up with a lot worse than this. The SNP = Nazi is the one that I detest because of the ignorance it shows.

  31. Steve Asaneilean says:

    Where does he get the rejecting England and the English guff from?
    Nothing I do or say or feel in support of self-determination for Scotland has ever contained a trace of anti-England or anti-English. Anti-Westminster? Yes – along with the vast majority of the 60 million who share our islands.
    They claim to be democrats but when we try to exert our democratic rights they demonise us and try to shut us down like the autocrats they really are.

  32. CRAIGthePICT says:

    “Worse than that, it’s not funny.” That made me laugh. Clever political satire usually makes a politically biting point in a humorous way. This is just bigoted racism.

    That The Guardian will give them both a voice and money shows they are no longer the news paper they once were. Pretty sad really.

    “Call it out…but rise above it” Exactly right.

  33. honeypunk3 says:

    Reblogged this on In Louis' Wake and commented:
    I’m loathe to have this hideous, racist cartoon on my blog but the article is good – and it’s important to show the kind of anti-scottish sentiment that’s flying around, and has been for over two years. Good work Bella, as always

  34. johnny come lately says:

    These hysterical articles and this shameful cartoon are obviously aimed at the rest of the UK and not Scotland. The Tory media (of all shades) is now exposing England, Wales and NI to project fear 2. This will eventually give a backlash and backfire just as it has in Scotland.
    This is not England or the ENGLISH. This is the actions and poison of a political system and its henchmen, which is at the end of its tether and nearing collapse.
    The political system is becoming more and more unstable, disjointed and erratic with each passing week. The behavior of the MSM and Westminster politicians is becoming more and more panicked and irrational with each new twist and turn.
    To actually think that all of this hatred and bile is being brought about because Britains 3rd largest political party is having the audacity to want to take part in the democratic decision making of the UK.
    Imo it is only a matter of time before something gives. You can almost feel its pain as every new self created catastrophe and every new self inflicted wound creates more fissures and cracks. How and when it will come to a head is anyone’s guess, but I have a feeling it is going to be quite dramatic when it comes.

    1. leavergirl says:

      They are losing. So they fight dirty. Expect more of it. And more “divide and rule” tactics too.

  35. Dan Huil says:

    All through the referendum campaign the supposedly enlightened Guardian increasingly showed its true British nationalist colours. Now, with imminent SNP gains, the clearly-rattled Guardian has joined its anti-Scottish London-centric brethren in casual racism.

  36. Shaun says:

    Seems like an attack against the SNP to me. I don’t see what’s “anti-Scottish” about it unless you subscribe to the nonsensical idea that the SNP represent Scotland.

    1. tartan1314 says:

      It is a not funny cartoon. I wouldn’t be particularly offended but I don’t think jokes” about incest – whatever the morris dancing nonsense it hails from – are appropriate in times where the suffering of numerous children at the hands of celebrities and one so far named politician (Cyril Smith only tip of ice berg I think) are coming to light. My opinion for what it’s worth.

    2. tartan1314 says:

      It is a not funny cartoon. I wouldn’t be particularly offended but I don’t think jokes” about incest – whatever the morris dancing nonsense it hails from – are appropriate in times where the suffering of numerous children at the hands of celebrities and one so far named politician (Cyril Smith only tip of ice berg I think) are coming to light. My opinion for what it’s worth.

      Also true it is targeted at SNP but the inference of much of media coverage is how dare voters in Scotland think they should have a say. I know SNP not popular with some but it is each voter’s right to choose the candidate they want… that others don’t agree and that this vote combined with others might have an impact on the make up of next Gvt is irrelevant – that’s democracy for you

      1. Shaun says:

        That’s not what the media is inferring at all. A lot of people just find it ridiculous that a party that wants to break up the country could end up helping govern it in a few months. And as such they’re going to mock said party; that’s free press for you.

    3. Can you explain how the reference to incest and Scottish country dancing is relevant to a characterisation of the SNP, Shaun? In what way does it illuminate? What political point is being made?

      1. Shaun says:

        To me it looks like a play on the quote “You should try everything once except incest and Morris Dancing”, with the idea that the SNP will try almost anything to get it. At least that’s what I got out of it; but then I don’t have much interest in political cartoons.

    4. Brian Fleming says:

      They certainly represent a huge and still growing swathe of the Scottish people.

      1. Shaun says:

        And does that mean that they should not be parodied or scrutinised?

        Now that the nats are probably going to be more than just a few MPs sitting in the corner, you’re going to have to get used to the idea of people making political cartoons mocking you, like what happens to the rest of the parties that have more than a few MPs.

