2007 - 2020

Divisive Nationalism

This week saw a parade of Labour candidates dish out statements and interviews that were astonishing in their misreading of – not just the Scottish and British political crisis – but of the meaning of democracy and self-determination.

Just as faltering signs of awakening from elements within Scottish Labour were breaking out to change their position on supporting a second referendum, the candidates doubled-down on their position as the post-Corbyn civil war erupted again in confusion and contradiction.

On a visit to Glasgow Jess Philips said: “The idea that the answer to the UK leaving a union with our most important trading partner is for Scotland to leave a union with her most important trading partner only makes sense if you’re a nationalist”.

She continued: “Labour believes in the union because we believe in redistribution, because we want to bring people together, not divide them, and because our compassion doesn’t end at an imaginary line on a map. Let nationalists make the case for nationalism, we should make the argument for solidarity and internationalism.”

The intervention was quickly followed up by a widely ridiculed interview with Andrew Neil, in which Lisa Nandy said: “In places like Catalonia and Quebec we have managed to go and beat divisive nationalism with a social justice agenda.”

Lisa Nandy’s comments about Catalonia are of course appalling but symptomatic of a wider/deeper ignorance on the British left, which is ironic as they are always framed in terms of being proudly “internationalist” and brimming with “solidarity” – when both principles seems completely absent.

The idea that Spanish, or indeed British nationalism might exist and be problematic is unimaginable to the likes of Philips or Nandy.

This is particularly strange given that we are currently awash with a strange brew of English nationalism, triumphalism and far-right government obsessed with Big Ben Bongs and wrapped up in red white and blue. It is strange indeed that Nandy could celebrate Catalonia as an example of “beating divisive nationalism” without mention of the systematic state violence and corruption of the rule of law that has been condemned across Europe.

As David Whyte and Ignasi Bernat have written:

“The ease with which Spain convicts political prisoners and forces politicians into exile is a mark of the endurance of the culture of the dictatorship in which the judiciary were politically motivated and politically compromised. The crime of rebellion used by Rajoy, and the current government to detain political prisoners was a 19th century offence, brought back by Franco in the 1940s to prosecute and execute thousands of opponents using his military courts.”

But in Nandy and Phillips eyes the only question here was “nationalism” – which in its magnificent binary ignorance would trump consideration of civil rights, human rights and the rule of law.

The Labour candidates statements mark just how low in the water the party is.

It not only fails to comprehend the nature of movements of self-determination, and indeed the party’s history of supporting such movements in the past, but also the nature of the movement in Catalonia, which itself has a distinct brand of socialism, republicanism, feminism and radical de-centralist threads within the independence movement (just as the Scottish movement has). To dismiss such currents and movements as “divisive nationalism” is pitiful.

Not all Labour leadership hopefuls were as ill-advised.

A group from within Scottish Labour (Scottish Labour for Radical Democracy) put out a statement saying:

Clive Lewis and Rebecca Long-Bailey have said that the party needs to accept the case for a second referendum, along with other senior Labour figures, including the former cabinet minister Ben Bradshaw and a number of defeated MPs.

But the confusion is magnified by the interventions of warring factions in Scotland, from Richard Leonard and Ian Murray – Scotland’s sole remaining Labour MP representing the heartlands of Morningside.

Murray has been likened to the American major after the about the Battle of Bến Tre in the Vietnam war who said: “It became necessary to destroy the town to save it”.

He views Scottish Labour’s death-throes as essential and necessary in the wider constitutional war to save the union, and as so represents a sort of Terminal Britishness for which there is no end in sight.

Leonard told the PA news agency: “One of the things that I’m saying to all the leadership candidates in this contest is it’s good that they’re concentrating a lot of their messages on Scotland – that they understand if Labour is to win again, we have to win in Scotland.”

“But I’m getting the message across that in the end, on the Scottish constitutional question, that will be decided by members of the Scottish Labour Party.

“The Scottish Labour Party will be the ones driving that agenda.”

Except we know this not to be true, nor in any way practical.

How can it be possibly be workable to have a constitutional position agreed in Scotland but not at a UK level?

