main stream media

Should Effie Deans pledge allegiance to an independent Scotland?


“How can we expect new arrivals to be loyal to our country if those who have been here for centuries have no loyalty, no patriotism and in the end no honour.” Effie Deans 26/08/16

According to Effie Deans, all of those campaigning for Scottish independence are disloyal, unpatriotic and dishonourable. As a way of reaching out to the other half (possibly by now more than half) of Scottish people, I’d say her line of argument is flawed. Below is my comment on her blog:

What sanctions do you envisage against those of your fellow citizens (or should that be subjects…?) who refuse to take this pledge of allegiance Effie? In the unlikely event of such a deeply foreign requirement being introduced, I like many others would not under any circumstances make such a pledge. My passport is British through an accident of birth as it were; I enjoy the rights and protections of any other citizen.

The fact that I’d prefer a Scottish passport, and to live in an independent Scottish republic doesn’t make me disloyal, unpatriotic or dishonourable Effie, it simply means I feel no affinity for, or desire to be part of, the United Kingdom of great Britain and Northern Ireland. I imagine millions of other people throughout history have been in similar situations: the inhabitants of multi-national empires like Austria-Hungary, Russia and Turkey pre world War 1, Balts & others in the Soviet Union, Irish people pre 1921.

Part of living in a democracy means allowing people choices. As someone on record saying that immigrants to Scotland who voted Yes in indyref1 were acting treacherously, you obviously have an axe to grind. I’m sure you are quite unapologetic about your views, but it will and should turn most reasonable people’s stomachs. I’m sure there ARE many immigrants in Scotland who feel British first and Scottish second or not at all. I know there are also many who feel passionately Scottish, and (treacherously in your view) campaigned for a Yes vote.

If there were an alternative to having a British passport (an EU passport perhaps…oh, wait…that isn’t going to work now either is it…?) I’m sure many in Scotland would avail themselves of the opportunity. From the little I know about the Ahmadiyya community, I’m sure they would have no problem advocating Scottish citizenship, and loyalty to an independent Scotland if and when it happens; why should they?

No doubt those in charge of previous multi-national states which fell apart considered those advocating secession traitors or perfidious, but that didn’t stop Czechs, Hungarians, Poles, Balts, Arabs, Irish etc., etc. campaigning for their independence.

In short, whilst we may indeed have much to learn from the Ahmadiyya community, the requirement for citizens to pledge their allegiance to a state they don’t believe in most definitely isn’t one of the lessons. In addition few of us would accept guidance on this issue from someone who is quick to label others traitors, call for future indyrefs to be banned, and who has expressed a preference for living in Putin’s Russia rather than an independent Scotland.

You may be viscerally opposed to independence for Scotland Effie, and refuse to accept that it is a “real” country, but please at least try to show a modicum of self-awareness and realise that many (and probably by now a majority) of your fellow Scots don’t share your views. In the event that independence does happen you’ll be free to retain your UK passport; I somehow doubt we’ll be requiring you to make an oath of allegiance to the new Scottish state. Perhaps that just shows our nationalism is more progressive and civic than yours?

(Effie’s latest missive “Should British citizens pledge loyalty to Britain?” can be found here: )



Effie Does Cognitive Dissonance; indy bad, brexit double plus good?

