Something to be proud of

Goodness knows, the very last thing I want to write is yet another piece about why British Labour in Scotland (BLiS) is failing. (Or should that be “why British Labour is failing in Scotland? is there a difference? Does anybody care?) I suspect most of you are at least as unenthusiastic about reading one more catalogue of BLiS’s catastrophic errors and/or another 27-point plan for returning the pretendy wee party to some fraction of the level of significance and relevance that BBC Scotland is determined to convince us it still enjoys.

So I won’t do any of that.

Instead, I’ll restrict myself to commenting on Owen It’ll-come-to-me-in-a-moment’s embarrassing resort to the London-centric British media’s cosy consensus regarding Scottish politics. Although it now occurs to me that you may already have seen one too many of those as well. But I’ve started, so I’ll finish.

Adopting the ill-informed perspective of the unionist media, Owen I-must-look-it-up-when-I-get-a-minute assumes that everything that has happened in Scottish politics over the last decade or three can be explained by a growing sense of national pride in Scotland. Thus, he and they remain obdurately but quite contentedly oblivious to the reality. A reality which, while serving better as an explanation of developments – including the demise of BLiS – involves some discomfort for unthinking devotees of the British state.

What has grown in Scotland in recent times is not national pride, but democratic dissent.

It is easy, for the shallow-minded at least, to look at the sea of saltires that recently descended on Glasgow’s George Square after 5,000 people marched through the city, and see only a Scotticised version of jingoistic, flag-waving British nationalism. But this to fail to recognise that this was not an outpouring of emotional patriotism but an affirmation of popular sovereignty. Those people were not marching to express their pride in Scotland, but to declare their commitment to a democratic cause.

What Owen You-know-who-I-mean is prevented by his prejudice from appreciating is that this was not a sentimental celebration of nation, but an expression of solidarity and a declaration of intent. It wasn’t about the country. None of it is about the country. It’s about the people. It’s all about the people. It’s about the people finding their voice and asserting their democratic power.

Perhaps all of that is just a bit too scary for a British politician. Whatever their name is.

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5 thoughts on “Something to be proud of

  1. ronald alexander mcdonald

    Peter, BLiS is the best comedy show around. If they put it on the Fringe, I would pay money to watch it.

    Just wait until Corbyn is re-elected. The genius that is their scottish branch manager will no doubt be flip flopping yet again.

  2. Ian Clark

    Two weeks ago I was discussing the nature of nationalism with a left wing unionist friend who had left the Labour party when Blair took over. My friend’s default position on nationalism was that it was bad. I think I eventually got him accept that in the same way that I was a Scottish nationalist, he was a UK nationalist. (He didn’t like the term British nationalist!)

    A week later I read an article about why buying a cheap bike was a waste of money. The writer made a distinction between a real bike which initially may seem expensive and the cheap thing which was not fit for purpose. He called the cheap thing a BSO i.e. a bicycle shaped object. The term amused me.

    Today I read WGD’s ‘The Union is killing Labour in Scotland’ and your article. The connection between all of these things? British Labour does not understand nationalism and Scottish Labour – which might understand it – isn’t real. The thought came into my head that we should describe BLiS as a TRAP i.e. a thing resembling a party. It’s not what it seems and should be avoided

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