The Nationhood Bypass

I detect a change of language…I’m sure I heard Johann refer to independence as ‘an honourable position’ or somesuch. It was certainly a long way from her previous efforts, suggesting almost linguistic schizophrenia. Imagine her in the morning pondering what thought mode she should adopt… ‘Independence – it’s either honourable or it’s a mutating virus that kills you slowly – which will it be today?’


Then there is Douglas Alexander’s latest epistle in the Scotsman. Does anybody else think Douglas may be morphing into his dad and turning into a Kirk meenister? His repetitive, preachy sermons on goodness and hand-holding conventions only need a tambourine accompaniment. Did his saintly humanity just desert him when he voted for war in Iraq?

Douglas has started to express his – and I have no doubt this is true – love of Scotland. ‘I love Scotland’, he wrote. Good for him. It’s about time some of these doom-mongers whose case is based on belittling their own people got in touch with their inner Scot. In fact, I could have written some of his article, except not as well, obviously. It is an admission of the impact his country has on him and how it is – careful here, Douglas – part of his identity. Yes, he actually does the identity bit and may, I hear, be applying for SNP membership soon. He refers to the land and emotion, pride and dignity.

It is a fair and emotional exposition of his love for this native land and I’m with him all the way. There is a problem of course and it arrives in the form of the BUT word…

Scotland is about more than flags and manifestoes. Yes, but…?

He just doesn’t think separating from the rest of Britain is good for Scotland because it’s about the future and solidarity and sharing and his piece falls away into that self-justifying morass of saying obliquely that Scottish independence just isn’t worth it, it’s not important enough when there are other things to get on with and anyway, it doesn’t help the hopeless and vulnerable in England and Wales. So we should wait for another Labour government to come along for 10 years or so to solve our problems (presumably because they’ve solved them before).

This reveals the empty core to the Unionist case which I’ll get to in a minute. You can see it today in the Herald where Catherine Macleod is repeating the same line, that breaking up is just silly when there ‘is nothing to be gained’. Why divorce when you’re happy? Yes, she did actually use the 1970’s Divorce word, although in her case she says ‘divorce from your friend’, not quite understanding the concept.

Catherine is important because she is part of the Alistair Darling, Brian Wilson Highland nexus and while writing her own material – obviously – is so close to the Darling mindset that she reveals his thinking. She worked for him in Downing Street.

And indeed, when you look back at Darling’s interviews, he says, for example, a currency union makes sense but you’ve got one now, so why bother going through the

independence rigmarole just to get what you already have?

All three of these Labour Unionists miss the point entirely. It is this: We regain our independence, we take back our nationhood, reclaim national self-respect and take our rightful place in the world, shaping policies around our own ideals and standing tall in our own right beside the other nations as equals.

They are utterly blind to what every other nation and people on earth take as an automatic right. It is enshrined in the United Nations charter – self-determination. How the hell can any Scot – proud or otherwise – fail to grasp the importance of their own country’s sovereignty? How?



They suffer from a nationhood bypass. They simply can’t intellectually link their love of, and pride in, country with that country’s statehood. It is constitutional blindness. They only equate statehood with Britain and would deny it to Scotland because somehow it doesn’t matter to their native land.

Isn’t this the very definition of British Unionism? That is, that Britain is their country, their state, the legal entity to which they pledge allegiance and Scotland – lovely though it is – is merely the place they come from. This to me is a state of wilful denial and is totally contradictory. The truly honest position for Johann, Douglas and Catherine is to say Scotland is a region of the country they adhere to – Britain. Within that country they have a regional identity like a Yorkshireman or a Cumbrian. They love their home area but that’s all it is, a badge of belonging. When it comes to it, they are British and proud and they accept Scotland is subsumed, officially, into the British state. Scotland should not, they believe, be ranked beside other nations.

When you add in the propaganda assault their campaign promotes in which Scotland’s assets are at London’s disposal and they tell us our ambitions will founder on our inability to make independence work, you’re left wondering just what this love of Scotland amounts to.

I suppose it means the real truth does lie in what’s in your heart not you head. You may be worried about the economics of independence but I still can’t imagine not voting for my country’s right to self-government. I regard it as self-evidently the natural thing – if you love your country – and comes with the unshakable belief that we can make it work, that we can overcome.

For too long the onus has been in Yes supporters to justify independence. How about the Unionists justifying ‘love of Scotland’ with voting against, for a change?