Not for the first time I find myself marvelling at Effie’s level of sustained cognitive dissonance as she discusses her cunning plan to make the SNP’s life more difficult in her latest blog post (“How to make the SNP’s Task Still Harder” 22/07/16). After admitting she has no real counter to those Scots “fundamentalists” who want independence come what may, she opines that unlike in Catalonia or the Baltic States, Scotland lacks the mass movements present in those countries (which partly explains the defeat in the 2014 indyref) and further, that if the SNP had been honest about the probability of hard times ahead in the event of a Yes vote, the No majority would have been even greater. Of course this is not a new argument from convinced unionists; they insist the Yes campaign promised only a land of milk and honey, free of risk or hazard, whereas in their eyes at least independence was (and remains) a huge leap in the dark. Naturally the risks attendant on staying in the union are seen as minimal or denied altogether.
Interestingly however Effie, and many convinced unionists who share her outlook, were convinced campaigners for a Leave vote in the Brexit referendum on 23rd June 2016. They continue to be puzzled by, or downright hostile to, the overwhelming support for EU membership in Scotland. Now the truly breath-taking levels of cognitive dissonance is laid bare. Whilst Scotland leaving the UK is presented as a risk not worth taking, destabilising and potentially economically ruinous, the UK leaving the EU is viewed through the rose-tinted spectacles of regaining sovereignty, freebooting entrepreneurial free trade with the rest of the world, and a bracing alternative to over regulated undemocratic “Brussels rule”. Thus Brexit is presented in a uniformly positive light; the risks are minimised and the opportunities hyped. Scottish independence on the other hand (particularly as part of the EU) is painted as the politics and economics of the mad house.
Of course unionist wishful thinking aside, the Brexit result makes the case for the union much harder to make, not much easier. The success of a campaign as negative and odious as Project Fear during indyref1 in 2014, and again for the Brexit vote in 2016 will be much harder to repeat for indyref2 when it happens. Cassandra-like predictions of economic chaos will ring even less true than they did 2 years ago. Promises of voting No to remain in the EU, of economic competence and stability, are surely holed below the water line by the omnishambles that is Brexit.
Effie adjures her co-religionists to abandon the siren song of Project Fear; they should desist from being negative about Scotland, and point out the advantages of staying and disadvantages of leaving the UK; stability, continuity, promotion of multi-national co-operation and being part of a larger whole where the broad shoulders of the union and pooling and sharing will see us through are emphasised. Simultaneously whilst being relentlessly positive about the prospects for the UK outside the EU, the instability, discontinuity, rejection of multi-national co-operation and being part of a larger European whole attendant on Brexit are dismissed as prices worth paying, indeed they are lauded as the patriotic choice. For Effie, British nationalists can tell a better story than Scottish nationalists, because in the end “her” nationalism is an unalloyed self-evidently good thing, whilst “their” nationalism is a debased, unpatriotic oddity intent on swapping the benign sibling-like oversight of Westminster for the insufferable undemocratic jackboot of Brussels.
Perhaps it isn’t a case of rose-tinted spectacles for Effie, more of fervid “Alice Through the Looking Glass” simulacrum of the actual Scottish political environment from which she seems increasingly detached, and to which she and her followers appear increasingly irrelevant.

Confessions of a “cabernat” or how to behave when doorstepped by a Scottish Daily Mail journalist.

As one of those non-anonymous folk selected for inclusion in Wee Ruthie Davidson’s select band of “cabernets”, I confess to being particularly interested in the recent media coverage of “cybernats” as a result of yesterday’s events. Leaving my house in Sussex en route for the London bound train, I was surprised to be doorstepped by a journalist representing the Scottish Daily Mail. As someone identified as active online posting about the Scottish independence referendum, he wanted some personal background information and my views on the debate around the use of the term cybernat. He explained it was for a potential piece in the paper and that they would be contacting other people with similar views.

In truth I’m still unsure about the wisdom of even interacting with a title whose whole outlook I find both morally bankrupt and politically loathsome. I may come to rue the decision of course. However I decided to give as good an account of my conversion to the cause of Scottish independence as the 10 minute walk to the 8.40 AM train allowed. I explained why I thought it would be a good thing for both Scotland and the rest of the UK, my personal disillusionment with the prospects for change within the UK and my distaste for the current political environment with UKIP gaining support and an EU exit increasingly likely. He asked me general questions about my background, what I thought about being labelled a cybernat and if I thought it was a negative term. He even asked me if I’d ever thought about being a politician (to which of course the answer is “Hell, No!).

I also expressed frustration with the main stream media and its perceived anti-independence bias and highlighted the recent University of the West of Scotland media report, and my view whilst online abuse came from both sides it seemed both more copious and more vitriolic from the No camp. I wondered why politicians, party hacks and their media supporters from the unionist side appeared to get a free pass from the media for some extraordinarily negative or even abusive comments, whereas any nationalist or pro-independence commentator would be crucified for much less.

Finally I pointed out that in general the weighting of many debates and indeed general media coverage, appeared fatally skewed in favour of the unionist side because they frequently field representatives of the three unionist parties versus one from the SNP, which is hardly representative of the binary choice facing Scots in September.

All in all I was somewhat taken aback by the experience, although given that my name and profile are public it didn’t bother me that they had tracked me down. The journalist said that they would be contacting others and I found out later via twitter that a few other presumed cybernats had indeed received similar visits. A few of my neighbours and my wife received visits following up on the journalists “walk and write” on the way to the station, no doubt to ensure that I wasn’t in fact the Sussex equivalent of Rab C. Nesbitt hiding my atavistic “Hail Caledonia!” complex under a veneer of reasonableness.

What is more interesting however is what the motivation for researching such a piece could be, and why now? Does it show the nervousness of the Main Stream Media (MSM) at being by-passed by citizen-led new media? Are they troubled by the rise of pro-indy sites like Wings Over Scotland, Newsnet and National Collective and their ability to raise funds via crowd sourcing?

Whether the piece ever sees the light of day remains to be seen. I will await it with interest if it does; all I have to do now is find some way of reading it that doesn’t involve actually buying the Daily Mail!