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March 14, 2008

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Snorri Godhi

I blame these silly gestures of the SNP on the fact that they do not have to pay the consequences. Give them independence, and the Scots will quickly come to their senses.

Gavin

The problem with 'independence as a lesson', is that recognition of the reality that all of Scotland's ills are not caused by England will not immediately follow; nationalist posturing such as the SNP's is essentially irrational, and almost impervious to rational challenge. It's taken more than eighty years after seperation from the UK for the more obviously Anglophobic elements of Irish nationalist political culture to move beyond the '800 years of British oppression' mythology, for example, and I suspect it will take just as long for the same to be true in Scotland. Which means the intellectual bankruptcy of the SNP's parochical little-Scotlanderisms need to be challenged now.

Paul

Let's not confuse Scots with the SNP.

As a Scot living in England, I'm embarrassed and ashamed of the Anglophobia which partly informs the bizarre policies of the SNP. I suspect many other Scots are too.

Snorri Godhi

Paul: I certainly do not confuse Scots with the SNP, and I am sorry if I seemed to do so. Still, I am in favor of breaking up large European countries on general principles, and in this sense my thinking is aligned with the SNP.

Gavin: I detect an apparent contradiction between your saying that the posturing of the SNP is "almost impervious to rational challenge", and your saying that it needs to be challenged now.

Gavin

Snorri, I do indeed believe the SNP is 'almost impervious to rational challenge', with the emphasis on 'almost'. This means I believe their policies need to be subjected to a substantial quantity of rational challenge (which certainly hasn't been the case so far); so the sooner this starts, the better. Meanwhile a lot of their recent electoral support comes from people who are not committed SNP members, and that's a constituency more open to realisation of the bigotry and intellectual bankruptcy of SNP ideology than the SNP themselves.

Barry Larking

As an Englishman who lived in Scotland I never afterwards had to ask myself "What is racial prejudice like on the receiving end?" The extraordinary bitter resentment of total strangers who spotted my English accent was at first baffling then deeply saddening and depressing. Fortunately I had Scottish friends who helped me over a shallow response.

Alex Salmond is a God send to the SNP. He is the SNP for most people who have little knowledge of the party's philosophy; jovial, chat show humorist, far from the bitter and twisted fellow travellers of Tartan fascism. The SNP is the National Front of Scotland – ask any Scottish left winger. As the SNP's vote rose so the Tory's Scottish vote collapsed. It has become the repository of all that is reactionary in Scotland and much of the active membership is simply loony. But is perfectly illustrates a modern phenomenon "learnt and rehearsed history".

All that angers the Celtic Fringe can be summarised as such. In terms of what people in Ireland and Scotland and Wales have actually experienced in their own lives – health and education provision and transport improvements and the communication revolution – are set aside in favour of reading about a time, usually several hundred years ago, when 'they' were oppressed. The sign beside the motorway (note motorway) indicating the site of the Battle of Bannockburn is gigantic. But this skewing of 'history' is deliberate falsification for a purpose. A nasty one, at heart spiteful and demeaning.

Philip Martin

Barry...the problem is this. Come back to Scotland and watch our 'local' news. A great many of the office-holders in Scottish public life are English. When I worked at Historic Scotland 3 of the 6 Board members were English, all the archaeologists were English and so on. I think one of the problems is that for a substantial number of people in England, Edinburgh and St. Andrews universities are English universities. When I was at Edinburgh I was made to feel really out of place because I hadn't been to an English private school...in Edinburgh my home town. I think English people forget how small Scotland's population is. I now live on a glen in rural Perthshire and we have no neighbours. All the houses around here are second/holiday homes and are owned by wealthy English people. All of this has happened fairly recently. This has caused a rise in house prices, affecting council tax rates, and unless the inheritance tax threshold changes, we will have to move when my wife's parents die because we can't afford to hand any money over.
I am not against English people coming here. They have been a lifeline to the Northern isles in many cases. Just remember it cuts both ways but all the same it doesn't feel right to Scots to watch the TV and feel they're being administered by a succession of English bureaucrats. Perhaps on the other hand this is why there has been a lot of comment like Paxman's 'Scottish Raj' in England. I think there is much more anti-Scottishness in England than you may realise.
Sorry for such a rambling post!

