Spats in Nat Land

October 28, 2016 at 8:49 pm (BBC, Rosie B, scotland)

The latest wheeze of the Yessers has been to crowdfund billboards pointing out the iniquities of the BBC and offering an alternative news service.


There’s disagreement about whether this will turn the Noes to Yes. Kirsty Strickland, a Yes supporter, suggested in Commonspace ihat it might be counter-productive.

Room for disagreement on this issue you might think. But not for Wings over Scotland who tweeted a picture of Strickland at the BBC suggesting she might be a Unionist traitor. Wings has powers to usher up swarms of cybernats and they eventually chased Kirsty off Twitter. She protested that she had six weeks unpaid work as a community reporter at the BBC and has written plenty that’s critical of the organisation.

Loki, the Scottish rapper, took up her cause. Loki is of that part of the Yes movement that thinks an independent Scotland will be able to do something for the poor in the hard parts of Glasgow, He has come from a harsh background himself and is a clever eloquent guy who finds his way of expressing himself falls foul of the radical side of the Yes movement that has picked up the proper language codes. He himself has had run-ins with Wings.

He designed a Bingo Wings Over Scotland calendar which gives an amusing potted history of the affair and a portrait of the repulsive Wings who has done so much to make the nationalist movement in Scotland vile.


Rings Over Scotland

As for the billboards, they’re an opening for creativity:-




  1. februarycallendar said,

    One of the main problems I have with the SNP in particular and the independence movement generally is that they drone on endlessly about BBC this, BBC that without saying anything about the infinitely greater threat to Scotland’s cultural sovereignty and determination over itself posed by Sky – the SNP at least have the excuse (however pathetic and damning) of wanting to retain the support of the Scottish Sun, but those outside it have no such justification.

    But this sort of double standard has a long history – in the early 1980s, a time of intense isolation and fear in Scotland of what the British state was doing (after the perceived betrayal and rigging of the 1979 referendum, etc.) and widespread resistance to the implications of the Falklands Spirit, the BBC’s own output rated relatively poorly in Scotland because, compared to that of the ITV companies combined, it had more of a Home Counties vibe and did not have anything comparable to the Granada & Yorkshire presence. But American shows transmitted by the BBC rated better than they did UK-wide – there’d be weeks when Dallas or Cagney & Lacey would top the Scottish ratings despite being outrated throughout the UK by multiple ITV shows and several of the BBC’s own productions. (The same broadly applied to Northern Ireland, whose future position obviously could not be disassociated from Scotland’s fate should it ever leave the UK.)

    The implication was clear – much of the Scottish electorate did not see these programmes as alien and foreign in the way they saw the likes of Terry & June – and so the way was clear for the SNP, a party every bit as much in Murdoch’s pocket as the Tories, to get away with this blatant double standard, moaning endlessly about “England” while ignoring a far greater challenge to everything they claim they stand for (they remind me sometimes of the owners of Croke Park when they would not allow soccer or rugby to be played there, but would happily accept Bon Jovi). Clearly, and in my view disgustingly, this isn’t a problem for a lot of people – yes, I know you don’t *have* to pay for Sky, but something not being compulsory does not, in itself, make it acceptable or compatible. And while it may be ultimately their business, it eats away at the credibility of the idea – beloved of pretty much all Celtic nationalists when talking to the English – that “we have our own culture, you just have recycled American culture”. The BBC, whatever anyone thinks of it, provides ample output reflecting the culture and language of Scotland. Does anyone else do the same? (And that is before you even start on the impact of Sky’s money rendering even the smaller EPL clubs far more affluent than Celtic or Rangers, which was most definitely not the case at the time of the breakaway 24 years ago.)

    Scottish hip-hop is interesting – it is in some ways, like everything else in Scotland, hip-hop’s Old Left, with of course the difference that, because of the music’s relatively condensed history, its Old Left has its roots only in the Thatcher era (and sonically it can remind me of the stuff I listened to half a lifetime ago, when Blair was already in). Its relative cultural conservatism and reluctance to accept grime maps on to the Old Left as well (the sentence on Wikipedia about breakbeat hardcore being regarded in Scotland as “an alien musical culture” because of its blackness says more about the difference between Scottish and modern English conceptions of “Left” than a million essays), as does its refusal to accept that, if it did get the independence it largely supports, a bad situation for the music and its tributaries in England would be made worse still. But where someone like Loki (does he have the same politics as Lowkey?) is concerned, I’m not surprised that his relationship with the nasty, unreasoning, *inhuman* Wings over Scotland is prickly, because they are broadly cultural conservatives who won’t accept his music as “truly” Scottish any more than UKIP will accept it as English. WoS I believe was founded by an inhabitant of Bath, which makes me think of someone I once knew who had lived in Reading for decades and, apart from clinging to the delusion that his completely establishment musical tastes were terribly threatening to the Cameronites, used to demand that young Scots live in a cultural timewarp so as to keep North American and Australasian tourists happy (again, no different in my view from some ‘This England’-reading expat demanding that of the young people of Dorset, and arguably worse because it dresses itself up much more in the language of progressivism). There are profound conflicts here – between forms of nationalism which have nothing in common at all other than that one, single issue – which would explode into open warfare should Scotland ever leave the UK.

