By Mike Small
Recent attempts to scar the independence debate by smearing Alan Bissett will fail (‘Curious case of SNP’s shift from ethnic nationalism‘), and offer up further evidence of a Unionist community running out of ideas. These ad hominem attacks will fail, not because they have no basis in fact – but because the movement has a completely different source of energy.
While David Torrance’s article aims to paint a picture of the writer as a foaming-at-the mouth ethnic nationalist, he is, sadly, a metrosexual poet and performer. His fellow-accused, Alasdair Gray, as anyone who has met him will know, is a gentle creative genius. Sadly if these are the guys to be framed as leading the indy movement down a dark and violent path of blood and soil then the forces of Britishness will have to try harder.
What next? That vicious proto-militia leader Andrew Tickell to threaten Better Together with some indelicate banter? Aamer Anwar to discover his McGregor roots? Vonny Moyes (pictured) – ‘I’m deficient in shortbread-tin zeal’ – raising a standard from the offices of The Skinny? Does Tasmina Ahmed Sheikh (‘Why Vote Yes?’) or Tariq Ali really threaten the coalition? Perhaps.
We have a broad and diverse coalition, and, as Ali mentioned in his Edinburgh speech, isn’t it a bit rich for a country that drapes itself in the Union Jack in a regular orgy of nationalist symbolism and a government that sponsored the Hate Van to talk of ethnic nationalism?
I’m proud that the independence movement is backed across our communities and is resolutely about democracy and civic renewal.
Clearly the efforts to smear Bissett are spurious. They’re the result of a sort of pathological deference that feels threatened and completely disoriented by people standing up for themselves or having the most basic knowledge of their own culture or history.
It’s a confusing time for Better Together – swithering between accusations of ethnic nationalism (Torrance) and ridiculing people as ‘Indyluvvies’ (Foulkes).
Which is it?
There’s a reason for this play. They have nothing to say. They are floundering around in their own limited miserablism, John McTernan swaying between attacking gaelic and defending depleted uranium, David Maddox and Co at SoS desperately trying to shoe horn Nigel Farage into their coverage of the SNP conference.
As Janan Ganesh writes in the Financial Times today (Politically Scotland has already left the union behind):
Unionists should stop fretting about their campaign. Their predicament is much worse than that…The unionist campaign is a footling concern next to the deeper unionist plight. Independence may be averted in September but the trend of history is unmistakable.