Friday, September 18, 2009

Rabid Scottish Nationalists

Long-term readers may recall my mentioning that Think of England has a very high google ranking for several variations on the phrase “why the Scottish hate the English”. Like this.
Indeed, this is by far the most common Google referrer to the blog (others include “incident in public shower” (perverts presumably), “noseybonk” and, amusingly, “james cracknell wanker”).

The consequence is that a steady stream of angry Jocks, seeking justification for their anti-sassenachism, find their way to this page. Occasionally one will leave a comment. Most of these I delete because they are eye-wateringly foul-mouthed rants or threats of physical violence or both. It will give you some idea of the general quality when you see the ones I’ve let stand. It’s well worth popping over there if you have a few moments to kill on a Friday, but meanwhile here’s a comment left yesterday by one 'Jacobite':

I am proud to have been born in Highlands of Scotland and have always had highland anscestors, I havent ever had any interest in Wallace after all he was a lowlander that spent most of his life in Europe.I hate the english for what their Royalty ordered in 1746.they werent just happy to have a battle against Jacobites and beat them 4 to 1, but they created genocide all the way back to other side of River Forth.They killed,raped and tortured men women and children many who hadnt anything to do with Jacobite Causeand all in name of King George and his son Duke of Cumberland(Stinking Billy)English Royalty.The aftermath of the battle was biggest shame the so called British army ever had and werent allowed any battle honors for Culloden.I will always hate them for that,then in 1800s we had Highland Clearances again get rid of the Scots of the North to make way for sheep,and the landowners sell their honour for English Royalty gold and a knighthood.and right up untill the 20th century Scottish Culture wasnt allowed to be learnt by our children.Scottish History was banned in Scottish schools , even I myself can remember being told we need to learn about Battle of Hastings and Magna Carta and nothing else.even today Scots Gaelic isnt recognised on British government forms but various asian and welsh, Polish,etc languages are all catered for.Many of the Royalists of England would rather have Scotland staying quiet

This remarkable essay throws up so many interesting questions. What, for example, does it mean to “have always had” Highland ancestors? One imagines a fantastically inbred descendant of some sort of McAdam and Eve. Who does he mean when he says he will “always hate” the English – does his net of loathing catch, for example, offspin bowler Monty Panesar, or is it just the white ones who have “always had” English ancestors? And so on - I can’t possibly cover them all here.

But in more general terms, the following question occurs to me: is there anywhere in this world a more striking example of wilful self-delusion than the Scottish nationalist idea that the English are oppressing them?

The underlying narrative is the notion that the English are somehow imprisoning them, and that if we’d just cut the chains of bondage the Scots would at last have their rightful FREEEEEEEEEDOMMMMMM to go forth and sing and dance and play bagpipes in the heather.

So powerful is this Mel Gibson-induced trance that it can survive even in the following circumstances:
- The Scots can make their own laws but the English can’t
- The British Prime Minister was elected to Parliament by a Scottish constituency, and not given any electoral mandate at all to be PM
- For the last billion years, the Chancellor has been a Scot
- Scotland regularly sends down a bunch of socialist MPs to Parliament, by whose policies their welfare-bloated country is funded by the taxpayers of, mainly, south-east England

I expect Scottish nationalism was fun when independence was a long way off, and when the Scots felt that the English were opposed to it. In fact, the above circumstances plus incessant SNP whining means that the English no longer really give two hoots about keeping the Jocks in the Union, and, by and large, we’d be quite happy to let them go off on their own. At least we’d have no more Gordon Brown, and no more Jacobite guilt trips about what our Royalty ordered in 1746.

And the final irony of independence would be that without the English to fund them, the Scots could no longer afford to be socialist: they’d have to become radically, tigerishly Thatcherite to compete on the global stage. Yes, I think that, on the whole, rabid Scottish nationalists who spend their time googling why they hate us, are amongst the most braindead, unlikeable jerks one could hope to find. Let them have their way, I’d vote for them.


malty said...

Meadsies Wednesday documentary nailed them comprehensively. You have it in a nutshell Brit, the sense of aggrieved entitlement is palpable up here.
At the last bash that I attended I was collared by a local, who knew sod all about his own country but insisted upon standing on his shortbread tin and pontificating, greedy, clearance causing English etc. When I pointed out to him that in fact the real villains during the clearances were Scottish and if he cared to study the factual history, not the Hollywood one, of his own country, he would find that it was his own countrymen, not the English, who were the reason for their sorry plight. Added to that I suggested that, by all means, cut yourselves adrift but please give me 6 months notice, enough time to sell up and get the hell out, because as sure as apples is apples, without English money you lot will be bankrupt in short order.
He thought about this for a moment and then offered to punch my f...king head in. You couldn't make it up, could you.

Recusant said...

