By Jason Michael

Scottish Green MSP Ross Greer showed such promise in the Sunday Herald when he blasted the bigotry of the “zoomers” on the “lunatic fringe” of the independence movement. Then he goes full Murdo Fraser with the sectarianism.

“In 2014 we built a movement which was hopeful, optimistic and open to all,” wrote the Scottish Green MSP Ross Greer in the Sunday Herald, and “bigots and bullies aren’t my people,” before he went on Twitter to attack me as “Michael Collins with a keyboard.” As the editor of the Butterfly Rebellion blog, a website established in September 2014 to continue to work for Scottish independence, I have been accused of many things. Jill Stephenson has called me a “nutter,” her unionist confederates have attempted to paint me as a neo-Nazi “blood and soil” nationalist, and – as has come to be expected – I have been written off as a “zoomer.” The ad hominem has become the go-to mode of debate for many online unionists.

Over the past couple of weeks these personalised attacks have been democratised, as the independence movement’s “radical left” intelligentsia has increasingly turned on those independentistas – including myself – with whom it disagrees. In the midst of this maelstrom I was heartened to read of Greer’s frustration at these “deeply personal attacks on good people” by “obnoxious keyboard warriors.” He rightly underlined the hypocrisy of our movement in tolerating this problematic behaviour when he asked:

What kind of hypocrisy is it to proclaim that we must all be polite to the bigots but not tell those same bigots to cut their vitriol for the sake of those they are attacking?

After over a decade of living and working in Dublin, Ireland; working with the Centre for Peace and Reconciliation at Glencree – building peace in the aftermath of the Troubles, as a delegate to the International Council of Christians and Jews, and an activist for Palestinian Solidarity, the answer to his question matters to me. Peace is an essential component of any civilised society, and peace is established with dialogue and mutual respect. When Greer writes that it is “clear that this fringe has nothing civil to say,” I agree. There are always voices on the peripheries who want nothing other than to insult, offend, and stir up trouble. I applaud Mr Greer for having called this out.

Yet yesterday the young MSP went and dirtied his bid, spoiling all his fine words. The Butterfly Rebellion published an article critical of Common Space’s use of sock puppet Twitter accounts – namely “@AngryScotland” and “@CommonWings” – to harass and troll other pro-independence activists. James McEnaney, a writer for Common Space and the unionist Daily Record, posted this to his Twitter page, calling it – as is now typical of his behaviour online – “hilarious” rather than addressing its content. So low has the journalistic integrity of Common Space sunk that everything critical of its divisive antics is dismissed as hilarious and foolish by its writing team. This was to be expected. What was not was Greer’s comment, “Check out Michael Collins with a keyboard.” Like McEnaney, I too assumed this was a witty way of calling me a “rocket” – a Scots slag term of insult, but no. In a subsequent response he hammered home its meaning: “The struggle is real and you’re no Butterfly unless you join a flying column.”

Greer was not referencing the Apollo 11 astronaut Michael Collins, but General Michael Collins – IRA commander during the Irish War of Independence and leader of the Irish Free State Army until his assassination by Anti-Treaty forces during the Irish Civil War. It was Collins who directed the “flying columns;” a guerrilla tactic used against British forces in the War of Independence. What an obscure insult, but it does make sense. It makes sense when one reads my personal profile on Twitter: “Scottish journalist and blogger based in Dublin…”

Jill Stephenson, retired professor of Nazi German history at Edinburgh University, has used my location as a weapon to inspire unionist aggression in the past. She is convinced the independence movement is led by “Catholics” and “infested” with “Irish Republicans.” There is simply no hiding the sectarian bigotry of such comments, but people like “Historywoman” are best ignored. But to see it used by Ross Greer, a fellow independence supporter and a “Christian,” is deeply distressing and personally hurtful. I am not going to call Ross a racist, but his comment definitely is.

Anti-Irish racism – yes, it is a thing – and its close relative anti-Catholic sectarianism are serious problems in Scottish society. Greer talks a wonderful game of the Scotland he wants to see after independence, but I am afraid that by perpetuating this garbage he is doing nothing but replicating the nightmare vision of Murdo Fraser and his ilk’s bitter and divided Scotland. Having worked with survivors and the families of the victims of the Troubles – from both communities – in Northern Ireland and in the Republic, I know the pain that such thoughtless IRA slurs cause. I too was almost a victim of a sectarian paramilitary bombing in Derry. How dare this young man use this nasty, hate-filled bile in an attempt to shame and silence me.

