I’m a Scottish Nationalist

Are you a nationalist? I bet you are. It doesn’t matter which side of the referendum you’re on, you either put your faith in Scotland or in Britain. You’re a nationalist.

There are people who simply refuse to acknowledge any national identity and have no time for any borders or governments and reject all talk of sovereignty at any level. It’s the John Lennon concept of Imagine there’s no countries etc…

But everybody else is essentially nationalistic. You will of course get denial from an Australian or a Frenchman for example because they don’t like the idea but watch them react when Advance Australia Fair or the Marseillaise starts up.

Most nationalities don’t think they’re nationalists because the question simply doesn’t arise. It would be the stupid question to ask a Kiwi if he feels like a New Zealander. It is so obvious that there is no response apart from pity for the questioner.

Not in Scotland. We have to agonise over the meaning and the detail and reject categories. Blood nationalist? Ethnic? Civic? For God’s sake, grow up and accept that if you feel you belong in a country and owe some loyalty, it means you are essentially a nationalist. Get used to it.

This is another of these debilitating hangovers from Union which taught me the kings and queens of England and forgot to say there were Scottish kings too. We were supposed to lap up the Proms with a field of Union flags – I did, I love the music – and gorge on stories of Empire – I did, I love them – but somewhere our own national story mostly fell between the cobblestones somewhere around Buckingham Palace. It was grand to be British and proudly nationalistic – but Scottish? That was for the dreamers and the nutters. And that abasement of their own country – Scotland – still afflicts many today.

Now I don’t for a minute think that Yes voters who say they are supporters but not nationalists are being disingenuous or intellectually dishonest. I just think they don’t like the idea of nationalism because they connect it with sectarianism and strife. They have been conditioned to think this way by the same British nationalists who trumpet the UK’s superior approach to international affairs, while berating anyone else who tries to clamber aboard. We learned how the Republicans were Irish nationalists and how ethnic nationalism caused horror in the Balkans. You may remember the Nazis too – a reference still used by Unionists about the Scots.

But they never question their own British Unionism as a strident form of nationalism.

I think for many in Yes, their vision of a country with its own distinctive political culture based on community, commonwealth and equality is nationalism. Anything that unites people in a shared national cause and expresses a collective national will is nationalism…by definition.

I get tired of the denials on both sides. What else can a campaign for (and against) a country’s status be but a type of nationalism? People share a dream, an aspiration which makes them part of a nationalist cause. It doesn’t mean they make the mistakes of history and Scotland has been very careful indeed in this regard. But to brand nationalism responsible for past wars is to ignore wars started for resources like oil, religion, territory.

I’m proud of being a Scottish nationalist. It is a statement of belonging and of belief and it doesn’t fall into the trap I outlined in a past series under the title Generation X in which Unionists are obliged to fudge – as Ming Campbell did recently in the Guardian when he gave an elegant exposition of Unionist belief. It is, put simply: I am a proud Scot who believes his country is better run as part of a bigger state and it is to that state that I gave my loyalty. You can be both Scot and Brit but the British side always trumps your Scottishness. It must do because you want it to be your state/country/identity, and it overtakes your Scottishness. Therefore Britain is your country and Scottishness within that wider British identity is part of your identity. I put it more bluntly – you are British first and Scottish second. We have dodged along with this duality for 300 years but in September that wont do anymore. This is decision time. Either Scotland gets your vote to be your state or you vote No to let Britain do that job.

But if so, do us all a favour and stop pretending to be both things at once. One is not equal with the other in this vote. That’s your choice. Which is it? Anything else is intellectually evasive. If you’re British, be proud and vote No…don’t come out of the polling booth pledging allegiance to Scotland. You will have failed the test and put Scotland second on your list of constitutional priorities. And make no mistake, the world will see it that way…the people who said No to their own independence…. Truly, a people who deem themselves unworthy of statehood, confirmed as dependents, reliant on ‘benefactors’ and cowed in the face of a campaign of fear which belittled them….Braveheart No More, will read the healdines. Scots leave their fighting spirit in the film studio as they opt for UK safety net…Bagpipes and kilts are mere fashion accessories not the accoutrements of a new nation…etc etc

I suspect that if the worst does happen, it will only be on September 19 that some Scots will learn painfully just how nationalistic they really are and have been all along. 

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70 thoughts on “I’m a Scottish Nationalist

  1. I don’t agree with everything DB writes (supporting the England cricket team? Dear Gods Derek…!) but I agree wholeheartedly with this point of view.

    You cannot be both a ‘proud Scot’ and ‘British’.

