It didn’t take a genius to then suspect there was a political reason why such a film wouldn’t be appearing in this chain’s Scottish cinemas. And before you go thinking this is the stuff of conspiracy theory and tinfoil hats, this has happened before. Ahead of the launch of the Outlander series in the UK – just in time for the 2014 independence referendum, the then Prime Minister, David Cameron, approached Sony, asking it to delay the series’ release until after the referendum. Cameron understood well the power of entertainment media to sway public opinion.
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.
We are in the middle of another phase, it would seem, of British unionisation – cultural colonialism – in Scotland right now, and it is impossible not to notice. What’s more, we all know why this is happening. Independence has refused to go away. Almost weekly there are fresh calls from the unionists in Holyrood and Westminster for the Scottish National Party to take another referendum off the table once and for all. They appear to imagine that it is Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP fuelling the drive to self-determination.
But if Scottish independence is to be derailed, than the Tories and truthless Ruth are the best the British establishment have. So can we be surprised to see her on the small screen entertaining small minds with her buns? Absolutely not, and it is not the first time. Channel 4 is putting Ruth on a charity episode of Great British Bake Off. She was already on the spin-off An Extra Slice last year and previously appeared on the BBC’s Have I Got News for You.
Orangeism is a culture no matter how much we protest, but that is because we have gotten stuck on the idea of culture as a good thing; the social expression of the better angels of our nature. Yersinia pestis, the organism responsible for the Bubonic plague, is a culture.
Scotland and Britain are not synonymous in the way that England is, and so our relationship to Britain – unlike that of England – is that of a subject. That the Queen of England, Elizabeth II, is indeed and in law the second (Scotland has never had an Elizabeth I) highlights the very real subjugation of the Scots.
It is now ‘open season’ on any and all forms of religion in culture, in the academy, in the media, and in political life. A new atheism; now the social default, less prepared to engage with the philosophical and theological grammar of religious thought than its classical predecessor, has constructed walls to exclude as much religious expression as it can from the marketplace.