Sunday, January 22, 2012

Explanatory note for deceased archbishops : why a disarming joke about haggis probably doesn't make Alex Salmond a fascist

It tells you all you need to know about Archbishop Cranmer's rambling attempt last week to paint Alex Salmond as an "evil" anti-English "racist" that the one and only scrap of 'evidence' he could come up with is this piece of throwaway whimsy from three years ago -

"ALEX Salmond has waded into the haggis wars after claims our national dish was invented in England.

The First Minister spoke out following the discovery of an English haggis recipe from 1615.

He said: "I don't mind the English claiming haggis as their own, as long as they leave us our country.

"But haggis is our institution and we will defend it to the last.

"This haggis grab is akin to a land grab and it's a sign of its culinary success now as a swanky dish.""

In all apparent seriousness, Cranmer asks what the reaction would have been had Nick Griffin suggested that Asians were making a "land grab" on "our country". Hmmm. I think I can spot where you may be going slightly astray here, "Your Grace" (yawn), and it can be explained in four remarkably short words : it was a joke. A rather disarming joke at that, evoking and poking fun at a stereotype-rich fantasy world in which Scot Nats are obsessed with defending the honour of shortbread, haggis and the Bay City Rollers, and routinely accuse the dastardly English of "land grabs". What's even more amusing is that it probably would never even have occurred to Salmond that anyone would be daft enough, or have a sufficiently prejudiced and fossilised perception of Scottish national identity, to take a single word of what he said remotely seriously. And let's face it, the First Minister doesn't exactly do deadpan, so it's not as if the clues are hard to spot.

Lesson of the day : never underestimate the daftness, prejudice, and fossilisation of deceased Church of England archbishops. Many thanks, "Your Grace" (yawn). Seriously, I once saw secret filming of Nick Griffin pointing to the white skin on his arm and saying "that is my identity". Anyone who can't discern the difference between that repulsive worldview and a light-hearted joke about haggis needs some knots in their head untangled as a matter of some urgency.

So what separates Alex Salmond's attitude to "the English" from Nick Griffin's attitude to Asians? How many centuries have you got? To be getting on with, let's confine ourselves to just one topical example - namely, that the SNP want eligibility to vote in the independence referendum to be determined solely by residence. Scots, English, Welsh, Irish, Polish, Pakistanis, etc, etc, all voting as equal citizens to decide the future of the country where they live. Not exactly a proposition that Nick Griffin would jump at. Compare it also to the rather desperate efforts of some unionist politicians to base the referendum franchise on Scottish "birth-right".

My own question to Cranmer is the usual one that applies whenever the "bigotry" card is played by unionists - could you please spell out in precise terms how it would be possible to argue for Scottish statehood without people like you lazily portraying it as racism? Is it as simple as excising all references to haggis from the Salmond Joke Book, or are you seriously claiming that it is literally impossible to be a Scottish nationalist without also being an 'evil racist'? If it's the latter, given that you are a British nationalist who is considerably less complimentary about continental Europeans than Alex Salmond is about our neighbours and friends in England, what precisely is this magical difference between Scottish and British nationalism that makes one deplorable in all circumstances and the other the Stuff of the Divine?

* * *

If you thought nothing could top the Cranmer piece, try this barking mad claim from Biased BBC that the Today programme is biased in favour of Scottish independence -

"Some wonderful fantasy talk about "Scottish Oil", of course, and not a mention that Scotland has stunningly high levels of Sovietised Statism that is only possible care of the huge taxes that flow from south of the border care of the Barnett Formula."

Let me get this straight - a failure to point out that oil that we all know exists does not in fact exist, or that oil that we all know is in Scottish waters is not in fact in Scottish waters, and a failure to remind listeners that Scotland has a "Soviet" public sector, represents 'pro-independence propaganda'? Righty-ho. Personally, I think David Dimbleby showed absurd pro-SNP bias by merely telling Nicola Sturgeon that she was forbidden to talk about Scottish issues on a Glasgow edition of Question Time - he really should have tasered her or something.

In other news, the Daily Mail today unveiled its campaign for Martin Schulz to be the first President of the United States of Europe.


  1. "My own question to Cranmer is...are you seriously claiming that it is literally impossible to be a Scottish nationalist without also being an 'evil racist'?"

    Well, it's just the same old words from the same old hymn book used by both the British left and right in the UK, "British nationalism good and cuddly, Scottish nationalism bad and evil".

    However it usually manifests itself as the lazy, "all nationalisms are bad", as they forget that they are in fact British nationalists.

    Cranmer would probably never think of himself as nationalistic as Alex Salmond because British nationalism is the default and unquestioned state of this country, but he is.

  2. James, I must get out more. I thought your comments were from a real Archbishop hence the surprise at the headline. Clicking the links launched me to the rather nasty websites that frankly the people concerned need therapy.