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By Jason Michael

THE SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE MOVEMENT forged in the crucible of the 2012-14 independence referendum campaign has joined the long list of failed national independence struggles in Scotland since the Acts of Union by snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. Only those most committed to denying reality — of which there are many — cannot see the present hopelessness of our predicament. The referendum campaign, regardless of the result of the vote on 18 September 2014, brought support for Scottish independence to an historic high of 45 percent. Between 2014 and now — with the insults of the Smith Commission, the introduction of English Votes for English Laws in Westminster, the scandal of being dragged out of the European Union against our democratic will, and the humiliation of Scottish representation being silenced by the British government during the Brexit negotiations — support for independence rose, at times, to around 60 percent. The British government handed us silver platter after silver platter of golden opportunities to reach out and take our independence and walk away from this ignominious political union with England.

In spite of the energy of the activism on the streets and the massive level of popular support for independence across the country, for seven long and exhausting years the Scottish National Party — even as the majority party in the British administration’s devolved assembly in Edinburgh — did absolutely nothing to further the cause of independence. Hiding behind the lazy and sedative bourgeois language of politeness and deference towards the weakest and most idiotic British governments in history, the new establishment in Scotland successfully anaesthetised that fraction of the movement we needed most — the moneyed class — and systematically anathematised the mass of ordinary working people who need independence the most and which refused to acquiesce to the programme of submission to London. No one bears more responsibility for the abject failure of Scottish independence than the so-called Scottish government.

While it has assumed to itself the totality of the branding of the Yes campaign of 2012-14 — a useful carrot to dangle in front of the electorate at every election to ensure its place in government (its salaries, bonuses, expenses, benefits, and pensions), the Scottish National Party under the ‘leadership’ of Nicola Sturgeon has simply cut off the hundreds of thousands of grassroots activists and Yes voters who were from the start the backbone and beating heart of the movement; leaving them rudderless and wholly to their own devices. Rather than lead a united national movement with the strength in numbers, motivation, and momentum to comprehensively demolish the British state, the National Party closed ranks, circled the wagons, consolidated its own power, and cultivated a fanatical messianic cult of personality around Sturgeon — and as soon as the shepherd was struck the sheep were scattered.

It did not take a genius to predict what would become of the movement it abandoned. Its wilful negligence of the wider movement — a movement on whose gains it built its castle — and its utter contempt for and embarrassment of the people of that movement resulted in a mathematically predictable outcome; one we have witnessed in so many such movements in the past — frustration, anger, and an inevitable lurch to the right. Without competent leadership and sound, rational political guidance the energy and enthusiasm of the grassroots was quickly infiltrated, entangled, and infected by some of the most seductive and toxic ideas circulating in the world. Old prejudices started to raise their ugly heads in the guise of rights-based struggles; the fictive defence of free speech (as the right to say whatever we like without consequence) and the fight for ‘hard-won spaces’ (as the right to victimise and demonise vulnerable groups). Vile invectives we have seldom heard since the 1980s are now common currency among a social media-enraged and emboldened segment of the pro-independence movement. Transgender people are being called ‘French fancies’, ‘paedophiles,’ ‘child groomers,’ ‘deviants,’ and all sorts of other things because the internet has told people these others are a threat. Following terrifying trends in the European and North American far-right and right-wing Evangelical Christianity, this sickening meme — this ‘feminism from the right’ — is now dictating term within the independence movement in Scotland.

Outside of the Scottish National Party, which is a broken reed for other reasons, this disgraceful dogma has effectively become a barrier to movement membership. At the last ALBA conference a number of activists approached my former editor at iScot Magazine to demand my removal from the publication. It is no longer acceptable to these people that a pro-independence activist and writer can also defend the right of transgender people to be treated with respect and dignity — as fellow human beings. This licenced intolerance has brought out of the woodwork whole militias of bullies and petty tyrants prepared to scupper independence and sacrifice movement solidarity on the altar of a dangerous and deeply misguided far-right fantasy. Only days before Christmas I encountered a number of ‘feminists’ online (this isn’t real feminism) encouraging women to stop being organ donors because ‘trans-women might get their uteruses.’

This activism for the sake of activism — meaningless and directionless nonsense — is symptomatic of a popular and populist movement that has lost every rational link to sane social and political leadership, and this is precisely what we are seeing here. Neither does this garbage come alone; conspiracy theories always fly together and so we are seeing in Scotland what we would expect to see once one has taken root — it is attended by others. Now in the mix we have a growing Covid denial and anti-vaxxer movement within the right of the independence movement, and this is happening for the simple reason that once you accept crazy — well, you’ve accepted crazy.

There is no mystery as to why this is happening. Without the solidarity of the rest of the movement, those movement members most influenced by social media who have been rejected by the mainstream of the movement simply continue on in a feedback loop in which shared ignorance reinforces itself and becomes entrenched. Like other conspiracy theories, it is extremely difficult to disprove. The moment someone calls them out, they are denounced as ‘agents of the British state.’ What we are left with on the ground is a poisoned movement; a right-leaning, socially conservative pushback that is far more dangerous to the future of Scotland than the union — and for as long as ALBA is wedded to these elements it will never be acceptable to the majority of voters in Scotland.

At this point, the outlook for the Scottish independence cause is bleak. We have had a number of clear opportunities to set political divisions aside and put independence first. But we have failed to take these opportunities. The Scottish National Party has committed itself to the project of becoming a self congratulation society for the polite and mild-mannered, while the rest of the movement has been left to fester and stew in its own juices after getting absolutely nothing of what it wanted. It feels an acute sense of betrayal after making the Scottish National Party what it is and getting nothing but scorn and vilification in return. This rump of the movement has not given up. Rather, it is as enthusiastic as ever — racing about in the dark and tilting at every perceived windmill. The cause is in ruins. Still, there may be some good news: Our grandchildren might be better at this than us.

