Tolerating Intolerance

Cameron Archibald (who tweets at @MammothWhale) unpicks the issues after the AUOB Stirling march.
Many people who advocate a political vision do so from an experience they once had or still witness. Perhaps a member of the Conservative party once visited an ex-communist state and witnessed its economic/social problems. Perhaps a Labour member has lived or seen first hand poverty stricken areas created by the hand of capitalism. Our views and experiences differ from each other but define who we are. For me it was the sixteenth of April 2017 which really defined me as a Scottish nationalist.

It was the day I met Eduardo from Uruguay.

It was another Saturday with Yes Stirling, myself and other activists discussing various topics with members of the public. I was talking to an elderly woman who was curious as to why the Scottish government had not already called a second independence referendum. She was firmly opposed to one, with our debate slowly forming a small crowd. One man who joined the crowd was Eduardo, listening in to our discussion. When it was clear myself and the woman were not making progress she turned to Eduardo and asked “So what do you make of this fine mess?”

From that very moment Eduardo took the spotlight and gave a passionate speech that few could match. He did want a second independence referendum. Why? He spoke of how Brexit had made him feel unwelcome by the Conservative government. He spoke of feeling vulnerable and hurt by the bigotry he had faced from fascist individuals. He spoke of the contributions immigrants had made to the UK and Scotland, and how they were washed away by hatred. He spoke of so much within a minute and made his leave. Most of us were left speechless.

It’s hard to explain the power his voice carried. You could feel the emotional strain in his voice, yet also a passion for wanting a better Scotland. It was a “you had to be there to get it” moment. The woman I debated with quietly left. I couldn’t blame her. I desperately looked for Eduardo and wanted hear from him more. To my luck he returned.

He fully introduced himself. Eduardo from Uruguay told me how originally Scotland made him feel welcome, made him feel like he belonged here. Eduardo was so proud of Scotland and felt he was Scottish. Yet, he was so hurt by Westminster. When he spoke to me again he had tears in his eyes. He told me about how he was fighting for my generation, fighting for young people to come together on the world stage. He wiped away his tears I gave him a hug and asked if I could get a photo with him. The photo would be a reminder that the campaign for independence was not for myself. It was for people like Eduardo. I fight to tackle the very bigotry and fascist views he faces from a rise in ethnic nationalism. While he fights for my generation I’ll fight for him.

Eduardo, I cannot thank you enough. Wherever you are right now, know that myself and others are on your side. You are my inspiration

​ (Far left is myself, to the left of me is Eduardo.

So why am I talking about this now?

I sadly fear that similar bigotry faced by Eduardo is seeping into the independence movement, with many individuals wishing to normalise it. The bigotry I refer to is from Siol Nan Gaidheal, a ethnic-nationalist group who hold extreme anti-English views and commonly attend All Under One Banner events. I recently wrote an open letter to the organisers of AUOB and asked them to either expel this group from their marches or to challenge the fascist views they carry. You can read it in full here. My letter was endorsed by the independence group English Scots 4 Yes, with many prominent SNP politicians holding a similar view to my own. AUOB have themselves responded that they agree with my points and their banner is not welcome, however they cannot physically expel their banner from rallies.

For those who argue that Siol Nan Gaidheal do not hold fascist views, you only have to read through their weasel worded website until you find out they wish to treat all English born citizens as “suspects“.

The group also sees multiculturalism, the belief of various ethnic/cultural groups sharing society together as equals, as an enemy. Again, look at their carefully worded manifesto redefining nationalism. Also take note the group put quotation marks around multiculturalism, suggesting it is a red flag (something which the far right tend to do).

Of course many people might have caught on to the fascist vibe by just looking at their dark logo.

Despite this a small nutty minority have come out opposed to my suggestion. This is largely lead by blogger Peter A Bell, who quotes anti-Nazi theologian Martin Niemöller in defence of Siol nan Gaidheal marching at Yes events.

Quoting an anti-Nazi theologian to defend fascists marching with the Yes movement does not add up. Most of us can agree this is a new low for Peter, unless anyone can realistically imagine “first they came for the fascists…”

Anyway, Peter’s main argument essentially comes to four points.

1) By excluding Siol Nan Gaidheal from the Yes movement it no longer makes us an inclusive movement.

2) Whoever decides to expel Siol Nan Gaidheal from the movement will abuse their power and start expelling others.

3) Therefore we should welcome everyone under the Yes movement, regardless of their political beliefs.

4) Finally, those wanting to expel fascist groups from future Yes events are more of a threat than the actual fascist group.

You would imagine that Peter makes these points on the basis that SnG are not fascist, yet in his own blog he argues “I know enough about their ideology to be certain that I have no interest in knowing more. As someone who self-identifies politically as a civic nationalist, I find ethno-nationalism totally alien and profoundly objectionable.”

So, let’s break down each argument.

In my original letter I proposed the question “is it inclusive to include activists who wish to exclude fellow citizens for their political beliefs or place of birth?” The answer is quite simply no. This can become somewhat of a paradox, which is touched on by philosopher  Karl R. Popper. When one discusses this paradox they usually come across this graphic.

Very few would struggle to argue against Popper’s conclusion. You could possibly argue that this is not really a paradox. Intolerance is ultimately the antithesis of tolerance, thus the rejection of it is to maintain tolerance itself. So really the paradox is but a quirk of language. But either way the rejection of intolerance does not mean the Yes movement can no longer be inclusive. By allowing Siol Nan Gaidheal to march with us without issue gives tacit consent to their beliefs. How can we truly welcome English citizens if we are okay with marching alongside anti-English fascists? We cannot. Which is why expelling this group from future events is important.

Peter is purely focused on the independence movement, but this goes beyond that. The rise of extremism is something that must be tackled everywhere. To cast out fascists and ask them to host their own events by themselves is the least controversial thing the Yes movement can do.

The second point raised is the abuse of power. Who gets to decide who stays or who goes? Where is the line drawn? Will a new Yes dictator rise and destroy our very nation?!

Well the dictator already exists. He goes by the name Peter A Bell, telling individuals and groups if they are true independence supporters or not.

It’s quite telling. Peter does little to nothing to challenge the fascist views of  Siol Nan Gaidheal, but will attack anyone who goes out their way to criticise elements that can damage the Yes movement or support other groups who don’t fully back independence. I don’t know about you, but does that not sound a little bit…intolerant?

