Friday, October 30, 2015

Purity tests are EVEL

You might have seen by now that some of the Usual Suspects (David Torrance, Chris Deerin, etc) are drooling over a blogpost by the Yes voter Dan Vevers, in which pro-independence users of social media are castigated in a depressingly familiar way (the only thing missing is the word Cybernat).  First of all, if someone wants to make a complaint about inappropriate comments on the internet, I'm not sure it's terribly helpful or logically consistent to refer to the people responsible for those comments as "idiots" - especially when the examples given are far from clear-cut...

"Surely if you’re implicitly against the idea of Scotland being a nation, then you are by definition anti-Scottish?"

That's a point of view I don't particularly agree with, but I don't think the person who said it is an idiot. I would imagine that if the policy of the European Commission was to totally end the sovereignty of Westminster and assimilate Britain into a nation called Europe, they might well find themselves being called "anti-British" by the right-wing press, and I doubt if that would even raise too many eyebrows. Scotland isn't Buckinghamshire - for most people it's a nation or it's nothing, and it can seem a little disingenuous for an individual to claim that their commitment to Scotland is entirely separate from their views on the way it should be governed. Most nations are independent, and most nations that aren't independent either have very high levels of autonomy (like Quebec or Catalonia) or have seen their identity eroded severely (like Tibet, or some of the English-speaking parts of Wales). In our case, we were insulated from what should have been the inevitable effects of an incorporating union by the preservation of Scots Law, a separate education system, a different established church (not so important now, but it was until a few decades ago), and administrative devolution from 1885 onwards. All of these are concrete constitutional factors - a nation can't survive forever as a state of mind, no matter how much some people used to pretend it could in the pre-devolution days.

Apparently this particular tweet was referring to the controversy ignited by JK Rowling's provocative comments after the Scotland v Australia quarter-final in the Rugby World Cup. For my part, I don't doubt Rowling's sincerity as a Scotland supporter, but I do think there's a bit of cognitive dissonance there. Many No campaigners (ironically including Scott Hastings) pointed to the British and Irish Lions, and to Team GB in the Olympics, as shining examples of how Britain is better when it comes together. And, indeed, the logic of their position is that Scotland should not normally have its own representation in international sport. The governing bodies of most sports do not allow non-sovereign nations to represent themselves, as I discovered at the World Gymnastics Championships last night, and indeed at the Davis Cup last month. Rugby is one of a relatively small number of exceptions to the general rule, due to the historical accident of the British Isles being the cradle of the sport. So it just seems a little odd to my eyes that Rowling and Hastings should be so passionate about the anomaly of a Scottish rugby team, which goes against the general principle that they fought so strongly for last year.

Dan Vevers also goes seriously wrong with his musings on EVEL, which he seems to think the SNP and online Yes supporters are hypocrites for opposing. Yes, the SNP have a long-standing policy of abstaining on English-only matters, and yes, they have only made a very few exceptions to that rule. But the point is that they, as British MPs with the same rights as any other British MPs, chose both the policy and the exceptions for themselves. As representatives of their constituents, they decided when there was a significant indirect impact on Scotland, which is always a danger in a system of asymmetrical devolution where Westminster retains total sovereignty and the level of Scottish public spending is a "by-product" of domestic English decisions. Until that system is reformed, Scottish MPs must have the right to make the judgement call, rather than having it made on their behalf by John Bercow, or by two "senior" English MPs advising John Bercow. The moment that English MPs can vote to change Scottish public spending without any possibility of Scottish democratic input is the moment that a genuine "union" has been replaced by a quasi-colonial relationship.

Dan also says this -

"the Tories promised EVEL in their manifesto and won a majority, meaning they have as clear a mandate to put it into law as the SNP did to call the independence referendum in 2011"

No, no, no. That totally misunderstands the nature of liberal democracy, which doesn't allow the rights of minorities and individuals to be trumped by majority rule (if you can even call a 37% vote "majority rule"). The extreme example I always give is that you can't say it's perfectly OK to strip Jews of their voting rights, just because you've held a referendum and the majority voted for that. If the English electorate wants independence for England, that's fine - that's a decision for England alone, just as Scottish independence was a decision for Scotland alone. But what they can't reasonably do is vote to both maintain the United Kingdom, and partly disenfranchise Scotland within the United Kingdom parliament.