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32 thoughts on “The Failure of Solidarity

    1. Jeggit: I would never advocate that you be silenced; I leave that to the authoritarians. Like so many, you have the wrong end of the stick. I’m not saying that you are not entitled to hold the views you do or that, in some, you may well be right. However, it is a nice piece of fiction that women did this to themselves by advocating for change that could never take place: by claiming that female and male have no differences. Anybody with a modicum of sense knew that to be rubbish as they must also know that women – as a group of human beings, the other half of the human race, in fact – advocated no such thing. All that females ever wanted was parity and equity and equality. That is, to be the mistresses of our own autonomous selves. Is that a right-wing aspiration, because it would have to be to fit with your analysis.

      For too many males, complete female autonomy is comparable to asking for the moon to be lassoed and brought to earth: something they cannot ever imagine – mainly because of everything they would lose, and that would be, chiefly, control of females. If you take that as a given, that females want autonomy rather than to undermine men, it becomes less of a journey to understanding that the trans issue presents a massive dilemma, not least because so many of these men who claim to be women are actually fetishists and paraphilics. Body dysphorics form a tiny proportion of the trans population, and even they may be AGPs. Now, so long as these fetishes and paraphilia are kept within the walls of the bedroom and harm no one else, good and well. Most of us see no problem. That is not what is happening, though, is it? They want this out in the town square, so to speak, so that we can all participate in their fetish(es) – they usually have more than one, and they can be extremely distressing for females, but, hey, who cares?

      To suggest that this is all the fault of the right is laughable when you think of who exactly brought this nonsense to the fore. It was not the right, Jeggit. It was our old and always self-immolating friend, the far left, which has thrown open the door to the right on so many occasions throughout our history that it must have a Tory pass. Yes, the Christian right is opposing this stuff, but not all women are of the Christian right or are even Christians or on the right , so we can dispense with that distraction. No, Jeggit, this opposition is led by females who are sick to the back teeth of having every little gain wrested off them by envious little men who want whatever they can’t have – or certainly shouldn’t have.

      This is another manifestation of the eternal war between male and female, although it is probably the first time that men have pretended to be women to get the edge. Normally, they would just kick the s**t out of us – which, to be fair, a lot of them do on top of pretending to be us. If these men want help, they should go to a psychologist; they do not come anywhere near female spaces and rights which are not theirs. We, that is, most women, don’t want them in our spaces, whether or not they have certificates that say they are women. Tell us we are paranoid all you like, tell us we are right-wing madwomen who should step aside to let these charlatans in, but we know when they achieve that, when the SNP governments throws the door open, that many men will throw off their female garb and emerge as fully-fledged males again, the job complete; the others, who may well live in female clothing and occupy all our spaces and rights while still standing up to pee, will soon be pushed out of that open door because, when push comes to shove, men, as a group, don’t have a lot of time for men who don’t conform to patriarchal masculinity, do they? Women are far more tolerant, but even they, most of them, have had enough.

      Like so many, Jeggit, you think that this is a distraction from independence. You live in Ireland. Ireland is independent, is it not? Ireland has swallowed this ordure hook, line and sinker. How long, do you think before Ireland becomes the capitalist state par excellence, followed swiftly by all the other Western nations that have succumbed? To even believe for a moment that the female opposition to this is wholly of the right is so misplaced as to be way out of reach of your usual intelligence. Independence is the distraction for these people, not the trans issue. They need independence to be stalled in Scotland so that this stuff can be pushed through. The trans issue encompasses the West as a whole, not just our wee countries. Why would you think that would be? Don’t you think that the trans issue is the vanguard of something much, much bigger, with an agenda we don’t see as yet? The sex stuff for these gullible little people in the vanguard is just the sweetie bag to entice them into doing the legwork. The real beneficiaries are well-camouflaged – for the moment. The American right has as much to lose with this stuff as the American left, if the US can be divided against itself. It is about wealth, power, status, control – all male aspirations, but, hey, here’s the rub: everywhere on the planet, not just in the West. Think about it.

      Liked by 2 people

    2. Ad Lorncal. I have the wrong end of the stick? So am I mistaken that this is supported by European and North American neo-Nazis, the far-right, and right-wing Evangelical Christians? In fact, I seldom see an attack on transgender people without the appearance and support of the far-right. The vast majority of feminists worldwide agree with me on this. Do they have the wrong end of the stick? The UN and the EU have highlighted the connection between this and the far-right. Have they got the wrong end of the stick? Maybe radical feminists are the old people getting it right and it only so happens the far-right agrees with them. Anything is possible. But as for what you want for women – equality and equity, I am absolutely with you.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. You start off pretty well but then descend into lunacy with your nonsense about transgender and ALBA. Nobody but nobody is saying genuine transgender folk shouldn’t be treated with dignity but there are questions about self-ID and the charter that gives perverts and predators. I wonder if your misrepresentation of ALBA’s position is deliberate because you are certainly smart enough to be able to actually read what ALBA says. The blame for the current state of the independence movement lies solely at Sturgeon’s feet. It is becoming ever clearer she and the rest of the SNP hierarchy are content with pretendy power in a pretendy parliament. I wish you well Jason.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. Interesting read but I disagree on the women’s rights/trans issue but like everyone else, you are entitled to your opinion.
    The independence movement is now in a very strange place and I can see no way out. The SNP “bit the hand that feeds” and for those that did the feeding for the careerists that form the hierarchy of that party, there must be a realisation that they have been taken for a very expensive ride!
    I see no way back for Ms Sturgeon, only the exit door beckons and such is her ego that she may be desperately seeking a way out whilst saving face as it crashes down around her and still those beguiled fools, the party faithful, those that haven’t yet cottoned on, are content to be fully paid up members of her personal fan club.
    As to Alba party, a sobering lesson was very publicly given in May, a very capable and politically astute leader, soundly rejected by the electorate should tell us all we need to know. The reputational damage that this brings cannot be ignored
    There are some situations that you just can’t change and the people will not vote for him, as demonstrated in May.
    I am extremely disappointed that the opportunities presented have been ignored and our country’s future has descended into a “her verses him” bun fight.

