I didn’t mean to do this

I do want to draw my own agenda in blogging not merely respond to what others say but when the belief of the largest section of the voting public at the last election is described by a constitutional politician as a virus, it’s difficult not to get side-tracked.


Vilifying opponents is stock-in-trade in politics and stuff like: Letting down the people, misleading them and getting priorities wrong is fine. It may even be right! I also think barbed and biting is good when anger is required but the insinuation that one creed is insidious, spreading among people who don’t want it, and is like an illness eating away at the collective psyche is quite a charge. It makes it sound as the voters are too stupid to be aware of what they’re doing.


Even the racial hatred of the BNP is unlikely to be considered a virus since it seems to be identifiable and contained, hardly spreading unseen throughout the land.


But nationalism – supported by the majority of voters in Scotland last time round – in the hands of Unionists becomes a sickness sneakily associated with…with what? After all a virus is a contagion that transforms those it touches even, in its political form, against their better judgment. Isn’t that what historians say happened to the German people in the 30s and 40s? Didn’t nationalisms erupt among the state-lets of the Balkans in the 90’s, a model beloved of George Robertson?


What did run through both these examples was hatred and an embedded and long-concealed drive for revenge for the wrongs of history. A warped version of common interest was imposed on those sentiments by the unscrupulous to give wings to the hate.


That nationalism can be abused is like saying socialism was distorted to justify Soviet communism, that capitalism can be turned from freedom of choice for the individual into a vehicle for the enrichment of a few at the expense of the many.  Any common force or ideology falls prey to the unprincipled. Some even think that may have happened to Labour.


But what is nationalism? Is it Gordon Brown telling us all to run a Union Jack up the flagpole? Is it David Cameron telling us Britain is great during the Olympics? When British politicians talk of a history of fair play as a national characteristic, is that nationalism?


Just consider modern Germany as the best example of the transforming effects of this virus. During the national election this week there was a lot of talk about how the Germans organise their economy. A key element is the mittelstand, the vast array of small and middle-sized companies, many of them family concerns, generations old, often funded with equally long-term loans from regional banks, concentrating on quality manufacturing in niche markets. They provide local employment and stability in the community and healthy exports. It is a pan-German phenomenon for which there is no British equivalent. This system is an expression of German collective philosophy to which they all subscribe, a nationally agreed method of business which enriches all Germans, which is specific to them and from which they derive national pride. This is nationalism.


Over the border to the North is Denmark which has a century-old tradition of design in furniture, household goods, architecture and accessories. The people of Denmark embraced a functional design philosophy which still exits today and is supported by the government. Collectively, the Danes invested in an identifiable model of design which is an international badge of national identity. They take pride in it. It expresses something about who they are to the world and helps their economy. This too is nationalism.



Were you on the hill? (We’ll be asking that for a long time to come after the independence rally). When I was there I heard Elaine C Smith describe with blinding clarity what modern Scottish nationalism is about and she told the story of her family, of their aspirations, of the people of the east end of Glasgow with a barely-controlled fury.  I realised as she spoke that there isn’t a single Labour woman I can think of who could have made that speech. She described a Scottish way of doing things which used to be owned by Labour but to which they have lost any rights. It was of a collective, a shared knowledge of need for all, a refusal to be dominated by the self-aggrandizing which first made its appearance in 1320 in the Declaration of Arbroath which warned that even the king would be overthrown if he defied the people. The concept of the people’s sovereignty was born. That is nationalism.


The only hatred I see is that – synthetic or not – generated by Johann Lamont and the British supremacists in the media whose cartoon bile this week showed how the Unionist image of a family of nations is a sick joke for a section of British society. I need to get on with the day now and I’ll come back to this later but don’t you wonder if Johann really believes this hate-filled claptrap? Or is it another example of someone perennially unsure of her own underlying beliefs searching for a way of getting media attention? If any of this really is her world view, rather than machine politics, you have to feel for her.