There is no elite group of people who decide who is and who is not welcome into the mainstream Yes movement. It is ultimately decided by the organic grass-roots movement. My criticisms of SnG are not the final say. I am one of many nationalists who oppose their fascists ideals. Collectively, as a movement, we decide. When it comes to individual events the organisers will decide who are and who are not welcome. With the way All Under One Banner have reacted and from the mood on social media, it is safe to say most Yes supporters oppose their presence at future events. Which is not surprising, since quite obviously most Yes supporters oppose fascism.

The third point Peter raises is utterly ludicrous. Let us put it another way.

Put yourself back at the march in Bannockburn (or just imagine if you weren’t there). The sun is shining, everyone is laughing and getting ready to move. We’re ready to spread out the positive message of independence. It’s all feeling good. Then, out of nowhere, the Klu Klux Klan appear. They stroll in wearing their traditional outfits and carrying large crosses. They quietly join the back of the march. With little public knowledge the group have voted to back Scottish independence.

Everyone turns in shock and horror. The crowd begins to chant for them to leave. The organisers are baffled by their sudden appearance, unsure what to do at first. After minutes of outrage and confusion the organisers decide to confront them. Yet before they can reach them a lone figure from the crowd raises his hand, blocking their way.

“Halt!” says Peter A Bell “You are free to remove these people from the rally, but I warn you! If you take this step you will destroy the inclusive nature of our movement. We will become the real bigots! Are they the real danger, or is it YOU who wishes to pick and choose who is welcome? You have been warned!”

Peter A Bell suddenly rises into the sky. His wisdom has now granted him zen-like powers. He has become our true saviour.

Fin.

Okay, so quite obviously this would never happen. Not just Peter gaining cosmic powers, but the movement would never accept the KKK. Yet by Peter’s very argument he would accept anyone, including the KKK. If this sounds ludicrous to you then why is it okay for us to accept Siol Nan Gaidheal? It is not. And to argue that they are less of a danger that those who want to fight fascism is beyond ignorant. Let me give one final example. What if Eduardo saw me in the march alongside the very same fascists that had made bigoted comments towards him? How can I explain that to him? If Eduardo were to criticise me for marching with them, can you imagine me telling him he’s more of a threat to independence than the bigots? How do we explain to English Scots that we are okay to march by an anti-English group?

When this is put into context the entire debate sounds ridiculous. Which it is. Even though these fascists are a tiny minority it is our responsibility, not just as independence supporters, but as decent humans to challenge them everywhere. So I shall leave this debate here and move forward with the case for independence. That case includes internationalism, democracy, social justice, rights, tolerance, equality and prosperity. For everyone.

Comments (71)

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  1. e.j. churchill says:

    SnG more openly expresses a belief held by, minimally, a significant minority of Scots, certainly including official SG & arse-en-pee policy & stratergy: everything Engerish, with no exception, is BAAAAD with no redeeming goodness of any sort.

    SnG may be MORE extreme, but as a matter of degree, not matter of fact.

    rgds,

    ejc

    1. That’s just drivel.

      tis sad, etc

      1. e.j. churchill says:

        hardly

        /s/ Cassandra

        1. Malcolm Kerr says:

          Definitely drivel, e.j. Worse than your usual!

          1. e.j. churchill says:

            thx, Malcom.

            from you, that’s a compliment.

            good day for you?

            ejc

    2. Airconditioned says:

      Completely wild…

      It wouldn’t surprise me if SnG were a cointelpro/spycop astroturf type organisation designed to split the camp.

      Best ignored.

      1. Yeah. Nothing in our movement is ever bad, nor can be.

        1. Kenny says:

          That’s a weird response. Obviously not every pro-indy person is perfect and some have less than pure motives. However, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to wonder why SnG were totally invisible in 2014 (when you’d think they’d have been at their strongest) but suddenly now are much more visible. Yes, we need to make clear that these are not our allies, but the idea that a few twats got given a banner and a few quid by MI6 is hardly the most ridiculous theory. Painting the independence movement as essentially fascist and anti-English has been a key unionist message forever. Why wouldn’t the UK do something to push that agenda a little harder?

          1. It is possible – but the movement still needs to be aware of elements within itself and not just treat anything bad as ‘it must be M15’. That’s just completely irresponsible and lacking in self reflective politics.

    3. Graeme Purves says:

      ‘Utter drivel.

    4. DJS says:

      utter nonsense. bigoted as well.

  2. Josef Ó Luain says:

    Yawn … mind-games, anyone?

  3. Derek Henry says:

    Thomas Fazi nails it for me when he says What is needed is a progressive vision of national sovereignty

    https://thomasfazi.net/2017/05/11/what-is-needed-is-a-progressive-vision-of-national-sovereignty/

    SO what would a progressive vision of national sovereignty look like in an independent Scotland ?

    Introduce an immigration policy that scraps importing of cheap labour to keep the middle classes in their delusions of grandeur. Reintroducing a work visa system that is on same lines as every other civilised advanced nation outside the EU. Then only higher waged, higher skilled individuals come into the country from all over the world, but they compete with a different class of people and compete less because they are in areas with genuine skill shortage.

    More importantly you need to send out higher skilled individuals from this country to the rest of the world to balance those you take in. Otherwise you are stealing skills from other nations which they need to develop internally That is a ‘beggar-thy-neighbour’ attitude and morally unacceptable. Immigration should be more of an informal exchange process than a capitalist ‘free market’.

    The underlying philosophy should called “A New Bill of Rights,” supplementing earlier and existing rights already accepted …

    (1) the right to work usefully a creatively through the productive years;

    (2) the right to fair play adequate to command the necessities and amenities of life in exchange for work, ideas, thrift, and other socially valuable service;

    (3) the right to adequate food, clothing, shelter, and medical care;

    (4) the right to security, with freedom from fear of old age, want, dependency, sickness, unemployment, and accident;

    (5) the right to live in a system of free enterprise, free from compulsory labour, irresponsible private power, arbitrary public authority, and regulated monopolies;

    (6) the right to come and go, to speak or be silent, free from the spyings of secret political police;

    (7) right to equality before the law, with equal access to justice in fact;

    (8) the right to education for work, for citizenship, and for personal growth and happiness; and

    (9) the right to rest, recreation, adventure, the opportunity to enjoy life and take part in an advancing civilisation.