    You simply cannot.

    I am sick to the back teeth of the so-called ‘proud Scots’ who will always put London first.

    I consider myself to be both a Scottish nationalist and patriot.

    I hate the people of no race on earth and I consider all people equal regardless of race, creed or colour or anything else.

    I simply want a Scotland run by the people of Scotland for the benefit of the people of Scotland, regardless of whether they are ethnic Scots or folk who have chosen to come and live and work according to our laws in Scotland.

    • Dewey Cox that is a very simply put and wonderfully expressed sentiment, almost as good as Derek’s and from me that is praise indeed

    • Allan Allanson-Oddy

      I was born in England of English parents but I am very happy to agree wholeheartedly with Dewey Cox`s definition of a Scottish Nationalist.

    • Travelling home today with a friend who is a no voter and myself remembering Margo’s advice – we only need to convince one person to switch to Yes- I was a bit dismayed to be following a caravan with several saltires flying and lots of stickers-it ticked all her No boxes and I didn’t have a counter argument- I hate nationalism!

    • I’m not a nationalist or patriot. It’s not a progressive egalitarian way to be together in this world. I’ll vote Yes because of the political culture and movement- but it’s not restricted to Scotland.

  2. Cricket? Shudders!!!

    YES lads and lasses out in my local town today – wandering through (wearing my YES badge) an “older Gentleman” in a Union Flag T under his flapping shirt scowled at me and snarled

    “I am a Nationalist!!!!” in a beautiful Brummie accent.

    “So am I Sweetie” I replied and gave him a kiss on the cheek before swanning off…… to snorts of laughter from his buddies.

    Thing is – we both are, it just means different things to us both doesn’t it?

    BTW!! I now consider myself to have “taken one for the team!!!”

  3. Vote YES—-For Scotland

    Vote NO—–Against Scotland

    What a great slogan for a billboard!

  4. Whose side are you on – I’m for Scotland my nation my country my home

  5. It really is that simple.

  6. Ian William Wallace Smith

    I am Scottish,
    I am Proud,
    I will be VOTING YES,
    I pray all who live in our Great Country VOTE and VOTE YES.
    Love Family/Love People/Love COUNTRY.
    Let’s be a NATION ONCE AGAIN.
    May your GOD be with you.

  7. Dr JM Mackintosh

    I am a Scottish nationalist and I have been since I was eleven years old.

    We used to get History in School – the usual type, Battle of Hastings, Roman roads and villas in England, Tudors, English Medieval Castles, etc, etc. I think this would have been familiar to most of us.

    I asked my History teacher (she was Scottish) why did we not get any Scottish History or local Highlands history?

    She looked slightly embarrassed and said “There is no Scottish History – it was never written down.”

    I thought then there is something wrong with Scotland when we cannot even know our own history.

    Funny how many years later, I had a similar experience when watching the Simon Schama series ironically called “A History of Britain”.

    Scottish history was confined to Skara brae and then 5000 years was missed out. So perhaps it was indeed never written down as Simon was unable to find any as well. Perhaps it this lack of writing was a Celtic thing as the Irish and Welsh were not mentioned either? (or the Viking sagas?)

    It was also compounded even more recently with that Middle-Earth fantasy from Rory Stewart that well known historian and unbiased Tory MP.

    Something is not quite right here?

    I look forward to proud independent Scotland where our children can learn about our real history, local and national. I am sure our Scottish historians in our Scottish History and Celtic Studies Departments in our Universities will be only too delighted to teach us – and our school history teachers.

    • All this Nationalistic stuff for me as a Yes voter is a bit scary-surely we need to be more outward looking in all ways not continually gazing at our own belly buttons! Almost turning me off voting Yes- almost but it won’t. I have faith in more a more outgoing forward society not obsessed with it’s past-whatever historical perspective it chooses.

      • If my comment is not allowed because of a moderation thing- this is seriously not good. It appears to be censorship…..v

        • Dr JM Mackintosh


          these are my personal opinions and I think history is quite important. I have double chip on my shoulder about it -both from a Scottish and Highland perspective. I just think it would have good to be taught something about the history of my local area and its people.

          However, I am now learning new things every day and every week.

          One of the most interesting things I found out from these discussions on Indy web pages was that Scotland’s population was around half that of England at the act of Union. For some reason, I had always assumed that England was always around ten times larger than Scotland.

          Hence, the act of Union was between two similar sized countries and the contribution of Scotland on the UK was very significant. I had never understood how that was possible until very recently.