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  3. Jason, I have no doubt that you have been treated appallingly by idiots who wrap themselves in the ALBA banner and who perhaps unwittingly have become mixed up with crazytown, but to characterise the entire movement in this way is simply inaccurate, both morally and historically.

    There is a grass roots movement of independence minded working class people in Scotland, who are steeped in the traditions of socialism and materialism, who have been schooled in critical thinking and who could by no stretch of the imagination be described as right wing.

    You and I both, for example, would occupy this historical position. During the years I have been reading your blog I have found that we agree almost completely about many matters of principle and history. And yet we differ in matters of theology. It is however the similarities we should hold onto. If the independence movement is anything it must be a broad church, which tolerates all difference without vilifying any other.

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    1. Duncan, by no means do I characterise the entire movement as right-wing. What I am saying – and what is undeniable – is that there is a powerful lurch to the right happening within the movement.

      Liked by 1 person

    2. To deny that the Scottish Independence movement has always had many right wing tendencies and factions would be silly. Many of the SNP’s detractors still point to a time when its leaders were tempted by Nazism, partly because it pissed off the brits and partly because they held views heading off in that direction anyway.

      As you know, I refuse to line up political opinions and perspectives along this mythical continuum of left and right. This refusal is particularly sensible in relation to struggles of subjected nations or territories to secede from imperial powers, which usually become quite broad churches to accommodate many shades of opinion within the overall aim of secession. The SNP was once such a broad church.

      Your characterisation of the current state of the movement as having lurched to the right requires the conceptual apparatus of the left/right metaphor, which I refuse to employ. I would rather say that the movement has been fragmented, smashed to pieces by a great betrayal, by the short sighted refusal of Hollyrood powers to sink their differences for the sake of moving forward the process, and instead to fall back on more of the same, to consolidate power within a single party, with more prevarication obfuscation and infantilising rhetoric from from the devolved administration, deferring always the inevitable confrontation with Westminster and holding onto the bizarre idea that the only legal route to independence is via this section 30 process. Blah blah blah. So much for the broad church of independence movements, so much for the commitment of the party of independence to act as the vanguard of independence.

      Perhaps it would be possible to say with a degree of accuracy that some of the floating fragments of the movement are toying with views that are traditionally aligned with right wing fuckwittery. And it is easy enough to point to the practices of certain quasi party/governmental factions/bodies as veering towards McCarthyism. At the same time, some of the fuckwittery that is mingling itself with the independence movement seems to have arisen on the so called left. Equally confusing for any attempt to align stuff along this spectrum, many communist left wing critics are regarded by the new left as actually very right wing, while by refusing to debate with any critic, the new left presents itself conversely to be conducting itself according to what are traditionally more right wing forms of political organisation. All of which contributes only to further fragmentation of what was once a more cohesive movement.

      (There was ever a place where left and right met round the back and in practice, the conduct of left or right wing government, has always deployed similar repressive techniques of state organised control.)

      Since the failure of the 2014 referendum, the independence movement gave over the position of vanguard to the SNP in government, with an implicit sense that this would reach out to all non-governmental umbrella organisations, local groupings and professional bodies that support independence, in order then to work together for the cause in as many ways possible by using the meagre resources supplied by devolution. Any shortfall would be made up by the enthusiasm and voluntary labour of the hundred thousand or so new members of the party. For a while there was a more or less cohesive social democratic ethic that spanned the differences within the movement. Everybody seemed to be getting along with each other, the polemics of bloggers were a source of encouragement and inspiration, healthy discussion was celebrated and differences of opinion discussed.

      But it all changed. The final nail in the coffin was perhaps that Brexit was real. Then this pandemic and the tsunami of pseudoscientific silliness created in its wake. And the elephant in the room – these inane culture wars ….

      …. perhaps the SNP/Green colonial administration is playing a blinder here, beneath the radar of the departments of imperial control in Whitehall. The new Scottish bourgeoisie, the handmaidens of the ruling classes and institutional capital capturing the mood of the next generation, by ensuring that their ideologies are built into a specifically Scottish social policy at a fundamental level, the SNP/Green coalition is making independence much more likely at a material, demographic level, by being the country the young folks want to live in. After all, what difference does it make to business? Are these ideologies a threat to the power of capital? Of course not! Scotland! Proudly different still from the other lot down south. Enlightened again!

      On the other hand, revolutions arise only on the power of working class struggle, when ordinary folks stand up together and say no, this is the hill we die on, we do not accept this, we will not subject ourselves to these practices, no longer kowtow to your infantile ideologies. Instead we will continue to live pragmatically according to general principles of common sense.

      It could go either way.

