Not only do the people of Greater England believe that all of the world’s historical empires were bad except for their empire, they also believe that all of the world’s nationalisms are bad except for their nationalism. In fact, British exceptionalism is so superior to all past and present rivals that it isn’t even a form of nationalism at all. It’s unionism. Or patriotism. Or Cool Britannica. This self-righteous viewpoint has been highlighted again by the recent comments of Tim Farron, the leader of the centre-right Liberal Democrats in the United Kingdom. During a visit to Scotland the Cumbrian MP condemned the supposed “extremism and intolerance” of the governing Scottish National Party (SNP) in Edinburgh, while riding his own moral high horse over all who crossed his path.
From the Huffington Post UK:
The Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron has described Scottish people as “trailblazers” of personal abuse in politics during a trip to Edinburgh.
Farron, who was in Edinburgh to campaign with the local Lib Dem candidate for May’s council elections, told journalists that the SNP’s “identity politics” introduced new language into political debate.
“You see in Scotland, in particular – perhaps you were trailblazers in a way for the rest of the country – a kind of movement and a direction of heated and personal abuse that you see,” said Farron.
“There’s a danger of, and I’ll be careful with what I say here, ‘small n’ nationalism or any kind of identity politics where people believe those on the other side are somehow morally different or worse from them.”
Farron’s condemnation of a political philosophy where all opponents are treated as morally suspect and where confrontation replaces communication is rather odd. Especially when you consider his follow up opinion on Ruth Davidson, the inept leader of the Scottish Tories (emphasis added):
He accused Davidson of being a “weak” leader by accepting Theresa May’s plans for a hard Brexit, and for failing to speak out against the so-called tax credit “rape clause” which was introduced last week.
“I’m disappointed in Ruth,” said Farron. “The problem is it’s one or the other; either she is not the decent person I suspected she might be or she’s really quite weak…
“She needs to stand up to Theresa May and if she believes Theresa May is wrong she needs to say so, and if she can’t persuade her quietly then she must object noisily.”
Tim Farron, taking the art of two faced rhetoric to new heights. Or lows.