When the children’s author JK Rowling announced her financial support for the anti-sovereignty side in Scotland’s forthcoming referendum on independence she lamented the alleged online campaign of abuse against British Unionist supporters by their Scottish Nationalist rivals. While using her own troll-like language to mischaracterise some of those who believe in a free and self-governing Scotland the English-born writer called upon more tolerance in the referendum debate and an end to the cyberwars between the competing nationalisms of Scotland and a Greater England (on one side a populist expression of dissent, on the other the muscle-flexing of the establishment group-think).
If that was truly her intention then it has failed and failed miserably as the worse elements of the Unionist news media and political elites over yonder have used her dramatic intervention to launch an unprecedented smear campaign against anyone who dares challenge the suzerainty of London over the island of Britain. The grotesque and one-sided nature of the struggle and the new depths that Rowling’s largesse have allowed Unionist propagandists to descend to is quite extraordinary. Several well-known figures on the sovereigntist side, politicians and citizen-journalists, have been subject to sustained attacks in the newspapers, on radio, television and above all on social media networks. Distortions and untruths have become the norm. Muck-raking hacks from the British nationalist press have trawled through people’s lives searching for dirt to dish. Where none has been found they have simply invented it. The utter hypocrisy of those involved has been nothing short of astounding.
As a nation which long ago freed the greater part of itself from the cold hand of English rule we know all too well the tactics being pursued by the “British” ruling classes and their acolytes. They are the same ones we faced during our own revolution: the same lies, the same grotesque distortions of the truth. We heard the now familiar objections to the reclaiming of our nationhood: we were too small, too poor, too stupid to govern ourselves. Yes, the free Irish state that we established was not what we had hoped for. Yet how could it be otherwise when the British refused to accept our repeated votes for independence at the start of the 20th century but instead waged a war upon our democracy? When our island nation was disfigured by a “border” imposed by London overlords thwarted by a defiant populace? When our industrial north-east and a fifth of our population were lost to us while punitive reparations and tariffs stunted our development? Our country was deliberately crippled from the get-go.
However would anyone in the modern nation-state of Ireland chose to be under British dominion again? Of course not. That is the lesson for the Scots. For no matter how great the challenges – or the faults – they are our own. We are the master and mistress of our own house, however lowly some may claim it to be, and we have no desire to be the serfs in the house of another, however great some may claim that to be. We ourselves are the risen people.
Come join us.
If a similar scene was being played out in Africa, with a smaller part of an African nation considering independence from an existing nation, even though the former was doing everything in its power to stack the deck against the latter, there would be outrage in the Western press – led by Fleet Street. But, well, this is different. It’s always different when it happens at home, rather than in some distant locale.
Far away hills and all that. Or in relation to some on the Left here in Ireland, far away revolutions are always greener. Most Scots are just getting on with the discussion in a tolerant, even humorous, manner. However some in the media are driving this “cybernat” meme to stir up real rancour where none exists. It is the case of the London media warning about the theoretical dangers of political violence in the hope of sparking actual political violence. The same old same old….
UKGBNI is the ‘Pax Romana’ – a colonial entity. Curiously, it was largely a creation/invention of the (latterly Protestant) Scots monarchs of the 16thC who desired to destroy Gaelic culture…
Very well said. May truth prevail over the deception and lies and may Scotland join you, as you said, in independence. I’ve heard the claim that financially Scotland has better economic standing if it remains part of the UK. Personally I would choose freedom from hegemony and the authenticity of self-governance, or while we’re at it just authenticity itself, even in the face of economic uncertainty, because I have found the cost of living against my values to be unspeakably higher than any shortlived sense of security. Such securities often have a deceptively hidden instability in them anyway, whereas staying true to yourself and being able to make choices that reflect that, is in the end not only the most important but also the safest decision to make. I am only a single person but my experience living within the American empire is that personal and national choices can be quite entwined. If the Scottish people wish to govern themselves and live as free persons then their voices must be heard and it should happen without question. It is their right as a nation but also as people. Also, to say I am disappointed in J.K. Rowling’s actions, and what with her novels conveying quite the opposite sentiment besides, is a grave understatement. I wish this issue could get more attention, so my thanks to you for blogging about it.
Thanks, Éilis. I agree with all of that, especially the importance of the “authenticity of self-governance”. Very good points.
I think a lot of Scots are disappointed with Rowling. They accepted her as someone who had made a home in their nation and were proud of that. They also knew and accepted her British nationalist views and opposition to an independent Scotland. However crossing over the line into becoming one of the largest backers of the Unionist NO side makes her personal views now public ones. She has become a key “player” by her own choice and it is hypocritical on her part to object to people challenging her on that action just like any other political actor. If you choose to make political gestures you should hardly be surprised if others respond in a political manner.
Athbhlagáladh é seo ar pictishbeastie.