18 thoughts on “I didn’t mean to do this

  1. Spot on Derek.
    Lamonts talk of ‘something for nothing culture’ and ordinary folk wanting independence as a virus, is scary.
    What next? Will we have to wear a yellow ‘I’ on our sleeves?

  2. I’m not at all sure if Ms Lamont believes what she said, but she looks unwell. Perhaps it’s getting too much?
    Do Labour actually meet the hoi polloi anymore, or is that ivory tower getting awfully hard to leave?
    Juteman is right, Labour, more than the tories scares me.

  3. Right Derek. All sorts of nationalism are honourable but ours is a virus? She looks like an ordinary wee glesca wummin too, how does she manage to look that angry? It’s all totally false and must take a fair amount of rehearsal, at least in her head. Wouldn’t want to be in there btw.

  4. Wish I’d spotted you on the hill to tell you in person what a great blog this is, Derek.

    Does Johann really believe this hate-filled claptrap? I suspect she does. I think like many Labour folk she harbours a genuine hatred of the SNP, partly for historical reasons and partly because they’ve had the gall to displace Labour from their rightful spot at the top of Scottish politics. So the problem with independence isn’t independence itself, it’s the fact it’s the main SNP policy.

  5. Derek, all the evidence is that there is an ever-present threat of British-Nationalist violence in a significant section of British Nationalists movement.

    The only hatred many of us see – to use part of your quote – is “that – synthetic or not – generated by Johann Lamont and the British supremacists in the media”. If these British Nationalists had instead been Scottish Nationalists http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-23298528 then the British supremacists in the media – who have Johann Lamont as a mouth piece – would be choking on their cornflakes to claim and evidence Scottish Nationalists as a virus.

    Scottish Nationalists are a peaceful, inclusive, civic and democratic movement – uniquely, not a single life has been lost or police officer injured through violence in pursuit of Scottish independence. And if that’s a virus – then it’s a virus needed in the war-mongering Labour party to extinguish it obsession with being RED TORIES!

  6. It’s hard to imagine the tortured mental paths one must go down to end up leading the Scottish branch of the Labour party these days. Everything Lamont may once have stood for has been traduced as the party surrenders principles for power in a system entirely driven by the needs of the London City State.
    Johann is now leading the betrayal of principles she once purported to hold dear. No wonder she looks angry. No wonder she hates those who continue to argue for those principles because everything they do tells her how wrong she is. Her eyes are screwed up like that so she can’t see the truth glaring her in the face.
    Labour in Scotland is a sad rump of those without the imagination, courage or integrity to rise beyond blind party loyalty and take bold steps to defend what matters.

  7. I had tears in my eyes listening to Elaine C. Smith’s speech by the way.

  8. That’s it in a word. HATE.

  9. Yes Derek you have it right. Sorry I missed you on the hill, but glad you were there too.

    Any amount of British nationalism seems to be fine in our skewed “Un-ited Kingdom”, as long as it is having a fag and has a beer in hand. It has become a parody of what it once meant.

    Any other nationalism, be it Scottish, Irish or Welsh is simply WRONG. It is unacceptable because it undermines the British nationalism that this whole stinking pile relies on to keep people from questioning rule from London.

    BTW, bigbuachaille, is that the same bigbuachaille that used to cause such a rammy on Blether with Brian? If so good to see you are still around.

    • Can’t claim the credit for such mischief making, although I used to contribute in the old pre-disabled comments days. Remember them? As far as I know I’m the only one of the buachaille family making a desultory contribution to the topic of what’s likely to be left of Scotland if we can’t collectively wake up in the next year.

  10. I’ll be very upset if you turn out to not really be Derek Bateman.

    Keep up the good work Derek… (I hope.)

  11. An excellent description of the way Labour in Scotland are moving. I feel embarrassed that I ever supported this party, but I don’t recognise what they are now. And I doubt my grandparents would, either.

