Unlike Farage Scotland’s Enemy Is Not The ‘Other’

We’ve never ever, ever had this kind of response. Is this a kind of anti-English thing? It could be.”

Nigel Farage, Edinburgh 16/05/13

The Royal Mile has a proud tradition, far older than the union, of mobbing unpopular politicians.

For centuries taking to the thoroughfare to make your grievances known has been a part of Scottish politics. The Marquess of Queensberry had to be escorted by an armed guard up the Canongate in the last days of the Scottish parliament in 1706.

A century earlier James VI, on his way to become the first of England, could not comprehend that the jubilant crowds lining his route were out to cheer him. In Scotland a crowd around the royal carriage was a demanding mob.

Some are bound to look on such behaviour as unruly and extremist, yet it is arguably amongst the most valuable activities that a group of citizens can perform. It defines more than anything else the broad spectrum within which politics can operate in a given society. If politicians don’t know the possibility of an angry crowd when they take to the streets, they are free to operate without license.

Farage’s exit from Scottish politics in the back of a police van is a heartening echo of our deep-rooted disdain for those who strut and stare.

My only point here is to highlight that which Mr Farage spectacularly missed – Scotland always has and always will have a different political culture to that of England. You can tap into one and alienate yourself from the other simultaneously.

That’s not to disregard for a moment English radical traditions, it’s just a statement of fact. Yet facts about Scotland tend not to transfer to the narrow metropolitan elite of which the UKIP leader is a member.

His dance in and out of an Edinburgh pub crystallised a fact that rarely makes it past the Carter Bar. This ignorance, much like that of his hero Thatcher, shows that you simply cannot play the role of an everyman in two different nations at the same time.

Farage has roamed England’s shires and repeated his homely pint gimmick (a surprisingly low budget tipple for a man who is a city stockbroker like his father) and no landlord has ever turfed him out, until he visited Edinburgh.

Why? It would be absurd to claim that Scotland has inherently less tolerance for intolerance than England. Farage himself has gone to great pains to purge those found guilty of racism in UKIP’s ranks.

I suspect that many in the Radical Independence Conference, who organised the protest, would be as keen to slay the Euro dragon (albeit for very different reasons) as Farage is. This was not a pro-EU protest.

It was simply about popular distaste. As UKIP begins to nestle into the warm bosom of the British political establishment, Scots feel a need to point out that this just won’t fly in our own polity.

Activists need a structure to get them mobilised and Independence has given Scots something to congregate around. That journey towards self-expression naturally involves disdain; not for alien individuals, but alien ideas and values.

South of the border, One Nation Labour cannot lead an anti UKIP movement, for all that many in its ranks long for a new Nick Griffin shaped straw man. The reason this isn’t politically possible is that in England Labour have to fight elections with UKIP on right of centre issues. They have to talk tough on immigration and accept a litany of other myhts, not least the notorious “strives vs scroungers” fallacy.

Scotland is unique in that, while the populist left is long dead at a UK level, there has not been the swing to a right wing populism as represented by UKIP in England. As cultural critic Slavoj Žižek has pointed out a similar pattern can be seen throughout Europe.

In Scotland however; the popular enemy is not the “other”; not foreigners or neighbours; but the Westminster political and financial elite. The fact that Farage belongs to the latter not the former is irrelevant (from the perspective of this rowdy northern province the two are identical).

Fundamentally the movement towards self-government in Scotland provides a focal point for radical thought and action that calls out right wing populism for what it is.

Although some have already sought to sanitise the event by failing to report the fact that the it was organised by the RIC – they can’t ignore Farage’s words – he’s never had to hide from protestors until he came north of the border.

That’s because in Scotland UKIP consistently loses its deposits and only speaks on issues that are resonate in a very different place.

On Europe Farage may be the political outsider in London – but in Scotland his neo-Thatcherite brand of right-wing populism is simply foreign.

As the wealthy city financier, deported on grounds of political incompatibility, sped up the Royal Mile guarded from the mob like Queensberry, he may just have learned a lesson the London papers could never tell him.

Scotland isn’t anti-English – it’s just a different country.