  37. Robson, Millburn, Charlton, Gasgoine, Beardsley, Shearer..... says:

    Howay lads and lasses, ower kid is less pompous and he’s a traffic coppa.

    If ye divent lighten up then divent say owt!

    1. Dean Richardson says:

      As a Geordie, you should know that there’s only one ‘l’ in Milburn, ‘Gasgoine’ should be Gascoigne, but that’s the start of a pretty decent team.

  38. Kaibeezy says:

    Re the “rivers of blood” reference, I did a refresher and found an interesting article by Mary Beard writing in the Times Literary Supplement blog ( She is Classics Editor of the TLS and Professor of Classics at Cambridge, thus likely has an idea what she’s talking about.

    At the same time, Allan Massie is a CBE, read history at Cambridge, has been the fiction critic for the Scotsman for many years, and is a successful historical fiction writer. I assume he also fully comprehends the meaning behind what he writes.

    Massie says: *To borrow the Roman poet Virgil’s phrase (but intending none of the racist malice Enoch Powell so famously lent it), I don’t say the rivers Thames and Mersey will literally foam with blood – but they might well do so metaphorically.*

    He claims to intend “none of the racist malice”. If not racist, then the conflict producing the blood in the river must be, what, only a political one? It’s a very colorful metaphor, blood red in fact. Is there any chance he doesn’t mean it in a racist way? Only if you believe him. I don’t.

    According to Beard, it’s not any generic bloody conflict that provided the quote, it’s a specific — specifically racist — conflict, that Powell, as a “first rate classicist” no doubt chose precisely for this subtext:

    >The words were spoken by the prophetic priestess, the Sibyl from Cumae (why Powell said “the Roman” isn’t entirely clear – perhaps he meant Virgil), just before she gave Aeneas the secret of going to the Underworld… She was prophesying the battles that Aeneas would face with the indigenous peoples of Italy before he would be able to found his brand new, multicultural city.
    >Virgil was offering a long-term message about ethnically mixed states: Rome would become a joint, shared community after all the bloodshed. But this was not what Powell had in mind. He was, I imagine, exploiting this quote because it was spoken by a divine prophetess who knew the truth about the future: he was going for classical legitimation for his *own* Sibylline prophecy about immigration.

    That is, Powell was on about *literal* bloodshed, not metaphoric bloodshed nor even the non-bloody conflict we have ostensibly replaced it with through our democratic processes. Massie must be aware of this background. It seems to me not only intellectually dishonest but unctuously, drippingly condescending for him to trivialize and try to duck responsibility for his words in this way. Clever dinosaur.

  39. gralloched says:

    The hysteria and blind panic are coming to the simmer.
    A rolling boil soon.
    So, so entertaining.
    The untied kingdom is disintegrating.
    Good riddance !

    1. Darien says:

      We’re merely playing with them now.

  40. arthur thomson says:

    @ Andrew Skea

    Yes, it was so much better when we had empires like the Soviet Union. Don’t you think?

  41. Ewan Kane says:

    Steve Bell has always been anti Scottish but his standards are now more akin to the Sun than the Guardian

  42. Major Disaster says:

    Wee Nicola says its ok for Steve Bell to lampoon her….

    “Nicola Sturgeon defends cartoonist Steve Bell’s right to poke fun

    Nicola Sturgeon has backed the cartoonist Steve Bell, accused of anti-Scottish racism for a provocative comic strip in the Guardian.

    In the cartoon, a sour-faced Ms Sturgeon says: “I will never ever compromise on our core demand for incest and country dancing.” It caused a storm of protest online, with some on Twitter saying they would complain to the police. ”


    Oh dear!

    Just what will the ‘Tartan Taliban do now?

    Der Fuherine has spoken!

    Will ‘Wingsy’ Campbell, Bella Caledonia, and all the other usual suspects be publically apologising to Steve Bell?

    Will they be eating a large slice of humble pie?

    I’m guessing not….


    Especially after they have made themselves into laughing stock.

    Je suis Steve Bell!

    1. bellacaledonia says:

      Good for Nicola. Loving the Nazi smear, well done. Stay classy! Self-loathing’s a wonder.

  43. khain says:

    Lighten up folks and play some Steve Bell SNP Bingo. You’ll be amazed how many lazy cultural stereotypes can fit into one cartoon.

  44. Gordon says:

    Didn’t recognise Nicola, but the saltire gave it away. Away and learn how to draw caricatures, Bell.

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