What do I want to see come of this? Well, for a start I want to see an end to the infighting he and others among the self-proclaimed leaders of the Yes movement are stoking. I would also like a public apology for this remark. It was a stupid and insensitive jibe made on a public forum by a public figure. Nothing short of public recognition and a public apology to me and all those Irish-Scots it has offended will do. On receipt of such an apology I will be content to let it go. If I do not get what I have asked for, I will be taking this as far as the law will permit me.


How relevant is sectarianism to life in modern Scotland?

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7 thoughts on “Anti-Irish Racist IRA Slur from Ross Greer

  1. I am literally lost for words. What the fuck does the wee boy think he is going to achieve by this? A grown up needs to remove his Twitter privileges pronto.

    I fucking hate Scots of any ilk dragging Irish issues into the argument about Scottish independence. It was bad enough when it was the ultra unionists doing so but so much worse when it is someone supposedly on our side.

    And that’s more fucks than I’ve ever written in a public forum before.


    Liked by 3 people

  2. One would like, in Christian Charity, to believe that this young Pretendy wee Independista is just using the Anti Scottish Unionist Press to try and raise his Profile in the ‘Silly Season’ and no harm to him—until we find from his Tweets that he is just another bitter wee Bigot who has sucked it in with his Mothers’ Milk!
    Scotland’s Curse lurks in the most surprising Places! and during the General Election Ruth Davidson locked into it by mobilising the Orange Order!
    Young Mr. Greer has aligned himself with some very bad company indeed!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Some truly sinister stuff going on at the moment and emanating from the so-called independentista elements of the self-styled left of the movement.

    A recent phenomenon unique to Scotland?

    Historically not so as the former British colonies will testify based on copious evidence.

    Consequently, an historically well evidenced hypothesis apropos the British state and its multiple nefarious actions now springs to mind:

    That is, the British state – and/or its proxies’/ or both of them’s – sockpuppet or not so sockpuppet infiltrators and catspaws are on a full-on offensive and are manipulating some of the naive amongst the ranks of their fellow strategically infantile, superficially co-travelling, chest pounding, Holly Wullie gone rabid ultra Pharasaical whited sepulchres in full unctuous flight of fanciful self-righteousness (or those posing as such).

    En effet, the snarling and salivating attack dogs of the British state have been unleashed again in the face of the Scottish independence movement and the imminent collapse of the UK over the Brexit fiasco and the vanquishment of this contrived state’s occupying elites.

    These contemporary Fabians based ultimately on the delaying and divisive tactics of Fabius Cunctatator – The Great Delayer – in defense of Rome and remodeled later by the infiltrationist Fabian Society in defense of the British empire have now been hipped-up with trendy right-on accoutrements to do battle with the Jocks theoretically in the name of the Jocks but, in reality, as delaying cells of counter-revolutionary action on behalf of this British state facing historical extinction.

    Their mission to destroy Scotland in the guise of the smugly angst ridden back-stabbing on behalf of “progressiveness” aka the fashionable Islingtonista imperialist faux socialist wannabe Brit state leadership with them of being chibmen and chibwomen acting on this “elite’s” behalf.

    Thus the most likely explanation for this outburst of recent actions by these fomenters of contrived rammies is that they are agents provocateur exploiting their assets, in varying states of awareness, towards the ends of their British paymaster.

    And sadly but usefully, this classification of the leaders-off of these highly vocal outbursts undermining the movement unsuccessfully, I suggest, serves to draw out the sleeper enemies of Scottish democracy into the open and the sunlight.

    A cleansing phenomenon ironically set in motion by these very elements and their own self-destructive actions.

    Thus, it is beginning to look like that the most rational explanation for this sudden recent erruption of this manufactured division – mainly based on ad hominem attacks from what I have been able to see – has been the the work of the conscious or unconscious agents of the British state leavened by the unthinking morally righteous, the mixing of spiteful, vindictive, and bandwagon jumping trolls, and also by an unhealthy dose of unprincipled, attention seeking opportunism on the part of some of the self-appointed leaders of this mainly(?) ultra infantile Trotskyite (?) faction who have infiltrated the movement and have initially sought to subtly hijack it and perhaps now out of raw frustration, have gone full bare-arsed naked, righteous berserker in their bid to mount a coup de theatre in their outright, in your face, apparent current takeover attempt of the broad front and church that is the wider, grassroots independence movement on behalf of their imperialist cousins in the British imperialist pseudo-left?

