Recently, I have attracted the attention of such a troll. This person, as is to be expected, has an anonymous profile and uses that anonymity to bully and intimidate social media users who happen to disagree with his “radical” political opinions. Over the past couple of weeks pro-independence bloggers have been putting out fires started by an accusation by Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard and the leadership of the GMB Labour-affiliated trade union that a blog published by the pro-independence blogger Gareth Wardell was an anti-Semitic attack levelled at GMB activist Rhea Wolfson.
Openness and transparency do not undermine unity. They strengthen it. Lovers, brothers, sisters, and friends can tell one another uncomfortable truths. They can exchange cross words. They can even – and often do – have open pitched battled. But real and authentic relationships are not destroyed by such openness. They are strengthened. Silence, avoidance of the hard truths, disequilibria of power, and abuse foster environments which are highly toxic and inimical to true unity.
Part of this impatience, I suspect, is the demand for a UDI – a unilateral declaration of independence. Now, some of my closest friends in the movement are supporters of such a declaration. It forces our elected representatives to pin their colours to the mast and act, at our behest, for Scotland and independence. It sounds good. It’s attractive. It would certainly get us where we want to go. But my thoughts on it might land me in a spot of bother. I am not a fan.
Who exactly gives Mark Zuckerberg the right to say what we can and cannot express online? Sure, clear cases of hate speech and incitement to violence should – by law – be removed and offenders brought to book, but we already have laws for that. It’s upsetting that Facebook can remove content it arbitrarily finds unpleasant or distasteful. But it is a private company; it’s Facebook’s platform and Facebook’s rules. But what’s really concerning – even worrying – is that governments appear to have a say in what and what can’t be shared on the site.
Rowling is an expert in fascism, social inequality, and racism. She wrote an entire series of children’s books propagating the virtues of British classist elitism, racial supremacism, and fascistic totalitarianism. Have we forgotten that? The world of Harry Potter, as explained by Professor Sunny Singh of the London Metropolitan University, is an idealised fictionalisation of Rowling’s interior universe; a world of private schools, white privilege, plutocracy, and coercion – Britain.
In doing just this the people behind Brexit in the UK and the election of Trump in the US have successfully gamed the system, convincing us – the electorate – to give them exactly what they want – power. Yet, this is hardly a coup de monde. Where’s the network of conspirators, the common purpose, and the seeds hidden in the reveal? Big Data is a tool available to everyone who can afford to employ it, and therefore it’s reasonable to imagine the Brexit Leave campaign and Trump’s campaign team used it independently of one another.
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.
What emerged after the re-think hiatus of Scottish unionism was a hard core remnant of British nationalists; they have metamorphosed from pious peddlers of almost believable British lies into hard-nosed defenders of the union, no matter the cost. After this resurrection we found ourselves looking into the blank and pitiless eyes of born again, fundamentalist, extremist British nationalists; people with nothing left but a union jack and a thousand-yard stare.