LIFTED almost word for word from The Road to Wigan Pier by George Orwell, it is worth remembering during this season of ill-will just how poorly Scottish Nationalists really understand Scottish people. Despite a great many needs left unmet by the Scottish Government we never seem more than a few minutes away from another haughty and, let's face it, boorish speech by a member of this new Enlightenment.
It may be said, however, that even if the hysterical Twitter-trained Scottish Nationalist is not a working man himself, at least he is actuated by a love of the working class. He is endeavouring to shed his British status and fight on the side of the Scots — that, obviously, must be his motive. But is it?
Sometimes I look at a Nationalist — the intellectual, trope-writing type of Nationalist, with his tweed waistcoat, his weirdy beard, and his social justice quotation — and wonder what the devil his motive really is? It is often difficult to believe that it is a love of anybody, especially of Scotland, from whom he is of all people the furthest removed. The underlying motive of many Nationalists, I believe, is simply a hypertrophied sense of grievance. The present state of affairs offends them not because it causes misery, still less because it makes freedom impossible, but because it is diverse; what they desire, basically, is to reduce the world to something resembling a clan.
Take the head bobbing rants of a lifelong Nationalist like Sturgeon. How much understanding or even awareness of working-class life do they display? Sturgeon herself declares she is against austerity; in practice she doesn’t even tackle the slum housing and filth of her own constituency. At best her attitude to the working class is sniggering, in more serious moments she finds them merely contemptible and disgusting. Poverty and, what is more, the habits of mind created by poverty, are something to be abolished from above, by new laws if necessary; perhaps even preferably by new laws to govern when and how much they can drink and how they raise their children.
The truth is that, to many people calling themselves Nationalists, independence does not mean a movement of the masses with which they hope to associate themselves; it means a set of reforms away from Westminster which ‘we’, the clever ones, are going to impose upon ‘them’, the Lower Orders.
On the other hand, it would be a mistake to regard the Twitter-trained Nationalist as a bloodless creature entirely incapable of emotion. Though seldom giving much evidence of affection for the exploited, he is perfectly capable of displaying hatred — a sort of ecogenderqueer, fanatical, in vacua hatred — against the exploiters. Hence the grand old Nationalist sport of denouncing capitalists. It is strange how easily almost any Nationalist writer can lash himself into frenzies of rage against the class to which, by birth or by adoption, he himself invariably belongs.