          Also, I have also learnt that Scotland had links all across Europe and had a very international outlook and I hope that would continue in an independent Scotland.

          What I find most invigorating about the Independence debate is that we are discussing and debating these ideas all across the country. This is something new and something very important.

          So keep posting your views – Hopefully, we are on the way to building a new democracy and everyone’s views are important as they come from lots of different cultures and perspectives – all with different histories!

  8. Derek,
    I get fed up with the having to take the blame for ‘past wars.’ Scotland never went to war with anyone except England and that was due to provocation.

    Yes, it is a case of Scot v Brit. The Brits want to be part of Britain. Their Scottish identity is just a temporary thing which they bring out at the New Year or at Murrayfield, because in their hearts they’re ashamed of being Scottish and have admiration for the masterful British Emprie. It’s Stockholm Syndrome, actually. They fear upsetting the state that subjugated them, and live on small kindnesses backed up by the fear of invasion again, so ingrained is their fear.
    Yes, it will be an embarrassment if they say ‘No’ and come out of the Polling station in their kilts. The whole world is watching the Stockholm Syndrome sufferers.
    Dr Mc. I’m minded of the recent Michael Wood programme about Britain where he managed to squeeze the word ‘Pict’ out of the corner of his mouth once in the whole series.

  9. I did not know a lot of Scottish history was missing, but am not surprised. I lived for a number of years in a small but ancient village in Spain. When trying find out the history of the pueblo, I found out it had been lost. During Franco’s years, the local language (valenciano) was banned. As the people did not know how to speak or write in the official language, castellano, official records were not kept as no-one knew how to write them down. Old records were destroyed, and a huge part of history lost forever.

    Is this what happened in Scotland?

    • Dr JM Mackintosh


      I think it is called cultural imperialism and it has happened in lots of places.

      Scotland’ history has not been lost completely but a lot of Gaelic culture and language has been suppressed for many years. In many ways similar to the Spanish experience in what were previously independent states before the Castilians and more recently Franco. I would think that the Spanish issues are a lot more difficult than ours.

      There has been a lot of progress in Gaelic schooling across the Highlands and Scotland recently. Hopefully, these changes will continue in future and Scots can learn more about their cultures, languages and history.

      If history tells us anything…
      Small independent democratic countries are Good.
      Big Imperial Powers are Bad.

    • Scottish state records were destroyed by the English twice as far as I can recall. Once, deliberately, under either Edward the first or second. Secondly, after Cromwell’s 17th century conquest of Scotland, the Scottish state records were sent south by sea and just happened to suffer an accident where they were all dumped overboard. England has a long record of trying to eliminate us as a nation.

  10. The justification for British unionists in having Scotland’s affairs run by and for people in England is that we are better together with a bigger state.
    However,suggest to these people that by extension they would be better to hand over all of their income to Brussels and allow Brussels to decide how much of it they get back and a very different set of arguments come into play.
    These are essentially English establishment people who see an independent Scotland as a threat to their future prospects.
    I am sure if Burns was still around he would have something far more eloquent to say about these people.
    I get incensed when Tory MPs try to pretend that the border between Scotland and England doesn’t really exist,in fact that borders don’t matter.
    Again,when you extend that argument to Europe (Europe sans frontiers) a completely different story emerges and borders become very important to keep these nasty foreigners out.
    All this nonsense about nationalism from the unionists is simply a cover for not wanting to lose control of Scottish resources and nothing more.
    Excellent again,thanks Derek.

    • Aaannd . . Westminster refuses Scotland the right to self-determination

      Buuuutt, when the EU takes just a tiny little bit of theirs, they howl in protest.

      Vote YES.


  11. So you cannot be Scottish and European?


  12. In December I became involved in a heated debate amidst a pub gathering of old workmates where one if them who declared he was, emphatically, a former card carrying SNP member whose mindset is now that he will ‘vote with his head, not his heart’…he then attempted to accuse me of suffering from childhood trauma where I had (obviously) taken a reaction to Blue Peter saying England when they meant Bvittin, etc., etc. In simplistic terms, anyone failing to see the CHOICE Scotland has given the facts that are being forced to emerge against continuing attempts at citizen bafflement is on a different planet. I see that Lord Darth Vader of Dunblane is already berating the inhabitants of Kepler 189 for failing to apply for annexation to the UK in order to help maintain peace in the Gamma Quadrant.

  13. In the event of a No vote how long will the international footballing authorities of FIFA and UEFA allow Scotland to be represented in their international competitions? Some of the 90 minute nationalists in the Tartan Army need to wake up to this question.