    The very purpose of planning is to release human abilities, to broaden the field of opportunity, and to enlarge human liberty. We plan primarily for freedom; the ways and means and instruments are secondary to the main purpose. The right kind of planning – democratic planning – is a guarantee of liberty and the only real assurance in our times that humans can be free to make a wide range of choices. Every progressive nation should actively be engaged in plannning for the development of its natural and human resources, on the highest and best level.

    Achieved by a general staff gathering and analysing facts, observing the interelation and administration of broad policies, proposing from time to time alternative lines of national procedure, based upon inquiry and mature consideration.

    These insights have been known about for a long time and it is only the imposition of ideological blinkers that have led to them being discouraged in the public debate.

    The neo-liberal era has also been marked by a major reduction in Departmental capacity to design and implement fiscal policy – given the obsession with monetary policy and the major outsourcing of “fiscal-type” government services to the private sector.

    Many of the major government policy departments in the advanced nations are now just contract managers for outsourced service delivery.

    So this diminution in the overall capacity of the government machine to implement efficiently and speedily complicated nation-wide infrastructure programs has to be addressed as a matter of urgency by progressive politicians.

    As a result of what we learned during the GFC, we can no longer deny that fiscal policy is required to address serious swings in non-government spending.

    Monetary policy has been proven – categorically – to be ineffective in dealing with aggregate demand failures of the sort we have witnessed in that crisis.

    In that context, governments must develop forward-looking capacity to ensure that it has project implementation skills when they are required.

    That was exactly what the US National Resources Planning Board concluded in 1941. The 432-page Report – Development of resources and stabilization of employment in the United States – has many beautiful pieces of analysis and reasoning.

    https://ia801406.us.archive.org/16/items/developmentofres1941unitrich/developmentofres1941unitrich.pdf

    A reading of that Report will leave you in no doubt as to how a national currency-issuing government can implement effective fiscal policy to meet both longer-term needs of its people but also counter-cyclical responses in a time when recession threated as non-government spending was in retreat and how it supports a bill of rights.

    Tackle the issues head on and the strawmen disappear on both sides of the debate.

    In an independent Scotland The Parliament will always be sovereign so legislation can be changed. The state retains power and we just have to reclaim it for progressive outcomes. One economic policy at a time.

  4. Vic says:

    Cannot agree with the sentiment of this article. Tolerance of all but challenging all is where Scotland should be heading. If these fascist can win the argument with evidence and a completely and wholly informed audience then they deserve the goal. At the same time there should be constant criticism of those who seek and have power for their values, decisions and opinions. That would make a healthy and sustainable democracy not a blinkered my way or the highway attitude.
    It takes all sorts to make a nation great not an obligingly adherent populace.

    1. “If these fascist can win the argument with evidence and a completely and wholly informed audience then they deserve the goal”.

      Fascists for Indy?

  5. Helen Yates says:

    For the love of god we could be marching anywhere and any small group could join in, how can we know that some in the marches might have an intolerance to immigrants, I don’t see how we can ban these idiots but what we can do is have folk march in front and behind and let them know they are not welcome, all this drivel is doing is damaging the yes movement, stop it now, the best way to hit back at these groups is to ignore them not give them oxygen

    1. I’m just checking though history Helen for the times when racism and ethnic nationalism has just ‘disappeared’ after being ignored … nope nothing … nope … never happened.

      1. heartsupwards says:

        On the other hand, for ethnic nationalism see 67%? of English born voters in Scots Indy 2014 voted no.

        1. Lorna Campbell says:

          It was actually nearer 75% (three-quarters) but we are not allowed to speak about that utterly colonial vote for fear of being accused of being anti-English, when, in truth, it is something we should have been challenging all along, since 2014. That we haven’t, because of our fear of being labelled anti-English, has led us into a state of paralysis. The accusation of anti-Englishness is a cosh that is used to silence us. It may exist in small doses, but it is not a major problem in Scotland where English and rUK residents are welcomed, and rightly so. Why should that exclude pointing out the obvious? With our own Unionists, so-called, and the English/rUK voters, it is simply not possible to win a second independence referendum if they vote the same way again. That is a fact that very few are willing to face, but it is a fact. We call out the home-grown Unionist vote but we are too scared to challenge that huge English/rUK NO vote, and because of that basic cowardice, we have no hope, I believe, of winning a second indyref, if, indeed, we ever get one.

          SnG have been on the go for a long time, but they have not had much purchase. They have not been part of the SNP for a long time, and their influence is small. They do not appear to be anti-English but, rather, cultural extremists. I, too, have looked at their website to see what they espouse and it does not appear to be fascism. If we want to move forward with independence, and especially if we wish to succeed in creating a decent and better independent Scotland where all are allowed the potential to thrive, we are going to have to be careful about what we are willing to tolerate, and that goes for everything across the board, including colonial attitudes towards Scotland itself.

          1. milgram says:

            So you say anti-Englishness is not a problem in Scotland BUT the English vote in a “colonial” way and if we don’t deal with that there’s a problem?

            Don’t really know where to start with that. Seems on a line with the SnG crap in the article.

          2. Lorna Campbell says:

            Hi Milgram,

            So, you think we should hold another indyref in full knowledge that we will, probably, fail again if the two (main) demographics who voted NO do so again? That massive English/rUK vote was quite simply a demographic vote. It had to be because so many of one particular societal group voted that way. Something overarching must have created that almost 75% NO vote in this particular group, wouldn’t you agree? After all, every other demographic has been studied upside down since 2014, and, as a woman, I am told that my gender is far more likely to vote NO through this and that. Why is it wrong to ask precisely the same of the English/rUK vote? I am not advocating removal of their vote; I am not advocating anything. What I have said and will continue to say is that this group’s NO vote has never, ever been challenged, while we challenge other NO groups every day. That is how you generally get through to people. If women tend to vote negatively dor whatever reason, is it not sensible to show them that their fears are unjustified? Is it not sensible to ask so-called Unionists why they are so determined to vote NO, given all the evidence against the so-called Union? The polls show that the NO vote has not changed. If that is the case, then we will lose another referendum. That is why I do not favour another referendum. We need to seek our independence elsewhere, keeping to the legal, legitimate and democratic path. I call it colonialism because I believe that is what it is. If you have another explanation, then do share.