      History will tell. I regret that I am unlikely to witness any of it.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I absolutely acknowledge your right to your views Jason and like someone else mentioned there is always aspects that I would broadly agree with. ( as there is in the individual comments here.) I don’t however see the issues, views and opinions on independence, equality, gender, trans rights , religion and political ideologies as precise in their distinct groups and origins. That ‘civilisation ‘ is mired in a swamp of human greed, deceit, intolerance , inequality and hatred is perhaps the one certain fact although their manifestation comes in many forms. Like you and many others I have retreated into a safe place to sit it out while hoping and praying for change. For many I think it is the only way to get through. Where solidarity comes from and what it might look like is what is so troubling I think. On top of our diversities we have the strategic lobbing of hand grenades thrown in for political and personal gain as well as simply for malice I suspect. What a swamp indeed. The at best ‘wooly’ outcomes of COP 26 surely demonstrated our failure to find solidarity internationally even in the face of our destruction? The independence movement in Scotland has emerged as a small scale model of human failure to come together for a common purpose and goal I think. I applaud that you have identified this but the question remains how to move towards solidarity without making the situation worse.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Jeggit: I am not arguing that this has been hi-jacked, to an extent, by the right, and that it plays right into their hands. Of course it does – as, indeed, does almost everything else that the far left serves up. I am on the left myself, and have been all my life, but I detest the far left for its madness that always seems to herald in yet another manifestation of the right because it is, by its very nature, incontinent in its ridiculous demands and assertions. Basically, it has so little understanding of human nature that it always – but always – shoots itself in the foot and ends up by bringing down those who are more rational.

    One would have to be a naif, living one’s life on a desert island, to believe that some human beings would not take advantage of this trans issue to harm females. A couple of decades ago, I, unthinkingly, believed that it was only decent to feel empathy and sympathy for these men – and it was almost entirely men at that point – who could not bear to live in their own skin. Then, I began to read more about it, across great swathes of psychology and research, and what I discovered chilled me. Even at that stage, Stonewall had not actually extended its umbrella cover to include every cross-dresser and AGP as it has done since.

    Simply put, there can be no compromise with this issue because it is fundamentally inimical to the well-being and safety of females. Personally, I have long since lost any empathy I had in light of the lies and propaganda spewed out by this lot of charlatans. As I said, there is absolutely no reason why these men cannot be accommodated in third spaces, why they cannot live their lives as trans identified males (and females), seek election to parliament as such, and so on. What many women will do is die on this hill if we have to, but we will not concede our spaces and our rights to these men – and we will go down fighting if we have to.

    Yes, I am an older woman, and many young women are quite happy to support this ordure precisely because they are young. They have not lived long enough to understand the damage they are doing to themselves with this nonsense; they are too young to have experienced the many cruelties and ills that derive directly from being female in a world that is dominated by men; and they are blinded by biological imperatives that these men would deny exist at all. If that is patronising, so be it. I was a young woman once, and I know what I’m talking about: these men will harm our daughters and grand-daughters if they get the chance – perhaps not physically, although that is certainly a possibility, too – by crushing them psychologically as a thoughtless person would swat a fly that won’t leave the room he/she is in.

    Any male who sees women as fellow human beings worthy of their own space and rights would not do this. Ergo, it is safe to deduce that many, many males view women as non-autonomous non-humans with no right to any space or rights. If they are suffering psychologically as males who believe they are female, or vice versa, they require the proper help and treatment, and, if that is not possible, they might have to learn to live with their body dysphoria/paraphilia/fetish(es) as an alcoholic or a gambler, for example, as to live with his or her addiction. Living out a role might alleviate the distress to some extent, but women and girls cannot ever be the stepping-stones over which they tread. Ever. Never in the history of the human race since it attained democracy and liberalism has one group ever been allowed to crush another group’s rights out of existence.

    When gay people fought for their rights, they did not advocate the elimination of straight people or expect them to do other than make room for them as fellow human beings; when women fought for their rights, they did not expect men to disappear into the ether, but expected them to move over a little (how many CEOs are women, even now?). Trans people want it all: they want us all to move over, which most people are quite prepared to do, but they also want all our rights and spaces, too, that are determined in law by our biology. If it was ever a question of a straight share of these spaces and rights and resources, trans identified females would be in male prisons, in every male space and right.

    Their born biology would make no difference, would it? Why isn’t Stonewall advocating that? Because this was only ever intended for males, but they needed females to transition, too, and children, the greatest cruelty of them all, in order to justify their abhorrent and false agenda. The front-line of this movement is a men’s sexual rights/men’s rights/incel rights one; behind that alliance is the real agenda, one of power, wealth, control, acquisition, etc. No woman – no female – ever behaved like this, in this particular way, not even a trans identified one. The true reasons why there are trans identified females is a very different one, and one that few psychologists want to explore: it would open up a can of worms that patriarchy could not deny, as it manages to deny all the other abuses and cruelties.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. On form today LorCal.

      One omission from your front line: The connection of this ideology to a massive production and marketing process of accoutrements, accessories and trans oriented necessities where much profit is to be made.

      If you find the time I would recommend the three books I devoured as I was convalescing over Christmas:

      Kathleen Stock’s Material Girls is an urgent demonstration of the power and value of philosophy in setting aside and providing good reason to reject dubious ideologies. A very polite response that begs the question why it was necessary to write such a book at all, given that professor Stock’s opinion, as well as any proper thinking person in command of the faculties of common sense and critical reason, on the particular ideology of the moment is that it would not pass as a first year philosophy essay, that it is very bad philosophy. In an interview with Julie Bindel, she said that it irritated the fuck out of her.

      Abigail Shrier’s Irreversible Damage is a chilling analysis of how the woowoo affects the lives of teenage girls. Whereas, Stock’s book charts the issues of young men becoming women under the banner of transwomen are women with no debate, Shrier follows the lives of young women who have decided to transition away from what they feel only to have been assigned towards something non binary and pretendy masculine. Fascinating contrast between the two trajectories.

