1995

Scot urges Scots not to be so foolish as to believe in Scottish nationalism

 

First and foremost I am a Scot.  But the last thing I swear to is nationalism.  Nation is practicality, nationalism for division.  The only confusion is whether or not with todays centralised government, Scotland qualifies to be an autonomous nation.  Is nationalism a statement of nationhood.

 

To see nationalism as nationality would be a marvellous thing indeed.  For it would symbolise unity.  Calvinists, Protestants, Episcopaleans.  Catholics.  Buddhists.  All Scots.  But nationalism seeks borders and boundariees.  Polish refugees in Glasgow, Scandinavian botanists in Aviemore, Indian immigrants and English settlers.  All Scots?  Who is to veto whom and what is indiginous?  Firs, seventh or forty seventh generation?  Teutonic knights, Romans and Pictish invaders all get a conquering green light.  After all, that’s history.

 

To bother with what is and what’s not.  From chip butties to grouse stew.  Maybe its just a question of pressing a romantic pause button in time to reflect upon Burns and Scott as Scotlands first disciples.  The SNP could publish a new testament; a revised edition of nationalism; ‘Waverley’ and other epistles of Scot.  Then again Mel Gibson is more fun to see on screen.

It can be murderously easy to spot differences.  But while it is essential to have an identity it need not be political.  Nation should exist as a bureaucratic working reality, not as a specific national interest.  But what of ideals, for example democracy?  I do not believe opposing beliefs should be symbolised in the opposition between nations.  A state of nations in todays world of mass integration can breed minority security and ultimately conflict.  Preserve culture more than a nation.

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