            I have never been a member of SnG and I know very little about them. As I said, I looked up their website and found little to justify calling them fascists. They are a fringe group. I am not a blood and soil nationalist, so I would scarcely uphold their views, but you have succeeded in doing precisely what all those who are paralysed by the fear of calling out this vote: you are accusing me of racism and anti-Englishness. It is the cosh that is used to silence. But go ahead. Be my guest. Hold another referendum. Lose again.

      2. Iain says:

        Whilst the idealism IS admirable, it is either ALL UOB or it isn’t. These kind of misguided dafties will have less traction in an independent Scotland than brexit Britain. So hold your nose and get on with it! Sometimes life, and progress, requires some degree of tolerance of the limitations and ignorance of others. Whilst i have appreciated and respect the good work done by @mammothwhale, lets not forget that Peter Bell continues to do an excellent job of flagging up the nature and extent of media bias in Scotland, whilst others shrug their shoulders as if scared to rock the boat or invite cries of ‘paranoid conspiracy theorist!’ Coming from english stock, let me tell you that an elephant in the room IS the imperial, yes imperial, attitude which many english voters north of the border have towards Scotland. Put simply, they ain’t keen on seeing England lose the last remnants of its empire. High time you at Bella started tackling this valid and electorally pertinent issue.

  6. Craig P says:

    You could argue (tongue in cheek) that the more intolerant British politics becomes, the more tolerant the Yes movement becomes. It is a differentiator we use to highlight how much better civic life can be in Scotland when compared to our dear neighbours. (Though obviously there are fascists and arseholes in Scotland just as there are good guys in the rest of the UK.)

    But going by the argument that Yes’ inclusiveness is a reaction to the UK’s exclusiveness, wanting to expel settlers is in fact a very British attitude. Making SnG the organisation with the most British ethos outside the OO…

  7. Chris Downie says:

    I’m sorry, but I agree with Bell here, very much with Voltaire in mind. I’m well aware of SnG and what they stand for, but find it curious (and indefensible) how the far-right are to be excluded, yet the extreme left (which is responsible for many, many more deaths than Nazism and Fascism combined) are given a free pass and even a wide platform.

    The question becomes, if you are to exclude SnG from the Yes movement, then why not ban Che Guevarra t-shirts, hammer and sickle flags and deny all Trotskyites a platform, given the mass murder they were responsible for?

    Slippery slope, I’m afraid.

    1. In the absence of any political / moral sense whatsoever its difficult to know what to say.

      The idea of the left and right just being ‘equivalent’ is so bizarre. I suppose if you had people turning up with Stalin badges advocating slave labour and pogroms then it would begin to make sense, or Maoists for Yes advocating show trials and a one baby policy in Paisley then sure.

      If you want that far-right to be part of the Yes movement that’s great Chris. Good luck with that.

  8. kininvie says:

    What if the anti-Islam Scottish Defence League decided it was pro-independence and joined in?

  9. heartsupwards says:

    The goal is independence. Westminster’s goal is continuance of power. The last chance Scotland has of regaining the power they had only 300 years ago runs put when EU membership runs out. We know that Westminster will cheat(postal votes), obfuscate (msm), changes the rules (dead people and abstainers counted as no votes (70’s)), lie (the vow), encourage movement of the privileged (mansion in Scotland for the price of a sold 1 bed flat in London), so I encourage the Yes movement to wake up and move to act before they remain in a dream on state. There are maybe too many people in Scotland who feel to vote YES is like a turkey voting for Christmas. How do we help these factions not feel like turkeys? Otherwise the right wingers will be the stronger force at play for YES.

  10. David Lynch Fan Feeling Queasy says:

    The big question is: do you want to live in a militant democracy, or do you not?

    OK, true, this is to extrapolate beyond the issue at hand to wider matters. But for the sake of the argument, The Federal Republic of Germany is a so-called militant democracy in which it is a crime to advocate the end of liberal democracy, the end of tolerance, etc…

    But the UK isn’t a militant democracy. In Britain you can set up a party campaigning for the end of democracy itself and you can stand for election. You probably couldn’t be sworn in to office without committing perjury, but I think I am right in saying that you can stand on a ticket for the end of democracy, whereas you would go to jail in Germany for such antics…

    So: Germany is a militant democracy, where the UK is not…

    By the way: that tired example people never fail to bring out which is Hitler. The fact is Hitler never had a working majority in the German Parliament. He called a snap election not long after being made chancellor, which he lost effectively…

    …the only way he could Hitler ensuring a working majority was to outlaw the Communists, which he did, imprisoning all of their MPs and leaders…

  11. Malcolm Kerr says:

    SnG make me feel uncomfortable. But are they actually fascists? We shouldn’t use the term lightly, because there are real fascists around us, not least in Scotland. I’d be looking for signs that SnG favoured strongly authoritarian government, espoused extreme conservative social policy, close links with the armed forces, being against a free Press, a history of violence or threats of violence, links with fascists internationally, the ‘strong man’ leadership cult. I reality I don’t see any of this, and it is naïve to compare them to the KKK. The SnG website is antiquated and unattractive, consisting of a series of turgid articles which look like they have been written by one person. Their ‘New Scots’ article is cringe-worthy and patronising, but scarcely racist. There is reference to English members of SnG. Membership numbers are vanishingly small. The conventional recommendation for people with ‘challenging behaviours’ is to ignore them. That might be our best approach at present.

    1. milgram says:

      There are a few flags in the bit text screenshot in the article.
      Mainly, the call to “human diversity”, which is a hair away from “human biodiversity”, the racists’ new favourite euphemism. Put that next to “globalism” and a snipe at multiculturalism, it adds up to a group too influenced by far right tropes to be worth the benefit of any doubt.

  12. Big Jock says:

    The yes movement is not a political party. We can’t chuck people out,as they have never signed a membership contract.

    Indeed the people on the marches reflect the many and varied members of our population. They don’t represent a party. So yes there are a few fundamentalists in Scotland, that’s not exactly news.

    I might not agree with this particular group , but this is not a political party repeat!

    Let’s think about something. I know a royalist who is part of the yes movement. I disagree fundamentally with his views. Do we stop royalists? I find the Royals offensive because they are exclusive and not elected.

