In 1914 they began leaving the slums, taking the King’s shilling, to escape the dirt and the disease, to send some worthless pennies home to feed the wives and children they had left behind in buildings swarming with humanity and rotting with piss, shit, and vomit. You may think I’m being crass, but if we could revisit those dwellings, these rude words would be the least of our worries. The government that sent them to war had caged them like animals in these hell holes to work and to die for the good of the empire and the ruling class.
Britishness – or at least the Britishness which they hold so dear – is a dying imperialist dream, wrapped up in its own delusional fantasies of cultural and racial greatness. The pomp of and nostalgia for what was once the largest empire in the world gives them a peg on which to hang and so construct their identity, a conceit of national meaning draped over what has become a shoogly peg. It is this, more than their shame at being Scottish, which fills them with hate.