The week before the Labour Party dropped the F Bomb, resurrecting the tired old Federalism notion, before shrinking away from it and retreating to internal squabbling.

Perhaps we should give the Labour and Scottish Labour party a break? This is, after all, a period of re-building and reflection.

But the problem is they are exhibiting such a deep-level state of utter confusion about basic political principles it is difficult to imagine them emerging unscathed from this moment.

If the Conservatives are captured by a paralysing sense of nostalgia for British Greatness, the Labour Party seem too to be transfixed by an imagined past. Like with most imaginaries these past histories are evoked without detail or accuracy.

Labour’s mythical past of “solidarity” and “internationalism” avoids difficult questions about the party’s failure to support the Anti-Apartheid Movement, its failure to show solidarity with the striking Miners in 1984/85 and its complete amnesia about its own origin-story, as the party that supported Home Rule.

Labour are captured by Brexitmania and consumed also by a new malignant form of British nationalism.

The reality is that both “nationalism” and “socialism’ exist on a continuum, ranging from authoritarian and libertarian wings, and from decentralised and centralised ones. Both political tendencies have rich and complex and often over-lapping histories. To display ignorance of this is to mark yourself out as unfit for office. Mouthing “solidarity” and “internationalism” while displaying neither is an affront to the memory of Jimmy Reid, John Maclean and even Robin Cook.

At the end of the day, the reality – sad or not depending on your view here – is that Lisa Nandy and Jess Phillips don’t really matter. They may have exposed some deep ignorance but neither are going to lead the Labour Party, and even if they were, the party is a long long way from office. In this they are not really in the fight at all.

As George Orwell wrote in Homage to Catalonia:

“One of the most horrible features of war is that all the war-propaganda, all the screaming and lies and hatred, comes invariably from people who are not fighting.”

 

 

 

 

Comments (38)

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  1. Jo says:

    Yes, Mike, it’s been a shocker of a week for extraordinary quotes from would be leaders of Labour. Some of them have surely horrified a significant number of Scots, including, I’d imagine, their own colleagues in Labour in Scotland. In the process of giving pledges to “listen” they go on to prove they are not listening at all.

    I’d agree that Nandy and Phillips are the worst offenders but, remember too, Long-Bailey declared the week before she wanted to serve everyone in “Britain” and then provided the names of four locations, all in England, as examples of places in “Britain” she cares about.

    Nandy did the same yesterday by saying she wanted democracy to work from “Lewisham to Leigh”…. again, no reference to Scotland or, indeed. Wales and Northern Ireland! And she bleats about “nationalism”?

    Phillips got cross during the hustings yesterday when RLB and Nandy went on about “the North”. For, the indignant Phillips pointed out, the Midlands were just as important as the North! Had this not been so bloody stupid, I’d have laughed.

    In the Deputy Leader race we have another absolute shocker of a candidate, Ian Murray. Here’s a Scot who is actively supporting both Phillips and Nandy even as they undermine Scotland and he’s actively attacking those within Labour in Scotland who are making it only too clear how critical Labour’s position is here currently. Murray is not listening to them.

    I really wonder about the advice this lot are getting because so far their output, ironically, is embracing English nationalism utterly. Do they not understand irony?

    1. Jo says:

      PS The other thing is that the toxic factions are still simmering, bubbling and stoking the cauldron that is the PLP. The hatred, yes, hatred is screaming out. Phillips can’t help herself. Thornberry can’t either. While trying to play nice yesterday it was clear that tensions were high between the candidates with Phillips in particular struggling to remain civil at times.

      What a sorry state of affairs.

    2. Katy says:

      It always seems such a strange kind of doublethink, that there is this entity called ‘the North’ that certain politicians and media figures talk about but it isn’t the north of Britain or the UK – and yet these same figures do not think that Scotland is a separate country…

    3. Bill says:

      Hi Jo

      Is this not just an example of the institutionalised racism embedded in England. There are many examples that one could quote but suffice to say anything north of London is regarded as foreign territory and as for Scotland – “there be dragons”.