    I know an old fashioned closed shop, anti immigrant Brexit voting nationalist. Do we stop her coming to marches. Again I disagree with her stance.

    My point is. We are trying to get independence. We don’t do that by excluding anyone. We can have these discussions once we get independence.

    Let’s stop this bickering.

    P.S Peter Bell is a good guy and if you can’t see this, then you aren’t listening.

  13. Lochside says:

    Tbe real fascists in this country are the OO, SDl/Sedco mob that turned up in George Sq on the day after the Indy 1 vote.

    They ‘ll be out on the streets again during the next month peddling their anti catholic, anti irish, and anti Scottish hate…legally.

    The SnG evaporated nearly 30 years ago. What is showing up in th AUOB marches is the odds and sods, along with the ‘Scottish Resistance ‘ragtags.

    Lorna Campbell is correct…the RUK vote..to be more accurate..not just the English.. will capsize next Indy…not because they’re racist towards Scots. But because they are predominantly colonisers who do not recognise our country as such or our identity. Nearly 300, 000 have moved in the last 4 x years and based on the last Indy vote will return a 70% ‘No’ vote along with the aforesaid local ragged arse tories and old fearties. That’s why this article is a deliberate distraction and typical black flag bullshit.

    1. Lorna Campbell says:

      Hi Lochside,

      Thank you for understanding what I am trying to say: that there is no point at all in holding indyref2 if we fail to challenge this group’s misguided perceptions. I fear we cannot change those perceptions before we Brexit, so we have to take a different route to independence, I believe. And thank you for pointing out, too, that I have said English/rUK, not just English. The National today has an article on a number of English people who have joined YES. It is a cracker. We must move away from the idea that to challenge anyone on their views is a no-go area. My question is: if we are going to harangue SnG, why not a group that happens to show similar blood and soil nationalist tendencies, but, in this case, purely British ones? If we are to move forward on independence, we need to get a grip and shake ourselves out of this political paralysis that says that this particular group’s views are beyond challenge because that is exactly what we are saying. By the way, I, too support Peter Bell’s viewpoint on SnG. He is a man who is open to all views, so, please, let’s not kill the messenger in either case: on that stubborn and colonial English/rUK vote and on Mr Bell’s view on SnG. If this thread, and Bella, is to challenge orthodoxy, we cannot shut down debates because they make us uncomfortable.

      1. Iain McLean says:

        I too think English people living in Scotland can be persuaded. English people moving to Scotland tend to be reasonably liberal and educated, an independent Scotland with a left of centre Scotland Government within the EU will be more appealing to them than a right wing reactionary isolationist westminster government.

        Would an English person living in ROI want Ireland to return to English Rule? No!

        As for SnG, ignore them, they haven’t any influence or numbers, banning them merely gives them publicity – as has happened on here.

  14. David Lynch Fan Feeling Queasy says:

    Lochside and Lorna Campbell:

    Nobody can possibly take Scotland seriously when its very own purportedly, self-proclaimed “nationalist” government doesn’t take Scottish culture seriously….

    How can this be? How can any ethical observer seriously blame the rUK NO voters resident in Scotland themselves for tipping the referendum, when it’s the bloody SNP administration who hires outsiders schooled in everything and anything EXCEPT Scottish culture by the barrow load to come up here and do all the top jobs in Scottish culture we dullard Scots are too dumb to do? Driving us out of the country into the bargain…

    Has there ever been a nationalist party which has actively promoted its cultural enslavement such as this SNP government has done over these last ten infamous years of self-denigration through the agency of Creative Scotland?

    It’s TRULY INCREDIBLE and worthy of a whole episode of Twin Peaks: The Return…. and in fact, maybe that’s the answer, maybe the real Fiona Hyslop has been trapped in The Red Room all this time… maybe Scottish culture is thriving there…

    Blame the SNP, not the rUK residents in Scotland, the latter of whom merely follow this SNP administration’s lead in considering Scottish culture qua Scottish culture as a minor, jokey, sentimental and whimsical thing not to be taken remotely seriously….

    1. Wul says:

      It may be that the Scottish Government took the view that “English need not apply” could have seemed a trifle discriminatory on job adverts?

      1. Lorna Campbell says:

        Hi Wul,

        You are right about discrimination, but for aspects of our cultural heritage that is specifically Scots or Gaelic in origin, I believe there is an opt-out clause? I know what DLFFQ is saying. Every day and night on the BBC news and other programmes (television and radio) English accents appear to outnumber Scottish ones two to one. However, I have also noticed that many of those with English accents have Scottish names and may be the off-spring of ex patriate Scots. I do think that where our languages and other specifically Scottish heritage is concerned, we do try to employ native Scots or non-native Scots who are proficient in those areas, otherwise they will be lost to us. That should not preclude people from outside Scotland, though, who can enrich our collective appreciation of ourselves as people with a broad cultural heritage that we might share with others. It would be sad if we became insular. Compared with Scots in England, I think that people of rUK origin are well-represented right across the Scottish landscape.

      2. David Lynch Fan Feeling Queasy says:

        Not about this Wul….Not about “English Need Not Apply”…

        Scotland never deemed acceptable field of study, not even in Scotland by Scots!!!! Completely crazy but true!!!! Scots prefer to study anything and everything EXCEPT Scotland and Scottish culture!!!.

        It about truly taking Scottish culture seriously, and give most senior management positions of the main institutions of Scottish culture to people expert in Scottish culture, people expert, no matter where they come from, no matter which shithole they actually born in, eh?….

        But SNP not do this. SNP run around like blue arsed fly in bottle. Willy-nilly appointments! Crazy ideas!!! What they thinking!!!

        Number of people take Scottish culture seriously, in whole, entire history of Scotland, Wul?

        Maybe a few hundred people, Wul. Maybe, a few hundred people around time of Scottish Renaissance. Mr Sorely MacLean. Mr Hugh MacDiarmid. Ms Nan Shepherd, Mr Norman McCaig. They fight to make Scottish culture serious object of study, but now, they pooh-poohed….their work lies unread…gather dust..

        Only one university department in whole of Scotland with Scot Lit department to teach Scot Lit, crazy but true…. only one!!!

