Monday, May 25, 2015

Tally ho, laddie!

It's an embarrassment for The Guardian, but Michael White is surely the London media's biggest dinosaur on the subject of Scotland.  The man is absolutely and utterly clueless, but he just brazens his way through, showing occasional flickers of sympathy for those of us who actually live here and therefore lack the immense knowledge of Scottish politics that he has built up from several decades as a correspondent at Westminster.  When we pointed out to him at the end of last year that an antagonistic Blairite like Jim Murphy was somewhat unlikely to win back the Yes voters that Labour needed to hold their Scottish seats, Michael just smiled kindly at our lack of sophistication.  Stupid natives.  Give them time.

Fast forward a few months, and Scottish Labour have lost forty out of forty-one seats, resulting in Murphy's resignation as an ignominious failure.  Is Michael chastened by this 'unforeseeable' turn of events?   Not a bit of it.   Yesterday, he resumed his role as London's leading prophet of Caledonian destiny by predicting on Twitter that the Alistair Carmichael affair would somehow prove to be more of a problem for the SNP than the Liberal Democrats.  When someone in Scotland responded (in a perfectly respectful tone, I should add) that it would in fact be the end for the Scottish Lib Dems, this is how Michael replied -

"Don't be so daft, laddie."

Given that he dismissed the concerns about Labour under Murphy in much the same fashion, the Lib Dems are clearly right to be in such a state of blind panic.

But "laddie"?  That's strikingly similar to something that Kay Burley said a few months ago.  She addressed a Scot on Twitter as "wee man", after he had criticised Sky's coverage of the bin lorry tragedy in Glasgow as insensitive (a charge that was beyond all reasonable dispute).

This sort of thing could maybe be described as 'Jockophobia-Lite' - sneering metropolitan journalists who don't actually want to be caught addressing a Scot as "Jock" or "sweaty", but who nevertheless want to make absolutely clear that the simple fact of our Scottishness makes us smaller and detracts from our credibility.

If we tried to do the same thing in reverse, how we go about it?  Perhaps we should we tack on "Tally ho!" or "What ho, Jeeves?" to every reply we give to a smug London commentator.  Their first reaction would probably be bafflement, but confusion is occasionally the first tentative step towards self-reflection.

37 comments:

  1. A Ripping Yarn old bean! Getting rid of Carmichael just isn't cwicket!

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  2. What do you make of the new polling figures from YouGov showing 53% of under-60s are now in favour of independence? More here: http://www.thenational.scot/news/majority-of-under-60s-now-back-independence.3333

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    1. It's been discussed on an earlier thread.

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    2. Ok. *Wipes brow*

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  3. I'm up to speed on that one already and find it both irk's and in some case's educates those who, as we all do at times, fall into thinking in steriotypes.

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  4. Thanks for that. I want to make a point about how important your post is more widely. When White responded like that I wasn't sure how to respond, what I didn't want to do was rise to the provocation. Contrast all this with the position of the Irish. They got all of this and worse from journalists for much of the history of the British State. Then they gained independence. The important difference after independence is that the Irish could then have a collective attitude to all this and they made their collective attitude consistent and clear. Now, especially in London, its considered to be racist to display anti-Irish prejudice. You could say that the Irish were discriminated in England and in Scotland hence that's why people don't do it know. But that's hardly an argument for saying its OK to deal in stereotypes of Scots but not of the Irish. The lesson from Ireland is that we need to collectively find some way of calling out such behaviour of feeling that it's not only okay to treat it as a real issue but that doing so is the only way that we are 1) going to get a more respectful politics across these islands and 2) going to get Scots to a position where they take themselves seriously enough to actually believe that Scotland can stand on its own feet.

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  5. Ach, leave them be. Let these sophisticated journos from the big city wallow in their own delusion and self-pity. After a series of union-shattering events (starting way back in 1997), they are still, remarkably, in deep denial about what has been developing in Scotland during the past 20 years. The pace quickens with every event, and yet they are still in denial, and just haven't got a clue. So, for explanation, they resort to imagination, framed of course by the union mind set:

    "The UK is so cool, who in their right mind would want to end it all. There must be something seriously wrong with those jocks."

