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By Jason Michael
Political violence is an integral component of British nationalism in Scotland. Everywhere we see it in action there are threats and intimidation and violence, all the way from Downing Street to the streets of every town in Scotland.
On opening my email yesterday evening I was taken aback to discover an email from email@example.com headed rather ominously with the words “Operation Cumberland.” It contained a single line message reading: “We now have enough information Jason Michael McCann on you and your organisation under Operation Cumberland,” and containing a photograph of a house on the street where my mother lives, a photograph of my mother out shopping, her address, and home telephone number. This, of course, is a threat – purportedly from some government or quasi-government agency – to do harm to my family.
Okay, this is did not come from the government. Again, and leading me to believe this came from the same person who doxed me on Twitter recently, the photograph of the house is not my family home, but that of a neighbouring family with small children. Whoever this is has gone to the trouble of creating a ProtonMail CERN encrypted email account to hide behind. Thankfully they opted for the already compromised .com domain rather than the secure .ch Swiss protected alternative. Not even British Intelligence is that stupid. We would imagine even the goffers in GCHQ know how to spell the German name of England’s royal family. “Sax O’Coburg” indeed!
All of this is just more evidence to send to the good people in Police Scotland. But the whole thing, rather than frightening me as intended, has me thinking. I have never felt the need to threaten anyone or anyone’s family over Scottish politics, yet death threats, threats of violence, and actually acts of violence are very much part of the Scottish unionist toolkit. Since sharing the first threat on 7 September a significant number of fellow independentistas have shared with me similar experiences of online threats and intimidation, and – in one case – actual physical violence. We know that this does not happen to unionists because it would be all over the unionist press. It isn’t.
This, I have been thinking, has something to do with the nature of unionism. I have in the past already written about the connection between Scottish unionists, British nationalists, the British far-right, and neo-Nazi and racist organisations across Europe and North America. It comes as no surprise to me that unionism – or British nationalism in Scotland – is racist to the core. Of course it is. It idealises a monarchy well known for its racism and anti-Semitism and a monarch who was pictured giving the Nazi salute in the 1930s with her family in the garden.
Racism and violence are inseparable because racism itself is violence. It stands to reason then that these people, emboldened by the sharp right turn in British politics and the overt xenophobia of Brexit, see violence and the threat of violence as political instruments. None of this comes as a surprise. We need look no further than Brexit, in fact, for the hardest evidence of this violence. Thomas Mair, the man who hacked Labour MP Jo Cox to death during the EU referendum campaign, is a white supremacist and British nationalist. He was merely following the rule book as he had been taught to understand it. In his mind he was protecting union jacks from blacks.
Let’s not go dismissing this as an English problem either. Yes, Jo Cox was a Yorkshire MP. She was murdered on the street in her constituency, but her assailant, Thomas Mair, was from Kilmarnock in Ayrshire. Guess where my mother lives. Guess what town she was out shopping in when this low life photographed her. Kilmarnock.
Like any town or city in Scotland where at least one unionist lives, Kilmarnock is capable of producing one radicalised unionist extremist willing to commit mindless acts of politically and ideologically motivated violence. I’m really hoping it doesn’t produce a second.
As I was thinking over these things news came in from Barcelona. Spanish Franco-fascists – Spain’s very own unionists – from Catalunya and bussed in from other parts of Spain were marching through the streets of the Catalan capital. True to form they were giving Nazi salutes, spitting on elderly Catalans, and attacking independence supporting youths. We’d like to be able to say that Scots don’t go in for that fort of unionism, but sadly we know they do. Everything we have now witnessed on the streets of Barcelona is a step-by-step rerun of what happened on the streets of Glasgow on the night after our 2014 referendum result was announced.
On the 19 September 2014 British nationalists descended upon Glasgow and run amok, attacking the police, independence supporters, and launching an arson attack on the offices of the Sunday Herald. It is true to form. We can predict this behaviour like clockwork, and when something can be so accurately predicted it is essential to the nature of the group which’s behaviour is being predicted. Unionism – British nationalism – is violence.
Oh but there will be people reading this getting angry. They are unionists and they aren’t violent. But they are. From Theresa May, down the line through David Mundell, Ruth Davidson, Murdo Fraser, all the way through the offices of the BBC propaganda machine, to the unionist media and the polite, well-educated unionist, runs the cord of bloody violence. In what they say, write, print, and in what they refuse to say, write, and print; in the opinions they hold, the attitudes they carry, in who they chose to protect, and in what they refuse to acknowledge, they are maintaining and legitimising the violence of the thugs on the streets and those online. They – knowingly or not – are the system of violence that produces the thuggery.
We have a political superstructure in Westminster and a pro-establishment media that will go to town if so much as an egg is thrown at a unionist politician, but will report on the arrest of white supremacists while leaving out the facts that they were British soldiers and well-known British nationalists. If these louts attack and injure or kill an independence supporter what will be said of it in the Commons or on the front pages? Fatal stabbing! Six arrested! That’s what we’ll hear, nothing else. Unionism is violence, and it is supported by the violence of the union.
Protesters Nazi salute as Catalan flags BURN
One thought on “Unionism is Violence: Statist Ideology and Forceful Coercion”
If anyone thinks British unionism is not violence please look at Northern Ireland. People forget that before the IRA was planting bombs in its murderous campaign the British Army was deployed to NI to protect the catholic population from unionist violence. Being former British Army myself I was taught to hate the IRA for their indiscriminate violence – and I can’t say it is wrong to despise any organisation that acted as they did – but the violence of the Loyalist organisations was always glossed over & down played in comparison.
Chicken, egg; two wrongs, right. So many clichés, so little time… But we need to ensure we see what is really there & not allow the accepted narrative to colour our beliefs & turn those who simply disagree with us into enemies.
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