Christopher Silver
National Collective 

Photography by @C_KAndrews

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There are 24 comments

  1. Guest

    Twist words, apologize for criminality and say no we are not actually racists. Scotland is defined by its anti English racism it is the national identity. The lefties are all vehemently pro Europe including the SNP. Daftys will vote for independence by voting for the complete opposite. EU down the line takes oil revenues and orders a share of the oil fields sort of like the way foreign companies are made to have a share in UK markets right now. If your politicians protest too much the EU can always dissolve the parliament. I almost wish this would happen just so you vile arrogant hypocritical racists may get a glimmer of how stupid you are. Many Scots hate Thatcher and have always voted Labour because they hear the words “increasing Government spending” and not “spending your taxes and hugely increasing them to pay for all our idiot palls to have non jobs and drive businesses overseas” and that’s why Scots hate the Tories. They fall for cheap tricks and get robbed and seek to blame the communist block level of poverty on England rather than themselves.

    1. jdmank

      Why is that people with the least to say (of any note) create the longest posts? do they think it gives them (and their spurious arguments) gravitas?

      1. Jinty McSquinty

        INTERNATIONAL SOCIALIST LEFTY WANK STAIN YOU DON’T GIVE A FUCK FOR SCOTLAND YOU WANT EU RULE IN PLACE OF INDEPENDENCE YOU ARE A FUCKING IDIOT

          1. David Lister

            Thanks for pointing this out jdmank, I thought this rather intemperate and vulgar language from a “lady”, albeit a unionist lady(boy) troll. You cannae educate pork.

          2. Kane Balintore

            Redneck inbred racist. Scotland is poorer from independence the figures are published on the Scottish executive website but you want independence because you are anti English you just don’t have the balls to admit it.

  2. Korbin Dallas

    Twist words, apologize for criminality and say no we are not actually
    racists. Scotland is defined by its anti English racism it is the
    national identity. The lefties are all vehemently pro Europe including
    the SNP. Why do they want to separate from the slight influence Westminster now has on Scotland to be completely ruled by Europe? One can only conclude anti English racism. Daftys may vote for independence by voting for the complete
    opposite. EU down the line takes oil revenues and orders a share of the
    oil fields sort of like the way foreign companies are made to have a
    share in UK markets right now. If your politicians protest too much the
    EU can always dissolve the parliament. Scotland has a strong dislike of Thatcher and Tories generally and a large number of Scots always voted Labour because they hear the words “increasing Government spending” and not “spending your taxes and hugely increasing them to pay for all our idiot palls to have non jobs and drive businesses overseas” and that’s why Scots hate the Tories. They fall for cheap tricks to be robbed and seek to blame the resulting communist block level of poverty on England rather than themselves.

      1. Jinty McSquinty

        INTERNATIONAL SOCIALIST IDIOT LEFTY WANK STAIN YOU DON’T GIVE A FUCK FOR SCOTLAND YOU WANT EU RULE IN PLACE OF INDEPENDENCE YOU ARE A FUCKING IDIOT!

    1. scav

      Saying it doesn’t make it so.

      Nigel Farage’s smugness alone would be reason enough to find him offensive. There’s no need to posit racism, especially since there were no anti-English sentiments expressed. Anti-UKIP yes, racist no.

      Is it so hard to imagine that we actually like the idea of closer ties with Europe not mediated through an anti-Europe Tory government? That we don’t have a childish zero-sum view of immigration as it pertains to the job market and economic growth?

      Nigel Farage was badly out of touch, completely misjudged his audience, then didn’t have the good grace to accept it without slinging accusations of racism and fascism at his critics.

      Please note, you don’t speak for the rest of the world. Xenophobes and isolationists don’t get to, because they lack the necessary perspective.

      1. Jello Biafra

        There was anti English racism there it was seen and recorded and televised it can be seen again on youtube and other sites. Despite your rhetoric immigration has made the lives of British people a misery it has reduced wages and created unemployment and created polarized communities and isolation. It has strengthened the BNP and far right parties throughout Europe. Health tourism has placed a massive strain on the NHS bringing hospitals to breaking point with people dying as a consequence. The Euro debt creation scheme has destroyed economies and this you say is supposed to create economic growth. None of this bothers you because you are unpatriotic and dumb. I don’t speak for the rest of the world but I speak for more people than you ever could. Nigel Farage is a hero throughout Europe and speaks for more people than the racist SNP or traitorous Labour party ever could.

