ALEX Salmond has mounted an outspoken defence of Scots Makar Liz Lochhead, who has faced calls to resign after announcing publicly she had joined the SNP.
There is something very curious about the British nationalist attitude to the SNP. Can you imagine that they would have made any fuss at all had Liz Lochhead joined one of the British parties? Of course they wouldn’t! So we have to ask ourselves what it is about the SNP which makes it so unacceptably “other” in the eyes of these british nationalists.
It cannot be the nature of the party itself. As political parties in these islands go, the SNP is a model of democratic openness and accountability.
It cannot be that the SNP is seen as some kind of fringe party. It is not only an established party of government, it is also by far the largest party in Scotland. And, indeed, the third largest party in the UK.
It cannot be because the party embraces some extreme ideology. The SNP’s platform is an entirely reasonable mix of policies such as might be found in any social democratic party. One might disagree with some of those policies. But one could never sensibly describe them as extreme.
It surely cannot be the party’s commitment to independence. After all, this too is no more than a perfectly reasonable constitutional position founded on a right to self-determination that the British state has already conceded. Again, one might hold a contrary position on the constitutional question, but so long as one allowed that the matter could only be settled according to the will of the people of Scotland, would be obliged to acknowledge that both options were legitimate political aims.
The clue to why British nationalists regard the SNP with a mixture of contempt and horror is, perhaps, to be found in the fact that, while it is impossible to imagine any outrage had Liz Lochhead joined one of the British parties, it is almost as easy to imagine such a fuss being made had she joined the SSP or the Scottish Greens.
The main thing that these parties have in common, aside from their support for independence, is that they are distinctly and unmistakably Scottish. They are Scottish parties. And THAT is the root of British nationalist objections. Because, in the context of British nationalist ideology, nothing that is distinctly Scottish can ever be quite proper. To the British nationalist mind, that which is distinctly Scottish is unquestionably inferior, and deeply suspect.
Liz Lochhead is being slated because she has done something which is “just not British”.
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