    • Football? Seriously? I think there is far more at stake here than a game!

    • EricTheCheeseman

      The ’90-minute nationalists’ in the Tartan Army (whatever THAT means) you speak of…. were well aware of the threat to the Scotland teams’ existence during theTeamGB kerfuffle during the olympics.

      However I can guarantee you that the fortunes of the Scotland national team will NOT be a priority on folks minds on September18th.

  14. Derek this is off topic. I attended a Yes meeting at East Linton, East Lothian, last night. Fraser McAllister who helps to organise these events in East Lothian wondered if you could come along to one of the future meetings sometime to speak. We realise that you will get many similar requests but if you you could find the time we would be delighted to see you.

  15. David Halliday

    The unionists keep telling us that there’s no conflict between being Scottish and British and I agree with that, insofar as it goes. But if you can be Scottish and British in a British state then you can be Scottish and British in a Scottish state, and that’s what I want. You can’t have both a Scottish state and a British one.

    I know it’s become a cliched comparison but it’s entirely apt: after a Yes vote I’ll still feel the same degree of affinity with the other British countries that I do now, just as I presume the Scandinavian countries do with each other.

  16. ima nationalist in the sense i support Scotlands right to decide for itself and i really dont care what others think ,,, deal with it

  17. brendan mcandrew

    Derek I appreciate your point but can’t help feeling that the word nationalism is loaded with meanings that I’m not fond of. For example cultural superiority – whas like us etc. Personally I prefer the idea that I am scottish because I belong to a polity that is Scotland. I share a political and social space with 5.3 million others and we are a distinct community that should govern itself. Also I am not a member of the snp and feel this term is an association with a political party to which I do not belong whether this is fair or not. I am certainly not someone who is scared of calling himself scottish but to me this is an accident of birth rather than a matter of particular pride. I hope there is a place in the new Scotland for everyone no matter how nationalistic we are

  18. but i do believe in the socialist concept of whats right for society but i also believe in looking after our environment so maybe im a rainbow nationalist lol

  19. Thank you Derek, this piece sums up my feelings much more eloquently than I ever could. Slainte!

  20. As always – clear and smart Derek. The BritNats’ game is up – their aloof attitude towards nationality has been outed for what it is – British nationalism and sometimes approaching the worst kind of nationalism : superior, judgemental and race-fixated.

    Their big flag-waving events are those nauseating displays of national chauvanism and that intrinsic sense of superiority that defiles society. As usual, this kind of nationalism is ugly and seeks conflict wherever conflict is to be found both politically and militarily. 4th biggest military spend in the world matched to 4th most unequal country in the developped world.

    Democracy is a joke compounded to the House of lords that costs £100 million+ to dictate to the UK government’s subjects what they will be allowed to think. The playing fields of Eton are running things and causing the poor to suffer immeasurably – a NO vote is a vote for all that and much worse.

    Scottish nationalism is aspirant nationalism… it is one thing to wave a flag for the country you seek; it is quite another to have mass flag-waving events for an already existing country (a most unhealthy state of brainwashing affairs).

    A YES vote will give us back our country and we’ll all have that democratic representation we currently don’t have. Choose your nation.

    • I’m having chats with a number of my English born friends about nationalism. Cosmopolitan, bright and well-travelled people, but one admited to never thinking of England as being nationalist, and another claimed ‘We just don’t feel nationalist like you Scots do.’ I’m puzzled by their complete ignorance of their patriotic homeland England. That’s big country nationalism for you. Totally agree Derek.

    • Rubbish Nationalism from this post! I don’t have a nation!

  21. I agree Derek, as a naturalized New Zealander nobody would ever express it in that way. You would simply be asked if you were a New Zealander and if you replied ‘yes’ then that is what you were. When an immigrant feels able to reply yes to that question is when they have become a Kiwi, regardless of their formal status. BTW it is not compulsory to support the All Blacks.

    Here’s a fun fact, it has been proven that when, on those rare occasions, the All Blacks lose a test match productivity in NZ rises the following week. It’s as though Kiwis internalise it and feel the need to work harder, just as they know the AB’s will be doing. That is a sort of nationalism and it shows that while not everybody is into rugby there, an awful lot are.

  22. i firmly believe westminster cant face the sense of loss of scotland
    ,and no country has escaped from britain without intimidation and violence…….,its the british way
    there is too much at stake for them to go gracefully,but im ready to keep going forever!!

