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.
Throughout the independence campaign in Scotland we have seen numerous attempts to transform the Yes movement into yet another “radical left” popular cause, with self-proclaimed leftists trying to subvert and commandeer what is in essence a national project. Every opportunity they have had we have seen and read of them condemning the "flag-waving nationalism" of independentistas from every part of the Scottish political rainbow, and we have to put an end to this.
Coming from the position that claims women are uniquely delicate and female politicians incapable of engaging with male members of the general public, we can accept this criticism. Yeah, we may think it a complete load of tosh, but this is where Woman for Independence – at least on Twitter – is coming from, and they are fairly consistent. Fair enough. What had me banging my head on the wall like a demented polar bear at the zoo in a heatwave were the hashtags that followed.
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.
So Mike Small thinks we’re being terribly childish in our “one dimensional” critique of the establishment media. Bully for him. Right now it is just a statement of fact that we can’t do everything. It is not, as Angry Scotland once suggested on Twitter, that we independence-first types want to put all other issues – as pressing as they are – to the “back of the bus.” As grown-ups we just know that nothing will be achieved at all if we do not first win the most urgent front in the media war – independence from Britain and a proper Scottish media.
Social media – now very much “the world of trolls” – offers us what real life simply cannot, the ability to be all-sufficient. It offers us the possibility to find meaning in our undeveloped and un-self-become humanity. Behind the fiction of a social media profile we can be the men and women we want to be; the person we desire most to present to the world, without ever affecting any real change in the person who we actually are in the real world. This I will call the 'avatar,' the fictive person we create online...
On Saturday night I was chatting online with Jordan Daly, the Huffington Post and Common Space contributor who wrote the piece on sending Wings packing, about the importance of keeping the independence movement together.
...in culture more generally the left has come to be associated with the most puerile and whining identity politicking of ‘social justice warrior’ snowflakes.