2 August 2009

On rejecting nationalism exhaustively (the prequel)…

Blogging tends to begin in medias res. Folk may note their particular party affiliations, reveal their intellectual orientations in brief and make (relatively) plain their views on particular issues. Out of this speeding river of emerging opinion, splashes of insight are gleaned into the individual commentator’s broader conceptual commitments and political ideas, their world view and their reasons. Our first principles repose deep, deep in the luminous gloom beneath our rushing surface characters. It is easy, generally, to grow to love our labels. It reduces life’s complexity, makes for neat categorisation, and generally obscures more than it illuminates. A Labour blog, we may insist with confidence, Green Party opinion, we crisply characterise as if this told us everything about the writer and what he or she believes.

Of course it doesn’t – sensible folk would recognise that – but the deeper, determining principles are obviously matters of some curiosity. Indeed, if you squint into exchanging arguments, it is generally at this implicit, conceptualising level that the real basis for the disagreement dwells. As it happens, I’ve been considering writing a post outlining in personal terms the reasons behind my own Scottish political nationalism and membership of the SNP. Helpfully and by way of providing me with something to respond to, Paul Hutcheon has a polemic in the Sunday Herald this morning on what he styles “Salmond’s Cod Nationalism” which he thinks obscures the “bigger picture”. Read it, reflect on it – and I’ll hope to have something written about it during the early part of next week.


  1. I sincerely hope you do LPW. I read that piece and I was, well, horrified to be honest.

    I suspect Mr Hutcheon's talents are best served raking through expense receipts.

  2. I look forward to the post Lallands. As for Paul Hutcheon's article, it must have been written tongue in cheek?

  3. I've written my take on it today. I'm with Jeff though. As an investigative journalist, he should probably leave the analysis to someone else.

  4. I read the article - it was a scary view into the mindset of international socialism - normally the hatred and contempt for nation, country and religion is better hidden.

  5. I read it, reflected on it and wrote a two part response to it on Scotsvoices, http://scotsvoices.blogspot.com/2009/08/on-nationalism.html

    The whole article is based on the unionist template of:

    1. Scotland is too small too be a proper country
    2. Scotland's history is mostly fake, we're all British
    3. Internationalism means no Scotland
    4. Nationalism is a distraction from the "real" issues.
    5. The SNP has conned the voters into voting for them.

    The whole article is a rehash of these well worn themes. Not much original thought from Paul in there.

  6. Some parts of the article are easy to refute but I look forward to finding out what you have to say about the religous angle. For all its flaws, the article makes a good point about cosying up to relgious interests. This has become increasingly apparent in the SNP, not only at a leadership level but in choice of candidates.

  7. I appreciate the comments. Life has become more ghastly busy than I had anticipated, so the promised long-winded exegesis may be somewhat delayed.