  23. I am Scottish and I have always been I am a Nationalist and have been from a very young age, I was a lucky one who got Scottish History and considered it ridiculous that I should be considered British or as I see it a second class citizen of England.
    Thank you you made that simple.

  24. west_lothian_questioner

    Thank you Mr B. Reading your piece was like reading inside my own thoughts, but with added eloquence. I’m a Scottish nationalist up to independence day. Then I’ll just be Scottish. As someone once said.. bring it on!

  25. Still sitting on that fence Derek?
    When are you going to come out and say what you really mean 🙂

  26. Margaret Brogan

    I learned some Scottish history at school, but most of it was from my parents and family. There was some romanticism and myth, so what? Every nation has that.

    I quote from Labi Siffre (who wrote Something Inside So Strong), “Can’t we be the promise that we promised we’d be?”
    Of course we can!

  27. Listening to the radio some years ago and a group of English people are chatting amongst themselves, probably on “Start the Week”, and marvelling at how, unique among peoples of the planet, the English are completely devoid of any nationalist feelings. No flying of St George flags you see. Perhaps the conflation of British and English is so prevalent that, like the air they breathe, they don’t notice it.
    Travelling in Scandinavia, you see many houses with their respective flag on display be it in Norway, Sweden or Denmark. I look forward to the time when we can be unselfconscious about the Saltire, and the English can fly their St George.

    • I lived in Copenhagen for 6 years Capella and the Danes do not miss an opportunity to fly that flag. It’s very refreshing to see people being unashamedly proud of their country and their nationality.

  28. The problem with taking Ming Campbell as an example of someone who can put together positive, personal thoughts on the Union is that Campbell, in his Guardian piece gives the following as examples of Scots who have held prominent positions; David Steel, Robin Cook, Malcolm Rifkind, John Smith, Gordon Brown, Charles Kennedy, John Reid, Alistair Darling. Now I don’t know about you, but none of these people inspires me in the slightest. I think this list goes a great way to showing how Ming Campbell’s mind works. All these politicians failed Scotland, in fact they failed the UK, but that’s not the point in Ming’s world. Ming believes that the ordinary voter should not question the system and just let the Establishment, of which he is an integral part, get on with doing what they do. Ming, in my opinion, is grateful to the UK as it has allowed him to be a “Sir” and it should not be under estimated just how important this is to people like him. Gongs, medals, titles, careers, handshakes, business contacts and self importance. That is what the Union represents to Ming his kind. They have no aspirations for the ordinary people they represent. Ming is without imagination.

    • Ming and those mentioned above, along with so many more, could see what life on the underdog would be like, so they became fleas on the alpha male at Westminster. Instantly, they were drinking the blood of privilege as the leader of the pack always made sure he got the lion’s share of everything the underdogs brought in.
      These men remain Scots by birth, but they’ve lost the feeling and haven’t a clue what this referendum is actually about.
      They got their independence and self-determination a long time ago.
      Now it’s the turn of the underdog.
      I’m voting Yes.
      Scraps no more.

  29. You have hit on something I have been saying here and on other forums. I have never felt British or indeed felt any affinity for it. If I ever used it, then it was collectively, the same way a Norwegian or a Swede would use the term “Scandinavian”. I am a Scot. Scotland is my nation and my home. Nothing more need be said on that score. For the English, the term British, is just another way of saying English. And they have no qualms with that – it literally is one and the same thing for them that it doesn’t even register with them at times. For England its clear to see that Its not the composite identity that Scottish unionists believe in. Hell for some unionists its not even that, it literally is a separate identity and one that Scotland does not contribute to. I believe that is why no Unionist raised a voice in protest to the endless traducing of Scotland as a nation within the Union. Oddly they are doing more of a hatchet job on their own “nationality” that to the English, the debate has been reduced in the most stark terms to simply mean the following:

    “Vote yes and you are racist as you are clearly anti-English.”
    “Vote no and you are a scrounging Scot looking for handouts.”

    To be a “British” nationalist in Scotland is to accept that you are somehow 2nd class in your own nation of Britain. A scrounger living off charitable handouts. (Ever notice that its only unionists who display the Scottish Cringe? – although I like to refer to it now as the UK-cringe) To be British first, Scottish 2nd is to accept a pessimistic viewpoint of your glass being half empty. A nationality that needs to belong to something larger, so as to feel any sense of achievement. To live your life vicariously through someone else’s achievement’s.

