The Highlander and the Peasant

If you want a snapshot of the weird lies and distortion of elites posturing as ‘the common man’ through the self-induced Brexit crisis, you can do no better than witness Fraser Nelson and Brendan O’Neil in action.

Nelson this week declared himself a “Highlander” and announced that Scotland was firmly against Freedom of Movement. O’Neill famously recently declared himself from “Irish peasant stock”.

Like some kind of contemporary kailyard Maeve Binchy novel The Highlander and the Peasant are joined in their commitment to ending immigration and attacking multi-cultural Britain.

Koch sucking O’Neill this week wrote a confused rant in Nelson’s Spectator (“What Jon Snow meant when he talked about ‘white people’):

In recent years we’ve witnessed the racialisation of snobbery. It is no longer acceptable to say ‘underclass’ or ‘scum’ and so instead we have seen the emergence of phrases like ‘chav’, ‘gammon’ and the far broader but very selectively targeted ‘white people’. All these terms play the same role that phrases like ‘white trash’ once played.”

They really don’t.

In a line of divisive patter straight out of the Bannon-Breitbart playbook O’Neill suggested: “White people’ is increasingly PC code for the lower orders.”

He said: “I was one of the speakers at Friday’s protest, and both before and after the event I met many, many people. Yes, most of them were white but there were people from minority groups too.”

The Spiked editor didn’t pause to illuminate Spectator readers just why there wouldn’t be more “minority groups” at a rally featuring himself Tommy Robinson and Nigel Farage, and shrouded with Union Jacks and with people trailing an effigy of Sadiq Khan. Presumably that would be too PC.

In the frothing shambles that is Brexit Britain Channel 4 was forced to apologise for Jon Snow’s remarks.

As Frances Ryan has commented:

“It is essentially an apology for offending people with facts. This is where we are now: a white person in trouble for calling other people white; a news organisation apologising for telling the truth.”

Ryan wrote:

“That Snow’s remarks caused such a fuss is a perfect display of how race inequality works. It is a reflection of white privilege that white people like me are so rarely defined by race that being referred to by our own skin colour is perceived as a personal affront. We are used to being seen and spoken about as individuals rather than a homogenous group – a privilege ethnic minorities are much less likely to enjoy in day-to-day life. There is also a fragile double standard to it. Did all the people claiming white people’s race is irrelevant in an anti-Brexit march kick up a fuss when Sajid Javid spoke of “Asian paedophiles” or when Catherine Blaiklock, the former Ukip activist, said that black men are violent due to high testosterone? (In fact, Farage worked with her.)”

If Spiked is “owned” by Charles Koch the Spectator is owned by David and Frederick Barclay who also own The Daily Telegraph (and used to own the Scotsman). It is part of a coterie of media outlets where newly-emboldened attitudes to race, which a few years ago would have been completely unacceptable, are promulgated. Readers are regularly treated to the likes of Stephen Daisley, Rod Liddle (“Is it possible to draw Serena Williams without being racist?”) and other charming commentaries on race and immigration all couched in terms of edgy-iconoclastic free-thinking.

The “Highlander’s” own comments came in response to the SNP’s Pete Wishart who had asked him: “What do you make of the impact of ending free movement on your home nation of Scotland? All our population growth is predicted on it and nearly every sector tell us its removal could be disastrous. Huge impact for our demographic issues and economy.”

Nelson’s comments seem to be ignorant of the historic depopulation of the highlands, or its contemporary dependence on people from across the EU coming to live and work here in an economy (over) reliant on food and tourism. But it’s also reminiscent of an incident from a few years back when another right-winger objected to Wishart’s comment that “We welcome asylum seekers and refugees”.

Back in 2015 Nick Griffin posted this image online saying “Keep Scotland Scottish”.

The image backfired spectacularly with people appreciating some tartan-style backing Wishart and rejecting Griffin’s attempt to kindle racism.

Let’s hope the same fate doesn’t befall the Highlander and the Peasant.

With people like Mark Francois calling a vote in the House of Commons an “attempted coup” and Jacob Rees-Mogg quoting Alice Weidel, leader of the AfD, a German far-right party whose senior figures have called for refugees to be shot, Britain is a tinderbox of hatred.

The AfD, whose candidates have declared that Islam is worse than the plague and that refugee boats should be sunk, marched alongside neo-Nazis last year, leading to some of its members being put under formal state surveillance.

As the mask slips from the right wing of the Conservative Party and the “respectable” face of the Brexit movement becomes more exposed, its essential that people in Scotland defend common values and rights and articulate a different model based on human rights, anti-racism solidarity and internationalism.

 

 

Comments (13)

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  1. James Mills says:

    How could anyone who listens to Mr Nelson’s lilting tones doubt that he is a born and bred ”Highlander” ?

  2. Robbie says:

    SAY IT LIKE IT IS, and the mask comes off completely, well said Mike

  3. William Davison says:

    Why did Jon Snow choose to mention the colour of peoples’ skins in relation to the pro-Brexit march, but refrain from doing so when confronted with the sight of an even larger crowd of, er, white people at last week’s pro-Remain march? The only difference would appear to be that the white people at the former march were more likely to be working class and obviously in support of one political viewpoint, while the white people at the latter march were predominantly middle class and in support of the opposite viewpoint. Perhaps he was just showing his preference for the latter viewpoint.