    Divide et imperia, afterall, has long been a favoured tactic by despotic institutions and governments everywhere with the British government and its apparatus at the cutting edge of these many tentacled interventions seeking to perpetuate the status quo. Thus, why should the struggle of the sovereign citizenry of Scotland to repatriate their sovereign powers be any different and exclusively exempt from such machinations?

    I trust Ross Greer made an error and fully apologizes to you for it. So be it for we are all human. If not, please do seek redress. Indeed, it is morally imperative that you do so as it is long since past time that these elements who seek to smear and defame with impunity be held to account before the law.

    PS May I suggest you put your head together with Stuart Campbell and perhaps Paul Kavanagh?


  4. I suspect like many this MSP has no idea who Collins was. I have no idea what he is playing at but whatever he is doing he is playing into the hands of the unionist media.
    He may require a good book to read about Collins and the dilemmas and challenges he faced.It may even be a backhanded compliment,unless of course you were a De Valera man.


  5. I know a wee bit about bigots and racists,when I was younger I was using an agency for jobs.I got one and the girl at the desk handed me the phone,the chap told me sorry jobs gone,OK so far.I also used another couple of agencies as some had higher pay for the same position,odd I know but that is how it went back then.Anyhow I was a bit suspicious when at the third agency that job was still up as vacant.I decide to use an alias got an interview and as was normal then the words were “Chef can you bring your knives and whites with you” sure no problem.I turned up for the interview all was going well he even told me that a fellow called O’Brien had applied but he never wanted that type here I hate those Fenian bastards he said.At that point I stood up and said I don’t think I’ll like working here as I don’t like your kind,you bigoted bastard.Aye I got barred from the agency I didn’t care had another job same day.This happened often back then late sixties early seventies and I was told it was worse years before.Agencies were complicit in the separation of applicants by religion or colour or country,I was told this by one girl in an agency who was disgusted by it,they said it was the instructions from the employer of who or what type of person was wanted.Some people don’t realise that by not allowing different types of people into their lives they could lose the best friend they will ever have.Oh I’ve done or helped at the catering for orange walks I don’t care who pays me as long as its a fair payment,and been offered jobs by orange men who knew me well,and other sensible folk.Bigots are shallow people who never got near the good end of the gene pool,daft I’d call them.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I don’t agree that there is such a thing as anti-Irish racism, no more than there is anti-Scots, anti-English, anti-Welsh, or anti-Cornish racism, for the simple reasons these are not races. And as odious as prejudice towards these ethnicities is indeed odious, to describe it as racism actually downplays the prejudice which many races suffer on a daily basis.

    However, it IS an odious comment, a cheap shot, and a low blow. But then, I do not expect any different from Ross Greer. I do not agree that his “zoomer” article was a good one. In fact, I was deeply offended by it. In that article Greer attacked those within the independence movement against feminism and the LGBT community. For a start, I have seen little-to-no misogyny within the movement – women in fact are right at the forefront of the movement, up to and including the First Minister – and likewise I have seen little to no prejudice against the LGBT community. Indeed, when Ruth Davidson came under a barrage of homophobic attacks in 2014, Yes and SNP members rounded on the numpty responsible, named and shamed him, kicked him out of Yes, and forced him into an apology. Compare that to Better Together, who in 2014 put a pro-LGBT banner on their FB page – and had to take it down less than 24 hours later because of homophobic and transphobic abuse from within their own ranks.

    In that article Greer pointed the finger for supposed prejudice towards “older white males”. Did anyone notice what he did? He made a generalisation about older white men within the Indy movement being misogynistic and homophobic/transphobic, without offereing one shred of evidence to support that. That was hypocritical, and being a generalisation, actually contradicted his own argument about prejudice within the movement. As a pro-indy older white male, who considers himself a feminist and who is a FIRM champion of LGBT rights, those words angered me.

    Now we see the level of Ross Greer’s mentality; that when he has no more arguments to give, he turns to ad hominem attacks, and attempts to smear his opponent. But do you know what is amusing about him doing that, Jason? In doing so he has more or less accused you of being a “keyboard warrior”. Yet by posting such a ridiculous and disgusting comment on Twitter, he has carried out the very tactics of a keyboard warrior himself.

    Last word: Greer wants some people removed from the independence movement. Of course, no individual or collective can remove another from the movement, for the simple fact it belongs to all of us. How would you even stop someone being pro-indy? How would you stop them thinking pro-indy, posting about independence, or voting for the SNP or other pro-independence parties? It can’t be done. However, as long as he is going to sling mud at and behave like a child towards other supporters of independence, perhaps Ross Greer may want to consider removing himself from the movement.

    Liked by 3 people

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