    Colin Kidd in his book “Union and Unionisms” said that the success of the Union was that it became banal. So banal that it disappeared from view. Never being questioned or even noticed. A lot of awkward questions simply avoided. But that seems too simplistic. It doesn’t explain that undercurrent of dissatisfaction with the status quo. That the question of Home rule would simply never go away. I think the answer is quite simply this. The typical refrain from bettertogether camp is one of “why end 300 years of the most successful union ever?” The answer? “We never had the right to question it before”

    Failing to deal with the idea of identity for 300 years is going to haunt Unionists as the fateful day approaches. There can be no more fudges after this. They have made it all but impossible for people who want change to ever accept “Britishness” as a nationality ever again. Scottish nationalists will know it’s an identity that is only begrudgingly given by the rUK, who increasingly think us unworthy. Those who wrestle with being British first, Scottish second, will find the reluctant acceptance from the rUK a bitter pill to swallow.

    yes or no, nothing is ever going to be the same again.

    Its simply a matter when the union ends, not if. Its either going to end amicably or suffer a long drawn out wretched death. But it is going to end.

  30. British or Scottish?

    When you are standing in that polling booth on the 18th September 2014 you will have to be one or the other. In that moment you will have to chose. Nowhere to hide in that decision.

    For me there never was a question or rather, the question always was; why do we not run our own country?

    I was brought up and educated (brainwashed) to be a good Brit. My first involvement in politics was in the 1979 referendum.

    When we had our winning vote stolen by the Labour party’s George Cunningham and the 40% rule I was incensed. This was democracy? If that was an example of british democracy then I did not want to be part of that any more.

    Thatcher and then Blair were the antithesis of everything I want from society. Now I feel utterly disconnected from the whole british establishment. The royalty, title and politics of the british state now seems completely alien to me. I cannot wait to be rid of it all.

    I will be voting for Scotland. I will be voting Yes.

  31. David – ” Union was that it became banal. So banal that it disappeared from view. Never being questioned or even noticed. ”

    You just need to look at the raging comments about the Cameron government from the English in papers like the Guardian. For them, there is a 2-party state, and people are furious because the 2 parties are increasingly the same.

    The idea of any region setting up to say “no” to this structure never, and I mean never, occurs to anyone (happy to be corrected). The banality of the UK as a unit means it is never questioned. None of England seems to be “periphery” or “appendage”, that’s the role of Scotland, Wales, N. Ireland etc. And partly why this outrage at the “tail” of Scotland trying to wag the “dog” of England.

    Has noone ever started up a regional party or pressure group? The English are living next door to successful local parties/lobbies like SNP and Plaid, etc. but they do not seem to put 2 and 2 together, just wait for the next “presidential” debate on the TV (which excludes said SNP and Plaid, etc.) and wait for one of the London-based two to prepare to step on them again.

    Are the devolved nations and the English living in parallel universes? Or is it just that living abroad, I don’t see it as it is.

  32. Great post Derek been waiting for someone to say that…so here is my tuppence worth …. I’m a New Scot and member of the SNP and ENGLISH to boot , I consider myself very much a Scottish Nationalist….I have no time for merry old Engalanderhamshire or rule bloody Britannia or support Westmunsters increasing panic attempts to retain the last outpost of Empire (i.e. Scotlandshire) and since I am English it may be I can be a tad more forward to all who have chosen to live and work in this wonderful country….IF YOU ARE NOT FOR SCOTLAND AND YES THEN YOU ARE AGAINST US..If you love England so much then buggar off to it..wake up , smell the coffee and no prisoners on September 19th, when in ROMA etc .Trust that is not to over the top……VIVA ALBA !!…Stick that in your pipe Ming Campbell

  33. Oh Derek!

    They have been conditioned to think this way by the same British nationalists …

    Like all tribalisms, you”re either one or the other, eh? What tosh!

    Written in the style of an Old Firm supporter, this piece comes across as the type of doggerel dogmatism more suited to the terraces..

    I was just old enough, and still at school, to be conscripted into the British army (or so I believed) at the start of the Falklands conflict.

    And I resented the idea more than anything I had yet imagined. Yet, when some friends mentioned the idea of being a conscientious objector I was dead against it.

    Not because of any sense of National or Nationalist pride, but due to the fact that objectors could expect to receive a certain type of treatment virtually every day. Something which, on the balance of probabilities, was a lot less likely if you joined the ranks of potential cannon fodder.

    So the idea of being some kind of conditioned British Nationalist doesn’t wash.

    Scottish Nationalism is certainly of the wee jobby allegedly ‘civic’ variety, but, to frame No voters as being cowed in the face of a campaign of fear… reeks of the less than savoury variety. Paraphrased, you’re virtually saying that people are either proud Scots or cowards. Correct me if I’m wrong.