      It is of further interest to note that in questionnaires used by Ipsos and other data gathering bodies, Scotland is regarded. as are Wales and Northern Ireland as a Region. The irony is that one question asks in which country do you live and then asks in what region do you live. We are NOT a region!!

      Symptomatic of the way in which we are viewed by those south of the border

      Bill

      1. Jo says:

        Bill

        On the “region” business, I couldn’t agree more. Ian Murray, a Scot himself, even compared other “regions” like “Merseyside” with Scotland!

        It beggars belief.

    4. David Allan says:

      the real irony where Nandy is concerned is that she hasn’t realised her own words betray a underlying closet “authoritarian ultranationalist ”

      The Labour Party has two issues Anti-Semetism and the issue of Nandy and her real inner opinions!

  2. SleepingDog says:

    I think it is true that post-WW2 UK foreign policy has been consistent under both Conservative and Labour governments, even if their domestic policies have often differed. Indeed, UK foreign policy specialist historian Mark Curtis wrote in 2017:
    “We are getting close to having the most unethical foreign policy since the worst government in postwar history: the Labour government under Wilson in the late 1960s. I want to mention this because this remains buried in UK elite culture. That Wilson government, as shown in the declassified files, depopulated the Chagos islands, covertly supported Indonesia’s slaughter of hundreds of thousands in 1965, secretly armed Nigeria as it destroyed Biafra killing 3 million people, secretly armed Iraq as it slaughtered Kurds in the late 60s and secretly backed and armed US aggression in Vietnam.”
    http://markcurtis.info/2017/04/27/a-dangerous-new-era-in-british-foreign-policy-talk-at-stop-the-war-annual-conference/
    His book Web of Deceit has more detail on the era. Having a few outspoken anti-colonialists did not make a significant difference to party policy.

    Still, federalism should provide a formal opt-out and smoothed (indeed, normalized) exit path, which Scotland does not currently have in the UK.

  3. Hamish100 says:

    I am surprised that other commentators and blogs have not picked up that on Marr on Sunday the sole labour MP in Scotland Murray agrees with Nandy’s comments.

    So for Murray, the way to deal with Scotland’s Independence movement is to beat up grannies, young people, in fact all who reject the right wing British nationalists as well as jail our leaders.

    Straight from the right wingers mouth.

    Socialist? Never. Enemy of this nation. Absolutely.

    1. Jo says:

      Hamish

      Doesn’t surprise me. Murray is a most peculiar guy, even in appearance. Nothing he says amazes me now. He’s trashed Scotland and the part of his Party known as “Scottish” Labour. They are not suggesting Labour should back independence…. they’re saying let the people decide. Yet Murray sees Scotland as just another region of England, like Merseyside, to use the example he gave last week.

      He’s a very bitter man.

  4. Hamish100 says:

    Jo,

    How many times did he say “Nations and Regions” to Marr? Must be a near record. Obviously his advisors are sensitive to this criticism of him.

    Still his britnat credentials are there for all to see. Scotland and Scots are a subset to his mindset. For him to b e governed by the Eton right wingers is preferable to Independence for Scotland. Basically “he will dae as he’s telt.”

  5. Daniel Raphael says:

    Another outstanding article, one I’m glad to share with both US and UK comrades.

  6. Angus says:

    ‘…The reality is that both “nationalism” and “socialism’ exist on a continuum, ranging from authoritarian and libertarian wings, and from decentralised and centralised ones. Both political tendencies have rich and complex and often over-lapping histories. ‘

    But it’s not about content but thee process and the hidden currents. Whenever I think of either nationalism or socialism, I can’t help thinking of Isiah Berlin’s notion of value pluralism and that incommensurate values exist alongside one another. The problem with nationalism (the notion that an ethno-cultural group is the fundamental basis for social organisation and political power- the nation state) is that it posits positive liberty (freedom to) over negative (freedom from). And Berlin was right when he identified this as the basis for the closing of societies (totalitarianism in the most extreme). It was the reaction to the abstractions of the Enlightenment and Kantian individualism and French Rev/ republicanism that led to this shift from individual rights to collective notions of liberty – the freedom of a people to be self determining. But as Berlin pointed out this shift is dangerous as it is inherently unstable as it subsumes the individual and inhibits individual self determination (neg lib – freedom from wider group coercion).

