In a week that has seen powdered substances sent to SNP politicians, in order to spread fear and concern, in what you might describe as a low-level act of terrorism, there has also been vandalism of SNP paraphernalia by ever more desperate Unionists, who are finding Indy supporters much harder to bait than in 2014.
Indy supporters learned their lesson last time, on the whole (perhaps one daft tweet being the exception).
The mainstream media is not sympathetic to Scottish independence (hence the rise of alternative media outlets since indyref, as well as The National) and it will take any excuse to portray Indy supporters as “Cybernats” or vandals or reprobates, or any kind of miscreant.
Despite the 2014 result, support for Indy has remained steadily in the 40%+ range (despite what some say) and hasn’t declined (or moved) in any significant way since indyref, although polls have sporadically shown some peaks and troughs.
As we move inexorably towards a second Scottish independence referendum, and an independence campaign that could build on this support, as it did from the c30% it had in early 2013, Scottish Unionists (and a few from elsewhere) have become increasingly desperate to stop it.
From the most pathetic whining about the wording of manifestos (more on this below), to claiming there isn’t a ‘mandate’, when the matter has already been resolved by the democratic process that has been set-up for the Scottish Parliament (funny how it runs into disrepute for Unionists when they are on the wrong end of a vote), to trying to lie on social media, or even distort events as some sort of Indy conspiracy; Unionists are really starting to lose it.
Over to John Nicolson, MP, who had one of these suspect mail items sent to him.
No 2351 on the list needs to be moved to nearer the top. I’ve had a few run-ins with that one and their idiocy is astonishing. And it shows no sign of abating.
Seriously? She is in total denial that these were Unionist supporting skin heads that caused trouble just after the Indyref vote, which was, by the way, the only real, genuine violence of that campaign.
As for No 2351, I found this on The Random Public Journal from a few months back.
Scroll down the list of accounts History Woman follows and you will come across quite an array of overt ultra-right wing, racist, and Islamophobic filth. It’s not even your average common or garden racist nobodies. She is a follower of none other than “James Bond” – @bluehand007 – the founder of Britain’s openly racist Blue Hand organisation, an account that has also attracted endorsements from Tommy Robinson, UKIP’s David Coburn, and UK Union Voice.
Next to Patrick Harvie, who has had to endure trolls who can’t or won’t read his party’s manifesto properly, especially on the subject of supporting Scottish Independence and the Greens’ preferred way for such to come about.
Mr Steele refuses to accept the evidence provided that The Scottish Greens were in complete compliance with their own manifesto. He is instead misrepresenting what it said. It was unclear at that stage if he was doing this wilfully or not, but he tries it on again.
Despite already being shown what was actually written in the Scottish Greens’ manifesto for 2016, he still tried to tell people that they had no right, reason, or mandate to join with the SNP in a vote on independence. He still keeps whining that this isn’t right, or fair or not what they said they would do, when it damn well is and they damn well did. He’s flying totally in the face of what was written, what was done and how it was done. His position is untenable. He has no grounds for complaint.
The simple fact of the matter is that The Scottish Parliament gets to decide this in a similar way to the UK Parliament – a parliament he is effectively defending and supporting in its rule over Scotland. He may as well rail against that if he doesn’t like how the Scottish Parliament works, because as a devolved parliament, it is part of the system.
This matter of calling for a second referendum in the Scottish Parliament, as with matters before the House of Commons, depends on how many representatives there are in favour or not, and in the case of both the aforementioned Scottish parties, they are honouring what each of their manifestos explicitly stated with regard to Scottish independence. Unionists just don’t like the outcome.
So why resort to this level of clearly desperate behaviour? This grasping at straws, complaining pointlessly and erroneously about events that have already occurred, and lying to people about what documents actually stated. And finally someone even resorting to intimidation and threats to life.
On an individual level, this behaviour could be regarded as symptoms of someone with borderline personality disorder (and if that’s you, then you should seek help from your GP).
But collectively? What does this say? What does it say about Unionists in general when they resort to this level of behaviour, when the worst we saw during Indyref was some petty vandalism of signs (similar to that above) and an egg thrown at Jim Murphy.