    The greatest irony of all, of course, is that had the Scots voted Labour as usual Labour would almost certainly have won many English (and even Welsh) marginals which it lost – hence no Tory majority, hence no Brexit, hence no rallying call for IndyRef2.

  2. februarycallendar said,

    Something else that riles me about Celtic nationalists – Scottish & Irish ones alike (and yes I am aware of the ancient, though now I think much reduced, sectarian divisions splitting them) – is the way some of them seem to think that what has happened to this time of year in England represents some sort of victory for them, rather than American commercialism.

    The reality, of course, is that what we now have no more resembles the Hallowe’en my father knew as a child in late 1940s & 1950s Ireland (or indeed the festival that existed in the Scotland of that time) than it resembles the Guy Fawkes Night my mother knew as a child in 1950s England.

    And (pace my earlier post) the actual Celts seem to have been supine in the Americanisation of their festival – they don’t seem to play “Thriller” and the like on their radio stations any less than the English do (so much for “we keep to our traditions, you’ve abandoned yours). Do they really think a (differently spelt) name is all that matters, not the actual fabric of the thing?

    I know the Irish like to pay attention to the anti-Catholic elements, but those were always an embellishment which had largely died out by 1970 before (regrettably) the actions of the IRA brought them back into it. Autumn bonfires have their roots among the ancestors of the modern Celts, and it is time that they reclaimed them against the Americanisation of the festival that was once theirs. The day Sinn Fein voters and Celtic fans recognise that is the day the Troubles really will be over.

  3. kb72 said,

    They’ll be performing Samhuinn the streets of Edinburgh. Along with the Beltane Fire Festival these are a recent supposed Celtic/Pagan renewal. I’d groan about their incongruity in the enlightenment/Presbyterian city of Edinburgh except that they are well done & I like the idea of marking going into winter and emerging out to spring.

  4. kb72 said,

    Re Hallowe’en – folk complain of the trick & treaters that they aren’t like the old guisers who would sing a song, not just ask for sweeties.

    American proms have taken over the old end of term disco as well.

  5. Robert said,

    Poem for 31st. OCTOBER


    Neep heids OK, they’re indigenous, But why, sirs,
    madames, middens maidens not say GUISERS —
    and look at what could be meant by “trick or treat”!
    Session with sexworker or something sweet to eat?
    Makes molars grind and puts on edge incisors …

    Pumpkins be pulped, puit them in a pie
    is fair enough, or a soup Germans rely
    regularly on for warmth — or even fry
    boiled slices of the things, but Gott in Himmel why
    more empty orange big-heads — Germans’ cry

    “this is an American import and alien!”
    could be echoed here, again and again —
    here not of course about Hallowe’en
    but slick or sweit and the rest of that pumpkin obscene
    fake with which folk these days are owre faur ben!!!!

  6. kb72 said,

    @Robert – good piece of verse, pal.

    Pumpkins are very good roasted.

  7. kb72 said,

    Did you write it?

    • Robert said,

      I did indeed compose the verses supra
      (mebbe just as well that first line rhymes with stupra,
      a metaphorical version of which we’d wish
      on lots of political pourers out of piddle,
      some honestly thick like soup and some quite swish
      but with guts adapted to strictly the tuned fiddle,
      stops me tripping into the light mechanical slick
      trickeration of sclimm a rick!)

      a slightly more polished version can be found below
      (exit genie stage perhaps a little less left than some readers)

      Poem for 31st. OCTOBER
      or Pumpkinheids

      Pretend or fake guisers maun be bidden
      Betak their ersatz sels inby some midden
      Like yon abuin the whilk sic demon$ preside
      As in the haunts o heich Capital bide
      Ingyneerin crimes
      Hertless and hidden —
      And here I’d hae the actual demon$ seen:
      Sung! Please, maun I hae my hallowe’en?

      Neep heids OK, they’re indigenous, But why, sirs,
      madames, middens maidens no say GUISERS —
      and look at what could be meant by “trick or treat”!
      Session with sexworker or something sweet to eat?
      Makes molars grind and puts on edge incisors.

      Pumpkins be pulped, puit them in a pie
      is fair enough, or a soup Germans rely
      regularly on for warmth — or even fry
      (in slices, parboiled, spiced), but Gott in Himmel why
      more empty orange big-heads – the good Germans’ cry

      “this is an American import and alien!”
      could be echoed here, again and again —
      here not of course about Hallowe’en
      but slick or sweit and the rest of that pumpkin obscene
      wi the whilk folk
      are thae days owre faur ben!!!!

  8. februarycallendar said,

    Lovely stuff in this thread which I agree with and like a lot.