    This was at the root of Nazism. Fichte and Herder were the guys who made the leap from Kant to the collective and the notion of the self determining German people – through language and culture- rather than self determining rights of man. And in it’s infancy was fundamentally liberal but turned sour. Intrinsic to this must be the notion that there are fundamental and incompatible differences between people (rather than the notion of universal humanity), that each culture or ‘nation’ was incommensurate and unique. Sturm and Drang and irrational Romantic ‘national’ mysticism (Goethe et al) laid the foundations for what morphed into fascism – it’s just a hop and a step away and on the slippery slope continum.

    This is why many hold *all* nationalism (the fusion of culture, collective self determination and power) with suspicion and see overlapping soveriengty as a fundamental ethical good.

    This incidently, is one of the founding principles of the EU and why the Germans in particular are very pro unions.

    Exclusive self determination isn’t a right.

    1. Angus says:

      And Scottish nationalism indulges this quasi holisitc mysticism ‘… in the early days of a better nation…’ Andersonian ‘…imagined communities…’ all the time. Sticking the term ‘civic’ as a prefix is just cosmetic. Ironically, if independence debate was less ‘nationalist’ it might have more support.

      1. Wul says:

        “Ironically, if independence debate was less ‘nationalist’ it might have more support.”

        You will find the word “nationalist” is used many multiples of times by opponants of Scottish Independence than its proponents. They fully understand the stigma associated with the term and will dwell on it, and repeat it, as often as possible.

        Is it “nationalist” to say; “the people in this country want something different to the country where our rules are made” ? Does thinking that Scotland is a real country make me a nationalist?

        1. David Allan says:

          The National Party of Scotland (NPS) . emerged from scottish home rule movement mibbee had we stuck with that Party Name , the Nationalist/Nationalism taint would’nt now exist.

          nearly a century it’s not to late to remedy !

      2. The Stroller says:

        Why is the word “civic” merely cosmetic, Angus? It is clearly very important that Scottish nationalism is civic, open to anybody and based on residency, and not ethno and based on nationality and race. If Scottish nationalism was based on ethnicity and “being Scottish” people like myself wouldn’t touch it with a barge pole, and it would be on about 10% or 15% of the vote. So it’s not cosmetic, come on, be fair.

        Your extremely brief run through of the links between the French Revolution, German nationalism and fascism is all well and good, but it is equally true that the Nation State is the only entitty availabe thus far which has more or less widened the circle of individual human rights, at least in the modern age. So long as the Nation State is not based on ethno nationalist lines and is based on diversity and citizen’s rights,, I see no problem really with a new State, and it can hardly be stressed enough that if England and Scotland voted along similar lines, the SNP would be a fringe party like they were at one time.

        There has been a significant divergence in the political cultures of Scotland and England since Thatcher, to the point that it has created a crisis in British democracy. England has become theis the most right wing country in Europe by far. while Scotland has broadly remained on the same political sepctrum as countries like France and Germany.

        So, while I’m not saying you are entirely wrong, I wonder why you feel the need to muddy the waters and try to argue that there is no fundamental difference between ethnic and civic nationalism? Clearly there is…

        1. The Stroller says:

          PS. I don’t see why it is a spectrum? There is no spectrum.

          There is a view of how socities are organzied which is based on ethno nationalist lines and existed for centuries in Europe leading to never ending wars, and there is a view of societies based on citizens’ rights, the fundamental, universal rights of all human beings in that society as enshrined in Internationa Law and the Geneva Conventions.

          So where is the specturm exactly? That is a categorical difference, not a spectrum….

        2. Jo says:

          Stroller

          As Wul points out, tho’, opponents of independence have seized on the “nationalism” word and attached their chosen (and deliberate) definition to it.

          For all of us, independence is about a better Scotland for everyone in it regardless of their origins. That definition doesn’t work for them for obvious reasons. It makes too much sense!