        Scotland’s languages the butt of many, many jokes among linguists around the world… many jokes about Scots and their languages. Often, international conferences start with joke about Scot linguists….ha ha.,….tis true… sad but true…

        Or, take film. They make film, Scottish people make film, about greatest Scottish novel of 20th Century, “Sunset Song”.

        And Scottish producer and Scottish executives, give film to English man to direct who not understand the book, who not understand the feeling or spirit of book and the country it come from, and they hire actors who speak with loud, booming English accents…. and no Scots accents…. and the film very, very bad film…

        How is possible? How is possible Scottish film producer, Scottish film executive, be so COMPLETELY STUPID?

        Answer: they not stupid. They just not take Scottish culture seriously, they not take “Sunset Song” seriously, they not take Scotland seriously…

        Like SNP government, like Creative Scotland…like Scottish universities…

        They do not love Scottish culture… or not nearly enough to be in their jobs…

        1. Wul says:

          I understand your point. My heart tells me it is wrong to discriminate against a person based on where they were born or come from. I can’t see any other way for a government to behave either.
          However, neither should they discriminate in favour of a particular group because of a perceived superiorority over home grown talent.

          For me this discussion about “colonisation” is a difficult one. I don’t think that English people move to Scotland because they want to be part of an organised programme of colonisation. They probably just want a good job and nice house, at what seems a bargain price, compared to where they currently live. Then there’s the bonus of free FE tuition, prescriptions, better NHS etc. To them, Scotland is a nicer, more affordable, safer and healthier place to raise a family and “get on”.

          During the referendum they were no doubt just voting “no” to keep things the same and keep Scotland as a nice part of the UK to live, with the option of moving “Home” if circumstances demanded it.

          I can’t find it in my heart to blame them for that.

          However I do accept that the effect of this influx of people creates a form of colonisation.

          During the 2014 referendum lead-in, I was greatly hurt by the on-line activity of a fellow resident in our small (300 homes) Perthshire village.
          This Yorkshire man, a funny and entertaining bon-viveuer, whom I respected for his hard working entrepreneurialism and community engagement in village life, spent many weeks posting “funnies” on Facebook based around the premise that Scottish people running their own affairs was a hilarious and imbecilic notion providing an endless supply of “comedy gold”.
          I was hurt and perplexed by this. I had assumed that he saw the Scots, as I see the English, as equals. I was wrong.
          This chap worked for the BBC as did members of his family.

          Lorna’s probably right. This issue needs addressed and we are not going to like the image of ourselves that will be promoted if we do. What price a nation though?

          1. e.j. churchill says:

            “Lorna’s probably right. This issue needs addressed and we are not going to like the image of ourselves that will be promoted if we do. What price a nation though?”

            Wul, Lorna,

            What strikes me is that your (joint) position of a demonstrable & small minority dragging the nation as a whole OUT (via UN, nullification, UDI even) without, minimally, some type of majority backing facially fascist, undemocratic and is pretty tacky, minimally.

            really?

  15. Big Jock says:

    If everyone born in Scotland voted yes we would be independent. That’s a plain fact. However if we were to only allow native born Scots a vote we would be no better than the Tories denying EU nationals a vote in the EU referendum. Unfortunately we have a hard job to do in persuading the RUK residents to vote Yes. It is correct to say they are 70/80% no and represent the largest ethnic group in Scotland. So they have a very real influence on our nation.

    I think if you look at EU nationals they would probably be 80% yes now, and were around 50% yes at the last referendum. So there is one group the RUK resident that are having an unfair influence on our future. My instinct would be to get really angry at them for coming here for a better life, but then preventing us moving on as a country. That is my instinct not my head or my heart.

    My heart says we can’t exclude people , instead we need to educate them on the facts and take them with us. My head says jees this is going to be tuff tactically, but we can do this. With what’s happening in England and Brexit this group are finally seeing why Scots have been so angry for so long. We are treated like a colony and our resources are plundered at will. It’s hurting everyone including the new Scots. The tide has shifted for this group they will not vote 80% no again.

    1. Lorna Campbell says:

      Hi Big Jock,

      I hate to rain on your parade, but there is no sign at all that Brexit has changed anything in regard to the anti-independence mindset, and we have little time now to turn things around. It is hard for people to get their heads round the fact that there are those whom they have welcomed to Scotland – many of them now holding top jobs – who are hell-bent on preventing independence. That so many people from this demographic seem completely unable or unwilling to look at their own behaviour vis-a-vis the Scots does not fill me with hope. Just look at the Tory benches in Holyrood. On this alone, we should be able to take our case to the UN and make a plea for decolonisation, let alone on human rights. I absolutely agree with you that we cannot remove anyone’s vote. My opinion, for what it is worth, is that we need, first and foremost, to face up to the reality of what we are up against, then plan tactics and strategy pragmatically, having taken this on board. I have given much thought to how to succeed democratically, legitimately and legally, not to mention constitutionally. We have been trying to ‘persuade’ this group since 2014, along with the home-grown, so-called Unionists, but the majority have not shifted at all. If we take pre-independence India as our example, precisely the same situation pertained. I am not advocating using Indian tactics, but, there, about a quarter of the nabobs agreed with the Indians after a long struggle, but most of them were too comfortable to shift. This is the colonial mindset we are up against. We will be called to defend the Continuity Bill in July at the UKSC. We need a line of attack, too, and that is the Union itself, because this Tory government has overstepped its own authority vis-a-vis Scotland. Until now, we have simply caved in and accepted our allotted place. We need to make this case the last time that we tug the forelock.

  16. Big Jock says:

    Lorna I agree with you that one particular ethnic group ,the ones who rule over us. Are preventing us breaking free. Essentially we are trying to get independence from the mother country this group is from, while giving them a franchise to block it. Logically it is bat shit crazy.

    However the country we want to create will still include some of those people after independence. They might never truly integrate post indi if they felt they were ostracised. I think it’s not a good way to start a newly independent nation.

    So it’s real a moral question. It depends on whether we want to be bigger than our enemy (Westminster), or reduce ourselves to their bigoted , narrow exclusive agenda. Remember this though. If all people born in Scotland voted yes then we would get 80% yes. If we are scraping under the line it’s mainly due to our fellow Scots not cancelling out the English voters.

    In other words it shouldn’t really matter what the RUK voters vote for, our fellow Scots who should know better are our own worst enemy.