      The third was Julie Burchill’s Welcome to the Woke trials. An irreverent polemic against everybody, which is based firmly in a radical feminist tradition, wherein porn is the theory, rape the practice. Apart from disagreeing with Burchill on many matters of detail and principle, I stand with her and Julie Bindel and Kathleen Stock and Abigail Shrier and many other women writers who refuse to accept the woowoo. My own history of social science education during the 1980s at the same time struggling against the excesses of Thatcherism situate my feminism squarely in the same camp. From my own provincial perspective though, stuck only in the political culture of Scotland for the last eight years, the book is also a fascinating glimpse into the comings and goings of the chattering/media/lefty classes in that there London.

      These have given the culture wars a much more stable historical context for me wherein I have been able to find a voice among the clamouring chatter of culture warriors.

      Like

  6. Hi Duncan, yes, I believe that the trans movement is the stepping stone in the West to futuristic medical technologies/prosthetics, with all the attendant corporate interests that surround that area of medicine, not least the pornography industry, whose extremes are now also very prophetic in their destructiveness of coherent and compassionate relations between the sexes. So much extreme pornography is now steeped in abuse and pain (of women, naturally!) and will rupture future human relationship prospects. Clinics are already reporting massive increases in the ill-treatment of women in relations, with female choking and anal damage being the most frequently reported as being on the increase, and now mainstream.

    Stepford Wives, by Ira Levin, as most good fiction is, is prophetic. Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is also in the same genre, and both Shelley and Levin offer morality as the counterpoint. Even RLS’s “Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’ speak to us here as masculinity splits into two: one decent and caring; and the other brutish and narcissistic. I have read both Kathleen Stock’s and Abigail Shrier’s works, but not Julie Burchill’s, and they demolish this stuff adroitly.

    The West appears to be devouring itself via the vehicle of masculine sexual excess, but, then, this is always how it has destroyed itself in the past. Behind these sex/men’s rights warriors are the corporate greed warriors and, behind them, the political far left, prising open the door for the right. China, more than Russia, awaits the demise or at least, the crippling, and will move in to fill the void left by the disintegration of Western democracy and liberalism if this stuff is allowed to succeed. Personally, there is much wrong with the West, not least its warmongering for its own gain and its hideous colonialist face, but the vstige of liberalism and democracy clings on, and we will be in dire straits without them – all of us, male and female.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Duncan: excellent summary of where we are and how we got here. I did a bit of research into the pre WW II years of the SNP, but I could find nothing substantial to suggest that its leaders were pro Nazi except insofar as many people thought Hitler was doing a good job in Germany at the time and I think the SNP leaders would have been looking to make Westminster quiver a little by opting for pacifism and neutrality. Unionists try to make this into something it never was. We have to remember, too, that this was before the reality of the regime began to seep out, and, by 1939 when war broke out, independence supporters, along with everyone else, were 100% behind the war effort, many volunteering before mass conscription kicked in. Independence supporters fought, and many died or were injured.

    I agree with you about the ‘left’ and the ‘right’ because human beings have traits of all political positions, and all at once, in one person. I use the term, ‘left’ about myself because I was born working-class and embrace socialism with a small ‘s’, but I can see that, in small business terms, capitalism works best. I am also a nationalist, but not a national socialist, because I believe that Scotland cannot flourish under the present system of government. Had we moved straight into a federal-type union immediately after 1707, with all parts of the UK being equal, with parity and equity (and Ireland, too, later), it had the potential to work well. I think that universal suffrage and other human rights would have flowed much more quickly, too, but, alas, it was not to be, and now, it can never be, I think, as things stand.

    I believe that the ability of The United States to embrace and encompass all its nationalities is its greatest achievement. I know that there are strains again these days, as American retreats once more into a quasi isolationist state, but when you read the credits after films or the names of those who sit in the Congress and Senate, etc., you realise the vast diversity – yet each is American, whatever his or her heritage. That, of course, requires people to assimilate into the overarching cultural norm, while keeping their heritage alive, and it is when people refuse to assimilate that problems and tensions arise. It is much the same with identity politics: when one identity decides that it will be top dog, it alienates everyone else.

    In human terms, that is compounded by the seemingly ‘natural dominance’ of masculinity – which is a total myth. I think what we are seeing now is the result of pushing that supposed ‘natural dominance’ so far that it is is disrupting relations between the two sexes almost beyond snapping point. Women have never been pushed like this before and they are becoming very, very angry. It remains to be seen how that anger (and rage, I think) will pan out. The female half of the human equation might be erased completely and descend into a form of sub slavery or it might fight back so hard that it pushes men out of their comfort zone once and for all and establishes a female Western culture separate from men’s to the extent that there will have to be some kind of rapprochement that leads to a more equal future on the planet – if the planet survives, of course. If the trans lobby wins this ideological war, the West is finished.

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    1. If the only way young people learn about sex now is from the likes of pornhub, then it is not surprising they are rejecting this shit in droves for something less violent and depersonalising, more fluid and diverse.

      This combined with young women reporting greater levels of damage and injury during sexual activity, then porn certainly is the theory and rape the practice.

      Never has this been clearer in my mind.

      The woowoo enables this obscenity.

      I don’t give a proverbial if it is left or right wing, it is wrong. But the only way it will be defeated is by young people of good sense using their critical faculties to reject it and get on with their lives. Maybe investigate the age old fumblings of adolescence and learn about sex in the old fashioned way.

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  8. For Jeggit: I don’t wish to come cross as patronising, but I would suggest you read the Denton’s document to get a handle on how this stuff has entered the mainstream so quickly and so secretively. The SNP was captured by these people. It is no use at all men telling women to hang fire until after independence because: a) there is no guarantee of independence even if this all goes through; b) it is beyond reasonable to expect women to give up all their own spaces and rights and to move away from protection of their children; c) since the SNP has been captured (and that is fact, not supposition), it makes no logical sense for these people to step down and push for independence because their agenda is to align with all other European (and Western) countries in then pushing through the next phase, which will be to show that Scotland has succumbed and England will follow.