    2. Angus says:

      As an curious aside, Morrissey is a classic example of this shift. Spent his entire career immersed in English Romanticism and the cultural ‘collective’ touchstones. It isn’t remotely surprising he turned out as he did.

      And it’s also why artists, musicians and writers who run counter to the collective ‘national’ narrative tend to get ostracised. Murakami is the most obvious example in recent years and his rejection by the Japanese cultural nationalists. But Joyce also in his day, Stein and many of the cosmopolitan lost generation. And of course Macarthyism in the US was essentially the same process.

    3. Wul says:

      “This incidently, is one of the founding principles of the EU and why the Germans in particular are very pro unions.”

      Scotland is not actually in a genuine “Union” with England though, is it? That is the problem.

    4. Jack collatin says:

      Many of us refer to it as Scotland’s democratic right to Self Determination, Angus.
      A government of the people, elected by the people, to serve the people, and accountable to the people, of Scotland.
      The make up of the first administration come Independence, and indeed our membership of the EU or not will be determined by the first truly democratic Scottish General Election EVER. Before 1707 Bloody Ruthless Barons and kings suppressed the population of Scotland.
      There was no such thing as ‘democracy’ in the 18th Century.
      It may even be a Labour Administration.
      Think on that.
      An excellent piece, Bella, on the Fall of the House of Labour.
      Load up, load up, with rubber bullets?
      It’s comin’ yet for a’ that.
      in 12 days ‘time we Scots shall be placed under House Arrest by the English Establishment contrary to our democratic wishes. 27 European countries will close their frontiers as England takes back control of their borders (and colonies0 ‘money’, and ominously Laws.
      Already Johnson has cut the EU Migration deal post Brexit by two years.
      Yet I read about Rod Stewart allegedly wearing an ex girlfriend’s silk knickers in that Great Socialist Thunderer The Daily Record.
      No one is reporting on Brexit.
      A conspiracy of Silence among our Fourth Estate Fifth Columnists.
      Scotland will be surrounded in barbed wire at the end of January but let’s not talk about it?
      Get off your knees, Dead Tree Scrollers. Fight for our rights, not Harry and his Squeeze’s spat with the Windsors.

  7. Hamish100 says:

    ……. and here all I wanted is the removal of nuclear weapons from my country, not to be be dragged into wars such as Iraq because a big country beside mines tells us, support and help the weak and prejudiced and be a ordinary country where we govern ourselves warts and all.!

    1. Wul says:

      That’s what you think Hamish. But Angus knows you better than you know yourself.

      No sooner will you have removed those weapons of mass incineration, created a peaceful and cooperative foreign policy, welcomed immigrants and asylum seekers, begun to distribute your country’s wealth more fairly, declared your country “normal” and “ordinary” than you will be organising mass demonstrations of military superiority and be preparing to annexe Carlisle.

      You start off by simply wanting a fairer, kinder nation (and to maybe have a local library), but you end up gassing millions of Jews.

      It’s slippery slope for sure.

      1. Hamish100 says:

        You found me out. My invasion plans to retake Berwick have been foiled. Drat. C’mon mutley, let’s go home.

      2. Angus says:

        Great projection. I wasn’t making any direct comparison just pointing out Isiah Berlin’s salient point about the intolerance intrinsic to collective notions of ‘self determination’ and the glib use of ‘civic’ nationalism. And your response and indeed the response of many (not all) Yes people when challenged with a degree of intellectual rigour is to ridicule … suggesting Berlin had a point.

        1. Wul says:

          Angus, what is your own response to Scots who want increased democratic influence over the place where they live ?

          Your “degree of intellectual rigour” has suggested that wanting more autonomy for Scotland and noticing that, politically, Scots people vote for different parties than English people is a “nationalist” perspective.

          You tell us that “nationalism” can “go sour” and is a “slippery slope” ( I broadly agree with those two points). So what do we do? What do I do? What can I hope for in the future?

          Do I just sit and wait for a new, global political Pangea to emerge, where we finally realise that we are all human beings (Jock Tamson’s Bairns?) and that borders are meaningless and nationalistic?