    But “we” are a self-choosing and self-perpetuating elite.

    The complaints that trick-or-treaters aren’t like the old guisers are real, but no different in themselves from the English complaints that they aren’t like the penny-for-the-guyers.

    Robert’s poem is, indeed, basically (I suspect) saying that the mass of the younger Scottish population seem no more resistant to this stuff than their contemporaries in England, and no more in touch with their ancestry (see my initial point about TV ratings a third of a century ago, so it’s not *that* new a phenomenon).

    So doesn’t that basically explode the whole starting point – of specialness, of greater closeness to the past – of a great deal of Celtic (not just Scottish) nationalism, at least from the perspective of someone like me who has a feeling for the traditions of England but loathes their political usage – while in reality signing their death warrant by their every action – by the fraudulent liars of modern “conservatism”?

    We’re all in the same boat here.

    • Robert said,

      A great deal of what’s supposedly “Scottish intellectual tradition” is just a load of doctrinaire postmodernist crap. The general idea is the identity thesis — for which check Tony Judt’s last testament, a paper called EDGE PEOPLE which is I think accessible easily online.
      The general delusion is that once you have established your Shitity or Scottish Identity you simply or simplemindedly tune into Shitradiation or Sottish Drattition and sleepwalk thereafter.
      There has been a large deposit of drivel about “Conjectural History” as if that meant saying what you please — actually “Conjectural History” was what Dugald Stewart called the practice of working out a reasonable hypothesis with all the evidence available, as an alternative to fanciful notions like universal selfishness (Hobbes) or the individualist fable of Rousseau, which coincided with no historical record. Christopher Berry has said that Adam Smith would have regarded the postmodernist MacChauvinist claims about a Scottish protopostmodernism of the 18th Century as an accusation that he, Smith, was mad, and levelled at him by people themselves round the twist.
      Now if history is as unreliable as these people say, there will be a time at which they won’t have had what they had for Breakfast this morning, and the Nuremberg trials will have been a gross travesty… You can say what you like as long as it’s good for morale and you’re on the right side…
      It is also worth adding that one of the counters in the snakes and oilcans game, R.D. Laing, owed pretty well all that was worthwhile in his writings to his Jewish exile mentors, and that there is pretty well nothing in the least new in THE DIVIDED SELF that doesn’t come from Frieda Fromm-Reichmann, who was of course a woman as well as I was Jewish.
      Claims that Laing’s main influence was John Macmurray have the disadvantage of asserting that rather than clinical experience and evidence Laing’s theories are highwire walking on a basis of theory and not a reading of Macmurray but only the statements which seem to support MacPoMo. Chapters and books and paragraphs dead against what is claimed by this racket are simply ignored.
      This is supposed to be an answer to an endemic Scottish inferiority complex, and founded on CONTINENTAL Philosophy,
      Presumably the continent starts at Calais and follows the coast round to the Pyrenees and the Pyrenees as far as the Mediterranean and heads north up the Italian border etcetera. It’s all bloody French! And there’s so much of it on one side of MacChauvinism the diagnosis of an inferiorisme rather than feelings about England seems impossible to deny.
      Of course there is more than French resonance. If it’s forbidden to refer to a desire for supposedly Scottish this and allegedly Scottish that as mirroring Nazism … I see from the BBC quite clear indication that a Russian “view of the world” is developing apace under Poohtin….
      Do we applaud the Laddie Vladdie or disbelieve Broadcasting House?

      And, no, that is not my All Saints’ Eve comic recitation.

      Stands Scotland where she did? Look through the fog:
      do you want an ordnance survey reference
      or details of how deep sunk into home-made bog……?

  9. Political Tourist said,

    Come back Dale Street, all is forgiven.

    • Glasgow Working Class said,

      You Nat sis with your vile anti English crap would love to control the BBC Scotland.

  10. Robert said,

    a fraternal greeting to Ms. Sturgeon from Glasgow Working Class I see.
    Very brotherly to refer to her as Nat Sis!

    • Glasgow Working Class said,

      And accurate.

  11. Rilke said,

    Lennie Bloom walks into a bar on Rose Street and has a brief disagreement with Poldy Mcfeemus. Poldy keeps on about how all the true ‘greats’ were actually ‘Scots’ and that ‘Dante’ is really a misspelling of ‘Donald Tey’, an obscure open mic pub poet from Leith. Lennie laughs at him, but is threatened with an empty shortbread tin that Poldy lobs at him as he makes his exit. Later, poor Lennie bewails the rise of cultural degeneracy in Scotland after finding that Blair Bolye, the local piper, is banging his wife, Masie. Later, after a few drinks, he is bashed by Francis Begbie and rests in an old bus shelter and drinks a can of Iron Brew with his young friend Stevie Dundas. They both decide that Scotland is in the grip of political stupidity and cultural backwardness and talk about Shakspeare and Aristotle to cheer themselves up.

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