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  6. When I was young, I never thought much about the 'There was a Scotsman, an Englishman, and an Irishman' jokes. You know, the ones where the Englishman was clever, the Scot nearly but not quite in a jokey sort of way, and the Irishman a prize idiot.

    When I got a bit older and started to understand UK politics / history, it started to make sense. It was simple ingrained 'British' superiority / xenophobia / racism.

    No dogs, no blacks, no Irish. Jocks just about ok as long as you are British jocks.

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    1. @Scottish_Skier

      I agree with you that these jokes were mostly about British superiority, but it was also about bashing the Irish for becoming independent from Mother Westminster and the British establishment. There is a huge amount of bitterness in portraying the Irish as village idiots, how could you be so stupid as to want to run your own affairs. We saw this clearly during the referendum on independence here. It was the same message rammed down our throats.

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    2. They were historically portrayed as idiots long before independence. Those jokes were a trailing off of something that reached much further back.

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    3. How do you know that Alex? The Irish Republic got independence in the early 1920s.

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    4. Here's a Victorian cartoon from a British publication of an Irishman as a monkey with his minder ready with a dunces cap to put on his head. From the Wiki article

      "Irish racism in Victorian Britain and 19th century United States included the stereotyping of the Irish as alcoholics, and implications that they monopolised certain (usually low-paying) job markets.[citation needed] They were often called "white Negroes."

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-
      Irish_sentiment#/media/File:Monkeyirishman.jpg

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anti-Irish_sentiment

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    5. Sure, but that also applied to Scotland as well at that time.

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  7. Actually I think its got even more relevance. One of the reasons that I wasn't sure how to respond to Michael White was because of all the abusive comments that were being thrown about. In many ways White was being provoked, even if not by me directly. Cybernats as a phenomenon is in large part a result of this existing condescending attitude and the kind of manipulative politics of Unionism that goes hand in hand with it. I don't agree with the attitude that none of this matters because after independence it can all get sorted out. I think Nicola Sturgeon is right, it's something we have to address now and not put off to some future perfect state. She sets an example, especially on twitter.

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    1. I never see unionist politicians trying to calm down the SNP Pouters etc when they come out with their vile outpourings. You just need to have a look at some of the horrible comments below tweets of Nicola Sturgeon and Alex Salmond to see what a sham the old cybernat phenomenon. Yes, there are a number of abusive people on the Yes side, but I am pleased to see politicians on the Yes side actually appealing for some to desist.

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  8. So how much longer are we going to put up with this anti-Scottish BS from the London establishment media?

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  9. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PbZOVKbdSYM
    Have a quick look.

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  10. When I bothered with the establishment media White was always a bit of a joke. Someone the Beeb could wheel on to their paper reviews and be trusted to say the 'right things' even though he was clearly utterly clueless about scottish politics and a great deal else.

    The Guardian's reputation has nosedived since Nick Davies (and it was pretty much a one man job) exposed the corruption at the heart of Fleet Street's 'finest'. Rusbridger has done some truly shameful things in regard to Wikileaks while the tabloidisation of the Guardian has proceeded with a speed even those who predicted it find pretty damn funny.

    So what you have in White is basically a rent-a-gob no different to the pitiful Piers Morgan. Desperate for clickbait and always ready to please his establishment masters in the hopes of a shiny bauble or reward.

    Speaking of poodles, I must say I'm vastly amused by the spectacle on Lib Dem Pravda of the wholesale culling of comment and anything overly critical of Clegg's ostrich faction and indeed the lying smearer Carmichael.

    Looks very like Carmichael and/or Rennie have been on the phone and warned the supine lapdogs 'in charge' of LDV that dissent will not be tolerated. (yet again)

    No wonder the voter holds Clegg's ostrich faction in such utter contempt.

    There will be no way back for them in scotland if they persist in their odious Orwellian 'methods' while relying on a pair of liars like Rennie and Carmichael to be the face of their party. Be certain of that.