    You can go on believing their propaganda about right-wing conspiracies or you can learn the truth about this stuff and why it is so dangerous. Once you understand that children require to be transitioned for this stuff to thrive, you will get it, and you will also get why women must be removed from all aspects of public life. If really intelligent people like you can’t see through it, Jeggit, we really are in a mess because fascism/totalitarianism is just around the corner. If you really believe it is a right-wing conspiracy, why would you wish to enable the right to enter through the door opened by the far left? If you sincerely believe that the trans movement is the manifestation of societal cruelty perpetrated against a group of people that it cannot envisage as human beings, how can you condone the removal of all humanity and human rights from human females because this stuff trespasses on a number of human rights of females, but you are seemingly blind to their predicament in favour of males who have no right to assume female characteristics and expect all female rights to flow from that?

    There is a 1980s/90s film about a young, white man who blackfaces and enters a blacks-only college, set up because black people were not allowed into white colleges. It stars the wonderful James Earl Jones, as a professor. It is a comedy, but it makes some excellent points about trespass into others’ territory when you are already part of a privileged group and how you are taking away rights from an already underprivileged group. It is called Soul Man, and it shows precisely why one group’s human rights should never be stolen. You will be aware, I’m sure that the trans movement has every human right that the rest of us have, and that they are not the ill-treated minority they claim to be. You, and many other independence-supporting seem to want to blame women for the stasis and inertia – if only we would shut up and let these men in, we could move to independence. A reading of the Denton’s document, if you are as sharp and intelligent as I think you are, will dispel that notion very quickly. There is no shame in being enlightened.

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    1. Hi Duncan. Denton’s is the international legal firm that laid out the strategy for Stonewall to ensure that trans began as early as possible, with children. Now, apart from some very disturbed people, most people would lay down their lives for the children, their grandchildren, etc. and I think women, because they carry the babies for nine months, are the most protective, so there is a two-pronged attack on female people. The first prong is on the basis of their femaleness and their perceived privilege in being female humans (????) as if the past millennia had never happened; the second prong is related to their guardian role. Not saying that men would not also die for their children, but women are the front line here.

      You can find this 65-page document on-line if you Google “Denton’s Trans Document”. It lays out the under-the-radar strategy for Stonewall (and its arms, such as the Scottish Trans Alliance) to capture public institutions and bodies, to act as the lobbyist to have their agenda put into policy, to act as advocates for said policy and to garner funding from these public and political and economic institutions to fund their own undermining, basically, as the Scottish government is doing at present.

      Basically, Duncan, amongst the wave of ex Labour people who entered the SNP in early 2015, were far left activists – social warriors. They were young, often gay, but not always, with little evident knowledge of history or social change in the past 100 years, in which time, almost all campaigning groups had made huge strides forward: black people, women, disabled, etc. Maybe not as far as they would like to go, but democracy and liberalism, often aided and abetted by Christianity, has driven forward and upward, most, if not all, of the social causes. That is why it is laughable to suggest that trans people do not have human rights because they have all that we have. What they want is validation, which is very different, and which appears to insist upon compliance and participation in some very dubious and frequently distasteful practices and a mindset that is hive, at best, and downright narcissistic, at worst.

      It is based upon the undermining of dimorphism, biological sex and scientific knowledge because it cannot exist without the destruction of these. It is, in the front-line, at its most basic, a men’s sexual rights/men’s rights movement, essential anti female and pro pornography and prosthetics and technological/cosmetic-based medicine, plus all the other corporate interests around those basic starting-points, but it is even more complex and money-oriented. All the signs are that the next wave of capitalism will be aimed at men, although, again, women could stand in the way. What we might call Frankenstein medical procedures or just technological and robotic advances will have far less appeal for women, but resources will be required to be allocated away from female needs, so you can see that tensions will arise.

      It adopted Queer Theory (Foucault, Butler and others) without rationalising the message it contains about excess and licence, although I’m not sure that Butler believes in trying to contain excess and licence). I believe, through long research, and the research of others – Canadian and American investigative journalists – that it is backed by corporate money to usher in the next wave of predatory capitalism, and, in order to do so, it has to undermine the democracy and liberalism that allows it to flourish. This, in turn, feeds in to the ‘black hole’ theory of interest and control which will be left by America as its influences wanes. China is the most likely to step into that gulf, and the treatment of Hong Kong does not exactly augur well for Western society if we slip. China already has huge influence in Africa. As far as Scotland is concerned, the moment those people from the self-immolating far left spread into the SNP, they captured it as the most likely vehicle in the UK to get them what they want. From Scotland, they will expand outwards to absorb the whole of the UK. Note, however, that they arrived up here via the south, albeit we have our own home-grown ones, too. Two birds with one stone: derail independence; and use Scotland as the laboratory for the UK. You will see from the Denton’s Document that the UK was prime target for capture.

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    2. (During the 1980s I taught a little Foucault. Always as a materialist in broad agreement with certain principles of Marxism and Feminism. Queer theory is a puerile ahistorical individualistic and thoroughly non Foucauldian interpretation of his work.)

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    3. Lorcal. I maintain a particular disdain for these so called cultural Marxists, more accurately class traitors.

      Apparently the material class war was a lost cause, given the victories of globalisation and the establishment of neoliberal political economy as the natural state of the world. So the only sensible strategy was to bring the struggle into culture and ideology. To beat capitalism to death with clever words, stern ethics and social engineering.

      I saw a similar process during the 80s (before I emigrated) when the most radical voices in assorted struggles against Thatcher’s little games were marginalised for attempting to focus on the necessities of the moment, and from the perspective of whom the rest were more interested in selling papers pedalling ideology or projecting their emotional confusions into political lives all around them.

