Picking On Neil Findlay

I don’t mean to do it, but the man just says things that I feel cannot go without challenge.

sanctimoniousfindlayMr Findlay’s problem seems to be that Mr Harvie is wrong to say that the “inclusive, civic” Scottish Nationalism is the “polar opposite” to the “racist” nationalism see in England – that it is a display of moral superiority that is unwarranted.

Well, here’s the thing: Mr Harvie did not just compare Scottish nationalism and (presumably) English/British nationalism in their entirety: he specifically said that the “inclusive, civic form of Scottish nationalism” is the polar opposite to “racist nationalism.” I don’t think it’s controversial to say that anything which is “inclusive” and “civic” is indeed not only the polar opposite, but morally and ethically superior to anything which is “racist.”

But even if Mr Harvie did outright say “Scottish nationalism is the polar opposite to English/British nationalism,” what exactly is controversial about that?

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The Sewer Level


It seems few video game archetypes are so reviled as the ever-present Sewer Level. They’re dull, boring wastes of time and effort, frequently indistinguishable from hundreds of similar examples, they’re deeply unpleasant to behold, and they go on forever. They are utter chores to slog through, they provoke anger and resentment, and bring disrepute to anyone that implements them.

So it is with gutter journalism, which frequently suffers from the same sort of malady.

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An Open Letter to the SNP Conference


Conference welcomes the overwhelming vote of the people of Scotland on 23 June to remain in the European Union (EU); notes that 62 per cent of voters chose to remain, as did a majority of voters in every local authority across the country.

The SNP reaffirms that citizens from other EU countries living here are welcome, that Scotland is their home, and that their significant contribution to Scotland’s economy, culture and society is valued.

Conference believes that it would be democratically unacceptable if Scotland were to be dragged out of Europe against its will.

Conference expresses its disappointment that the UK as a whole voted to leave the EU but reaffirms that the democratic will of the people of Scotland must be respected.

The SNP values our access to the single market and the investment and jobs it brings; our European citizenship and the freedom to live, work, study and retire in any EU country, the legal safeguards for workers, women and parents, and our place as an outward looking nation, willing to work constructively with our neighbours across the continent.

Conference believes that every avenue must be explored to keep Scotland in the EU. If no viable solution to safeguard our membership as part of the UK exists, Scotland should prepare for a second independence referendum and seek to remain in Europe as an independent country.

Motion to be tabled at SNP Annual Conference, Friday 14th October 2016

There will be a debate at conference tomorrow asking delegates to vote on a motion regarding Scotland’s place in the European Union, and a new Scottish Independence Referendum. I realise it’s one of those epochal motions which will no doubt have many delegates wishing to speak. If I don’t get the opportunity to do so – and to be realistic, I don’t see much chance of it – here is what I would say.

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Non Sit Pondus Nec Distinccio

Most Holy Father, we know and from the chronicles and books of the ancients we find that among other famous nations our own, the Scots, has been graced with widespread renown. It journeyed from Greater Scythia by way of the Tyrrhenian Sea and the Pillars of Hercules, and dwelt for a long course of time in Spain among the most savage peoples, but nowhere could it be subdued by any people, however barbarous.  Thence it came, twelve hundred years after the people of Israel crossed the Red Sea, to its home in the west where it still lives today.
The Declaration of Arbroath

Scota has been linked to Meritaten, daughter of Pharaoh Akhenaten.

Lorraine Evans has linked Scota to Meritaten, daughter of Pharaoh Akhenaten.

Scotland, like many nations, was founded by migrants. The creation myth of Scotland starts far to the east. According to several sources – Historia Brittonum, Lebor Gabála Érenn, and Lebor Laignech – Scotland and the Scots were named for Scota, an Egyptian princess, who married either an Iberian called Mil Espaine, or a Greek (in some accounts, Scythian) called Goidel Glas, roughly contemporaneous with Moses. Scota was exiled from Egypt, and after long wanderings found Ireland, where they settled. The children of Mil Espaine/Goidel Glas and Scota gave rise to the Gaels and Scots, who of course migrated to what would become Scotland. There have been many folkoric connections of the Irish to Iberia, Egypt and the Scythians, though there have also been some very intriguing archaeological discoveries which show at least something behind the myth.

Compare with the foundation myth of Britain: Brutus of Troy, descendent of Aeneas, the Trojan who settled in Italy after the fall of Troy – most famous as the founder of Rome in Virgil’s Aeneiad. After killing one or both of his parents (again, depending on the source), he goes off on adventures in North Africa, the Tyrrhenian Sea, Gaul, and Greece, where he finds fellow Trojans and leads them to conquest. Although they saw initial success in Gaul, even founding a city (Tours), they battled their way on to the island of Albion, and conquered the native Giants who dwelt there. Brutus renames the island after himself, and founds the city of Troia Nova (New Troy) on the banks of the Thames – which would become corrupted as Trinovantum, and over successive ages, renamed London. Brutus then bequeaths his island to his three sons: Locrinus ruled England, Albanact ruled Scotland, and Camber ruled Wales.

The Scottish foundation myth posits a man & woman, from different ethnic backgrounds and nations, travelling a far distance to settle; the British foundation myth shows one ethnic group fighting and conquering their way to their new island home.* Through Scota and Goidel Glas/Mil Espaine, the Scots and Gaels are associated with the nomadic Scythians, the fiercely independent Iberians, the knowledgeable and far-travelling Greeks, and the cultured Egyptians; through Brutus, the British are associated with Rome, the ultimate conquerors of Ancient Europe, and Troy, legendary doomed bastion of civilisation.

There’s a similar dissonance between nations happening right now in Scotland.

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The Abhorrent Vacuum of “We and They”


Nuance has been forced from Scotland’s constitutional debate. This was evident from the moment the then-Prime Minister excluded a second question from the 2014 Independence Referendum in the Edinburgh Agreement, which just so happened to be the more popular choice at the time – and thus, the one most likely to prevail. There was no option for those who did not want either independence or the status quo. At least, until the latter stages of the campaign, where the status quo was “replaced” with Devo Max – only to be yanked away again like Charlie Brown’s football.

This is why we have found ourselves in a battle between Scottish Nationalism and British Nationalism – because regardless of anyone’s complex ideas about what independence or the UK could be, the polarisation of politics sucks them out. Even if you don’t consider yourself to be a Nationalist, you are going to be placed in one Nationalist box or another, especially following the EU referendum. You either believe that Scotland should be the sovereign independent state, or that the UK should be.

When polarisation occurs, then it is the largest, loudest, and strongest who end up as representatives of either side.

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