Wednesday, February 17, 2016

An important message from the radical left : 1) leave Emma Thompson alone, and 2) become a communist.

I think I may have just received my favourite ever response to one of my attempts at a semi-humorous tweet.  This is what I said -

"During the indyref, No campaign star Emma Thompson said she 'felt Scottish'. Now she's 'more European than English'. I'm confused."


And this was the reaction from radical left blogger Rory Scothorne (it came at the end of a long exchange, but it's what he was building up to from the start) -

"OK, point is: nationalism emerges when state-imposed nationality and popular national identity get out of sync; but it fails to resolve the tension, it just imposes a new nationality on people until that one no longer fits either. It never works. And your refusal to tolerate the idea of multiple, overlapping and fluid national identities is symptomatic of that failure. I'd strongly recommend becoming a communist, it will fix these problems."

My reply was : "Your point is complex and a bit bonkers. My point is simpler : Thompson was changing her tune to suit her audience. I'm not entirely convinced your point has anything to do with my point. By the way, I'll consider your suggestion of becoming a communist, although I'm quite attached to democracy for some reason."

With impeccable - if probably unintentional - comic timing, Rory then thanked me for telling him about my "strange ideas", and bade me goodnight.

I have to admit that it's much more fun having debates with proper left-wingers than with an "international socialist" like Duncan Hothersall.  He never momentarily strikes me dumb by going all Marxist-Leninist on me!

23 comments:

  1. Not sure why 'I feel Scottish' and 'I feel more European than English' are contradictory. Thompson might indeed be changing her tune to suit her audience, but that doesn't mean that you can't coherently take her stated position.

    I'm not sure I agree with his analysis of 'when nationalism emerges' but multiple and fluid, overlapping identities are pretty common: and becoming more so in these post-colonialist times.

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    1. "Not sure why 'I feel Scottish' and 'I feel more European than English' are contradictory."

      Do you mean they're not contradictory in some ultra-literal sense? Of course they're not. But is "more European than English" the most natural formulation for someone who was waxing lyrical about how Scottish she felt only a couple of years ago? Nope, I don't think it is. I think she gave herself away at an unguarded moment. She could just as easily have said "more European than British", for example.

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  2. hmmm, fair enough.

    Doubt it changed many votes. When David Beckham came out for the No campaign, people just laughed.

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  3. Wings over Scotland did a post on "feeling Scottish" yesterday (which the FT reports as declining) and came to the conclusion that

    "It’s one of the great ironies that the No campaign actually brought about a substantial decrease in Scottish nationalism, yet by doing so it caused support for Scottish independence – finally freed from the fanatic fringe – to grow dramatically and build a political powerbase that swept away the Labour Party in Scotland and is now the dominant force and theme of Scottish politics."

    I think the Rev's case is that the current support for the SNP and independence is political and civil rather than ethnic, but that ethnic nationalism is alive and well on the Britnat side.

    As to Emma Thompson, she is evidently relaxed enough in her national identity to have several simultaneously overlapping, as many of us do. You correctly point out that she identifies fundamentally as English rather than British, but she is relaxed enough about this not to make an overtly nationalist point. For many English people as we know, English and British are more or less the same thing.

    Best I think to have people thinking less about ethnicity and more about the political makeup of the country they want to live in, and in that I have a lot of sympathy for her views.

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    1. Generally agree, although I think the Ethnic Nationalists on both sides are more common that people would like to make out. Some of them are just hiding behind Civic Nationalism in the same way Creationists hide behind 'Intelligent Design'.

      Personally I manage to be Scottish, English, British, European, Culturally Protestant and a confirmed Atheist without feeling any conflict. Culture and history are only the blocks upon which you are built, they do not define you unless you allow them to.

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    2. I notice Anon that in your list of personal identifiers you have missed out, the world/earth, the solar system, the galaxy, the universe. Why is this? I would also recognise myself in those with the exception of "English" as I used to write them on the back of my primary school jotters when I was about 10 years old. Am I a bad person?

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    3. Am I a bad person?

      You might be, I don't think we've met. Probably not though, I find most people are pretty decent, although my time in Nigeria did dent my faith in humanity a bit, I'm sad to say.

      I suppose I could add in all those others, but given they apply to every person on the planet it would be a tad redundant, no?

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  4. Thompson is a Brit-nat Unionist but likes the EU. I am sure she is not the only one. It does at time seem like an oxymoron. Where is the dividing line?

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    1. These definitions are admittedly hard to pin down, but I'd define a Brit-Nat as someone who proclaims British sovereignty both upwards and downwards, i.e. claiming it downwards over the countries of the UK, but refusing also to accept it coming downwards from the EU.