    Is it Johann Lamont? Or is it her scriptwriter? Or both? What level of cognitive dissonance does it take to join the Labour Party in the 1970s, but talk about social benefits as “something for nothing” in the 21st Century when you lead it? Let alone describe 40% of your compatriots as a virus? Is she really so intent on pleasing her political masters in Glasgow and London Labour that she doesn’t think about how her words play to a wider Scottish audience?

    I enjoyed Elaine C Smith’s speech on Saturday, but, to be honest, it could have been made by many 50-something women who grew up in a working class, trade unionist tradition. (Though not as eloquently, of course!) But you’re right – not by Lamont or Curran. To quote Jimmy Reid – we didn’t leave the Labour Party, it left us.

    In my view, for what it’s worth, Scotland found itself comfortable with post-war social democracy. It’s been taken away from us, and we’ve struggled to get it back. Unfortunately for the Labour Party in Scotland, we’re finding another way to it. And they’ve chosen to make sure it won’t involve them.

  12. 3 major regrets today.
    1. my long post with the dodgy “slander” word fell at the moderation fence
    2. I didn’t keep a copy
    3. Grass had to be cut.
    Might try again tomorrow.
    Thanks for your most interesting blog, Derek.

    • bigbuachaille

      GCHQ sent me an urgent note about your previous posts that I can’t locate now but mentioned something about seed of the gael. Any idea what that is?
      I’ve asked them to check and they’ve got everything you’ve ever emailed including your Tesco delivery orders (glace cherries?!). The upshot is we can find no trace of your long post re slander. Sorry, pal. I suggest you re-send and claim a Unionist conspiracy. And I will never say you’re wrong. Thanks for getting in touch. I appreciate every single contribution.
      Derek (Mi5)

  13. I think that Lamont probably does believe it. I think that there has been fairly long standing problems and tensions between the SNP and some sections of Scottish Labour. The SNP was mostly set up by disillusioned Independent Labour Party (ILP) members (there was a small right wing Tory element as well). This included people like McCormick, Young, Muirhead, Cunninghame Graham etc. They were basically fed up with the failure to deliver Home Rule for Scotland. This split in the moderate centre left in Scotland has never really been resolved. The constitutional issue has made the split much more bitter as time has went on, with some wanting more far reaching change, while others have embraced British nationalism with a commitment and intensity that is now becoming obvious. Personally coming from an SNP background, I have long detected a feeling from Scottish Labour that the SNP are somehow beyond the pale in some strange way. I genuinely believe that it is not just political rhetoric either. Lamont and others (Curran, Sarwar etc) seem to personify this at the moment. In a strange way only a Yes vote would settle the issue in the long term; the careers in London, and other perks, would be over for Scottish Labour, and they could return to their better values.

  14. Lab have had control in Scot for too long as the auld saying goes ” you could put a red rosette on a monkey in Scot & people would vote for it.” This is no longer the case people want Change we can thank War Criminal Blair, he was the catalyst which made us wake up. He was a Tory with a red rosette, we preferred the Monkey

  15. I never did get my chronology right. I was born too soon and too late at the same time – no wonder I’m confused. And that of course is why I suggested (in response to Yes Campaign Infiltrated) that you should go viral, not realising that Ms Lamont had pre-empted both me and your release date.

    But there’s nothing wrong with an idea going viral. Ossian went viral with the intelligentsia of Europe, well those who could read anyway. Wait though, that was a pack of lies for 250 years but, just recently, it might not be.

    Confused? – you should have watched SOAP.

    But Plato was gay.
    Mickey Mouses’s dawg was gay?

  16. Was on the hill too and never felt so proud.Lamont and the Labour cronies have nothing but self interest at heart.Their only goal it seems is to get ‘re elected at UK level at all costs.Her vitriol against the SNP is well noted Nationalism is a virus and none of us live in the ‘real world’ and her something for nothing culture.This will not be forgotten

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