Britain is not a nation. It is a vicious imperial political construct that has been imposed upon us, but it has power over us only for as long as we accept that it has a valid claim on us. We of course have to accommodate ourselves to some extent to this imposition by having a foreign royal and imperial insignia on our passports, by being UK citizens, and such like – we can’t function in the world without these things – but nothing of this means even in the slightest that we are British.
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.
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.
Gerry Hassan demands, following an editorial trend in much of Scotland’s supposedly pro-independence new media, that independence must be the answer to an as yet unknown question. This is not an episode of Jeopardy! The progress of a nation through time need answer no questions. It moves by its own accord, under the steam of its own initiative, following the complex calculus written out by the thousands of expressed and unexpressed desires of its people.
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...
Our movement is not a leftist movement. It is a national movement embracing people and ideas from the entirety of the political and social spectra of Scotland. Our failure to realise this – and become truly inclusive – will be the death of the movement and indeed our dream of independence. Whatever shape the politics of Scotland takes after independence is a matter for then. Right now we must be authentically revolutionary and mobilise the nation – the whole nation – to the ends of the revolution.
As a tactic, then, the imposition of such a definition amounts to the construction of a straw man argument. Regardless of this, it is employed by unionists in the debate because it is a useful propagandistic tool.
It would be wrong to imagine that the nationalism of Scotland is incapable of descending into this or something similar. Scotland is not immune to racism and intolerance. At this moment in time the nationalism of Scotland, of the Scottish independence movement, has coalesced as a reaction against the core of British state ideology and so has developed a radically different nature to that of Britain and Britishness.