JohnBSheldon

The exact dates escape me, but I recall several reports of pilots of the Canadian Air Force flying their F-18 fighter jets out of their Quebec bases to bases in 'Anglo' Canadian provinces on the eve of the independence referendum in Quebec. One can imagine a similar situation occurring in the run-up to any Scottish referendum on independence, where Royal Navy Trident submarines and other vessels, as well as a large number of Royal Air Force aircraft, remove themselves further south.

Gavin

I've usually found the 'stealing our jobs' argument being made by LittleEnglanders about the Scots; it's interesting to see the same argument being made with no obvious sense of irony by a Scot about the English. The issue of second home ownership pricing local people out of the market is an economic issue, not a nationalist one; I have relatives in south western England who have the same problems. There are plenty of similar issues which are easily distorted in the same way by Scottish nationalism because of the fertile ground established by the entrenchment of Anglophobia in much of Scottish culture. I have to say that I found Barry's comments right on the money in that respect. I should add that I'm a Scot who has lived in various parts of England for several years, and despite experiencing some occasional prejudice, I have never witnessed anything equivalent to the casual and pervasive manner in which expressions of Anglophobic bigotry are tolerated in Scottish society. I feel the SNP's policies are a case in point.

Philip Martin

Gavin. You obviously know not as much as you think about the jobs issue. You are framing it as a stealing our jobs issue. I am not. Read on.(I notice you didn't mention the university issue either). As a small country Scotland has a much smaller base of education compared to England. There are a lot of rural jobs where there is no or very little training available in Scotland but specialised training courses in England. So if you are a Scot and you want to get one of these jobs, you must train in England and then come home and compete with others who are from elsewhere. This is an organisational issue which could be addressed given adequate levels of funding.
You are also wrong about housing being an economic issue not a national one. Why should a well-defined national population be disadvantaged just because investors in the South decide that certain parts of the housing market of Scotland look like a good bargain? Ask the Danes whether their restriction on German house-buying is an economic issue. If your reply is that Scotland is not a separate country then you are simply wrong. You also missed the point about English 'settlers' (for want of a better word) helping the population stabilise in the northern isles..but if a quarter of the population of say Norfolk or Cornwall became Scottish I am sure we would witness some anti-Scottishness. I agree there is much casual anglophobia in Scotland but it is casual and not that serious. I spent a lot of time in the Borders in my youth and there were Geordies everywhere...and never a casual or more serious word of Geordiephobia ever.
Maybe my post was not as specific as it should have been but it is not a stealing our jobs issue.

TDK

"As the SNP's vote rose so the Tory's Scottish vote collapsed."

What tosh. The SNP espouse socialist policies. Their rise is down to Thatcher, Poll Tax, English media parochialism and Mel Gibson. They gained some ex-conservatives at the last election because a lot of people wanted to see the back of Labour, not because they particularly like the SNP.

Gavin

Philip, I didn't mention the university issue because I didn't think it had any merit; while St Andrews has always had a substantive English component, I don't agree with your characterisation of Edinburgh, having worked and studied there myself. As for your point about agricultural training, I know several people who studied in Scotland, including some of my contemporaries at school. I don't see the provision of more training or study of agriculture in Scotland as an English/Scottish issue. I understand that you disagree with me about the housing issue, but the majority of second home owners I'm aware of in Aberdeenshire and Perthshire are Scots or non-Scots who are already resident in Scotland. The issue is an economic one, and exists independently of nationalist antagonisms although it is easily manipulated to fuel those antagonisms. I strongly disagree with you about the seriousness of Anglophobia in Scots culture. Try substituting 'the Jews' or 'blacks' for 'the English' the next time you hear an expression of Anglophobic bigotry and ask yourself how inoffensive you find that. Finally, your original post still reads as a 'stealing our jobs' issue, regardless of your evident discomfort about being called on it - otherwise why mention the national background of the people you apparently see as unjustifiably taking Scots jobs at all? I do agree with you about the fact that incomers and in many cases English immigrants have provided a life-line for western communities which otherwise would have vanished, however.

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