By Robin McAlpine
A simple guide for people who want to write about nationalism:
Ethnic Nationalism: is the belief that the nation is based (wholly or in large part) on people from the same ethnic background. For example ‘Serbs out’.
Cultural Nationalism: is the belief that the nation is based (wholly or in large part) on historical and cultural characteristic that make it different from its neighbours. For example, every nation state everywhere in the world.
Civic Nationalism: the belief that the nation is a territorially-defined entity with a democratic right to self-determination. For example: European Union nation states
The first defines citizenship in genetic (or very occasionally religious) terms. The latter two define citizenship in democratic, residential terms. Therefore an ethnic nationalist does not believe that someone from a different ethnic background (Pakistani, English) is a part of the nation. This form of nationalism is closely associated with fascism and apartheid.
If you know that you are clearly and inaccurately writing about your opponents in terms that imply they do not accept the citizenship of those who are not ‘blood Scots’ then you are involved in intentional smears that seem to me to border on defamation. If you don’t know this, you should simply refrain from writing about it.
Reference to dictionary definitions of the component words used in a sociological typology you apparently do not understand does not change the meaning of the term. For reference:
Ethnic – The fact or state of belonging to a social group that has a common national or cultural tradition
Cleansing – To make something thoroughly clean
Ethnic cleansing – a process of washing people who share the same traditions
David Torrance has carefully selected language which is understood throughout the world to refer to genocide and horrific human rights abuses and knowingly applied it to artists he disagrees with. Anyone with the slightest understanding of the sociology of nationalism will tell you there is no intellectual defence of his use of this language in analysing the Scottish independence movement.
One assumes he does not believe that either Alasdair Gray or Alan Bissett would define Scotland on anything other than cultural and democratic terms. But when it comes to the defence of the United Kingdom, anything goes.