  17. Lochside says:

    Lorna and Big Jock….the real problem is the demographic movement of RUK into Scotland. The apparent 300,00 increase in our population disguises the actual numbers of RUK as no-one knows how many of our Scottish youth, many talented but frustrated ‘Yes’ voters, who took a long look at the scenes in George Sq. in Sept 2014 post Indy and the subsequent stripping of our democratic Scottish rights, and decided to get out.

    Since then, the SNP have colluded with this policy of encouraging non Scots to run the Police, NHS, Universities and media etc. until we have a situation now of wall to wall English voices on our airwaves. Meanwhile Scots Language and culture languish because frankly, its embarassing to the middle class SNP leadership.The increase in the RUK settlement is more noticeable than ever, with even modest jobs being taken by these immigrants. One sore point for me is the amount of non Scots in our historic sites as guides and custodians. Add in their total domination of B&Bs in our rural tourist areas and the impression of total colonisation is hard to deny. It’s quite something colonialist brainwashing, look at our own resident cringers, that’s why I believe this population will remain resolute, in the medium term, in their refusal to accept our legitimacy to self rule. I see no evidence to show otherwise, hopefully someone can prove me wrong on this. BTW, the biggest threat in my opinion is from ethnic ‘Ulster Scots’ coming over the water, if a United Ireland occurs, because that demographic will never ‘surrender’ to our democratic wishes. So I am no blood and soil nationalist.

    To me it is all about political culture and numbers. If enough RUK move here, we could easily be outnumbered numerically in any straight plebiscite. The only ways to prevent this are either using residency as a criterion, thus excluding Brit Nats stepping off a bus, train or plane and voting ‘NO’ within weeks of arriving; or asserting our Sovereign right to dissolve the Union via our Representatives in the UK Parliament which conjoined us and England 3 x centuries ago. We unfortunately were hobbled by AS’ gamble of the short cut to Indy by the Edinburgh agreement , into tossing a dice based on a plebiscite bent by bogus postal votes and crooked media. We must return to the basis of our democratic sovereign right via our MPs to break the Union, before the RUK white flighters, the no surrender refugees and our very own fearties and I’m alright Jocks sink our identity forever.

  18. Big Jock says:

    Lochside – The cultural colonisation of Scotland has been going on for decades. I totally agree with you on that. I think we all sit and watch the Scottish news, and watch the head of this and that being interviewed ,and invariably they are English. The fact that the Edinburgh festival has never had a Scottish director in it’s whole existence is a concrete example and it’s outrageous.

    Scots are timid and afraid to challenge these institutions and bodies about why Scots are not representing Scotland to the world. Why have we had two Chief constables from England running Police Scotland. Both failures. One albeit a London Scot who quickly lost his accent on the journey south.

    The director of the Tattoo is an English army officer. There is no denying that at a cultural level we are patronised by Englishmen about our history and culture. We had two Englishmen running the SFA and SPL simultaneously. Both happen to be hopeless as well. So it’s not like we are getting the cream of the crop here.

    I would like to think post independence that everyone will be a bit more relaxed about our culture. Most independent nations are less uptight because their future is secured. We are uptight because we feel we have been colonised , and we have.

    On a positive note most countries cultures thrive once they break free of the chains of the colony.

    1. Lorna Campbell says:

      “…On a positive note most countries cultures thrive once they break free of the chains of the colony…”

      Spot on, but how do we break free when so much is stacked against us? If we manage to turn the Union on itself in July, we will be almost there. After that, have a ratifying referendum. This is the way most other countries have gone. We crawl around asking permission for this and that. One of the main planks of the YES movement and the SNP in 2014 was to invite everyone to become Scottish citizens after independence. That should still hold, and anyone who feels that he or she cannot stomach that, will have the answer within his or her own grasp.

  19. Big Jock says:

    Lorna my feeling is that there will be no referendum. Once the Supreme Court rule in favour of WM on July 25th. The Scottish government will have to do or die regards those 24 powers. In other words resign and call an election.

    It’s the second last piece of the jigsaw. The final piece is hard Brexit but we might not wait for that to be formalised.

    Leave Brexit to one side and just look at the mechanisms of devolution. If they can ignore Holyrood on one thing they can just run Scotland from minions in the Scotland office. They WM have just announced new civil servants and offices in Edinburgh. To run welfare tax and other matters.

    We are going back to pre devolution. Holyrood is going to be told it’s essentially an illegal powerless talking shop. It’s how the SNP deal with this that matters.

    The Tories are going to move swiftly to extinguish Holyrood. I just hope the SNP can sense the danger. We might not have until next March!

    1. Lorna Campbell says:

      Hi Big Jock,

      Yes, I do believe that is what the Tories have in mind. That is why the SNP must stand firm if the UKSC rules that the Continuity Bill is not competent, which, like you, I expect to be the case. However, we may both be wrong, and the UKSC is having none of it. It will be cognisant of the fact that its ruling in favour of Westminster has all but handed absolute p0wer to the Executive to do as it wishes because neither the Commons nor the Lords will be in favour of the Scottish Bill, and they will back the UKG on all matters. Westminster will back anything and everything that England votes for because that is all that they see. We are just a nuisance that can safely be swept aside – or so they think. It will be up to the SG and Scotland to make them think twice. A ruling on the Union and then our MPs and MSPs declaring that Scotland is independent by dint of Westminster’s illegitimacy on all things Scottish, followed by a ratifying referendum. If not, we are lost anyway.

  20. H Scott says:

    I sympathise with Peter Bell’s argument because of the danger he foresees in the Yes movement self-policing but I think there has to be some level of intolerance of some attitudes and behaviour. There’s a moral case for this, not least because I think the moral case for independence will become more important in a British polity with increasingly disturbing tendencies, and the practical case that two repugnant extremists in a march of 100,000 will be used by what must surely be the vilest media in the democratic world as a means of smearing the other 99,998.

    I would also like to support the comments about the failure of the SNP/Scottish Government regarding Scottish culture. Their record is atrocious.

  21. GMK says:

    This article has surely got to be a parody of delusional, self-righteous, loony left Yessers?

    Comedy gold !

    1. Well said brave anonymous keyboard warrior! Onwards!

  22. Big Jock says:

    H Scott. That the SNP of all parties have failed to boost Scottish culture. Shows that they are sitting on the fence so as not to rock the boat. They are terrified of being controversial or even too Scottish. I know it’s related to their strategy of winning people over. Unfortunately it has led to an SNP style Scottish cringe.