          What is your actual answer or suggestion for a way forward for me & my family? ( Because I am finding being ruled from Westminster, by the party that my English cousins keep voting for, a deeply unpleasant, worrying, embarrassing experience at odds with my values and my wishes for my fellow human beings across my country and the world)

          Is your point simply that we should just shut up and give up because: “nationalism” ?

          1. Angus says:

            If it really was democracy that was the main concern then rationally you would campaign for the outcome that maximized democracy. This would be multi level governance (staggered competencies and overlapping authorities with proper agency e.g. Environment policy is pointless on a national level – the clue is in the name ‘global’ warming, also control over workers rights are now beyond states etc) and greater local representation. Imagine people marched for a proper federal solution? But as Isiah Berlin also pointed out – it isn’t about rational outcomes but about the notion of collective autonomy (and this is entirely irrational – hence the reason blue collar heartland Americans vote against their interests for big buisness Trump, or people in Sunderland vote for Brexit when it means the loss of their Nissan jobs, or left wing Scots vote for independence when low corporation tax and small state neoliberlism is the almost inevitiable outcome.)

            All independence does is shift one majoritarianism in the South east England for a similar one in the West of Scotland. And the centralising tendancy of SNP has eroded democratic engagement in the regions (hence the reason the NE and Borders and Shetland voting Tory and Liberal) and see greater democratic empowerment at Westminster.

            Incidently I support I Indy now due to Brexit and Eng nationalism. But I will still be critical of Scot nationalism as there is it is healthy in an open society.

          2. Wul says:

            Having to “reply” to myself Angus (maybe I’ve run out) but in response to your post of 12:16, I think I broadly agree with you about the need to be vigilant that we don’t just swap one set of despots for a home-grown version. It won’t be easy.

            I do have more faith that were a malign programme to emerge from Holyrood, it could be more easily interrupted than at Westminster. There’s less distance between pleb and master here. I could be kidding myself though.

            I agree about SNP’s centralising tendency but they will likely be out the door very soon after independence any way. I also agree that a much more decentralised democracy is a good thing. Much harder for any one ideology to take control when the country is split up into many resilient, self-governing, self funding burghs.

          3. Maurice says:

            It has gone sour already, and not been self-corrected yet. From my reply to Lisa Nandy to Mark Frankland’s open letter to her:

            ” Copied from Quebec, they proposed in the referendum that automatic citizenship should only be by birth or residence at the instant of statehood.

            Now, calling any category of citizenship automatic can be problematic, as a person with several possible citizenships may not want the one that some official wants to deem automatic: so I have no problem with asking claimants to descent citizenship to take an active step of choice for it. But obviously what must be automatic is that they get it. That is, it must be unrefusable.

            Faced with inability to get any Yes source to say this, during the campaign, I lodged EU petition 1448/2014. This was not the naive humble type of petition making a request, it was a citation of ECHR article 8 on family life: so it remains a legal resource for anyone to cite and use. It cites, that article 8 obliges the EU to disown shun and sanction as an international pariah racist state, and not build any relationship with, a Scottish state where citizenship by parental descent is refusable.

            Since then there are 3 limited successes to record fairly:
            * In the National of 9 Jul 2016, Paul Kavanagh’s column included parental descent in a list of European norms of citizenship.
            * only verbally on a stall, a self-declared international law expert in the Yes Marchmont and Morningside group in Edinburgh concurred that ECHR will require us to honour this citizenship entitlement.
            * at Perth’s hustings last May 16, which was recorded, the Greens’ Maggie Chapman gave the right answer on this.

            There are good “Yessers” who persist in an unsecured faith that this will not be a problem. Some are my friends. But there are frequently encountered Yessers with the prejudice, to show it is a serious problem. Many of them hold that their theory “civic nationalism” defines a country as its presently in situ population, and makes it virtuous to reject anything to do with “blood and soil” – and they will class family ties as implying blood and race. They faithfully think it is a progressive line against genetic views of race, to reject our emigrants’ offspring from being Scottish, hypocritically at the same time as claiming emigration as a Yes issue! As well as simply being xenophobic excluding and hateful, this line breaks apart families. Nationhood by parentage has always come from the life practicality of folks’ ties to their families, to the places where their families’ lives are rooted, and to family’s mutual support and sharing of resources. All nothing to do with genetics and long predating all knowledge of its existence.