(Not including the post referendum, pro-union skinhead invasion of George Square, Glasgow).
Some Unionists are simply afraid of change (age is sadly a significant factor here). This is why some continue to cling to petty reasons to argue against Indy happening, or make unreasonable demands on the level of information that they need, before they say they will even consider changing their mind.
It is unlikely that they will. The only way to prove Indy works to some Unionists will be to do it. Other Unionists simply refuse to countenance independence.
Independence is evidently perceived by some as an existential threat. But why?
I believe the answer to that is fairly simple to express. It is because, in a sense, they are right. It is, for them, an existential threat. Or at least, it is for their psyche.
Many people have been brought up with a view of the UK as being this shining beacon of light across the world for hundreds of years. Therefore, what the UK does is all that is good and right. After all, we won the war (and yes, that’s usually WWII being referred to).
However, those of us that have studied history beyond the school curriculum at all, beyond the likes of ‘Kings and Queens of England and Britain since 1066’, will know that history wasn’t quite as we were taught it at school. What we were taught at school was very selective. It is only if you delve into the subject more and find different sources to read and from different points of view, do you realise just how much – and what tends to be left out – and why.
They don’t want the British State to appear to be the ‘bad guy’; at least not as much as it has been. Presumably they don’t think young minds at school can handle the truth and need to be a little older to learn it.
The trouble is, that is only taught – or rather you only have the freedom to realise it – if you choose to study the subject at all. Those who don’t care for history and drop it don’t get to learn this, unless they happen to have someone in their life that is inclined to point this out.
Those of us who did have this realisation tend to be more aware than others on the subject and can correct the likes of Liam Fox, MP, when he spouts out nonsense about British history.
Others, however, are like Liam Fox. They prefer the rosier version that schools and early life history books taught them. They don’t want to believe that the country they live in and were probably raised in, may be, in any way, responsible for some of the darkest chapters of history in the past few hundred years. And no one they know or trust tells them anything different. They only want to know about the glorious history they were taught about, that they have been brought up to be proud of and believe is right and true.
But wait a minute: How can it be, in this rosy world, that there are people who don’t want to be a part of this great union of countries? They don’t understand this. They cannot reconcile this concept with their ingrained world view. It doesn’t compute.
They may even try to listen to or read independence advocates, but no, that can’t be right, they say. Scotland can’t go it alone and why would it? We’re better together. Surely. Aren’t we?
And then the threatened psyche reasserts itself. It refuses to accept this argument against what it has believed to be true for so long. It fights back. It takes umbrage at the very idea that some people don’t want this world as it is, and that it could be better; should be better. But I mean really, asks the psyche, how could it be better than this?
Oh, how I count the ways.
I really don’t think you can explain this behaviour as being collective. It is really a lot of individuals suffering from the same inner turmoil, where reality is crashing in on their view of the world, which is a view created by the same thing. Britain.
Naturally, however, as the psyche tries to maintain the world view it has developed, it will bond with other psyches that are doing the same thing, because of the reinforcement that comes from such. Hey, you think like me! I’m not alone with my world view.
Of course people bond with others for many reasons, such as supporting the same sports team; but most other reasons do not involve such a fundamental personal belief system. A belief system that is based upon a distorted history and is therefore vulnerable to things that you can list under one heading: The truth about Britain and British history.
That is why we are seeing what we are seeing from some Unionists. That is why their behaviour is so desperate and increasingly dangerous. It is because their whole world view is being attacked and chipped away. Their psyches are under attack, they feel threatened and are, as they see it, defending themselves against an existential threat.
So what do independence supporters do about this?
Frankly, I don’t have an answer to that question. All I can suggest is that we try and bear in mind that there are troubled minds in the Unionist camp, capable of vandalism, violence and potentially terrorism, as this week has demonstrated.
This is evidently happening because these people are having trouble coming to terms with the fact that there is a viable alternative to Scotland being a part of the UK and that Scotland could actually, genuinely be a better place than it is now, if it leaves the union.
They would not be having this difficulty, or be so desperate, if they didn’t really believe that Scottish independence could happen.