    That’s the type of doggerel fallaciousness more suited to the extreme ends of Nationalism. And to frame it as such, as you have done here, is nothing short of shameful.

    It’s the language of divisiveness and, dare I say it, of Nationalism at its worst.

    You need to work through some of that anger you’re feeling. It’s caustic, bitter and toxic. It’s certainly not ‘civic’ or ‘inclusive’.



  34. First post on here, been lurking for a while.

    I really couldn’t agree more with the ideas you expound in this article. There is something strange about British Nationalism, it is seemingly the only nationalism that dare not show its face in public, it is the invisible nationalism in Scotland. In Scotland, people who are so obviously BritNats will deny it completely or state that British Nationalism doesn’t exist and that anyone who says that they are a nationalist is bad. Unfortunately this has resulted in Scotland and England being probably the only countries in the world where there citizens are embarrassed to be shown to like their own flags. In terms of the referendum this seems to have manifested itself in the form of comments such as: “we don’t like flags” or “perhaps we need a different flag post independence”. Flags, national anthems and such like are the symbols of a country, they give a sense of belonging and shouldn’t be ignored or belittled just because a Britnat doesn’t like it.

    At no point am I endorsing the extreme end of nationalism which is jingoistic and xenophobic, something the British state has been quite adept at fostering over the years when it is to their advantage. No, I am talking about nationalism as being the intangible something that binds a country together, the feeling of shared history and a common view of the future.

    Just keep in mind when you are voting, the choice is either “Yes Scotland” or “No Scotland”, that is what the decision boils down to for everyone.

  35. @Longshanker.
    Conscription ended around 1962. The Falkland islands conflict was in 1982.

  36. Well I can deny being a nationalist, I’m a supranationalist. My home is Europe. I never even warmed to the SNP until the independence in Europe platform.
    I have always felt Scottish first, then European and finally British. I’m married to a Catalan and my children can only ever be a bit Scottish but mainly Catalans.
    My loyalty is to an ideal so for instance if the EU barred Scotland’s entry I would support Scotland because the EU had clearly failed to live up to its ideals.
    I support the yes campaign for different reasons to most of you as I see it as a step to breaking up all of the large European states that will lead to a more effective and democratic federal state. This is why I also support the Flemish, Catalan and Italian independence movements.

    I think that Germany would fragment quite easily but France will probably be the biggest problem. I’m not sure if England would feel at home in this Europe but it would certainly be welcome as an engaged partner and not as the curmudgeon that it is now.

    • @longshanker

      Doggerel Fallaciousness …… Sounds like some Kama Sutraie sex position.

      No one talks like that (except civil servants) who look up dictionary’s to find the most tortured way possible to make a simple statement.

      Or people who think that this kind of wordspeak nonsense makes their argument more intelligent. It doesn’t, most times they just sound like cack they looked up in a dictionary.

  37. Great article, Derek. I put down some of my own thoughts on the matter – investigating the history and meaning of civic nationalism and how that plays into ideas on Scottishness and Scottish citizenship – in a wee essay I wrote for my own blog: http://fairfurth.wordpress.com/2014/04/16/we-have-done-great-things-shall-we-do-more/

    In particular, I think the interesting thing was how the majority of Scots view Scottishness as imbued by birthplace. David Torrance in his right of reply at Bella Caledonia used this to suggest most Scots were inherent ethnic nationalists, but birthplace has no essential bearing upon ethnicity, certainly as true ethnic nationalists would see it. For Hitler, the ‘Germans’ born in the Sudetenland were not Czech, they were German; indeed, the notion that just by being born in a polity makes you a member of that polity is inherent to notion of jus soli – that is right by sun, rather than jus sanguinis – right by blood. The nationalistic movements of central Europe firmly believed that blood was what was important. The liberal revolutions of the Americas in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries were far more, well, liberal. Being born in Argentina, no matter your parents, makes you an Argentinian (should you wish). Now unrestricted jus soli citizenship is difficult to square with EU citizenship (and indeed CTA membership) which is why Ireland got rid of it in 2004, but if the majority of Scots consider being born in Scotland sufficient for Scottishness then it bodes well for the support for civic nationalism in Scotland.

  38. Too much of this debate is about nationality, but in the modern world it is becoming more and more relevant. For me what is more important is economic stability. The UK and the EU both provide Scottish businesses with a large market in which they can trade. This helps businesses to grow and create jobs. Strong businesses create tax revenue to pay for our schools and hospitals. Removing scotland from the UK is bad for business because it makes it harder for to trade with the rest of Britain. This is bad for jobs, bad for public sector finances and pad for the poorest in society. This is why I voting No for Scottish Independence. I will also vote to stay in Europe.