      The refusal to face with sober senses the real material of this life and our actual relations with each other also avoids the melting of all that is solid into air, the profaning of all that is holy. It is intellectual cowardice of the first order to start along this path but to stop or turn back, in either process blocking the advance of others with nonsense. Ideas formed only in blind panic as a reaction to some projected fear get in the way of clear thinking. And yet these have been assembled info vast sociopolitical infrastructures wherein the politically ambitious can ply their trade, carry out projects of social and ideological engineering. Ensuring that their radical ideas are built into the foundations of the future.

      Trouble is though that they deradicalise every notion that passes them by because they have precious little grasp of material reality let alone what a concept of material really might look like.

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    4. I always enjoy reading people who assume I am incapable of arriving at my own conclusions. You ask: “…how can you condone the removal of all humanity and human rights from human females?” This is quite actually deranged. Is that really what you took from my comment on the state of the Scottish independence movement, that I condone the dehumanising of women?!! Really? *Nurse!*

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  9. Jeggit: whether I am deranged or not does nothing to alter the facts. No, that is not what I took from your comment; it is what I took from your statement about the humanity of trans people being questioned. I, for one, have never questioned their humanity or would ever condone their ill-treatment or any removal of their human rights – as human beings. As men in frocks, yes, I want them to own up to their delusions and leave the rest of us alone. Women did nothing to bring this insanity down on us (and the insanity lies in the ideology, not necessarily the people who espouse it because I am fairly sure that, when you scratch beneath the surface, they don’t believe it either; it serves a purpose, and end that these people want, that’s all). The dehumanising of women will be the end result of this ideology being allowed to take over. How could it be otherwise, when our dignity, safety and privacy are being stripped away? If you are saying that this is simply a by-product, an accidental result of the ideology, sorry, but the Denton’s Document, which has been long available for scrutiny, demolishes that quite coherently. I don’t think you are deranged, just misled, as I was myself till about 15 years ago or so, and, to be honest, I didn’t think it would go this far. The transitioning of children did it for me. If that makes me deranged, so be it. Better deranged than a total fool, if being deranged means that I feel very strongly about the dangerous madness that is gripping our public institutions and government. You are better than this, Jeggit, this descending into personal slurs and offering no counter evidence. I had thought better of you.

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  10. This post and the discussion it has generated is one of the best I have read here, most enjoyable expansive and informative. I very much appreciate the fact that we are able here to exchange views and express a degree of exasperation with each other without allowing this to degenerate into mudslinging, blocking and cancelling. Long may this continue.

    One of the most fascinating aspects of reading your blogs during these interesting times (both for the history of ideas and my own approaching demise) has been the extent to which the both of us agree on many fundamental principles, many of which are steeped for me in my political reading of Marx. Such class analysis and commitment to materialism has in my own case been beefed up by a vital belief that all mental life is scarred by all forms of dualism and dialectics, a condition that has been sewn into the fabric of western consciousness since Parmenides.

    Of course I may be making assumptions about your position here, although I am a very careful reader. I would be grateful if you would say something about your own intellectual biography in relation to these things.

    We seem on the one hand to agree about fundamentals and yet to disagree quite profoundly on a certain other matter – or perhaps to put this in a different way – despite finding ourselves by the expression of our respective views on opposite sides of the barricades in culture wars into which neither of us is happy to be drawn.

    I think a discussion like this between two with a deep commitment to love and compassion but within different theological traditions would shed much light and maybe offer inspiration to the very many people for whom these issues become tangled in a mess of confused and often violent emotions.

    To some extent I would regard such an initiative as a kind of duty. To all of those who feel silenced or find it not easy to tease out issues from reactive emotions, ideas from those who espouse them; to create a space where maybe find a kind of stillness can arise in the tumult.

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  11. Duncan: I have read nothing from Jeggit in this thread that, in any way whatsoever, offers a counter-argument or counter-point to the so-called anti trans position. Indeed, all I heave read from Jeggit is that we must be kind. Yes, being kind is a good thing, but not if the people you are being asked to be kind to are, themselves, extremely unkind. Woman have no locus in this thing at all, as every man must know, apart from the dubious claim that these men believe – that is, believe, because there is absolutely no proof whatsoever that what they claim is in any way, provable – that they are women. This is, from beginning to end a male problem of non-acceptance of other males who do not conform to patriarchy’s masculine ideal. Let men sort this out and leave women and girls, children and gay people in peace. The one thing that unites men and frock-wearing men is that they are, almost all, straight heterosexuals – which is rather the point that women have been making. If all straight, heterosexual men are safe to be around women, why do some of them rape and sexually/domestically assault us? Does the donning of a dress suddenly render men into pussy-cat facsimiles? How are we meant to differentiate between the good guys and the baddies when they do not have ‘pussy-cat’ stamped on their foreheads? I hope that Jeggit will answer some of these legitimate questions and/or comment without the usual mle slur that women are mad if they don’t do/believe/think as men command them to?

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    1. Lorcal, as G Dangerfield recently reminded us, “a counter-argument or counter-point to the so-called anti trans position” simply does not exist.

      I do not disagree about what Jeggit has responded – or not, but I believe that others have made positive contributions.

      The questions you pose need to be answered by somebody, if not Jeggit, but I suspect that your vocabulary might already be construed by defenders of the position you criticise as beyond the pale, as such not worthy of being taken seriously, nor debated. A major problem for those of us who cannot take this stuff seriously is that it is such obvious crap that it beomes difficult when describing the woowoo, not to put a lot of stuff in “scare quotes” or to use qualifiers like “so called” or to use disparaging shorthand like woowoo, which for the woowoo is an obvious red rag.

