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.