By Rab Bruce’s Spider

I learned a long time ago that it’s not worth getting into Twitter spats with Unionists, but it’s still interesting to read some of the responses when you put up a pro-Indy post or reply. There’s always the usual, "Too wee, too poor" comments which seem hard-wired into the Unionist psyche, but recently I’ve noticed another trope being pushed quite hard. Perhaps it is because of the Scotland vs England football match in the Euros, or maybe it has to do with Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham’s very public spat with Nicola Sturgeon over Covid measures, but an awful lot of people, including some pro-Union Scots allegedly really believe that the Scots hate the English. Considering the anti-foreigner rhetoric being churned out in the UK media and by the UK Home Office, the old saying about pots and kettles springs to mind. However, we should not conflate media and Government pronouncements with the outlook of ordinary citizens. In any country, you will always find a range of views on any topic, and each nation has its share of racists and bigots. Sadly, the UK has become a place where such people feel free to express their views publicly.

Obviously, it’s always disappointing when someone accuses you of hating other people simply because of their ethnicity, although we also need to keep in mind that Twitter is not really representative of wider public views given the propensity for polarisation among those of us who use it. However, given the spate of recent outbursts about how much the Scots hate the English, I can’t help thinking that their own media attempts to demonise the Yes movement may actually be helping us. That’s because, the more English voters who really believe this nonsense, the less opposition to our independence there may be.

Now, I know their politicians are more likely to know the real reasons for keeping hold of Scotland’s natural resources, so IndyRef2 is not going to be easy to achieve, but if the public mood in England moves ever further towards wanting rid of Scotland, then their tabloid media will prey on that. And when the media barons start pushing for something, the UK Government normally pays attention.

So, much as I dislike the unfair allegations, a part of me mentally ticks each one up as another small step towards Scotland becoming a normal, self-governing country.