Malty's right. Their lack of knowledge of their own history is astounding.

Since most of the SNP appear to be an arm of the Rangers Supporters Club it is always slightly surprising when they bemoan the fate of the Jacobites at Culloden since,a) the Jacobites were essentially an alliance of Catholic highlanders and Old Tories and,b) their opponents were Lowland Scots and Whigs, in other words the sort of Edinburgh lawyer represented in their pure essence by the SNP front bench.

worm said...

Hear Hear

I absolutely hate the whine of Scots complaining that they are personally offended about something that happened to somebody else 300 or 400 years ago.

Its part of the culture of victimhood that is now prevalent in our society, and which is has been actively introduced to Scotland through the vector of the welfare state

don't like your life? Blame somebody else! Easy!

The victimhood is merely a badge through which very mediocre people can give themselves a cause, an identity and a meaning.

Wearing your Scottish nationalism agressively is an insecurity identifier as obvious as owning a big red sports car

Kev said...

Much as I dislike this sort of nationalism and find the Irish equivalent unpleasant it is worth pointing out that large parts of English history (much of it still in living memory) consists of the conquest and subjugation of as much of world as you could get your hands on. You did actually do all of these things, whatever the current relationship between England and the rest of the world is.

Brit said...

Not me, Kev. Not my great-great-grandparents either, or not all of them, since I have plenty of Irish and Scottish in me. And I'm a proud Englishman. Which neatly encapsulates the absolute nonsense of these grudges.

worm said...

all of my ancestors were either Irish, Scottish or Jewish, yet I don't feel the slightest bit of a victim. Because I'm happy being me and don't need to project my insecurities onto somebody else

although I do have a sudden craving for a saltbeef, haggis and soda bread sandwich

David said...

Over the last week or so, since the Usual Suspect has been going off on a frolic about corporations as persons (a dispute about as settled as settled gets, as it was settled by Blackstone -- it's like starting to argue that the Constitution requires us to drive on the left (and now I'm hoping he doesn't read ToE, because if he does he just slapped his forehead and went, "OF COURSE THE CONSTITUTION REQUIRES THAT WE DRIVE ON THE LEFT")--) I've been thinking about the Internet.

Specifically: is it that all these odd little beliefs and idiosyncratic manias have always been with us, but pre-Internet we didn't know that all of our neighbors were maniacs, or does the Internet actually spread these manias about?

Brit said...

Good question, David, to which I suspect the answer is "a little from Column A, and a little from Column B".

Pondlife scots bearing meaningless grudges-by-historical-proxy have always been with us; while 9/11 Conspiracy Theorism is surely primarily an internet phenomenon. The Usual Suspect, on the other hand, defies explanation.

worm said...

extrapolating internet causality - can it be done?

Kev said...

Oh I agree this sort or resentment is pointless, Irish people talking about Britain always ends up resembling what did the Romans ever do for us. I forget being Irish how mixed English peoples ancestry tends to be, in Ireland there hasn't been mass influx to the gene pool in centuries (and we have the extraordinary rates of MS and shortsightedness to prove it).

Brit said...

Indeed Kev, but the mongrel nature of Britons is just one strand of the Grudge-By-Proxy's multiple absurdity. After all, even if one bought the absolute blackest picture of English historical guilt (and Scottish innocence), why on earth would the children's children's children share the guilt?

You find this thinking everywhere in Ireland, Scotland and Wales but scarcely at all in England. By the logic all of us should bear far more resentment, for example, to the Germans. Their fathers did, in the words of scouse idiot Stan Boardman, bomb our chippy, after all. We don't follow that logic because it's illogical.

So what does that leave as justification? Where one happens to live geographically? By which reasoning all inhabitants of Gloucester can be damned on the grounds that Fred and Rose West lived there. No, the historical business is, of course, a red herring. Anti-Englishness exists because certain people get off on resentment and victimhood, and if those same crazy Scots had been born English they'd find something else to be victims about instead (Evertonians perhaps).

Kev said...

I am not sure that it is that simple. There is an institution of England which has carried on continuously even if the constituent parts have changed. If you take pride in the many worthwhile achievements of England and the English then can you discount their failings?

That is not to say the resentful and self pitying position of many of my country men is correct or worthwhile but there are two sides to the argument.

Anonymous said...

Brit, maybe we're a nebulous investment of time on evolution, but we Canadians can be very helpful here. This is so redolent of what we have put up with from Quebecers since time immemorial, and we've learned a few coping tricks over the years. The name of the game is to sew doubt and confusion within their ranks without ever appearing to disagree with or challenge them on their historical party line. Publically you should secrete empathy from every pore, but after dark you should work on refining a 21st century strategy amongst yourselves:

A) Don't ever say they won't make it. That will just make Sandy more splenetic. In fairness, if Burundi can make it, so can they. Muse about how rational economic projections seem to point to instant penury, but then add that, of course, these don't take into account the long-stifled talent and energy that will be unleashed.

