By Rab Bruce’s Spider

In the aftermath of the dreadful murder of MP Jo Cox, the vast majority of people have been calling for an end to the Politics of Hate. Sadly, this situation is not likely to last, especially as it has not gone away, only slightly toned down its screeching. It is no coincidence that, while some newspapers are concentrating on the Killer’s links to extremist Far Right organisations, the Right Wing newspapers are focusing on the state of his mental health without any consideration being given to the possibility that the two often go hand in hand.

This is, of course, because the Right Wing Press are seeking to distance themselves from any responsibility for fostering hatred yet, as has been pointed out on social media, these are the same newspapers who insist that young Muslims can be radicalised by listening to a hate preacher yet refuse to admit that the decades of anti-immigration rhetoric they themselves have been churning out can have any effect on anyone’s views. This is utterly hypocritical since the whole point of newspapers is to influence people’s attitudes. That is why politicians know it is important to cultivate relations with the media barons.

So the Politics of Hate will soon be in full flow again because that is the way the British State operates. Many people on social media have been calling for a return to the British Values of Fairness, Compassion and Tolerance. What this call does not recognise is that while those values are held by a great many ordinary people in the UK and all around the world, they are not values maintained by those in power. Even a cursory look back over the history of the British state shows that Fairness, Compassion and Tolerance have been sadly lacking in the way our country has operated. This is still true today, with British munitions contributing to much of the death in the Middle East and refugees from those conflicts being demonised by the Brexit campaign. Not that the official UK response has been much better, with the UK taking in far fewer refugees than any other EU country.

Closer to home, the British Establishment has always used scare tactics to keep its populace in check. Tudor England demonised the French, scots and Spanish depending on which country England was at war with at the time, the Jacobites were subjected to the same scaremongering and the Napoleonic Wars saw these tactics used on a large scale. It has continued ever since. Only with the advent of the internet and wider social use of the new online media have more and more people had access to alternative visions of our past and present.

Yet it may not be enough. Politicians and journalists know that a lie, if repeated often enough, becomes true in the minds of many people, especially if it is a short, snappy and imaginative lie which appeals to the baser instincts.

Making Britain Great again is one such mantra. It cleverly conflates the two meanings of the word, “Great" to appeal to some patriotic vision of past glories. Of course, Great Britain is named because the British Isles comprise two large islands surrounded by many smaller ones. Of the two, the larger one, composed of the nations of England, Wales and Scotland, is called Great Britain as a geographical term indicating its larger size compared to Ireland. That geographical meaning has been hijacked to imply that Britain is Great in the other sense of the word meaning magnificent, powerful and worthy of admiration. Yet, strangely, when you go abroad you will find less admiration for Britain than the term implies. This, though, tends to reinforce the BritNat view that foreigners are somehow lesser people.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with being proud of your country and its achievements and people but that should not be taken to mean that other countries and people are not equally important or that military victories are the only things that make a country admirable. British culture as portrayed by the Establishment and media has, regrettably, resulted in far too many people deriding anyone from a different culture or ethnic background. Fairness, Compassion and Tolerance are conspicuous by their absence.

But there is hope. Social media is spreading the word that the values many of the ordinary citizens of the UK hold dear are fighting back against this surge in xenophobia and hatred. Whether it will be enough to prevent Brexit becoming a reality remains to be seen. Yet even if it does, the result promises to be so close that the EU issue will not go away. Just as the Scottish IndieRef has not killed off the Yes campaign, so a defeat in the EURef will not kill off the Brexit campaign. It is not a pleasant prospect but it is more than likely that Westminster’s culture of smear and hatred will soon reassert itself.

It may sound selfish but the best thing Scotland can do is gain independence from this unpleasant system of Government as soon as possible. If we don’t, we are going to be subjected to many more examples of the Politics of Hate.