Posted on December 19th, 2018
by Rab Bruce’s Spider
There is so much happening in Westminster thanks to the chaos of Brexit and the sheer incompetence and ineptitude of both main Parties, that writing any comment on events is almost a waste of time since it will be out of date before anyone gets a chance to read it.
So, putting aside for the moment the happy news that the UK Government is planning to put troops on the streets to quell any civil disorder, I thought it would be worth taking a quick look at something that does remain constant.
This week, SNP leader Ian Blackford was greeted with a cry of "Go back to Skye!" when he stood to make a speech. This, of course, was only banter, so we shouldn’t get too upset about it. Unless you compare it to how a cry of "Go back to Pakistan!" would have been viewed if directed at someone from a Pakistani heritage. When you view it like that, there can be little doubt that the comment contains undertones of racism at the very least.
But we shouldn’t get upset because it’s only banter. It’s the sort of banter which has been directed at the Scots, Irish and Welsh for years, so why get upset about it now?
Quite frankly, we should get upset about it. This sort of comment is the kind of casual racism which many people in England don’t even realise they are guilty of. Raised on a diet of British exceptionalism, they are taught to disdain anyone who either is not British or, if living within the British Isles, does not self-identify as British. This is the sort of culture which encourages such "banter" as that directed at Ian Blackford. And, as many people will have noticed, it is far from the worst comment made recently. We’ve had an SNP MP being told, "You’re a piece of shit." We’ve had the Irish being threatened with food shortages if they dare oppose the UK’s Brexit plans – such as they are, and we’ve heard that the Irish need to know their place. A couple of years ago, we even had a Tory MP explaining that an answer to the West Lothian question would be to follow Oliver Cromwell’s example, and have the Scots sold into slavery.
But it’s all just banter, isn’t it?
No, it’s not. Whether it comes from dreams of the Empire, from an inherent class snobbery, from being raised on British exceptionalism or from an inability to shake off a colonial attitude towards the other nations of the UK, it is simply not acceptable, so we shouldn’t accept it. In the 21st Century, we should be moving towards a society where discrimination of any kind is unacceptable. Such provisions are written into law even in the UK, and it’s about time Westminster caught up.
The only positive thing that can be said about this is that it provides the SNP with ammunition for IndyRef2. When that campaign starts, I hope they have a campaign advert compilation of all these comments and more. If that could be broadcast to the nation, anyone who believes that Scotland is a respected, equal partner in the Union would find that belief tested.