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By Jason Michael
AS THOUGH OUT OF NOWHERE the open right-hand salute of the Nazis – the Hitlergruß of the Sieg Heil – has become the accepted display of belonging and “pride” used by British nationalists. It certainly never sprang from nowhere; it wasn’t licked up off the stones. Somewhere, deep in the bowels of the British white supremacist imagination, this repugnant symbol – together with many of the other trappings of national socialism – has been lurking for over seven decades, awaiting the right time to raise its ugly head. Other than its short-lived and scandalous resurrection among English neo-Nazi skinheads and its use by some football fans during the heyday of English football hooliganism in the late 80s and early 90s, this salute has only burst into the mainstream of the British nationalist movement in the past ten years. It’s no longer being used for shock value.
Some time ago I was sharing a flat in south Dublin with a German girl, Susan. In the front room, stuck in an empty bottle of tequila on the bookshelf, I kept a small Scottish saltire – one of those pokey handheld things the tourists buy on Princes Street. I’ll tell you the story of the tequila bottle some other time. As we were sharing the gaff, I thought it would be nice to suggest to her that the next time she was home she should bring over a wee German flag and add it to the bottle.
“Nein!” says she, with real Ostdeutsch emphasis. As she saw it, there was nothing about being German of which to be proud. She had grown up under Sozialismus in the DDR, where the authorities always reminded people of the dangers of German nationalism and national pride, and where the dreaded Stasi kept people in fear of lapsing into sentimental notions of the past. I always found this a touch sad, until – that was – she found a boyfriend.
John was a real Dubliner, always in a suit and cocky as hell – a really lovely guy. It was smack bang in the middle of the Celtic Tiger and we were living it large. John and I would sit out on the veranda overlooking Dublin Bay way into the silly wee hours drinking and smoking and generally having the craic. He and I got on grand. Anyways, he and Susan eventually got serious and they decided to head over to meet her parents. Her brother was home from Kosovo, where he had been serving with the UN as a peacekeeper, and she was excited about seeing him – but not so excited about John meeting him. She was a six-foot blonde, very good looking. John, not so much. He was everything you’d imagine a Leprechaun to be without the green suit and pipe. I could imagine her big brother would – quite literally – look down on him.
They go and come back. No one says a word about how it went. They both avoided me and cooked without talking in the kitchen. Something had happened.
Out on the veranda that night John and I got drunk. It was all small talk until about three in the morning when John pushed his head in through the curtains to make sure the coast was clear, before turning back to me and saying: “Fuck! Her family are Nazis!” He met the brother in the garage next to the family home where he was having a get-together with his army buddies. It was heavy metal music, tins of heavy beer, bare chests and “eagle tattoos,” and “Hitler salutes.” Susan was mortified and John cowered by the open garage door – “just in case.” Her dad was “very proud” of her brother. He was “making Germany great again.”
That was 2001. Yesterday the British media was in high doh on account of a gang of “UK football fans” being filmed in Volgograd, Russia, making the Sieg Heil salute. But there are no “UK football fans” in Russia for the World Cup. The UK doesn’t have a football team. Of course, seeing as this brings shame on the UK, we Scots know what “UK” means in this context – England.
Pumped up on hyper nationalism – white British ethno-nationalism – Brexit Britain has gone on tour in the guise of a certain segment of the English football support, and it has no intention of hiding its light under a bushel. Russia and Europe are the enemies and they need to be shown what British pride really looks like. The British media did its thing and quickly deflected attention from England and from what has been happening there – what has been stoked up there – and made this about the whole of the United Kingdom. Naturally, this allows the news pundits in the coming days to tar Scottish nationalism with the same “populist right-wing nationalist” brush.
But in Scotland we know the score. This brand of neo-Nazi, white supremacist, British ethno-nationalism – complete with the Sieg Heil salute – has already hit the streets. It has been mobilised all over Scotland against the civic and voluntary nationalism of the independence movement. On the 19 September 2014 it was on full triumphalist show on George Square, Glasgow, and it has been visible at every pro-union demonstration and counter-demonstration since. Has this been covered by a nervous British press? Has it feck! This has been ignored in Scotland, as it has been ignored in Brexit England, because it serves a purpose: It is rallying the angry white working class around the fleg. It is the populist movement that is moving the “nation” in time with the British establishment’s Brexit-isolationist tune and which is being encouraged and weaponised against the independence movement in Scotland.
The only reason the media is upset now is patently clear; it was done abroad and in the middle of the biggest media circus on the planet. Now it has to be dealt with – or seen to be dealt with, but nothing will be done. Nazism is at the putrid core of British nationalism, it is the hidden poisoned well – the dirty little secret – of the British establishment. Do we seriously think for a moment that had the Nazis overrun Britain in 1940 the British monarchy would have fled? What, was “uncle David” showing darling little Lilibet that salute for fun?
No, this salute – and the obnoxious ideas beneath it – is here to stay. This has not been adopted as the badge of British nationalism, and neither has it been introduced. This is the heretofore hidden inheritance of a pernicious movement that has only now realised its hour has come. While the British state media will do everything in its power to relate this to us, we in the independence movement must wake up to the threat and be prepared to fight it whenever and wherever we see it. We must give it no resting place, no place to hide, and use whatever means necessary to document it and let the world know what is going on in and what is driving Brexit Britain.
Unionists do Nazi salute in heated Glasgow standoff