    • I meant to say ‘more irrelevant’ not ‘relevant’.

      • Dr JM Mackintosh

        Mr Economy,

        Unfortunately, I think your post is “more irrelevant” not “relevant”.

        We will have economic stability if we share the £ or use it anyway as a freely tradable currency. It is the No campaign that is causing uncertainty with its Plan A ( no share of the £) while also admitting its is real plan B (£ share) is the way ahead.

        Can you ask your Better Together leaders want happens to their Plan A and rUK economy if we are out of the £ and also out of paying any share of the UK debt. Once you find out can you get back to us please.

        If you want to stay in the EU – first see what is going to happen in the May Euro elections – predicted large UKIP rise – and then vote YES in September.

    • I too want a stable economy but business does not create wealth – people do. I’m not sure what age you are but have you spoken to any teenagers lately? This is the age, where they’re not learning how to make ‘ shepherds pie’ at school, they’re learning Mandarin. They’re not learning about how to apply to RBS , they’re looking at International business, they’re not learning about trade, they’re buying and selling on Ebay .Nothing is a problem because with one click, they’re playing games with people in all parts of the World and are more aware of issues because they literally have the World at their fingertips.
      Parcels arrive from China and get sent to California because they can. They’re not Alan Sugar but they are the future and all done from some clothes strewn bedroom , here in Scotland.
      We are being given a choice look to the future or maintain a system that benefits the few?
      In the (sampled ) words of Paulo Nutini, we are not machines , let’s build ‘strong people’ which will lead to strong business, whether that be with England or even the rest of the World.

  39. Fearghas MacFhionnlaigh

    A quote from Doug Gay’s recently published pro-independence book “Honey from the Lion: Christianity and the Ethics of Nationalism” (SCM Press):

    “The rehabilitation of nationalism in the postcolonial and post-Soviet eras has been an ambivalent one, often acknowledged grudgingly by those whose own secured power and settled state borders left them to project ‘nationalism’ on to others, while quietly ignoring their own claims and how they had been secured. The paradox of nationalism both being implicated in the cause of imperialism and seeming essential to its downfall remains. Those who deplore nationalism need to explain why the ambitions of colonized people to secure independent statehood are philosophically incoherent. Or they may need to rethink what they mean by nationalism.” (p189)

  40. Derek, regarding all the connotations surrounding the word ‘ nationalist’ .
    With the Labour Party promoting ‘One Nation’ does that make them nationalists or do we need to wait for the spinmeisters version?

  41. I agree with much of this Derek.

    But what if you are someone who views an indy Scotland as *** nothing but *** a means to escape a corrupt Westminster establishment?

    On this view, the fact that Scotland has a parliament and a set of political institutions to which power can be repatriated from Westminster is simply historical happenstance. And the expectation that an indy Scotland might be better at politics than the recent UK is based not on any positive idea of a Scottish culture but simply on the view that it would be hard to do worse than Westminster. Scotland, says this view, is simply an arbitrary chunk of land and people which happens to have been given the opportunity to get away from a rotten parliament.

    In short, the severity of Westminster’s failings has made it possible for people living in Scotland to favour independence without having to subscribe to anything in particular about Scottish culture beyond a bland assumption of political competence and decency.

    Now I don’t think very many people actually think just like this in reality (and I think they would be very naive if they did), but I do think this attitude is a strand in many people’s indy thinking, and perhaps it makes the idea of an anti-nationalist indy movement seem less paradoxical than it otherwise would.

    • Dr JM Mackintosh

      Oh no Vera – I missed your original post.

      I think you and your friend have an acute case of vexillophobia. I would recommend that you try and stay indoors as much as possible – at least for the next six months.
      Trust me – I am a doctor.

      On a more positive note I see that 10,000 flags for Yes are nearing their target. Just needs a final push in the last few days. See…


      The crowd sourcing things are wonderful – how is the stock of fine Burgundy coming along Derek ?

      Scottish Ambassador in Paris – now there is a thought.

  42. Derek, another excellent article …. verified by the (mostly !) positive response above … mair power tae yer pen !!

  43. […] debate at least) dare not speak its name.” Good old Derek Bateman is also unafraid to call a spade a spade: “Blood nationalist? Ethnic? Civic? For God’s sake, grow up and accept that if […]

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