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  11. As a military child of English/Scots parents, I got the wonderful experience of bigoted racism from both sides, growing up. It's a depressing part of the British psyche that I doubt we'll ever grow out of.

    Whether it's the Tory Toff/Eton bigotry we see in the comments on this site, or the constant 'Jock Sponger' comments on somewhere like Guido.

    I guess hatred needs a target to latch on to.

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    1. I'm not sure if it's inevitable at all. It seems to always be worse where different groups inhabit the same state. interesting that apart from the UK, one of the worst offenders was the Austro-Hungarian Empire where the German Austrians felt superior to the others and tried to impose the German language and culture on all the other (sounds familiar?) You see it today in Turkish attitudes to the Kurds and also in the banning of Kurdish language and culture.

      I personally think we need to be more aware that it's not human nature its an integral part of how dominant nations with such states try to impose one dominant culture over the others by belittling all other cultures. The Wiki article on anti Irish prejudice says it goes right back to the Tudors and was used to justify English domination over Ireland.

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    2. Very good points, I guess it's more common in Europe than I tend to imagine. I know it's bad in Africa, Berber/Taureg, Yoruba/Igbo etc. I used to have to tread very carefully with some people.

      Britain has got a lot better though. I grew up Scots in the 70s, and the anti-English bigotry back then was pretty intense. These days it's much better, barring a few hateful frothers.

      It was the same in England, mind. That's probably why I don't like Nationalism much, of any stripe.

      That and a lifetime of travel. The most racist people in my village growing up are the ones who never left and are still there, wearing a groove into a barstool while they spit bile about their enemy...

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    3. "the Tory Toff/Eton bigotry we see in the comments on this site"

      Yes, for pity's sake, people, let's stop persecuting the vulnerable.

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    4. Or indeed just stop that kind of stuff altogether. That was the point of your post, I'm guessing? You may be partisan, but you don't strike me as the 'it's ok when we do it' kind of person.

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    5. I just don't think there's any comparison. Old Etonians are not a national minority, or an ethnic minority. They are, however, a tiny minority that gets to rule the country, and they also have their fabulous wealth to comfort them in the face of any (ahem) "bigotry".

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    6. In response to Alex's comment above, it is quite correct to suggest that certain attitudes towards the Irish were very long-standing (the Gaelic Irish in particular, but the English-Irish who had gone over after the Conquest of Ireland in the 12th century and had adopted some Gaelic practices came in for it as well).

      In this, many 16th century English officials went on about how backward Ireland supposedly was, taking their lead from the 12th century monk/scholar, Gerald of Wales. Gerald had, for example, gone on (at length) about the 'beastly' inauguration ceremonies held when new high kings or lords were put in place. He also, critically, wrote of how fertile Ireland was and how much it could produce if 'in the right hands'. When the next wave of Englishmen arrived in the 16th century they used the first point (backwardness of the inhabitants) to suggest why it was only right that they were the ones who got to take advantage of Ireland's fertility.

      So, just to agree, goes back a long way.....

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  12. Disappointing, I wouldn't have put you down as that type of person. Live and learn, I guess.

    We're all a product of the various accidents that make up our birth. I doubt you'd be such a fervent Scottish Nationalist if you were born in Argentina, for example. And my Scottishness is as basically an accident of my parents military schedule. I just missed out on being born in Singapore, and wasn't far off being German.

    On the point of these vile English aristos though, unless someone is a *very* precocious child, the choice to put them in Eton would usually be one for the parents. And probably before they were born, too. Seems a strange thing to base your disdain on.

    There are a bunch of things that are outside our control. Race, Nationality, Family and Childhood are usually on the list, so being bigoted against someone for something they had no control over is generally a pretty unsavoury trait.

    The fact is that in the great genetic sweepstakes of life, they drew a lucky ticket : they don't need our sympathy, but it doesn't say much for us if all we can offer them is bile.

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    1. "That sort of person"? And what sort of person would that be, pray? If this concern about "bigotry" isn't an affectation, I'd suggest the first thing you need to do is stop pigeon-holing people. You casually accused a number of commenters here of bigotry, as if that was something that could be just taken as read - I don't think that's good enough, quite frankly.