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Please be advised that it is not for the fainthearted, but I suggest those of you sick of being branded Anglophobes or bigots for seeking self-determination may follow up our trawl yesterday into the depths of xenophobia in the Daily Telegraph – sparked by out-of-context quotes from the Daily Express – by peering into one of my latest correspondent posts on the right of this page. (Ivor griffiths)

This is an example of what those of us blogging for Scotland are subjected to and this latest arrival is the direct result of the smear run in the Telegraph. I’m not deterred in the slightest because it’s only argument, not incoherent anger and filth, that will win the day, but we’ve had ample evidence in the last 24 hours of how vile the so-called Unionist camp can be – not concealed in under-the-radar internet sites but in upfront mainstream Unionist media outlets. Just remember this when they call us cybernats. There are nasty nutters out there on both sides but this shows how idiotic it is to brand a whole community as cybernats because of the few. Equally I know this is not representative of Unionism, so don’t let the Ian Murrays and George Foulkes and Brian Wilsons distort the reality (Is it coincidence that most of the propagators of this kind of sewer politics are Labour?)

This is Ivor.

Ivor griffiths
1 approved
Submitted on 2014/04/23 at 6:23 am | In reply to David Martin.
The problem with Scots is that they are soft cock wankers. Male Scots have an idea that they are hard. They are puffs.

There is anot an Englishman alive who cannot leather the shite out of any grunting and ignorant scotch toe toucher.

Vote yes and fuck off.

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Making a Difference Update

I recommend you look at the outpouring of Scotophobic hate in the Telegraph unleashed by  Nutty Professor Tom Gallagher. It is nauseating and dripping with racist poison which no doubt was his intention. He’s an expert apparently in sectarianism. By God, he is. For rebarbative, brutal hate for an entire people and their history you’d have to attend a BNP rally to better it. How proud the professor must be to see what his writings stir up, how gratified he must be that he can turn the zealots and the bigots on so easily. I doubt if even the American government propaganda machine is paying for this service. But what it does reveal is just how sick some of the opponents of self determination are and how ill-informed and self-obsessed about the country they claim to be proud of. If this is the Union you can keep it. I know this is a tiny proportion of public opinion but it does no harm to be reminded of just how airily ignorant and wilfully prejudiced some people are and how it can drive your desire to escape to create our new Scotland free from their contempt and hate. Try’ve-never-voted-conservative-but-scotlands-anti-tory-hatefest-fills-me-with-shame    but take a  deep breath first

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Making a Difference

I was girdin’ masel  for a hurl at Gordon Brown with no little distaste I have to say since I can’t think of the sulking beast of Fife without a sense of dread and longing for a talent so wasted. So I was pleased enough to be side tracked by the latest attack on my good self in the mainstream media. The latest appears in…can you guess? Yes, the Daily Telegraph which not only omitted the context of my remarks but lifted them straight from Britain’s house magazine of doctrinaire bigotry, the Daily Express. After the inevitable excoriation from Brian Wilson, these are truly my badges of honour. I must be doing something right.

If you notice, the mainstream barely mentions the lively, insightful pro independence activity on the internet. It is genuinely a phenomenon which is playing a key role in what may be the break up of Britain and yet the organisations we look  to inform us are failing to report them. They are terrified of the new journalism which exposes them and satirises them and beats them to news. The traditional role of the conventional newspaper and broadcaster is being redrawn from without and there is nothing they can do to stop it.

The objective of the Unionist commentariat is to ignore the pro independence net, don’t bring it to the attention of the dumb voters, don’t give it credence. This proves difficult when some sites make a major impact but is particularly tricky when some like me from their own world joins in. They try to ignore me but with a BBC name, that becomes tricky. When they worry that  someone like me may actually have a degree of influence, it is time to attack which is why Brian Wilson was first to smear me. It’s designed to head people off but of course does the opposite. For me, to be the object of poison from the propagandists is a clear sign of success.

Now he’s been joined by another frothing opponent of self determination, Professor Tom Gallagher, or as Alex Salmond calls him, the Nutty Professor. You can decide for yourself if he’s got a point. But for the record I don’t hate anybody English, I don’t want a border, I welcome all incomers, salute them as adopted Scots and hope they stay and take citizenship. My enemy is the British state which is currently responsible for a xenophobic platform denigrating Europe, foreigners, Romanians, Bulgarians, asylum seekers and frankly, sometimes Scots too. If you have the stomach for it, read the Telegraph article here

Then check out what I actually wrote here

Make up your own mind if the phrases taken out were an attempt unfairly to smear me and my known views.

And if it helps, check out what others say about Tom Gallagher and his motives. This is the Left Review documenting his association with American state interests and how he denigrates Scottish independence.  And these are the people telling us we’re biased…


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I’m a Scottish Internationalist

I was interviewing Sir Christopher Meyer some years back, the man who used to be our Ambassador in Washington. There was a row about how many British troops were being sent into some new conflict zone or other and people on the Left were asking why did we always comply with American requests for troops when were already badly stretched.


