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By Jason Michael
IT HAS COME AS A SHOCK to Mhairi Hunter that there are people in the independence movement who choose to employ choice language when speaking to those who oppose independence. Well, Mhairi, welcome to the internet! If the youthful naughty tweets of Mhairi Black – an SNP MP – can be turned against the National Party by unionists online and the British establishment press, what hope do the rest of us have? People will say whatever they want on their own social media platforms and there is nothing whatsoever pearl clutching in SNP HQ can do about it. It’s the internet! But her words were, of course, reduced to rank hypocrisy the moment she took it upon herself to describe these unnamed delinquents as “trash.” She only made it worse by saying she didn’t realise calling people – human beings – trash was offensive. So, in the world of Mhairi Hunter and the independence movement’s self-appointed thought police it is an unforgivable sin to be rude to these utterly fictitious “soft noes” while describing our own movement members as trash is somehow acceptable. On this, at least, Mhairi is being wonderfully inconsistent.
But this is a problem for the Scottish National Party, and it has been for quite some time. The author of the Grouse Beater website was spuriously accused of being an anti-Semite for mentioning the Nazi’s attitude to trade unionism in a criticism of a Labour-affiliated trade union and naming a representative of that union who turned out – entirely unbeknownst to the author – to be Jewish. Her Jewishness had nothing to do with the criticism of the behaviour of her union. Her Jewishness had nothing to do with the piece that was published. Yet, the fact that he had mentioned Adolf Hitler and a Jew in the article meant, according to the twisted logic of post-truth politics, his words could be branded antisemitic – a favourite tactic of the Tories. Rather than giving Grouse Beater a modicum of political cover against these false and damaging accusations, the SNP ran for the hills. Its response was to rescind his party membership (it being lapsed at the time), its unqualified Equalities Convener published an insane blog post defending the accusation on the opinion of her Jewish friends, and now we have Jack Deeth bumping his gums in condemnation of Grouse Beater.
Mhairi Hunter (@MhairiHunter) May 06, 2019
On account of citing two Israeli academics and Noam Chomsky – all of whom are Jews – in an article in which I described how the State of Israel uses a “fiction” of the Holocaust in order to delegitimise the cause of Palestinian liberation, the British unionist Scotsman newspaper implied I was a Holocaust denier. The Daily Mail and The Herald added to this the charge that I was an IRA sympathiser because of a tweet in which I stated the obvious: That if the British government causes the failure of the Good Friday Agreement then there are, as we well know, dissident Republican groups in Ireland who will – according to the Green Book (the IRA’s rules of war) – treat British soldiers and security forces in Ireland as “legitimate targets.” What assistance did I get from the SNP? Feck all! The morning after this garbage appeared in the British press in Scotland all but a few SNP politicians who had followed me on social media unfollowed.
Can we seek legal remedy? No, not really. Stu Campbell took a key unionist politician to court in Scotland – a “Crown court” – and he got nothing. The sheriff determined he had in fact been wrongly called a homophobe, but that Kezia Dugdale had every right to publish this awful slur in a national unionist tabloid because of some nonsense about “fair comment.” The same was the case when Alistair Carmichael – then Secretary of State for Scotland – was taken to court for telling blatant lies about the First Minister by independentistas in Orkney. The union’s court found him to have lied but absolved him of all responsibility. At bottom, and we all know it, the courts and the press in Scotland are firmly on the side of the union, and anyone trying to win a case against the unionist press or the unionist political establishment might as well be pissing in the wind.
Those of us putting ourselves out there in support of independence might as well be strangers in a foreign land. Every structure of law and media propaganda in Scotland effectively ensures that independentistas are stateless. We live in a Scotland that does not yet exist and the state that does – Great Britain, in seeing us as a threat to its power and its control of our valuable resources, treats us as an alien menace. But we know this. What else can we expect from an ass but a kick? Yet, it is in knowing this, as part of a movement for national independence, that we sorely need the representation, support, and solidarity of a political party – something not all of us are getting from the SNP at present, and this is a serious problem.
Mhairi Hunter (@MhairiHunter) May 07, 2019
“Independence is coming!” Sure, of course independence is coming, but it has been coming since 1707. It might not arrive tomorrow, next week, or even next year. The truth is that we still might be waiting – now is not the time – for a few more years. In the meantime, we simply cannot continue like this; we cannot suffer indefinitely a situation in which class interests and basic political cover and representation are suspended for those of us in the movement – and this is no small number – who are not the favourites of the current SNP leadership. Sooner or later this is going to become a significant and highly divisive issue in the movement, one that may even result in a permanent fracture and the loss of independence. Those of us the SNP will not protect cannot now wait for the SNP to wake up to these realities. What we need, and need urgently, is political representation of our own; a pro-independence party that represents the political opinion considered undesirable, as trash, by the Scottish National Party.
Aware of this lack, the SNP is preparing not only to win the ideological war with the British government, but also to win the peace – in which it and its political ideology will dominate a newly independent Scotland. This is exactly why we are seeing it leave people like Grouse Beater, myself, and others out to dry. The strategists behind the SNP’s long game are right now actively purging those who will challenge them in the early days of independence. This too demands that we set about the formation of another party, one that represents the Scotland wanted by the overwhelming majority in the grassroots – a socialist Republican party. Those of this opinion do not want to have MPs sitting in England’s parliament and taking an oath of allegiance to a foreign monarch. What we desire is a party for the Scottish Republic – one that will defend the voice of activists deemed trash by those who would prefer the continuance of Westminster capitalist-imperialism in the Kingdom of Scotland. Clearly these are two competing independences, and the struggle for which one will become an independent state has already begun.
A monarchist and a republican go head to head