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    2. I assumed this and the other posts were a joke post since they are so utterly preposterous.

      However, the cure for ignorance is always accurate and factual information so I'll be amused to see a similar style of attack against the vile bigotry, racism and bile of the Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission.

      "The Social Mobility and Child Poverty Commission said its study of the social background of those “running Britain” was the most detailed of its kind ever undertaken and showed that elitism was so embedded in Britain “that it could be called ‘social engineering’”.

      http://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/2014/aug/28/elitism-in-britain-breakdown-by-profession

      https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/elitist-britain

      How very dare they.! Why don't they just stop that kind of stuff altogether. They must be full of that sort of person. Etcetera.


      LOL


      I suspect I hit a nerve laughing at LDV James. Got very thin skins over there while they are in the midst of banning people and mass censoring posts. At least it keeps them busy between the smearing and lying though. ;-D

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    3. The sort of person who doesn't mind bigoted abuse, provided it's aimed at English people whose parents sent them to public school?

      And not an affectation, no. As I said, half English, half Scots and grew up in the 70's, so I've had a wonderful education in bigotry from both sides.

      As for the commenters thing, I suppose we can go and pick up quotes if you like ("Lying, Quisling Shits" was a lovely one that caught my eye on this site from one of your regulars), but it seems like a lot of work for little reward, especially given we both know you tend to be quite dogged and don't give an inch when you are arguing.

      Bigotry, bile and hatred directed at *any* part of society is not a good thing, and the tendency of people to give tacit support of that is what I thought you were criticising in your blog post.

      Guess not.

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    4. Oh, how tediously predictable - right on cue comes the totally unfounded and deeply offensive claims of anti-Englishness. I think you'll find that calling me a Nazi is the next part of the repertoire.

      I won't say I didn't think you were "that sort of person", but I did think you came across as "better than that".

      Oh well, live and learn.

      Sad.

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    5. Touche, sir.
      You are correct, please replace 'English' with 'Rich' and accept my apology, you've never shown any anti-English sentiment that I've seen. (indeed nobody on this site has, not even Mick). So that would not be a fair accusation at all.

      You do seem to be dodging around the point though.

      Either you don't think abuse of these people is bigotry, or you do think it's bigotry but you're ok with that because it's their own fault for being born to rich people.

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    6. 'The fact is that in the great genetic sweepstakes of life, they drew a lucky ticket'

      Eh? Are you suggesting that it's some genetic superioriy that ensures that toffs & Etonians win life's lottery? I always assumed it was the 'accident' of wealth & privilege plus the educational network they're signed up to from birth that did the trick. If you've got some notion of these people being bred rather than born to rule, I'd be fascinated to hear it.

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    7. No, quite the opposite.

      I'm saying that none of us get to choose our families, nationalities or anything else. You or I could just as easily have been born in a Nigerian slum, in fact we're both incredibly lucky, compared to the average person alive today.

      Those guys were just even luckier than we were.

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    8. James isn't avoiding the point. Your point amounts to the same old anti -independence slurs we've all heard a thousand times before. What have you got that's fresh?

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  13. Actually, scratch that. I don't believe I'm seriously trying to get someone on the internet to concede a point and admit they are wrong.

    You're certainly not going to have some miraculous epiphany and suddenly agree with me, so unless I've contracted masochism, I should probably start enjoying my evening again and go back to shooting things (ironically given our discussions, Nazi's. Wolfenstein xpac).

    Have a great evening etc.

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    1. I. for one, identify quite closely with your ideas. Hope you keep contributing.

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  14. Well as an anglophile half English Scot with an English husband friends etc I had a few hellish comments during my 10 years in England in the 90s...Being regaled with greetings like "ocht it's Jimmy Connolly (sic ) when you've just put your hand out to greet someone new goes right to the core of the being. Less personal stuff like the ubiquitous substitution of British for English in casual conversation wounds and frustrates when it comes from unsuspecting English friends. I think we've got a very long way to go before we can generally be accused of bigotry on anywhere near the same scale. It's the old....white people are racist too...or women can be sexist...argument. Now there's a topic!

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