I joined a pro-independence, social democratic party. I did not - knowingly at least - join a party that is first and foremost an identity politics collective.— James Kelly (@JamesKelly) February 2, 2021
‘Knowingly’ has done me in. https://t.co/O13zS7styO— alexmassie (@alexmassie) February 2, 2021
Let's hope so.— James Kelly (@JamesKelly) February 2, 2021
I must confess that was a bit of a generic response, because although Alex clearly felt he'd said something utterly hilarious, I didn't actually have a clue what he was getting at. It wasn't until I read through some of the replies that I twigged that the implied punchline was supposed to be "He joined a nationalist party without realising he'd joined an identity politics collective! Ho ho ho!" It's a bit like that moment when a Brexiteer who isn't used to talking to actual Scottish people says "You say you're in favour of 'independence' and you want to be run from Brussels?" as if that's some sort of killer argument that we've never been exposed to before, or indeed when a Westminster Tory brings up the possibility of Shetlandic independence and says "Gotcha! You never thought of that one, did you?"
It's like: guys, were you not listening when we first explained these things to you in 1957?
mental how folk in a literal nationalist party are railing against identity politics with a straight face lol https://t.co/tPRnypYe6Z— Usman Akhtar 🏴 (@usmanakhtar00) February 2, 2021
Usman, your bio says you're a Scottish nationalist. Does that mean SNP? If so, you do realise we're a party of civic nationalists, don't you? It's not identity, it's not blood and soil, it's about everyone living here having a stake no matter where they come from.— James Kelly (@JamesKelly) February 2, 2021
Hi James, quick question; what does the S in SNP stand for?— Dr Magnus Jamieson (@magnus_jamieson) February 2, 2021
You did notice the bit where I said "pro-independence", yeah? Great, Dr Magnus, well done.— James Kelly (@JamesKelly) February 3, 2021
“Identity” is literally in the name. It’s right there!— Dr Magnus Jamieson (@magnus_jamieson) February 3, 2021
Magnus, I'm worried about you. You claim to have a PhD and yet you don't appear to know what "literally" means. If the word "identity" is "literally" in the name, where is the letter "I" in "SNP"?— James Kelly (@JamesKelly) February 3, 2021
Is he suggesting that only people who identify as "Scottish" should be members?— Stiùbhart Mac Cearbhaill 🏴🇮🇪 (@quaichmaker) February 3, 2021
Do individuals need to be Scottish to join the SNP?— Will Clem 😷 (@uilleam_beag) February 3, 2021
What do you think in means to be “Scottish”? Is that or is that not an identity?— Dr Magnus Jamieson (@magnus_jamieson) February 3, 2021
I'll talk you through this because you seem to be struggling. The word "Scottish" is in this case being applied to an organisation, not an individual, and thus the name simply means "National Party of Scotland" - which, uncoincidentally, was the exact name of the original party.— James Kelly (@JamesKelly) February 3, 2021
What is a nationality, James?— Dr Magnus Jamieson (@magnus_jamieson) February 3, 2021
What is a penguin, Magnus?— James Kelly (@JamesKelly) February 3, 2021
As you can see, many of the brickbats were coming from my own side, and I do wonder if the "trendies" had properly thought through their line of attack on this occasion. They'd normally be the first to point out that the Scottish independence movement isn't about nationalism in the traditional sense, but they somehow found themselves arguing the complete opposite of that because it was a convenient way of normalising and legitimising the prominent existence of other forms of identity politics within the SNP.
I spent an inordinate amount of time yesterday pointing out that people were attempting to put words in my mouth, by treating my "identity politics collective" tweet as if it was somehow an attack on "equalities" or "the protection of minorities". That is plainly and simply untrue - in fact, I'd go further than that, it's an outrageous slur. It's self-evidently the case that legal and social equality is achievable without identity politics dominating our lives - indeed arguably the way we'll know that equality has been more or less achieved is if identity politics melts away. However, there's clearly an ongoing debate about what equality would actually look like for trans people, and being on one side or the other of that debate does not mean someone is opposed to equality, it's just a difference of perception.
Oh but wait - there is "no debate to be had". Anyone who think there is a debate to be had is a "transphobe". Isn't that right, Patrick Harvie? That kind of extremist logic lies behind most of the bogus allegations of transphobia that are chucked around on a daily basis.