You Keep Using That Word, I Don’t Think It Means What You Think It Means


When the media and politicians seek to demonise groups or individuals they oppose, their most common tactic is to label them with a description that has negative connotations for their target audience. The process of othering includes words such as scrounger, lefty, immigrant and asylum seeker, phrased in the context of “these things are Bad, you should think they’re Bad too or you’re just as Bad as they are”.
Benefit claimants are scroungers, not people caught in unfortunate circumstances. Those who drowned in the Mediterranean are immigrants, not people. The intention is to remove individuality and empathy.
Those who desire independence for Scotland are nationalists or separatists, words that to many convey danger, intolerance and instability. They are delivered as an insult and a warning.

I am Scottish. This was not a choice. I would quite like to have been born in Australia or the Seychelles because the Scottish weather can fuck right off.
I don’t feel proud to be Scottish in the same way that I don’t feel proud to have feet. Sweet tea cures my hangovers, not Irn Bru. I’m not sure I could recite the second verse of Flower of Scotland and get it right. Being Scottish doesn’t define who I am, only where I was born. When I voted Yes in the referendum and SNP in the General Election I was not seeking Total World Domination or the right to impose my tartan-clad philosophies on the rest of the UK but merely to express my desire for change and normalcy. Friends who voted Yes and SNP were, shock horror, not Scottish.
The independence movement is not one culture just as Scotland is not one culture. It contains Christians, Atheists, Muslims, Sikhs, Left wing, Right wing, LGBT, straight, old and young. Urbane professionals alongside the disenfranchised, revolutionary workers alongside those for whom change may prove a risk. People are not excluded for having no ginger relatives. These groups are present in every European democracy and further afield in the world. Our bohemian libertarians would find their niche in any country, our intolerant bigots likewise. It is impossible to categorise a typical independence supporter, though the media try their best.
The strength of this movement is its diversity. It is hard to imagine a cause which would unite such a disparate bunch.

We are not special, we are not different; we simply do not fit the stereotype of nasty nationalism.

The Oxford dictionary provides two definitions of nationalist:

1. A person who advocates political independence for a country.

2. A person with strong patriotic feelings, especially one who believes in the superiority of their country over others.

Many politicians and the media would have us believe our movement reflects the latter, the Yes campaign was defined by the former; if that is what a nationalist is defined as in Scotland then I am a nationalist and to hell with the press.


2 thoughts on “You Keep Using That Word, I Don’t Think It Means What You Think It Means

  1. arthur thomson says:

    A good post. I will keep an eye out for other posts. The definitions are interesting. The first, as you say describes those who support Scottish independence, the second describes British Nationalists.

    In my view, identifying responsibility for the killing of thousands of innocent people in the middle east by British imperialists has to be high on the SNP agenda. It has to be exposed as the war crime that it undoubtedly was and there needs to be action taken against the perpetrators of the crime. In trying to do that the SNP would be up against all the unionist parties but that isn’t new. We have to expose the true nature of British nationalism.

    • Despondency and a fair bit of upheaval personally meant I couldn’t continue the blog after September 19th but hopefully back in the swing again. Interesting comment, I think our MPs will struggle to push agendas but Chilcott must be due soon? Maybe some answers there.

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