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By Jason Michael
THE KNIVES ARE OUT, and James Kelly has ‘a theory about Jeggit.’ It would appear I have become a traitor to the cause of Scottish independence because I have refused to endorse the scapegoating and abuse of transgender people by a small but vocal element of the independence movement. Because I have had the bare faced cheek and the audacity to highlight some of the most obnoxious transphobic and racist social media posts of certain people in our movement, it has been decided that Jeggit — moi — and this website, the Random Public Journal, must be ‘cancelled.’
It stands to reason, then, that James Kelly — the author of the Scot Goes Pop blog — has a theory. After all, Kelly is a man who has waited a long time for this opportunity; ever since that time in 2019 when myself and others called him out on his rather British attitude towards the Irish struggle. So, let’s see it. Let’s platform his poisonous anti-Irish garbage. His grand theory is this:
[Jeggit’s] real loyalty is to Sinn Fein and the cause of Irish unification and sovereignty. Nothing wrong with that, but he’s unusual in that he’s decided his main contribution to the cause will be via the Scottish independence movement. This has led to him to tying himself up in knots, because he’s trying very hard to stay faithful to the Sinn Fein stance on trans rights — which puts him firmly on the side of SNP centrists, and against the more radical elements of the indy movement, who he otherwise sees as allies. This is the problem with trying to graft the politics of one country onto another.
Kelly is wrong on a number of points. Actually every one of his assumptions is wrong, but we are used to that from this intellectual lightweight and moral coward. But let us begin with where he is almost right; I am loyal to Sinn Féin and the cause of a sovereign thirty-two county Irish Republic, and fiercely so. This, I have never hidden. Yet, in drawing attention to this, Kelly pulls the old unionist trick of attempting to position me as an outsider to Scotland. But what sort of third rate intelligence would leap to the conclusion that a Scot living in Ireland who supports Irish unity would be neutral on the question of Britain’s dominance of Scotland? Again, as a good Republican and a committed socialist, I have always recognised what people like Kelly will never grasp — that the struggle against British imperialism is the struggle for Irish unity and Scottish and Welsh independence.
His theory, pathetic as it is at this point, goes downhill from here. Knowing, as he does, my unwillingness to uncritically accept everything from the Scottish National Party or indeed from Alba — presumably his ‘more radical elements,’ he assumes I would park my critical faculties when it comes to Sinn Féin. He thinks I am tied up in knots trying to stay faithful to Sinn Féin’s position on transgender rights. What he may not know, however, is that I am almost entirely unaware of Sinn Féin’s position on transgender rights. You see, this utter fixation on what’s in people’s underpants is an entirely British fixation. This really is not an issue in Ireland. Like most people in Ireland, I am content to leave this up to our democracy, our legislators, and the experts.
Still, let us imagine for a moment that I am the dim-witted caricature or straw man he so desperately needs me to be. This would require me to uncritically accept Sinn Féin’s position on its entire social, political, and economic platform. But I don’t. As a religious Catholic — oh the horror!, I do not agree with my party’s position on abortion. This was kindly pointed out to him by ‘Meljomur,’ the radical feminist who recently dirtied her bid by mistaking a female teacher in the United States who had abused a student for a man in her efforts to keep the pressure on transgender people.
Sinn Féin supports unfettered access to abortion services in Ireland as a matter of women’s rights, a position which recently led to Peadar Tóibín leaving the party and forming Aontú. My thinking was to remain within the Sinn Féin fold, reasoning that the goal of unity was more important to the Republican cause than an issue the Irish public had already settled. But neither is it the case that my chief loyalty is to the Catholic Church, lest Kelly now jump on this. As a son of the Church, my conscience is informed by the Magisterium, but it is guided by my own reasoning and decided by my free will. While I am firmly against the destruction of innocent human life, I adopt the philosophical position of double effect which has it that so long as the intention of medical intervention is to save a life — that of the mother — and not the destruction of the child, then there is no ‘abortion’ if the child dies as a secondary effect.
What Kelly struggles with here is that there are people in the world capable of doing their own thinking. I am not the lackey of Sinn Féin, the Catholic Church, or the Scottish independence movement. This wee man does not subscribe to cults of personality or to package deal politics. Sure, this makes me a mixed bag, but, then, so are all people of independent mind. James Kelly and his friends might want to give it a try.
What is his deal — really? What really gets on James Kelly’s goat is the stink of Fenian. The Orange sash is not merely an artefact of open anti-Catholic sectarianism, it is a paracite of the mind that penetrates deep into the Scottish psyche. This is no indictment, it is a consequence of colonialism — Britain has driven this deep into our culture. Catholics and Protestants are equally susceptible to it. This is the attitude towards Ireland and the struggle for Ireland’s freedom that is drip, drip, dripped into Scottish minds by the media and our education system. Ireland is bad. Sinn Féin is evil incarnate. And this is the stink of Fenian that makes Kelly sick.
Back in March 2019 I was given an insight into Kelly’s very British attitude towards Ireland and the Irish struggle. In his attempt to school me on Irish history he wrote:
[Sinn Féin] have previous from half a century ago, in a part of the United Kingdom that has experienced communal violence of a type that will almost certainly not exist in Scotland in the foreseeable future.
What do we notice about this enlightened take on Ireland? Well, first we have the victim blaming. ‘They have previous’ — Sinn Féin, that is — assumes the British narrative that there is something inherently violent about Irish Republicanism, a movement born out of British imperial-colonialism, settler-colonialism, forced displacement, genocide, and famine. Ireland was always the victim of British aggression. Yet, even in light of the War of Independence, Partition, the ‘Protestant state for a Protestant people,’ the massacres of innocent civilians on the streets of Belfast and Derry, internment in concentration camps, and the deaths of the hunger strikers, it is Sinn Féin that has ‘previous.’ Here in Ireland we have a word for that kind of bullshit rhetoric — unionist.
We also have the naïve Scottish exceptionalism: this will never happen here. Of course this will never happen in Kelly’s Scotland. His is a country that allowed over thirty Orange Order parades to slither through Glasgow — the ‘Yes City’ — on the seventh anniversary of the failed independence referendum, a country that did the square root of fuck all to stop itself being dragged out of the European Union against its will, a country that is now facing empty supermarket shelves for Christmas, power cuts, and price rises. Of course what happened in Ireland will never happen in James Kelly’s Scotland. Nothing will happen in his Scotland — and the fool has the gall to speak of his faction of the independence movement as ‘the more radical.’
He went further in this conversation — turning the use of the term ‘revolutionary’ by Irish Republicans into an attempt to ‘incite Scots into a violent posture against the British state.’ One Dublin woman, Claire Carroll, took him to task on this garbage:
It’s an object lesson in flaccid polite middle class compliance to the dictates of a colonial regime that is killing vulnerable people in your own communities. Whole mess is pathetic. Your unicorn is not chained, she’s ASDA burgers.
You see, this is the ‘radical’ Scottish politics of James Kelly and the moronic regiment — post sentries on the toilet doors, ramp up the ethno-nationalism, and pray to whatever god will listen that your friends, the Brits, will play nice. Radical? This is a chump who insisted that the Irish were violent because they understood the struggle against Britain was revolutionary; that it changes things. What is radical about distinguishing between the true-blooded Scots born on the soil of holy Alba and the ‘non-Scots?’ That is the very opposite of radical — it is the very principle of British imperialism. Jesus, you have been good students. ‘Flaccid middle class compliance’ dressed as something brave. The whole dire mess is pathetic. ‘Your unicorn is not chained, she’s ASDA burgers.’
Bodenstown Churchyard – Wolfe Tones