    1. Lorna Campbell says:

      Hi Big Jock,

      Agreed. That policy of trying to be all things to all men has failed miserably, but, you know something, I believe the leadership now sees that – belatedly, perhaps, but I think it has penetrated at last. I think the past few years in Holyrood has woken them up to the fact that the three-headed hydra will never stop until it crushes them regardless of how many Scots vote for independence. The fact that Nicola Sturgeon has appointed Keith Brown to a full-time position to oversee independence would suggest that, at long last, they have realized they are wasting precious time, effort and resources on people who have not the slightest intention of giving independence a fair whack; who care nothing for the many thousands of Scots who are not well-heeled and who would sacrifice these people in a heartbeat for their own comfort; and who would bind us to a post-Brexit Tory government that will strip all the protections from us the moment we leave the EU.

  23. e.j. churchill says:

    For the more-than-trivial-minority who attempt to promote & sell the just so NARRATIVE of Simon LaGree (vile & horrid jack-booted brit colonial oppressors) and Little Nell (innocent blameless goodness sweetness & light reviled occupied and oppressed) … it seems to me that you have to somehow explain away GB covering Scotland’s annual £15.000.000.000 overdraft.

    There IS a moral case that can be made for a severed Scotland but occupied and cruelly-oppressed freedom-seeking undertrodden ain’t it. and is purely laughable, to boot.

    ’tis sad,

    CityBankster

    1. Lorna Campbell says:

      Hi Citybankster,

      Not being one of the ‘oppressed’, but of the ‘oppressor’, it is unlikely that you would see anything you don’t wish to see. How much did you make personally from the crash of 2008? Did the overseer on the plantation see the cruelty of his own vile practices (and before you jump in with more platitudes, yes, we do know many Scots were complicit in the slave trade)? You know what you can do with your £15.000.000.000; it might be a tight fit for a while but Uranus is a big planet.

      1. e.j. churchill says:

        Hi Lorna, I answered this, shortly after you posted.

        I think you are aware that I am a non-dom, expat that lives & works behind the wall and my sole interest in Scotland is financial?

        The £15bn (p.a.) is existential, and cannot be handwaved or smoke & mirrored.

        I did very well in 2008, thank you, but it was planned, not happenstance: Northern Rock, Dexia, Bear Sterns were the larger white rocks in the path. What amazed me is how few ‘smart people’ followed the trail and were ‘surprised.’ (and broke)

        Just as 2008 on steroids, I will have to change my name to Midas Rockefeller Croseus, in the six sigma event that Scotland becomes independent.

        This is NOT rocket surgery.

        js’

        CityBankster

        1. Lorna Campbell says:

          “…I think you are aware that I am a non-dom, expat that lives & works behind the wall and my sole interest in Scotland is financial?…”

          I thought no such thing. I still think no such thing. I think you are a blood and soil English/British/Unionist Nationalist.

          1. e.j. churchill says:

            sorry, no, but I see things as they are, not through rose-coloured glasses.

            /s/ Cassandra

      2. e.j. churchill says:

        Hi Lorna, I answered this, shortly after you posted.

        but it never showed. 🙁

    2. Iain McLean says:

      I once worked for an employer who deducted money from my pay without explanation.

      I had to run an overdraft and found it difficult to budget.

      I left that employer and became self employed, I knew what my wage would be each month and I was able to turn my over draft from a deficit into positive savings.

      The moral of the story is……………..

      1. e.j. churchill says:

        I’m uncertain how many of the yessers recognise that the annual OD is added to Scotland’s share of the National Debt.

        It is real money, fully accounted and does not just evaporate.

        ejc

        1. Dan says:

          “Bollocks”

          1. e.j. churchill says:

            Oh?

  24. SleepingDog says:

    If there was a rich, shared Scottish culture, I would expect to detect it running through this lengthy exchange like healthy sap. Perhaps the argument is the other way round: independence would bring an opportunity to create a rich, shared culture that addressed all the problems with the current one?

    1. Jamsie says:

      So are you advocating swapping Tory austerity which covers our deficit with SNP austerity which leaves us infinitely poorer in the hope that somehow this makes Scotland a fairer place to live?
      Eventually?
      Why?
      Are you insane?
      The “middle class SNP leadership” aka the Tartan Tories replacing the Tories eh?

      1. SleepingDog says:

        @Jamsie, rich as in culture, not rich as in hoarded spending power (nor in monetisable tourism potential).

        1. e.j. churchill says:

          SleepingDog, please don’t ignore the quasi-thriving industry of cookbooks featuring multiple toothsome&delicious recipes featuring: oats, seaweed, spruce tips and several kinds of grass.

          yw,

          1. SleepingDog says:

            @e.j. churchill, perhaps there is a larger question of whether a national culture makes sense within today’s global interchange of ideas and productions? For example, is the Edinburgh International Book Festival implying that borders are porous when it comes to cultural influences? And perhaps Scottish children are as much influenced by Japanese and USAmerican culture, each recycling components of world culture, as anything else?

            If so, what are the implications? And does a political system still affect culture to the same extent as in the past (for example the UK formally abolished centralised theatre censorship in 1968, the same year that Special Branch created its Special Demonstration Squad).
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theatres_Act_1968
            https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Special_Demonstration_Squad

          2. e.j. churchill says:

            Excellent points. The ex-Yugoslav states HAD/have cohesive, unique cultures, languages, traditions, dress … Scotland: hardly similar in any respect.

            Severing the bits & orts that are NOT Central Belt, Scotland is as much a Home County or Vermont, only poorer.

            Brian Beacom, in ~the Herald~ had a related article on cultural insecurity and aggression.

            rgds,

            CityBankster

  25. Iain says:

    This must be a rebirth of Sìol nan Gaidheal – the ones I encountered in the 70s must be dead by now.

    There’s one huge factor which betrays their ludicrous posture and their lack of an authentic voice in the pro-independence campaign – despite the adopted title, just how many of them speak Gaelic?

    I’ll bet some have a few mispronounced words, but none can carry on a conversation – otherwise I’d know of them in the Gaelic-speaking community. The truth is that they’re a bunch of fakes, a hindrance to the independence cause, and a liability to its integrity.

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