I've belatedly caught up with the blogpost Jason McCann wrote a couple of days ago in response to the eye-opening exchange I had with him and a couple of his friends from Ireland, which revealed the path of 'revolution' that they would like the Scottish pro-independence movement to go down. Having had a quick skim through Jason's post, I wasn't going to bother responding, because it mostly covers ground that I've already dealt with in my own blogpost about the exchange. However, I should have realised that Jason wouldn't have been able to resist saying something outrageous and deeply offensive about me personally, and sure enough, on closer inspection there it was.
"One pro-independence blogger even went as far as saying that the suggestion that this might actually happen was 'incitement' on the part of those suggesting it. Entrenching himself in this assertion, he went on to imply that the Irish background and the religious beliefs of those suggesting it need further interrogation – because, you know, Irish Catholics are inherently violent."
That's only a very marginally more polite version of the allegation he repeatedly made on Saturday morning that I am an "anti-Irish, anti-Catholic bigot". I may as well just call a spade a spade here: of all the wild attacks that have been made on me over the years that I've been blogging, this is without doubt the most mind-bogglingly stupid one of all, because you only need to look at my name to guess with confidence that I am, just like Jason, a Roman Catholic of Irish decent. If you go back far enough, I don't have any Scottish ancestry at all as far as I'm aware - it seems to be three-quarters Irish and one-quarter French-Canadian, and even the French-Canadian bit is firmly Catholic. I still have relatives in Donegal, right on the edge of the Gaeltacht, that my family are vaguely in contact with - I visited them when I was nineteen, and they told me to my surprise that my dad used to spend his summers there.
Essentially Jason is accusing me of an extreme form of self-loathing. If he wants to make such an improbable charge stick, he'll have to flesh out what he thinks my motivations could possibly be.
Needless to say, Jason's claim that I "implied" that Irish people from my own religious denomination are "inherently violent" is a downright and intentional lie. All I did was state that Ireland has a recent history of political and communal violence and Scotland does not. That was simply a statement of plain, irrefutable truth, and it was not said to make anyone feel uncomfortable - although the fact that it seems to have had that effect on Jason may well be because of the sensitivities he feels over his current membership of a political party that supported violence during the Troubles. I don't criticise him for his affiliation - indeed, if I lived in Northern Ireland, it's not impossible that I'd vote for Sinn Féin myself (it would be a difficult choice between them and the SDLP). But if I did so, it would be in spite of their pre-1994 history, not because of it. I wonder if Jason can say the same? That's merely a question, but it's not an unreasonable one given the stridency of his views about Irish history and the cue that he believes Scotland should take from it.
The other obvious point here is that my reference to the fact of communal violence in recent Irish history cannot possibly be taken to imply a specific criticism of Catholics, because that violence was - as everyone knows - committed by both Catholics and Protestants.
The rest of Jason's post is basically a warning to us all not to be naive about the possibility of British state violence, and a reminder of the occasions when people in various countries have incorrectly thought "it couldn't happen again, it can't happen here". All I would say is that history is littered with people learning the wrong lessons from history. If you take Jason's strictures to their logical conclusion, you'd think that Germany is likely in the near future to elect a fascist government and invade Poland, just because it's happened once before.
Contrary to what Jason believes, I didn't actually 100% discount the possibility of future political violence in Scotland, but he might not like my verdict on how it would be most likely to happen. I think we'd only get into dangerous territory if we listen to the siren voices of those on the fringes who whip up paranoid hysteria about the supposedly murderous intentions of the British state, and who try to get us to respond to that "threat" by developing a "revolutionary consciousness".
There is a conventional political path available to us that can take us to our desired destination. Let's do ourselves a big favour by sticking to it.