A rogue, however you parcel it - blog by lifelinking

 




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A rogue, however you parcel it
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Posted 04-Oct-2013 at 04:25 PM (16:25) by lifelinking
Updated 04-Oct-2013 at 06:29 PM (18:29) by lifelinking

Scottish Labour leader Johann Lamont recently said in a speech referring to the Independence debate, that Nationalism is a “virus that has affected so many nations and done so much harm” (as quoted in the Telegraph of 22 September). I remember Lamont being interviewed after the last election which saw the SNP sweeping in with an overall majority in the Scottish Parliamentary elections. Her demeanour was not reflective, but arrogant and combative. In ‘Lamont world’, Labour had done nothing wrong, and it was a mystery how this disaster could have happened. Presumably those of us who had not voted Labour were just too stupid to ‘get it’. Until this attitude changes, don’t expect us back.

Since then she was raised to the position of exalted leader of Labour in Scotland. Back in September last year I thought that I had somehow shifted into a parallel universe where she was leader of a Scottish branch of UKIP, when she used the media to lambast the ‘something for nothing’ culture here in Scotland. With friends like this, the alienated and disenfranchised in Scotland sure don’t need any more enemies. I was therefore not altogether surprised by how low she was prepared to stoop, but nonetheless dismayed that a Labour MSP could display such mendacity and cynicism.

The implicit message from Lamont is that nationalism or nationalist feeling only comes in one flavour, and that flavour is fascist. The fallacy here can clearly and simply be demonstrated by pointing out numerous obvious examples where it can be seen not to apply. Otherwise we would have to bracket those who penned their names to the Declaration of Independence with the likes of Mussolini. Ridiculous isn’t it? But this is the deceit underlying Lamont’s speech. Snide innuendo of this kind is intended to suggest that the type of national aspirations articulated by the SNP might be equated with the aspirations of loathsome organisations such as the BNP. This is an appalling tactic from someone that would aspire to be First Minister.

Decades ago, the SNP attracted a few misty eyed loons who espoused ideas ranging from the tragic romantic to the occasionally sinister conflation of national identity and ethnicity. The party had a more minority appeal at the time and I think this was in part a credibility issue related to this slightly batty fringe. It must be said however that they never, ever have been an extremist political grouping. Over the years the party has been effective in ridding themselves of their batty fringe and demonstrated that they are a modern, inclusive party with a commitment to social justice and enhanced democratic accountability that wishes to see Scotland take her place among similar nations. As an utterly disenchanted former Labour voter I was comfortable voting for them at the last Scottish Parliamentary elections.

The idea that I and many others in Scotland who intend to vote yes would have any truck with the sort of ideas Lamont alluded to in her ‘virus’ comment is deeply offensive, but thankfully the electorate in Scotland is more than capable of seeing the lie. As Andrew Wilson wrote in a piece for The Scotsman today, “how cheap the currency of political argument seems to have become that such distasteful abuse trips so easily off the tongue of otherwise good and committed people who should and do know better!”

There is of course, another dimension to this. If the majority votes Yes in the referendum, and I hope we do, then there will be an inevitable re-positioning of political parties in Scotland that reflects the new political landscape. In this re-positioning I hope we see a new, more reflective and more representative Scottish Labour party that actually deserves to bear the name. I might even vote for it.

You can sign the Yes Declaration here.

Related blogs

The Scottish Independence Referendum

The'Yes' and 'No' campaign websites and a word of caution

IFS report on the fiscal implications of Scottish Independence

The view from the fence

Disagreements surrounding the status of an Independent Scotland in Europe - A rough timeline

The Guardian's Scottish Independence Blog

It’s a date

Time to come off the fence

There should be no room given to legislation like this

The Great Coalition Con-Trick

Why would a UK national newspaper fail to publish an article about Scotland, in Scotland?

What future Scotland?

Scotland badly needs an effective political party of the centre-right

Enough with the shortbread tin stereo types already


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  1. Old Comment
    So, you are for independence of Scotland?

    I understand the political reasons, but i wonder just what the economic consequences will be. Are there plans for your own currency?
    Because if not, you will be in a situation worse than the eurozone - not only won't Scotland have control over its currency, but it will be under control of a central bank which will not have to answer to its citizens. I don't think the problem will manifest itself immediately, but after another boom-bust cycle you could very well be in the same situation Spain is currently in, with no sane way out.
    Posted 15-Aug-2014 at 11:28 PM (23:28) by Lucifer Lucifer is offline
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