B) Hire your best legal talent to come up with some ancient legal claim that would call the border into question, however marginally. I suppose you could claim their ancestors signed away salmon fishing rights to you in perpetuity, but that seems a little cheeky. Just claim some godforsaken windswept island and then feign confusion at their panic;

C) Tell them you have no objection to Scottish independance, but consider yourselves obligated historically and under international law to ensure the civil rights of their Irish citizens are protected. Suggest a summit meeting to discuss this. Offer to invite Dublin;

D) Encourage all English citizens, in a tone that suggests nobody is listening, to ensure their children have Gaelic language training at school to better compete with Scots for jobs. (Admittedly this one is easier to pull off with French)

E) Release a high-profile study by a group of Oxford dons proving that Scottish independance is a win-win situation. They get the control over their songs, poems, holidays and historical re-enactments that they have been cruelly denied for so long and you get a hundred trillion pound millstone off your neck. Paint it all as a fulfillment of the promise of the Enlightenment and tell them not to worry that the Pentagon is so agitated, you have a special relationship and can cover it all off for them.

Or alternatively, you could just look to the Americans for advice and declare a civil war. Let's Roll!

malty said...

Sound advice, Peter. However there are one or two snags, we would have to presuppose that the dear wee things are susceptible to suggestion, not very likely unless the suggestion is followed by a clattering from a baseball bat.
Bloodymindedness wedded to tunnel vision and coloured red would be a reasonable description of many Scots.
Just to add a pinch of flavour...some time ago a documentary maker revisited the ex employees of the Linwood car factory near Glascow who had, through sheer stupidity, made themselves unemployed, indeed many became unemployable. Enough time had passed for a reasonable person to make a rational judgment and say "we were completely wrong, it was oor fault", virtually all of the people asked the question "if you had it to do all over again, would you still take the same actions" answered "yes"
That one documentary said it all,really.

malty said...

Note the phrase, introverted negativity, used by Sir Terry, think of Edinburgh City council as a group who object to people.

Anonymous said...

Well, malty, you are there and I am over here, but I must confess that everytime I meet the characters in a Rebus novel, I'm overcome with an urge to rush out and hug a Quebecer.

(Sigh. Grannie from Arbroath is now rolling over in her grave.)

Ian Woolcott said...

Did I mention that my real last name is Dalrymple? As in John Dalrymple first Earl of Stair who ordered the massacre at Glencoe and helped arrange the Treaty of Union in 1707? Tradition holds that our branch of the family left Scotland under a cloud in the early 1700s. When I was a kid my parents would drag us all out to the Scottish Games and Gathering, a big festival in northern California (144th annual was this year). There were booths set up on the grass with representatives from each major clan, etc. Of course, there was never a Dalrymple booth, since Dalrymples are lowlanders and half sassenach anyway. But whenever one of these pretend-Scots at the MacLean or Cameron booths asked us our last name and we answered "Dalrymple" they'd let out a snarl and say something like, "They should have hanged him!" Scottish grudges are apparently inheritable and exportable.

martpol said...

To be fair to Wales, there's very little rabid nationalism here these days - and very little in the way of English hating, as long as you're willing to muck in with the things that really define Wales: rugby, throaty laughter, amused self-deprecation, socialist leanings, and a sense that Wales is all round a better place to be despite the comparative poverty, lack of social mobility etc.

Plaid Cymru doesn't even pretend to be nationalist these days - although they do like to think of all the ills of the world as hailing from Westminster politics.

Brit said...

...and indestructible, Ian.

Martpol - I try make it a policy never to be fair to Wales, but to be fair to Wales, you could argue they have a stronger cultural claim than the Jocks to nationhood, what with the crazy lingo etc.

Sean said...

Leave the Scots alone, In the peak district we get pissed on 300 days a year just like the jocks, it breeds a certain type of outlook on the world.

Brit said...

Kev - there are two sides to every argument, of course, but it's a question of picking the right argument. There are lots of valid reasons to hate English-based institutions such as the Monarchy (Krauts) and the Government (Jocks)... but "I hate the english for what their Royalty ordered in 1746" just doesn't make sense on any level.

Brit said...

Peter -

Top advice, and indeed I think we're doing a lot of those by accident. My feeling is that an attack of cold feet looms. It's no longer safe for Scots to vote for the SNP and to demand independence - they're almost in danger of getting what they wish for.

Brit said...

What are you talking about Sean? They all live in London.

malty said...

