Independence and Internal Conflict

Scottish independence, as a political aspiration, is not an ideology. It is an idea shared by adherents of a number of political ideologies. The independence movement is a broad church; a political spectrum that stretches from one lunatic fringe on the far-right, with such blood-and-soil nationalists as Sìol nan Gàidheal and its ilk, to the other on the far-left, with the pseudo-academic disco of Marxists, Trotskyists, and Bakuninists. This is a movement that is as politically colourful...

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Not Wearing a Poppy

Yet the poppy, from the joke it was – no matter how ordinary innocent people feel about wearing it, has been “hijacked,” or so we are told. It has now become the totem of hyper-aggressive, right-wing racist British nationalism. On the football field it has become the weapon of choice to be deployed against non-British outsiders; Irish Catholics and Argentinians – very much victims of British imperial and colonial violence – who play for English clubs. On the lapels of knuckle-dragging thugs it has become a compliment to the Nazi swastika tattooed on their necks.

Why Can’t We All Just Get Along?

Openness and transparency do not undermine unity. They strengthen it. Lovers, brothers, sisters, and friends can tell one another uncomfortable truths. They can exchange cross words. They can even – and often do – have open pitched battled. But real and authentic relationships are not destroyed by such openness. They are strengthened. Silence, avoidance of the hard truths, disequilibria of power, and abuse foster environments which are highly toxic and inimical to true unity.

Gerry Hassan’s House Divided

What Hassan is doing, in effect, is imposing the political division he would prefer to see realised – the class division. There are those with education who know what they are doing because of where they were born into in society – “the more pragmatic,” and then there are those who are emotive, driven by passion and blind faith in a charismatic leader. This is why I have described his comment as both superior and sneering. Hassan’s “philosophical” gripe is that the movement appears to have transcended his class-based assumption...

Bleakest Forecast

Russia’s big bite has thus far been a dazzling success. In the Trump election we see that Putin has most likely purchased for himself the highest prize in international politics – the US president. US influence over the UK and the success of its cyber war in Britain and the effect of its dark money programme during the Brexit referendum has delivered for Russia a heavy blow to European unity, creating at least the possibility of an exploitable weakness. It is unimaginable Putin would not push the EU door if it failed to offer much resistance. Power – after all – abhors a vacuum.

On the Eve of War

Leadership in the west is in crisis. Post-Brexit the European Union will be faced with the necessity of further political integration and the internal resistance this will inevitably provoke. It may be decades before the EU is in a position again to move from consolidation to expansion. Brexit has put a significant dent in British soft power. The increasing isolation of London will push it closer to the point of becoming a US satellite, making it ever more likely to follow US hard power policies.

Not Buying British Shortbread

Walkers Shortbread has landed itself in a spot of bother over a marketing decision. The family run business thought it would be a good idea to launch a union flag shortbread tin, thinking the Scottish public would see in it nothing more than a Scottish company doing what it takes to make a buck. One would be forgiven for wondering where the heck Jim Walker, the firm’s managing director, has been for the last few years. There is no one in Scotland in 2018 who thinks the flag of the United Kingdom – the “butcher’s apron” – is a politically neutral emblem of national identity and patriotism.

Britain and Ireland: Neighbours and Frenemies

Trust? Kinship? Not likely. Britain is the same old heart-scald it has always been to Ireland. Nothing has changed. This should be a lesson to Scotland and Wales. If people think the English state is the geopolitical equivalent of a bout of haemorrhoids while they’re trying to free themselves from it, they should consider how those who have already beaten it are treated.