By Jason Michael

Scottish unionists who are unable to resist relating our nationalism with the National Socialism of 1930s Germany always seem to have the same opinion on refugees and migrants. We get the impression that they are projecting something onto us.

It would appear that the unionists of social media who are the most outspoken in the condemnation of independentistas as “nationalists” – with all the implied connotations of 1930s fascism and Nazism with which that term has been deliberately loaded – are also the first to label Muslims “terrorists” and refugees and migrants as “rape-fugees.” They don’t seem to have the mental toolbox even to see the contradiction in the position they choose to adopt, despite the fact that if support for Scottish independence was the monster they claim it to be it would be their closest natural ally. Unfortunately for them the Yes movement is nothing of the sort. They fear immigration and loathe the idea of independence because both – in their minds – threaten to destroy their invented and facile notion of British values, and so conceive of each as two sides of the same coin.

Earlier today I encountered a Twitter user, a certain Michael Barr, who had tweeted about his hatred for “that separatist woman” – referring to Nicola Sturgeon – because of her “xenophobic keyboard warriors.” Again, here was this unionist association of the Scottish National Party and Yes Scotland with nationalistic qua ethnic, blood and soil racial supremacism. Now here we have to be careful; while we can take ownership and even some pride in the term “cybernat,” it is important for us to avoid trolling and cyber bullying. This is a national debate and winning it requires open and honest discussion with a view to convincing people on the other side of the arguments for Scottish independence.

On seeing this I decided to test my theory. I clicked on Mr. Barr’s profile and rolled down through his timeline, and – you guessed it – there was no shortage of Islamophobic, racist, bigoted, and intolerant anti-immigration and anti-refugee content. Hoping only to hold a mirror up to his tweet regarding Nicola Sturgeon and her followers, I screen grabbed one of his nastier memes; one sneering at the age of “child” refugees being brought into Britain. I tweeted this back to him asking if Sturgeon’s followers were “as xenophobic as this?” He didn’t like this much and told me so. He is a British soldier, he told me, and deeply proud of his work in the Middle East. Somehow his attempt to impress me with this disclosure didn’t leave me feeling safe I had guys like him protecting my freedom and democracy. Do we want openly Islamophobic and prejudiced squaddies stomping all over Iraq, Afghanistan, and now Syria “protecting” Arab Muslim civilians with their guns?!

At this point I was thinking that Michael – who on discovering that I live and work in Dublin started referring to me as “Paddy” – may be precisely the reason there are so many refugees fleeing from pretty much everywhere Westminster sends in “our heroes.” Feck! I had to do something. What I did was tweet the British Army and the Ministry of Defence asking them if Michael here was the best representative of the whole boot clicking “Be the Best” thing. He promptly deleted his entire account. Score! I had just taken down my first yoon.

The experience has left me more convinced than ever that this poisonous racism is what lies beneath the surface of this unionist need to project the “nationalist” baggage onto us. Poor Michael was a light weight, and I had really hoped our discussion could have been a learning opportunity for him. It certainly was for me. But there are other, larger social media accounts – the Effies, the History Profs, the Murdos – that are more sophisticated in their ability to veil their racism and intolerance. I am beginning to think that the big tell is their obsessive need to link independence with the hissing sound the word “nationalist” makes on their lips.

David Starkey Comparing the SNP To the Nazis

Author: Jason Michael (@Jeggit)

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