            They won’t budge when you explain that. They cling to a seeming fear that to admit any practical humane argument for families will be a blunder into a naughty endorsement of blood-related thoughts. So they put themselves in an absurd mirror-image position, of calling inclusion racist and calling vile family-breaking exclusion anti-racist and progressive. During the campaign I had a bonechilling conversation of this nature with a Radical Independence stall, arguing that line in all theoretical earnestness, opposing and calling racist any parental descent citizenship at all, constantly asking “how far back do you go?” to everything I said for nuclear families whose practical position is obviously not the same as the distant past’s generations. MP Angus Macneil denied to the Sunday Post 23 Feb 2014 that anyone who has never lived here is Scottish. “

  8. Jo says:

    The bad news from Jess Phillips is that she was “awful” on Saturday because she was trying to please too many people! So there you are.

    Her solution, this is the really bad news, is to be herself and “less statesman-like”. Jings! It could get messy!

    1. Kenneth G Coutts says:

      May I suggest Phillips is clueless about Scotland
      And its civic nationalism which is also international in its outlook.
      As usual the unionist parties try to use reverse
      Psychology.
      Steal Scottish ideas for themselves, making out it was their Ideas all along.
      Jeez.

      1. Jo says:

        Kenneth

        “May I suggest Phillips is clueless about Scotland….”

        You absolutely may!

  9. Kenneth G Coutts says:

    May I suggest those in the radical democracy bracket
    Break from the Engerlish unionist branch office in Scotland.
    Register as a Scottish radical democracy party
    Put grass roots folk up for election in Scotland.
    Perhaps a real labour party with real labour values
    Working for Scotland.
    Independence
    Onwards and upwards.
    Aye!

  10. WB says:

    I am a fan of experimental determinism. Think of a system, then follow it all the way down the line. If it ends up at a less than desirable conclusion, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s not a good idea, but that it needs to be done in moderation.

    It seem to me that we have tried (not just thought about) both Capitalism and Socialism far enough along the line to know two things –

    1)Taken to excess neither one is good for us.

    2) We end up with much the same type of people in control.

  11. Tommy Aikenhead says:

    The context of LN’s remarks are clear……she is standing for leader of a party that is being squeezed by the English nationalism of BJ, the Scottish nationalism of the SNP and even the British nationalism of the Scottish Tories. Centrist and left parties all over Europe face similar challenges from neo-nationalist movements. I find it rather curious that supporters of indy get so precious about this description when their movement is riddled with small nation nationalist exceptionalism. As for the accusation that such movements are divisive, really?…….Scotland, Catalonia, Quebec are not divided? Such statements are fairly uncontroversial, indeed self evident to most who have an understanding of the current contours of politics and elections results across Europe and beyond . She suggested that the rise of the Spanish Socialist party, and the election of left of centre politicians in Barcelona have shown that the left can effectively counter nationalists movements if they offer programmes relevant to the needs of people on both sides of bitter divided disputes, a reasonable assertion for a candidate standing for Labour leader at the moment. The hysterical misrepresentation of her words, (by people who should know better) is now appears the default position of indy supporters who for years now have rejected any sensible discussion with ‘London Labour’ and are reduced to piling high the pyre of grievance, because the uncomfortable reality is that the economic, political and social arguments are failing to make any impact upon the majority in Scotland, support has indy flat-lined for yet another year and yet another election. Despite insipid Bullingdon Tory governments, Brexit chaos, a decade of damaging austerity the indy parties can bearly muster 3 votes out of 10, hardly a nation screaming for ‘freedom’!

    1. Graeme Purves says:

      That will be the Spanish Socialist Party which has been happy to employ the tools of political oppression associated with Spain’s falangist right.

  12. Graeme Purves says:

    An excellent, if depressing, commentary, Mike.

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