For as long as I can remember, the bedrock of every single Conservative initiative has been a web of class-antagonistic jingoism and outright lies. David Cameron’s better-late-than-never apology to the people of Derry for the Bloody Sunday massacre exposed the facts of Britain’s lies and denials in Ireland during the Troubles, since the 2014 campaign for independence in Scotland the Tories have come to be recognised for the liars and master manipulators they are, and Brexit has put the final nails in the coffin. To expect anything more than a barefaced lie...
Yet, the fact remains that the politics of independence is a national movement locked in an existential struggle with the British state and all the poison that that can bring to the fight. Not being the most social of people, “Jihadi Jason” – iScot Magazine’s witty new epithet for me – is all about winning the fight. Truth be told, I don’t feel particularly loyal to the Scottish National Party or to any pro-independence party. Political parties are useful instruments, but we mustn’t forget that they are also very human institutions. They attract professionals and careerists – journeymen.
Had I thought this was the end of the insanity, I was wrong. The next morning, before heading east to Kirkcaldy, I was greeted by an email from Dale Miller at The Scotsman. Having failed to take me down with a rag, the union was upping its game. Miller’s task was to finish the job – I realised that much. On the train to Kirkcaldy I knew a juggernaut was headed my way, but I had no idea quite how vindictive this hack was going to be. He wanted a response by close of business. I told him he’d have it, and, so, after everything was wrapped up at the Kirkcaldy...
Antisemitism – the hatred of Jews – is real. It is a real form of racism. As, arguably, Europe’s oldest racism, antisemitism is pervasive throughout western society. As it affects all of society it is unarguably true that there are anti-Semites and people who, for whatever reason, pass on anti-Semitic ideas, conspiracies, and opinions within the SNP and the wider independence movement – as these entities reflect broader society. But Fiona Robertson is right, we need a better definition than is to be found in the dictionary. How then do we define this particular racism?
All we have to combat this insidious beast are the tools at our own disposal. We have the internet; blogs and vlogs, social media platforms, video hosting sites, and so on. Behind these we have a small and growing army of dedicated writers, artists, content creators, and social media wizards. These are people with skills who are learning on their feet the tools needed to address the incessant propaganda of the unionist media and deliver effective and timely counterpunches.
Her depiction of the European Union as a new threat from the continent; as an existential battle against Euro-Nazism, is no exaggeration. The featured image of the blog post is nothing less than an updated version of the Dad’s Army map – the one with little union jack arrows being chased out of Europe by swastika arrows. In her map Great Britain (Mmm)TM is surrounded by the evil EU empire on all sides, forever dug-in in its perennially entrenched salient. Her monomaniacal representation of Europe, however, betrays her vast ignorance of history.
Thanks in large part to the way the internet and social media work we have been herded into tribes of opinion, rarely coming face-to-face – or “interfacing” – with people of radically differing opinions. Trends in the development of identity politics have perceptively homogenised our tribal opinions, making us less independent thinkers than subscribers to our chosen tribal groupthink. What this means is that people are increasingly finding themselves pressured into adopting a package of positions so as to conform to the expectations of the collective.
Haggerty’s answer to this, rather than simply facing up to the criticism, has been two-pronged; going full Brezhnev she has at once closed down the comments and invited readers to sign up to CommonSocial – yet another McRobin franchise; a fenced-in alternative to Facebook where all dissent can be (ahem) dealt with – or go proper old school and write a letter to the editor. Either way it amounts to the same thing, CommonSpace will control all discussion on its content.