There's also some stuff about Tommy Sheridan and Hope Over Fear, which I'm always reluctant to pass comment on, because my instinct is to defend Tommy, but in all honesty I've long since lost track of exactly what it is certain people think is so irredeemably awful about him, and they don't even bother explaining anymore. Ostracising Tommy Sheridan is now a test of ideological purity, and you either pass it or you don't. It certainly sets alarm bells ringing in my mind that Dan prays in aid comments made by A Thousand Flowers, a hideously intolerant website that has its very own purity test about Stuart Campbell, who it crowned the "Weekly W***er" after his comments about transsexuality. Now, let me point out that I don't agree with RevStu on that subject - I think a person who identifies as a woman should be recognised as a woman. But I'm also someone who innocently forgets to call people by their married name for several years after they get married, so I don't have a lot of time for the view that people who casually uttered the name "Bradley Manning" or referred to her as "him" just days after the announcement was made should be regarded as sub-human. I also don't have much time for the view that people should be regarded as sub-human if they fail to instantly disassociate themselves from anyone who uses the wrong pronouns. In fact I'm not much into purity tests, on the whole.

* * *

Great news that Scottish Labour have proved less cowardly than their UK counterparts, and will debate Trident at their conference. As a result, it's perfectly possible that in a couple of days from now, Scottish Labour will be an anti-Trident party with a pro-Trident leader, while UK Labour will remain a pro-Trident party with an anti-Trident leader. That should make everything as clear as mud. It's a bit like the old joke about Roy Jenkins and David Steel (that they should have swapped parties, because Jenkins was a liberal leading the Social Democrats, and Steel was a social democrat leading the Liberals).

17 comments:

  1. It would be nice if people would stick to facts.

    Bradley manning is a MAN. Born a MAN and will die a MAN. No amount of PC handwringing and threats from SJWs will ever change that.

    And people are not free to demand that I conform to THEIR World view. Bruce Jenner. 1976 Olympic Decathlon champion and Father is not a woman either.

    Thinking that you are female while being male is a psychological condition. Treating it with major surgery is a bit daft.

    And in the new Scotland can we please have the Death Penalty for people who use GENDER instead of SEX? There is no excuse!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No excuse for what? Using a word in a completely natural and reasonable way?

      Delete
  2. Glasgow Working ClassOctober 30, 2015 at 10:37 PM

    We should have the death sentence for people who eat cereal. I have to eat my cereal and agree with Anon the knobend. If you are born with a willy and the bawbag tae scratch then you are a male. I am sure the bawbag Anon is scratching just now.

    ReplyDelete
  3. There are more anon's than one wanting that prick to eat his cereal. However James, you leave us at a disadvantage if you tell him to eat it first. Give someone else a chance.

    He's slow on the uppy though, you'd think he would have somewhere else to go every night than here. Must be someone who gives a toss what he thinks.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I do wish people would stop alluding to Scottish Labour. They are the accounting branch of the British Labour party in Scotland. Any airy-fairy ideas of autonomy entertained by Ms.Dugdale will be squashed by London. Kezia will do what any good little dug does,roll over and play dead when told.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glasgow Working ClassOctober 30, 2015 at 11:35 PM

      Anon, yer Nat si Mps will roll over eventually and scratch their baws and that includes the wummin. Cannot wait for the first Nat si to enter the Lords. Oops.

      Delete
    2. Eat your cereal { preferably with strychnine as a side dish }

      Delete
  5. Glasgow Working ClassOctober 30, 2015 at 11:30 PM

    Anon, and here wis me thinking you were James or Susan. Scratch yer Baws.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Eat your cereal.

      Delete
    2. Glasgow Working ClassOctober 30, 2015 at 11:42 PM

      Jool's is oan now so scratch yer baws.

      Delete
  6. GWC: A balanced diet is essential for all round health purposes (as is moderate exercise).

    Now away and munch yir purridge and scratch yir nether regions.

    ReplyDelete
  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Great article. Gwc is getting very tedious, ban them?

    I voted yes for both polls. Like others I thought the word ostracise a bit strong.

    Anyway, T. Sheridan I suspect is sincere, but given what the establishment and corp media have been attempting with SNP MP's, it would not be good to have him onboard in any significant way. He made some good speeches and meetings before the Indy Ref, and likely made some people more aware of the whole idea and what it would mean for Scotland and how they have been shafted by various colour of tories for a long, long time.

    So yes to the EU, for now, and for TS to be working in the background, keeping a low profile, sorry to say.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glasgow Working ClassOctober 31, 2015 at 8:12 PM

      You and big Tam would get on well. Just ban anyone you disagree with. You should have gone and watched 'Tommy' in the Pavilion. Rosie Kane playing herself.

      Delete
    2. Eat your cereal.

      Delete