by Rab Bruce’s Spider

The BBC’s Sarah Smith continued her anti-SNP efforts at the weekend, spending her time at the SNP conference asking politicians which team they would be supporting at the World Cup, and taking to Twitter to gleefully announce that most would not be supporting England. Her motivation for conflating football rivalry with racism is pretty clear, and it is a sad indictment of the state of our media when such things are deemed newsworthy.

One wonders whether this sort of nonsense happens in other countries. I don’t recall any Plaid Cymru politicians being asked which team they were supporting in the Scotland vs England cricket match, nor am I aware that Italian politicians are being asked by Swiss journalists whether they will be supporting Switzerland.

Now, it’s true that football has an issue with racism, but that doesn’t mean every football fan is a racist. And failing to support your greatest rivals is hardly unique to Scottish football fans. Does every Atletico Madrid fan wish Real Madrid well in European competitions? Will Dutch fans be supporting Germany in the World Cup? These are very silly questions indeed, and it is rather pathetic that anyone at the BBC should try to create a story out of it.

Sadly, Brexit has unleashed the latent xenophobia and racism which has always been an underlying problem within British culture. Every nation has its share of bigots and racists, but this trait is now deemed acceptable by large parts of the UK media and public. On the same day that Sarah Smith was touting her nonsense, supporters of the jailed Tommy Robinson were attacking Police and making Nazi salutes in London. For some reason, the BBC did not deem this as newsworthy as Scottish politicians not fervently backing England in football matches.

But the issue is that racism is now so openly flaunted that it is something which is well understood by a disappointingly large proportion of the UK public. If Sarah Smith tells them that supporters of Scottish independence are racists, it is something many people can very easily relate to. Even the majority of people who deplore racism see it so often in their newspapers and on television that they can instantly understand the message they are being sent. The Scots hate the English; that is all independence is about. They will naturally react with horror and disgust, and so are able to dismiss any of the rational arguments put forward by those they now believe are racists.

Of course, we know the truth is that most people in Scotland, whether they support independence or not, have English friends and relatives. If we happen to dislike any of those relatives, it’s not because they are English, but probably for the same sort of reasons we dislike some of our fellow Scots.

Unfortunately, this smear attempt will not end here. We can expect a lot more of it as the mainstream media becomes more and more desperate to damage the case for independence. They know the UK is coming apart at the seams, and they will stoop to any levels in their attempts to hold it together.