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  5. Glasgow Working ClassFebruary 17, 2016 at 12:01 PM

    Those Marxist-Leninists are something else plotting the overthrow of capitalism whilst supporting capitalist Russia. Emma Thompson I thought would be a natural Yes however politics is fickle. And lets face it the Nat sis are deep down anti Royalist and NATO but the hypoctites voted to retain them.

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  6. The only natsy party we have in this country (with any power) is the one currently executing their version of the final solution from wastemonster.

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  7. Thompson must have thought it would benefit her somehow, to be anti independence, while going all sentimental about feeling Scottish. It may not be to her benefit to be taken out of the EU, as with many well off people. It will be harder to travel, buy property abroad and generally do business.

    During the Indy Ref, I met a staunch no labour guy at the polling station when on duty, and he was adamant we should stay in the EU, reckoned a YES would take us out.
    He has a house in S of France and they spend 6 months there every year, alright for some.

    Not only did he have a vote on Scotland's future, and our kids' futures, while only living in Scotland half the time, but he liked to have his cake and eat it by travelling freely and owning property in a neighbouring EU country. If we are dragged out of the EU, I wonder what he will think of his choices then.

    In fact, I would not be surprised if many well offs, move lock stock and barrel to EU countries, leaving the rest to suffer under an ever more extreme right wing regime, which may well be scrapping the human rights act. Would there be an exodus before the official exit? Would the millions of English immigrants living abroad be applying for citizenship of the country the now live in? Why would they want to be sent back to dysfunctional, racist, unequal, corrupt britain (england).

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  8. Ah yes,the old Politics Sans Frontiers mob where there are no boundaries which delineate separate identities and consequently no politics and one government under God (or some other deity).
    Usually we find that this "philosophy" only applies to Scotland being part of Greater England for some reason.
    Strange that.

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  9. Glasgow Working ClassFebruary 17, 2016 at 8:37 PM

    Nat si Fiona Hyslop thinks the BBC should not be telling people in Scotland that junior doctors in England are striking. Maybe the idiot thinks we should not be told China is militarising the South China sea and threatening trade routes. Are you Nat sis for real!
    Just give us endless repeats of River City Fiona.

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    1. Actually, I suspect Fiona Hyslop would say the Scottish Six should devote rather more time to events in the South China Sea, and rather less to the English health service.

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    2. Glasgow Working ClassFebruary 17, 2016 at 9:44 PM

      I doubt Hyslop in her narrow nat si mind knows what has been going on in the South China Sea .

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  10. European is not a nationality,neither is British. Europe is a region of complex and individual states. Britain is a nation state. You cannot be British as a stand alone nationality. You are English or Scottish etc, but live in a shared region called Britain or the UK.

    So what we are really talking about is primary nationality. A French European. Is a Frenchman who's nation France is within the wider area known as Europe. The overlap is not a dual nationality it's a political and geographical fact. There is no such thing as a European or British nation. One is geographical local and the other is a political Union of nationalities.

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  11. European is not a nationality,neither is British. Europe is a region of complex and individual states. Britain is a nation state. You cannot be British as a stand alone nationality. You are English or Scottish etc, but live in a shared region called Britain or the UK.

    So what we are really talking about is primary nationality. A French European. Is a Frenchman who's nation France is within the wider area known as Europe. The overlap is not a dual nationality it's a political and geographical fact. There is no such thing as a European or British nation. One is geographical local and the other is a political Union of nationalities.

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    1. What a bizzare piece of selective logic.

      Scotland and England are themselves hegemonic regions comprised of pre-existing countries.

      I wish you well in your campaign to restore the ancient Kingdoms of Moray, Orkney and Strathclyde, cruelly colonised by the foul Imperialists of the Scottish Hegemony. Or maybe Dal Riata instead? Although given they came from Ireland we should probably punt them back home as well.
      So I'm guessing what you really want is some kind of tribal Pictish setup.

      Someone should tell David Francis so he can start campaigning for blood tests to deny the vote to non-Picts in the next referendum. He'll love that.

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  12. Oh dear completely missing the point.

    Europe has never claimed to be a nation, Britain has or some people have claimed it to be. So you can be from the region known as europe without any national attachment. The same way a Canadian can be a North American. Politically the UK is the four nations that make it a polictical entity. Europe is not a United area but the UK is. However united does not mean unitory.

    As for the guff about ancient regions of Scotland. Get a grip, this is just mischief making and arguing for the sake of being contrary.

    How you then got onto the picts and blood and soil from a description of facts is beyond me. Only in your tiny unionist mind did you get to that conclusion. As far as I can see it's the old Britain = good , Scotland = narrow minded lazy thinking.

    Yes Scotland is open to all unlike your Anglo Saxon Union Jackery.

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