I challenged him on how Britain saw itself as some kind of world leader tucked in behind the US and suggested to him that we sometimes instead took the Denmark option of taking part in joint operations with a token force and retaining our right to opt out if we wanted to. He let out a shocked laugh, like Sir Humphrey recognising one of the Minister’s follies, and scoffed … “with due respect to little Denmark, I don’t think they have quite the role of Britain…”

Oh dear me, no. That was well off script, the idea that mighty Britannia would become just one of many equal nations helping out an intervention by giving a commensurate number of troops and support. It was the UK’s job to be the leader, upfront in the cockpit with the big boys. You could see how it was a mindset, one of those self-justifying acts that made everybody in London and our people in Washington feel engaged and important even as another batch of hard-pressed and under-equipped soldiers put boots on the ground. I despair at the endless generosity of the British government in making available our armed forces for international action. There are times when action is sanctioned by the UN and, yes, by NATO that it is a duty and probably the right thing. But you have to say there is a kind of mad desperation in the UK for all things military and getting our boys into yet another foreign ruck. I asked a British officer about our presence in Northern Ireland and he said it was good training. The Troubles had to be dealt with of course but they were also a great way of training service personnel. “There’s nothing like the real thing for preparing troops for action…”


It now appears that Britain’s downward spiral in the world is accelerating as vainglorious politicians pretend the country can police the globe, have world-class weaponry, maintain a nuclear deterrent and cut costs. Have a read at this piece to discover some of the latest American thinking on Weapon-mad Britain – – and these are the allies Britain is trying to please!

The terrible irony of course is that Labour is also sold on this demonic idea of British internationalism. Jim Murphy is clear that we must retain Trident and Johann Lamont’s statement to the STUC actually backs its replacement with a new generation of death weapons. This at the very time even the British military establishment is pondering it value, it is questioned in the right wing press – the Telegraph and the Evening Standard – and even the Americans who supply it think it’s time is up.

Britain provides help in all sorts of ways around the world and within what I think is an outdated approach it remains an active player in the realms of aid and support beyond our military interventions. But I fear the British enthusiasm for bigging up and posing as world leaders while also being afraid to take a line not supported by Washington has left us open to doubts about our intentions in some areas and questions about our credibility at home.

How very different this all could be under independence. For a start, we can decide when to send our forces abroad, how many and on what terms. As a new state we can be open to all countries.  We emerge with virtually no baggage on the world scene, we have a history of friendly relations and exploration and, despite the Meyer sneers, copied by the No campaign, we are well regarded internationally. What an opportunity to create whole new image for Scotland, building on the work of SCIAF and the Kirk’s World Mission, to take our expertise to developing countries and build stronger bilateral connections. Can small countries make a difference…of course. Remember the Oslo Accords in the 90’s brokered by Norway? Conflict resolution is a respected area of diplomacy…why not a specialised centre in Scotland? We have historical links to the Holy Land and to Bethlehem, could a Scottish initiative help to break deadlock there?


As an independent nation, stripped of London’s influence, we can determine what our international priorities are. And they may be surprising. Scotland made one of the greatest public declarations of compassion a country can make when, in 2009, the Scottish government freed Abdelbasset al-Megrahi. You may disagree that he should ever have been released but I doubt if you can disagree that it was a decision that defied the major powers, notably America, and sent a message of love and forgiveness around the world. It is the single decision of the devolved government which gives me the greatest pride.

We shouldn’t forget either that internationalism has always been part of our character, from explorers, traders, mercenaries, teachers and missionaries to the constant exchange of people and ideas. During the Cold War, a connection was maintained between the UK and Soviet Russia with regular meetings based on Edinburgh University in which leading academics and experts gathered to exchange information. Did any of it make its way back to London and Moscow? What do you think?

Our global footprint as a force for good is one of the most exciting prospects for our new country but we will have to be a new country first. We can’t operate globally without statehood. Even when we’ve tried, the British machine has done its best to stop us. Did they initially welcome Jack McConnell’s Malawi plans, did they welcome a Scottish representative in the British Embassy in Washington, did they make it easy for Scottish officials to travel to Brussels on joint missions?

All international relations are based, funnily enough, on nations. To be a nation or to claim nationhood is the natural progression for any country and from there it forms its  international arrangements.

The most memorable parts of my life as a journalist were travelling and meeting people just as fervent about their country as I was but equally keen to share and discuss from the West Bank to China from Russia to the USA. In the same way, Scotland needs to get out there into the world on its own terms and make its own friends, without the colonial militaristic trappings of a fading Britain.

Each country has its own national interests and its nationalism. It is when they reach out to others in the spirit of cooperation that they can change the world through internationalism. That could very soon be Scotland’s role.

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