Political internment is an instrument the British government has deployed against pro-independence and anti-imperialist activists since the mid-eighteenth century. In all of Britain’s former colonial and imperial possessions internment marks the transition between the two stages of state violence; between the official delegitimisation of anti-British aggitation and state-sanctioned murder and violent repression. Internment is the first sure indication the British state is losing the battle for hearts and minds, and it has long since lost that battle in Scotland.
This is how loyalism in Britain works. It does not need you to love it, want it, care for it. The super-rich British establishment has all the power because it has all the money. Democracy has no control over it because it controls democracy; it owns or has massive influence over the media instruments which ‘inform’ democracy, and so can rest assured nothing will change that it doesn’t want to change. And when it wins, as it always will, it will rub its triumph in your face. It doesn’t need you to like it. All that is required of you is that you know your place.
National belonging is not in fact native to the human condition. Nationalism is a psycho-political development with which both Wallace and Bruce were unfamiliar. When we ask how these heroes of our ancient past would react to Scotland today, we may have to prepare ourselves for the worst. Neither William Wallace nor Robert the Bruce would recognise their Scotland in our Scotland. They would not understand our language, that peasants elect other peasants to government — our democracy — would confuse them, and that we abandoned the Church of Rome...
Its quixotic readiness to go on crusade against every perceived wrong, hampered at every turn by its lack of maturity and inability to systematically think through some of the most basic tenets of civilisation — the presumption of innocence, for example — has turned it into a mob and created an environment in which unaccomplished yet entitled youths are readily masking their personal failures and inadequacies behind complex webs of manufactured and appropriated grievances.
This theatre of the culture war is global, but in Scotland it poses a unique and particular problem within the political discourse of the independence movement. As an internal dialectic of radical feminism, the opposing factions of the debate — the conversation in toto — constitutes, albeit fractured, a discourse or a Weltanschauung of its own; the worldview of modern radical feminism. This conversation, however, is happening largely within one constituent element of the Scottish independence movement (which is in itself a discrete Weltanschauung).
But there are other ways to communicate. As a Christian of the Catholic tradition, I have serious reservations about the more radical aspects of Gender Theory. I do not, for example, believe that sex and gender are fluid, and — if we must define the human person in narrow and reductionist biological terms (we are more than the sum of our bits) — I struggle with the claim that ‘trans women are real women.’ But trans women and men are real people.
‘Someone on the internet said something mean about me,’ joked Paul Kavanagh a couple of years ago as he recounted to me his experience of negative comments online. And this is true; no matter what we do or say, there will always be someone lurking somewhere online — invariably hiding behind an anonymous profile — who will go out of their way to say something biting and nasty. Here we’re not talking about trolls. We have come to expect them and when we realise this is what they are up to we can dismiss them without much thought.
What I mean by evil here is not some supernatural dark dualistic power of cosmic wickedness, but a primal enemy of humanity and life; a system of imperial politics driven by avarice which seeks its own enrichment and aggrandisement at the expense of peoples and languages and tribes and nations. Every moment Scotland remains under its power it is weakened and corroded. Three hundred years has been enough already. We have awakened and we must not fall back asleep.