Friday, April 17, 2009

The dark heart of nationalism : personal pronouns

Oooh, nationalism. It has to be said that, even as a nationalist myself, I appear to have a weak understanding of the concept. Fortunately, some of my fellow nationalists, especially British nationalists such as the self-styled Alpha Male of Scottish political blogging AM2, possess much greater self-awareness on the matter than I do, and are fearless in exposing the narrowness, pettiness and frankly sheer utter evilness of the philosophy they have espoused all their lives. AM2's latest courageous piece of self-reflection on the subject is somewhat startling - it appears that the "divisive essence of all nationalism" lies in the seemingly mundane use of the words 'we' and 'they'. I must admit the malevolence of personal pronouns had never occurred to me before, and it'll be fascinating over the days and weeks to come observing how non-nationalist politicians - devoid as they are of divisive essences - simply never utter the words 'we' and 'they'.

In other matters, AM2 notes that Alex Salmond should "respect the law" and allow the UK government to build new nuclear power stations in Scotland. And I'm sure just as soon as we see a court order confirming that, contrary to all popular belief, the Scottish government do not in fact possess a clear-cut statutory power to reject new-build nuclear at the planning stage, he will do.

AM2 - nationalism, pronouns, and a complete reinvention of the law, all in the space of about 100 words. I salute you, sir.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Cybernit to Lard Jorge - we lake U reely

Speaking as a one-time 'belligerent' on the Scotsman and Herald boards (how else could I have become quite so versed in the ways of a certain Alpha Male?) I must say I'm nothing but delighted when Lord George Foulkes goes into so much detail about his dislike of the 'Cybernats' - it leaves you in no doubt that he must waste a fair bit of his precious time reading contributions from the likes of me. Always nice to know one's labours have not been in vain! But especially interesting to see today that one of his biggest bugbears appears (weirdly) to be the fact that the aforementioned Cybernats don't always use the correct grammar or spelling.

But, come on George, you and I both know the pivotal question here. Are they doing it deliberately?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

'Iain Macwhirter - journalist and blogger'

Quite amusing after all the venom that's been directed at Iain Macwhirter as a result of his denunciation of the blogosphere that when he appeared on Newsnight Scotland tonight the caption read "Iain Macwhirter - journalist and blogger". Gordon Brewer also went out of his way at the start to say "he also writes for his own blog" which led to something of a startled reaction from Macwhirter. I can't remember him ever being introduced in such a way on television - was someone on the programme staff making mischief?

Monday, April 13, 2009

God save us from the wrong national anthem

With apologies in advance to Montague Burton, this is indeed a post about Scotland's sensational triumph earlier today at the World Curling Championships in Canada. But before everyone looks away, what it's really about is the fact that in honour of the victory, the event organisers played that well-known Scottish national anthem God Save the Queen at the closing ceremony! But I'm thrilled to see a couple of Canadian blogs were as quick as anyone to express dismay at this blunder.

Of course, technically speaking it wasn't a mistake - dirge though it is, God Save the Queen is the official anthem of the whole United Kingdom, so it's just as logical to use it for a Scottish curling rink as it is for the England football team. But of course the organisers should really have played the anthem requested by the national governing body in question - and if by any chance the Royal Caledonian Curling Club did sanction God Save the Queen, then some very serious questions need to be asked!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Sign off with Salmond

As I sign off from this ever more surreal debate about firearms legislation, I think I'll leave the last word to our current First Minister, or more specifically his contributions to the post-Dunblane parliamentary debates way back in 1996 -

"People were, rightly, touched by the Dunblane tragedy and that feeling has hardened into a determination to try to prevent that sort of tragedy from happening again. Everyone who argues that case realises that there can be no absolute guarantees, but we can move the boundary somewhat and make it less likely that such a tragedy will happen again. That makes the case for a complete ban on handguns."

"No system of checking, however rigorous, can prevent every unsuitable person from gaining access to guns. It has been said in the debate that the police made mistakes, as if that were an argument against a complete ban on the civilian use of handguns. The fact that the police make mistakes is one of the arguments for such a ban. No system of checking is foolproof and any system that depends on people is essentially flawed in that human beings, including the police, make mistakes."

"We should start from the principle that no one should own a handgun and only then should we discuss the exceptions. The position adopted by the Japanese in this respect is enlightening. In that whole country, there are 58 handgun licences. Hon. Members will be aware of the Home Office statistics, which point to some correlation between the number of legal firearms in circulation and the incidence of firearm homicide."

"The hon. Member for Strathkelvin and Bearsden (Mr. Galbraith), in an interesting speech, made the reasonable point that one cannot prove anything absolutely through international comparisons. One comparison should, however, be introduced into the debate. In the United States, which has some of the most lax gun legislation, there are 27 times as many firearm killings per million than in the United Kingdom. In Japan, where the basic principle is no handguns, the killings number one eighth of the UK total. For all the differences in culture and experience in the international comparisons, those figures are very compelling."

"If any lesson is to be learnt from Thomas Hamilton's actions, it is surely that rapid-fire weapons are the most deadly. Hamilton fired a hail of 106 bullets in a matter of seconds--that damage from a handgun should surely never be allowed again. Of course hon. Members have a point when they say that a madman could take a machete or another weapon and try to inflict damage, but few other weapons can inflict the carnage of a rapid-fire handgun."

Not for the first (or last) time, Alex Salmond says just about everything I would ever want to say - and he says it far, far better.