I have a friend who is having great difficulties with the Referendum. Recently to demonstrate the British Nationalist view I posted the famous picture of Nigel from Nairn https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qYasj3D9MrY
He disagreed with me, and claimed that while Nigel from Nairn was atypical of the British Nationalists – a term which my friend can’t quite take on board, the Yes campaign is full of people who shout freedom at every opportunity and who constantly look back to the battle of Bannockburn.
I wrote to him as follows
I doubt very much if you could get a contemporary Scottish nationalist equivalent to Nigel in captivity.
The BBC were unfair to Nigel, (who lives in Nairn). He was jumping up and down at the rehearsal and they used him. I had a discussing with someone who was writing about him as this old Crofter sitting with his dogs. In fact he is a portrait painter, went to a leading public school and his Father was a doctor.
The reason why I’m fairly certain, that despite the No campaign’s best efforts they don’t have the old fundamentalist Nationalists any more. Sillars and Wilson still represent that wing, but they will not come up with any of the kind of rubbish which we get from some of the British Nationalists – just read the comments on even the Guardian pieces. So why the confidence? When Scotland voted overwhelmingly for devolution in 1997 the gradualist wing of the SNP had won. While it came in a poor second to the Labour party at the beginning (and there was a coalition between the first and the fourth party), by the 3rd Election in 2007, the SNP were the largest single party and at the next election they did what was supposed to be impossible they won a majority. The newfound responsibility of power had a rapid effect in sobering up the vast majority of Nationalists.
The Yes campaign is of course a coalition (as is effectively the SNP). The kind of Anglophobia which the media keeps looking for and even promising – the English Athletes will get booed at the Commonwealth games – didn’t happen, simply does not exist. This isn’t to say that there are not yobs that are racist, sexist, homophobic, but they tend to associate themselves with two large Glasgow football teams. Both these teams are firmly on the No side though a substantial number of individual supporters are now intending to vote YES. Thus it is that will the extremes of British Nationalism are found on the NO side, For example, to our shame the last European seat was filled by UKIP, now they are unlikely to vote YES, nor are the Orange Order.
The fact that we are having this Referendum has concentrated the minds of the people of Scotland, especially those who aspire to run their own country. People understand the inappropriateness of the negative attitudes to people who live in Scotland who come from other places, and there is a broad recognition that it is the Westminster Establishment which is the real enemy.
I would challenge you to come up with anyone who seriously sees Scotland’s future in the historically illiterate character of those who aspire for an independent Scotland which you have given us. We are concerned about the Environment and the UK government position on fracking, have problems about Trident. See it obscene that something like a quarter of the Children of Scotland will be brought up in poverty and that the life expectancy of men in parts of Glasgow is lower than in some third world countries. Of course there are those who will have been celebrating the life of William Wallace over the past couple of days – it is his anniversary, but it is not Mel Gibson’s Braveheart. It is more likely people ill look to John Maclean than medieval figures. Thus it is that we who are working for a YES vote on 18th September are very different from the people whom you have a mental image of. But then