It is worth noting that the Scottish Nationalists came from cover only after the oil came ashore, courtesy of the Americans, when there was money in it. Prior to that they did exist, but only as a sort of bunch of tartan Jehovah's witnesses, reasonably harmless and you could easily ignore them.
Although today they have cobbled together a presentable public face, at grass root level many are racists of the lowest order.

Matt said...

Apropos Mel Gibson-- did you know that his paternal grandmother was an Australian opera singer? A contralto, no less.

Gaw said...

Your post compels me to rise from my sick bed and text this in. One of my favourite arguments was one I had with a Fettes-educated lawyer married to an investment banker. She argued that the British Empire had nothing to do with the poor Scots who were really one of its oppressed peoples. This despite HK, Indian commerce, Canadian ascendancy, NZ economy, British army, etc, etc all being dominated to one degree or another by Scots. This made them global oppressors with at least as much form as the English. She lost her temper dismissing me as an oppressor who would say that, wouldn't I? Being a descendant of Welsh peasants and miners with a bit of Jewish thrown in I revelled in my newly elevated historical status. For her part how else are posh people going to get victim kicks? Malty's response is the best - take the piss in as amusing and insulting fashion as possible. They don't deserve any more consideration. If they don't like it they should feck off. As ever Dr J showed us the way.

Brit said...

Admirable work from the sickbed, Gaw. Yes, that's another element of it ... "the greedy Empire-building English..."

Gaw said...

Just thought of a remark by the great Prof N Stone (a Scot):
'For the English the Scots are either fawning at your knees or grabbing for your throat; the Welsh however don't even reach up to your knees.'

worm said...

lets not forget the Scots had their own attempt at empire building...

Chris said...

The reason Scots don't know about their own history is because it isn't taught in the school system. I learnt about English, German, French and American history, but nothing whatsover about Scotland. It's probably to do with Scottish unionists petrified by the idea of nationalism.
That said though, I think it's too easy to think England and Scotland would be better off on their own. Nationalsim on both sides of the border has a seductive allure. Yet, one of the good things about Britain is that we're pluralistic and don't get too hung up on what defines us. You can still be Scottish and British, but the latter puts a damper on the excesses of the former. It's probably why we're much more tolerant of foreigners than other European countries.
Nationalism can feel good, but once it starts getting excessive (as the SNP are trying to do) it starts to feel sickening and ignorant.

QuietReckoning said...

I found your blog through this rather interesting post. You seem to be far more intelligent than the angry Little Englanders I've come across, and so I feel a duty to respond.

I'm an American, and a descendant of the much maligned Jacobites. The ancestor who came to America was on the field at Culloden, and arrived in North Carolina in 1747.

I live in America, because my ancestors had no other option than to indebt themselves for a chance at life.

Any anger I feel is not for the English, rather it is directed at the Scots themselves.

You see, it was a Scottish General, MacKay, who defeated the original Jacobite rebellion during the Glorious Revolution. It was the English who made up the larger part of the "Scottish" Jacobite rising in 1715, and many Englishmen gave their lives during that rebellion for James under the Earl of Mar. It was a Scottish military force under the command of a German noble who defeated Charles at the Battle of Culloden, and it was Scottish troops who carried out the genocide that led my family to flee Scotland.

As the descendant of actual Jacobites, actual in that their only option was to leave the Isles lest they be killed, my bile is reserved for the traitorous Scots who caused this current state of affairs.

The English could never have ruled Scotland. Every attempt on the part of a foreign force to occupy the Scots has been defeated since the time of the Romans.

Scotland is part of the UK not because of invasion or occupation, but because of the choices of the Scottish people. It is the sin of commission on the part of the Scottish Parliament that the Union came into being, and it is the Sin of Omission on the part of the Scottish people, that the disgusted Scottish people did not rise up as one and drag the screaming bodies of the Parcel of Rogues who sold Scotland for English gold through the streets of Edinburgh.

It is not the fault of the English, that the Scots have failed to secure their status as a nation.

And so it is the Scottish People with whom I am angry.

Independence has always been within their grasp. They just don't want it badly enough to seize it.

It must be tiring to hear the whining of my countrymen to the north of you complaining bitterly about you, when the blame for their current predicament lies solely on their shoulders.

Especially when the reaction of most Englanders to Scottish Secession is "Don't let the door hit you on the way out."

Brit said...

Thanks, QR, an interesting take.

I suppose from my point of view, the question is: why is any of this worth getting angry about now, when everyone involved is long dead and the effects on particular descendants alive today are much too complex and obscure to be traceable? But maybe that's easier to say from an English perspective.

QuietReckoning said...

"Your HTML cannot be accepted: Must be at most 4,096 characters"

Dratted text limits!

I posted a response here:

-and hope to continue this interesting discussion.

Conor McLeod said...

Ye stale me haggis and ye had carnel intercurse with it till it were sodden.