      Given what I have just written, it might be obvious too that it would be impossible for me to take an impartial position. I fully accept that my thinking on these matters has a lot to do with my education in the social sciences and my preference for the kind of radical feminism that emerges from working class struggle. What I do not accept though is that there are competing theories called “gender theory” and “gender critical theory”, that all the issues slice neatly into any such puerile dichotomy. Such analytical divisions arise from the pedagogic laziness that has come to inhabit our academic institutions, by which ideas are packaged into bite sized gobbets for the consumption of students, whose only motivation is to tick the right boxes in order to get a degree good enough to get a job that will pay off the debt accumulated through years learning how to tick all the right boxes. There is a genuine problem here for society as a whole, for academia and for public discourse when ordinary critical thinking is regarded as threatening to an elite of bourgeois ideologues. Of course I cannot be impartial (I am a Marxist to the bones!) but I can extend the analysis (with or without (former) advocates of the woowoo) beyond the sterile dichotomy by which it has hitherto become entrapped and perhaps begin to understand why the fuck this happened at all! Almost as is the lockdown further enabled the spread of the woowoo … though I guess I should leave that line of thinking to the tinfoil hat wearers.

      There has always been an extent to which the labour of critique is only necessary because the powers that be keep churning out dodgy ideology, but there seems to be something particularly wasteful about the intellectual labour of the moment, when it has to deal with what DocStock clearly demonstrates to be unworthy of an undergraduate philosophy paper, and which is so palpably and intimately connected with capitalist interests, not to mention dubious psychobabble and borderline abusive therapeutic intervention, that it is difficult to understand how anybody would see it otherwise. Representatives of the woowoo have no reason nor desire to debate me on these matters because I am so disparaging, maybe even hurtful, I don’t know … maybe these words are “literally killing” young transgender folks … after all, such magical events are often alleged … Why should I even take any of this seriously? Or any allegedly intellectual position that not only refuses a priori to debate with its detractors, and which appears to be dabbling in the dark arts?

      I agree that all this bollocks is a consequence of toxic masculinity in its many forms, not the only consequence, but the most consequential of the moment. You and I agree on this, even if we use rather differing vocabularies and look from very different places.

      What I am interested however in teasing out from these discourses is the commonality, in matters both spiritual and material, in particular between Jeggit and myself.

      This is what fascinates me: that a man of God (and a man of the cloth to boot) with a solid grounding in activism and political theory and an sound understanding of history, should share matters of deep principle with an ex cycle messenger and independent intellectual who has turned to Tibetan Buddhism without reserve because he is facing the abyss, and yet in these culture wars find themselves on opposite sides of the barricades.

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  12. Sorry, Duncan, rude of me to barge in like that. I simply can’t apologise for the language I used because to use any other language falls straight into the trap they have dug, and would validate their utter tripe. Perhaps there aren’t counter-arguments, exactly, but we can still deconstruct the nonsense piece by nonsensical piece. Being female, I do not have the privilege of being able to avoid dichotomy on this issue. If men were told by women, give up every right and space you have and we will ensure that we get independence, would they even consider it for a moment? If the answer is no, then why would any man, frocked or non-frocked expect women to do so?

    I will say this: evolution favours the female, and always has – in longevity, in gene passing to the next generation, in ancestry. The stumpy Y chromosome is dying, and it functions only on a small scale now. It contains the SRY sex determinant gene that can produce males which would, otherwise, be female clones, more or less. For now, the female-male dynamic works for the perpetuation of our species and existed long before we ever were a species, but here’s the rub: we also know that sex selection takes place along evolutionary lines, eliminating as it goes along, those traits which are adverse to our survival as a species.

    Excruciating and utterly wasteful male violence that we had in the past has been trimmed away gradually by evolutionary necessity, albeit not brutally pruned, while the characteristics of the best men are still essential to the survival and forward trajectory of our species. Women’s instinctive fear of men is based on learning and evolution both, because we know that men are a danger to us through their genes as much as their fists and, at some evolutionary level, we try to avoid violent and dangerous men so that they will not send their dangerous genes into the next generation. There is a very real evolutionary reason, as well as a health and social reason for the fact that most women who have been raped and become pregnant cannot love the rapist’s child, and opt for abortion.

    I believe that forcing this gender ideology on us will be the final straw that broke the camel’s back and women will move away from all male class constructs to set up their own all over again, although that will take time. Always, men have tried to force us back into the gender stereotype box, but, this time, I think they have gone too far. Once it is done in the Western nations, it will rub off on the others, and men will not know what’s hit them. They will, of course, retaliate at the threatened loss of their privilege and hurt females. If the gender warriors, both male and female, shove this stuff through, women will be forced to change the course of social history or go down with the sinking ship.

    Somehow, I don’t think Mother Nature, in hand with evolution, will allow that or we can kiss goodbye to the species. Strangely, most sensible males see the dangers, too, on an instinctive level, but they are a small minority, and it remains to be seen whether the threatened loss of all benefits of the patriarchy, with the consequent loss of females as the underclass, will prove the more powerful or whether some men will adopt the easy option and try to oppress women even more, as they are doing right now with the gender ideology, thereby triggering a full-on evolutionary war between the sexes – which, to be fair, has been a long time coming. No one has ever said that the present structure of males in top dog pole position is inherently natural. Like the gender ideology, it is built on shifting sands. Men are stronger, so women are going to have to be cleverer. Scotland is going to be the laboratory, independence or no independence. I’d rather we understood the colonising principle from both the Scottish and the female perspective, and it baffles me that so many do not see the parallels. But, hey, I’m deranged.

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    1. Lorcal. Just to be clear, I do not feel you or anybody else should apologise for your vocabulary. Nor do I believe you were barging in. Before I make any further comment I am going to sleep on it.

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