Posts Tagged ‘British Nationalism’
Unionists, come out and declare your ‘nationalism’
The Scotsman, August 10th 2013
The story is familiar: there is a pesky, partisan, immature nationalism out and about influencing our body politic.
This is the account of Scottish nationalism put forward by a range of commentators and public figures. Yet it could as easily be articulated about the ideas of unionism because unionism is at its heart a form of nationalism – British state nationalism.
Scottish nationalism has its faults and limitations. It is cautious, conservative and shaped by the characteristics of the society from which it was born. It is also a nationalism, but at least it understands itself as such and is seen as such a phenomenon by everyone.
Unionism doesn’t comprehend that it is a nationalism. It is an obvious point when you think about it. What state does unionism declare its allegiance and loyalty to above all else? The British state. Yet unionism is in denial that it is such a thing as nationalism; it thinks nationalism is about others and not about itself. Read the rest of this entry »
Britain – no longer the land of the future, but one living in the past
The Scotsman, July 27th 2013
Once upon a time many years ago, like many other Scots, I believed in Britain.
Britain seemed the future: it had appeal, appeared modern, progressive and full of promise.
That now seems a world away from the Britain of today: one which looks to have given up on the future and instead appears content to live permanently in a fictitious past.
This is the fantasyland Britain we see before us this week – of a society, culture and media obsessed with celebrating the birth of Kate and William’s royal baby and third heir to the throne. And this Sunday is the anniversary of the onset of the First World War which will be officially commemorated next year. Read the rest of this entry »
Dreaming of a Different Scotland: Alt Independence and Alt Unionism
Open Democracy, February 26th 2013
Social justice is everywhere north of the border. It has always been about, but now it has become more explicit, as the debate on Scotland’s independence referendum hots up, the Westminster Government’s welfare plans show their character and the Tory intent at inhumane social engineering, while the market fundamentalist project of the last three decades proposes at the moment of crisis and doubt, to go into over-drive.
The last week has seen Anas Sarwar, Deputy Leader of Scottish Labour give an important speech on this terrain, followed by at the close of the week ‘Yes Scotland’s’ mini-summit on social justice and its response (1) to the STUC’s ‘A Just Scotland’ document (2).
In-between we have had another litany of grim statistics telling the familiar story: of the inequality, poverty and exclusion in Glasgow and parts of the West of Scotland (3). And the now well-trodden path of politicians and public sector professionals saying they have learned from the past and embraced new thinking. Read the rest of this entry »
The world after Saddam, Blair and the Iraq invasion
The Scotsman, February 16th 2013
February 15th 2003 was a moment in global history: a rare articulation of political connectedness and consciousness.
From London to Glasgow to Ullapool to New York, Paris, Berlin, Rome and Tokyo, people took to the streets to protest about the Blair-Bush march to war with Saddam Hussein’s brutal Iraqi dictatorship.
Bush and Blair were determined on war; Bush to complete the job his father didn’t in the first Gulf War; Blair as a true believer in liberal intervention and enlightened imperialism investing his political being in the notion of the power of military force to do good. This was an intoxicating fix that Blair had earlier got in his Prime Ministership due to the Kosovo and Sierra Leone conflicts.
At the last minute with the clock ticking, Bush offered Blair a way out for Britain militarily, only for Blair to respond, ‘I’m here to the very end’. A self-obsessed Alastair Campbell recorded in his diaries on the day of the marches after a run, ‘I bumped into the end of people coming back from the march faces full of self-righteousness’. Read the rest of this entry »
Scotland’s Place in the World and the Problem with British Isolationism
The Scotsman, November 3rd 2012
Europe has been in the headlines in the last two weeks. There was Salmond’s little legal controversy on EU matters, followed by David Cameron’s problems with his backbenchers on Europe, while some Labour politicians charged Ed Miliband with opportunism for siding with Tory Euro-sceptics.
If it is possible to rise above Scots insularity and petty partisanship which we have seen in the last week, it would be helpful to note the wider European and international dimension in which the Scottish self-government and independence debate, is now located.
This is about how Scotland sees itself and its geo-political position, or to put it more simply, how it sees its values, relationships and alliances across the European continent and globally. Read the rest of this entry »