By Jason Michael


Just like Guy Fawkes, we have gone to London with the purpose of bringing the whole rancid system of nastiness down around its authors’ heads. We don’t need the gun powder. We have a clear sense of who we are, and that’s incendiary enough.

Guy Fawkes Night, huh? With another referendum on Scottish independence in the offing it is with no small measure of irony that we in the Yes movement are “celebrating” bonfire night, the memory of the foiling of the 1605 Gunpowder Plot. Given that in the last general election we returned an unprecedented 56 Scottish National Party MPs to the Commons to be, in the words of Alex Salmond, “a threat to the Westminster establishment,” we must consider Guido and his co-conspirators brothers in arms. We never sent our SNP bloc to Westminster to continue the business of union – we sent them to wrap it up. Now, of course, we have no immediate designs on blowing the place sky high. Those days are past now and in the past they must remain, but our intention is clear; we are there to bring down this union.


Our objectives have much in common with those of the plotters of 1605, and our grievances arise from the same sort of bigotry that Westminster has fomented for centuries. Robert Catesby – the ringleader of the plot – hatched his plans in order to address the extreme anti-Catholic prejudice of his day, a prejudice that led to the disempowerment and vilification of English Catholics. While these despicable laws apply now only the monarchy and the Prime Minister, the Westminster establishment has turned its attention to other people – foreigners, Muslims in particular, and those at the bottom of the economic hierarchy; the unemployed, the disabled, and the elderly. Britain’s political élite thrives on identifying and victimising people it deems useless or dangerous to the state, and for three centuries Scotland has felt the fullest force of this bitter policy.

Westminster, as Guido and the boys recognised, is a system of power and oppression that cannot be allowed to continue. Few of us want to see it last much longer, and yet we had the wains out gathering the kindling and chapping doors looking for a penny for the Guy. Acht, what harm? We all enjoy a good bonfire night. Old traditions are worth holding on to, but all the same we really should be rethinking this Guy. Yes, he had his beef with Scotland and he certainly didn’t spark well with the Scottish King James, but when we interrogate who he and his buddies were and what they were all about we’d shortly discover that – other than his pyromaniac tendencies – he would be well disposed to what we have been doing more recently up here in Scotland.

Guy Fawkes Night and the whole of November have become something of a festival of establishment victory, with its ideological tendrils reaching down to the bottom of the barrel in order to grasp some of the most dreadful motives for “Patriotism.” We can love Scotland and be proud of being Scottish without setting those feelings against foreigners. We have done a remarkably good job of that in fact – considering what has been brewing down south. This doesn’t appear to be the case with being British. At the heart of being British has developed this all but unavoidable sense of contrast, meaning that being British can only be understood because others are not British. This was the same false alienation against which Fawkes took a stand. He could be Catholic and English. We have to stand up to that foreign culture and affirm in everything that we do that we can be Scots and anything else.


Alex Salmond’s Effigy


Author: Jason Michael (@Jeggit)

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