    1. Yeah! Gotcha! That’s why! Brilliant William!

      1. William Davison says:

        Brilliant, isn’t sarcasm normally reckoned to be the lowest form of wit? But as I was resorting to sarcasm myself, I suppose I deserve to have it employed against me.
        I’ve just opened my copy of the latest “Private Eye” and they offer a handy guide for Jon : “Jon Snow – A guide to places in the U.K. where he’ll be astonished to see so many white people : Waitrose, M&S food hall, Glyndebourne, The Boat Race, Oxford and Cambridge, Radio 4 panel show recordings, The entire television industry, The Home Counties(where Jon Snow lives), Remain March.” Thought it was an appropriate response to the latest incoherent ravings by the old buffer.

    2. Vince Docherty says:

      Think ‘diversity.’

  4. Redgauntlet says:

    You couldn’t make it up…Brexit the sit-com…

    Monty Python meets It Aint Half Hot Mum…

    Jon Snow should have stood strong and held his ground…

  5. Graeme McCormick says:

    Slightly off topic ans related to Pete Wishart’s comments but what are we to do about our falling birthrate which I understand is the lowest for a long time. While I acknowledge and support the valuable contribution immigrants make to increasing it a serious discussion has to be had on why we are not producing more children from our own population.

    A man of advanced years even mentioning increasing the birth rate is a dangerous pursuit in some quarters.

    Do women just not want to give birth to children or bring them up with or without a partner? There are various reasons why people don’t have children and that’s fine by me.

    I just think our society needs to know what if anything can be done to make it more acceptable to have more kids. Otherwise how do you plan for the future? Is it lifestyle; is it lack of finance and support ; or is it simply something we’ll have to get over and make alternative arrangements to create the national wealth and care through robots so we are all looked after in our old age or when needed?

    1. Paul Gibson says:

      Hi Graeme, I definitely don’t have all the answers to that but I’m very encouraged by the Scottish government’s recent increase in bursaries to student midwives (and nurses).

      It’s an investment in a whole new generation of care givers with the model of training focused heavily on a dedication of care to the woman. Such is the age, there are vast amounts of resources and videos out there that have the capacity to reshape the entire process of pregnancy and I’ve seen first hand how motivated these students are as they pile into them and continually share with each other.

      Their education is going to have a huge effect in moving people away from the more clinical and even negative perceptions that may surround pregnancy and birth and providing the funding for this can only be a good thing.

      It’s a movement in itself and has the potential to provide further solidarity and empowerment to mothers and the birthing process. It’s a bold step that seems so obvious to do now it’s done. Not only might it help with the rise of childbirth but by creating such a culture, it’s helping bring about the kind of society you’d want a rise of childbirth in.

    2. Willie says:

      I think the reason why indigenous people to use the term have much lower birth rates than non indigenous people is predominately that of economics.

      Save for religion and culture economics and economics are the brake on bigger families .

      And so, unless we create economic conditions that encourage and support bigger families, then we will need to import non indigenous people to support the birthrate.

      Don’t think there’s a lot more to it than that.

      And if one wants to get racist or sectarian about it, there are not the big Catholic families like there used to be. ( But were they not the big immigrants of yesterday year that our tolerant society complained about ?)

      Children equal expense, mortgage has to be paid , car needs to be run, consumer lifestyle needs funded.

      So what to complain about, it’s our choice, that’s why it’s the way it is.

      Change the system if you want to encourage ” indigenous ” population growth.

    3. Jack collatin says:

      Graeme, for starters, look at the UCS rules.
      Two child cap, UCS frozen for five years, 260,000 scots children in poverty because of Jackson Carlaw’s and Willie Rennie’s give to the rich take from the poor ‘Austerity’ programme.
      Jackson Carlaw Ruth Davidson that Dick Leonard chap, and Rennie’s crack team of Mumbles, Fumbles, Rumbles, and Grumbles all Better Together bringing down England’s debt by starving the poor, and blaming that bad EssEnnPee.
      Fraser Nelson’s the darling of Marr’s and Neil’s Westminster Bubble couches.
      The Red Blue and Yellow Tory Scotia Nostra, who sold their souls for a mess of English potage.
      They belong to that select little group of Jock Court Jesters Down There whose main function is to entertain the London Elite.
      How they love slagging off Scotland to guffaws from their English Benefactors.

    4. MBC says:

      Falling birth rate? Economics are the whole root of it. In my experience (I’m female) Scottish men are reluctant to commit to marriage or long term relationships and most Scottish women don’t want to be single mothers. Hence the birth rate plummets. The lack of male commitment is a reflection not on their feelings for women (or children) but men’s lack of confidence in their economic future. A further female factor is the lack of work place child care and the pressure that is on women to delay motherhood in order to build an economically viable career – felt to be essential since housing and children are so expensive and men’s earnings can’t be relied upon. If housing were cheaper, employers more relaxed about women taking breaks to have children, jobs better paid, more secure and plentiful, then the birth rate would increase.

      People (both sexes) are however encouraged to be educated beyond the capacity of the local economy to absorb graduates, spending many years in higher education, chalking up students debts, only to find that ‘graduate jobs’ are in short supply. After a few years doing low skilled dead end jobs and paying soaring rents, they eventually find a graduate job somewhere in England. A few remain to become entrepreneurs in some area totally unrelated to their graduate education. Or take up a trade.

  6. MBC says:

    I’m noticing that the majority of white faces in the two pics of the UKIP Brexit march are male by a factor of 2:1. This phenomena is of course supported by males and females alike but it has an especial appeal to white males. It’s as much about the patriarchy as anything else. I guess they feel their traditional status at the top is under threat. Jo Cox was both liberal and female.

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