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).
Foucault, often viewed as the father of the Queer Theory which underpins the issues around gender we now grapple with, didn’t believe in anything as mundane as actual lemonade seas, he didn’t believe in any sort of objective reality at all. No, if you think the sea is made of lemonade — then, for you, the sea is lemonade. This atomised and idiosyncratic truth is actually all that matters, and anyone telling you that it’s nonsense is oppressing you by forcing their own version of reality on you.
Wings Over Scotland has 53,000 followers on Twitter. That is a phenomenal social media reach, made all the more important in the context of a bitter ideological and constitutional struggle in which we still do not have a pro-independence media a fraction of the size of the BBC and with a fraction of its reach and influence. Taking down the largest and most popular pro-independence website from Twitter is a monumental tactical blunder, and it will cost the next independence referendum campaign dearly online.
Yet, we have such an éminence grise. Dumfries and Galloway MSP Joan McAlpine exploded on social media last night when one “Jordon, Duke of Edinburgh” – the partner of Alyn Smith, allegedly – revealed to his Twitter followers the full details of a Scottish government announcement to Holyrood scheduled for tomorrow. Like my hypothetical example above, he had all the details; the position of the government, details of the consultation process and the working group, and the timeline of the bill going before parliament.
Gareth Wardell can be an anti-Semite so long as the definition of antisemitism is suitably adapted to fit the accusation against him. Stu Campbell can be a homophobe so long as the definition of homophobia is tailored to fit a description of his attitudes and opinions. Anyone can be a woman so long as people who menstruate are reduced to a physical function of their bodies. Her behaviour betrays her. Nothing of this is about antisemitism, homophobia, or transphobia. Her linguistic gymnastics have utterly devalued real antisemitism, homophobia, and transphobia.
In hiding behind this myth that we, “middle aged men,” are “a-l-w-a-y-s” chasing women with pitchforks – like angry and uncouth villagers, the gender politicians are wilfully ignoring the truth. Men argue with men in politics all the time. This has nothing to do with the sex of the belligerents, but this fact is deliberately overlooked when the picture is drawn of a club of men – obviously all members of the same secret society, “the patriarchy” – rounding on a woman who is portrayed in the most sexist way; as weak, fragile, and defenceless, against their bullish behaviour.
Papers have standards. Yes, we can all see the humour in this statement when we are talking about The Herald. It employs David – you’re all “bots” – Leask! But even in comparison to this low-level “journalism,” Angela Haggerty has always somehow managed to lower those already bargain-basement standards. No one seriously rates Ms Haggarty as a writer. As has been discussed before on this site, her analysis and style are wanting, and I would not be the first to suggest she was taken on by The Herald as an easily controlled pro-independence voice.
Gillian Martin MSP published an article on her personal blog eleven years ago that has returned, as these things often do, to bite her on the bum. She described transgender students – people over whom she was in a position of power – in the most disgusting way imaginable. She reduced some of the most personal and treasured truths of their beings to worthlessness and shame. Since then she has deleted this horrible post and two years ago she made a full and unreserved apology for what she had written.