        “Any Scot who votes for independence under a party
        which supports immigration is soft in the head. Scotland needs politicians who will campaign for the interests of Scots,not a bunch of international socialists who promote third world immigration.”

        1. scav

          A lot of text there. I’ll *try* to be brief.

          I saw Mr Farrage made much of his *accusations* of racism, and I saw a lot of aggressive and OK quite rude behaviour on youtube. But no instances of racism. You don’t cite any examples whatever. This doesn’t surprise me because I know plenty of people who intend to vote Yes, and NOT ONE of them gives hating the English as a reason. It’s about a positive desire for democracy.

          You are factually mistaken in almost every way about immigration. Economic and political freedoms create opportunities and jobs; and freedom of migration is one of them. It’s an important one. You can’t call for restrictions on foreigners coming into Britain without calling for restrictions on the freedom of the British to go and work in other countries. If you could “send the immigrants home” there wouldn’t me more jobs for the British – there would be less jobs in total and less political and economic freedom for the British to seek jobs elsewhere. You’re just wrong about this issue.

          You are quick to sling insults like “trator” and “dumb”. You also accuse me of being unpatriotic. See, this is an example of what you don’t get: in Scotland, the sovereign entity is the people of Scotland. Not the flag, not the queen, not the government, not the civil service. The people of Scotland are all the people who live and work here, who bring up kids and learn and create here. Not just the genetically Scottish, nor just those who were born here: it’s the People Of Scotland, including immigrants. I care about those people and want them to have a better democracy for a better future. So I could wipe my arse with the saltire flag, poke fun at Alex Salmond, and call the queen a privileged anachronistic waste of resources, and yet be soundly and honourably patriotic.

          The UK and by extension Scotland is *currently* in the EU, and if anyone’s been pissing away the profits it has been successive Westminster governments, not the ECB. Britain should have had an oil fund like Norway but no, Thatcher needed tax cuts for her cronies. So your example is disastrously off-point. There may not be a lot of oil left, but I’m pretty sure we could manage it better than that.

          Hard truths you may not like to hear:

          Nigel Farrage is not a hero, and is certainly not seen as one throughout Europe. He’s a political opportunist peddling simple answers to dangerously complicated problems with no regard to the harm it could do.

          He will never be Prime Minister – UKIP will split the Tory vote and (mercifully) the BNP vote, take perhaps a few seats, and either give Labour the victory, or be invited into a weak coalition, where they can expect as much control over policy as the Lib Dems. Followed by the same electoral collapse.

          Partly this lack of traction will be the fault of the first-past-the-post electoral system we in Scotland will be able to see the end of when our proportionally-elected parliament is our national government.

          I’m bored with you now. I offer you the last word. Can you say anything cogent and dial back the ad hominem a bit?

          1. Jello Biafra

            Explain to me exactly how an uneducated person from Eastern Europe coming here creates jobs? I’m dying to hear.

            When this person is willing to work for less how does this affect wages in this sector?

            When there are millions of them how does this affect unemployment figures in this country?

            Did they bring millions of jobs with them in their suitcases?

            If they were to leave you are saying they will they take these jobs with them in their suitcases?

            Immigration and emigration has always been possible to those with the right qualifications and experience.

            Presuming you are not an engineer or medical specialist say for example a kitchen porter you could work in the EU. But why would you want to? Live around people you ultimately have little in common with and you don’t speak their language. You create resentment by taking a job that could have gone to a local and how does this benefit the country you are working in?

            Popular sovereignty is a basic tenet of most democracies and Scotland has played no influence in the creation of that idea.

  3. Philo Farnsworth

    Edinburgh is a tourist city that lives of the backs of imported mostly Eastern European cheap
    labor. They will of course never admit to this despite there being
    hotels, youth hostels, B&Bs and tourist shops on nearly every street in central Edinburgh and a population made up of mostly tourists and very low paid foreign hospitality workers. UKIP would mean an end to this kind of exploitation.

  4. Jello Biafra

    Stupid cunts want independence by voting for complete subjugation under
    EU rule and economic annihilation all driven by racism against English.
    Something even more stupid considering the Scots and the English are the
    same race. What is there to like about these little racist Scotlanders? I’m just not seeing anything.

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