The unbearable triteness of Deerin

I wrote yesterday’s blog article about the importance of not allowing British nationalists to pose as non-nationalists or anti-nationalists before Chris Deerin’s piece was published in Tuesday’s Daily Herald newspaper. And there it was, in all its self-righteous and self-deluding glory, a proponent of British nationalism staking out the moral high ground and linking the Scottish independence movement to the Nazis of Charlottesville while at the same time he was seemingly blithely unaware of his own nationalism. Or at least hoping that we were. The piece was a frankly nauseating attempt to link the desire for Scottish independence with the violent white supremacist fascists of AmeriKKKa who drove a car into an innocent woman, aping the terrorist tactics of ISIL.

This is an individual who writes for the Daily Mail, lecturing others on the evils of identity politics. If you don’t understand the difference between a social democratic independence movement which is founded in civic nationalism and the belief that Scottishness isn’t about your ancestry it’s about choice, that Scottishness isn’t about the past, it’s about the future, with the exclusionary fascist politics of racism, discrimination, and bigotry, you really should refrain from commenting on either. Because you have disqualified yourself from having an informed opinion.

Chris disingenously claims in his Herald piece that after writing an article saying why he’d be voting No in the referendum of 2014, he was subjected to horrible abuse from independence supporters. He’s being deliberately misleading. He doesn’t say what his article was really about, nor why it provoked anger and outrage amongst many of those who read it. It wasn’t just because he said he was voting No that people were offended. Lots of people managed to vote No without being offensive about it. It was his reason and the way he expressed it which were so offensive to many.

During the independence referendum campaign, early in 2014, Chris wrote an article for the Daily Mail in which he argued that voting No, voting to remain British, was the moral choice. If Scots chose that they no longer wanted to be British, Chris’s clear implication was that they would be diminishing the good in this world and replacing it with evil. He was arguing in effect that to vote to cease to be British meant surrendering a part of one’s moral being and ceasing to be properly human and humane. If you voted Yes, Chris was arguing, you’d be a lesser person for it. Then after writing the blue touchpaper, he affected surprise that there were fireworks.

It was in fact Chris and that particular article that I had in mind when I wrote in yesterday’s blog piece, “There is a moral choice in this campaign, and it doesn’t lie in choosing British nationalism.” He wrote that article, and then he acted all offended that people were upset by being accused of being less than moral beings because they don’t happen to share Chris’s view of the constitutional settlement. Then of course he milked the outrage that his offensive article predictably provoked to write a few more pieces for the British nationalist media about how awful and offensive Scottish nationalists are. And here he is, over three years later, still doing it, still pretending that his British nationalism is superior by virtue of not being nationalist at all.

Chris wasn’t subjected to abuse just because he was voting No, he angered and insulted people – quite deliberately – by insinuating that voting Yes made them less moral and that morality properly rests with the Westminster parliament. It plays into the ancient British nationalist racist stereotype that Scots require the tender administrations of Westminster in order to be properly civilised human beings. Then Chris complained when the people whom he had insulted insulted him back. I’m not about to defend outright abuse, but if you’re going to tell people, especially in the pages of the Daily Mail of all places, that they are less moral if they don’t vote the way you want them to – what sort of reaction do you expect exactly? He was trolling people, and then having provoked an entirely predictable response, he was able to play the victim. He’s still playing the victim. Welcome to the British nationalist playbook.

Claiming that choosing to be British is a moral choice is a deeply nationalist assertion. It is in fact an offensively nationalist assertion. It is nothing less than the assertion that your particular brand of nationalism is morally and ethically superior to that of other less fortunate and more benighted nations. It is the claim that to be British means that you are a better human being than people who are not. That is a nationalist sentiment to its very core. That is a nationalist sentiment which has far more in common with the vile view of the American far right that only white people are properly human than anything you’ll find in the mainstream Scottish independence campaign.

British nationalism is far more dangerous than Scottish nationalism. It’s more dangerous because it has nuclear weapons and fetishises the military. It’s more dangerous because it is the expression of a state which lacks a written constitution and proper checks and balances on power. But above all it’s more dangerous because its core belief is that it is not nationalism at all. British nationalism is the nationalism of the unaware, the blind, the obtuse. That’s the kind of lack of insight that has led to Brexit, has led to the shocking rise in hate crimes in the UK since the EU referendum, and which threatens to ruin this country.

Chris Deerin’s Daily Mail piece struck me then, and nothing that has happened since has shifted my opinion, as the epitome of self-righteous British nationalism masquerading as non-nationalism or anti-nationalism. His article for the Herald this week proves that nothing has changed. British nationalism remains as lacking in self-awareness as ever. It’s Chris’s kind of trite nonsense that demands that Scottish independence supporters stop colluding with the British nationalist fantasy that British nationalism is somehow non-nationalist.

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0 thoughts on “The unbearable triteness of Deerin

  1. Why do the likes of Mr Deerin bother to rant on line and in the Regime’s newspapers about those horrible democratic nationalists?

    The truth of course is very simple, they are worried, very worried.

    Sites like this are causing trouble, constantly publishing the truth. Some people are starting to listen.

    That’s very unhelpful to our regime supporting friends.

  2. Pingback: The unbearable triteness of Deerin | speymouth

  3. How long are we going to take lessons in self-determination and political agency from a cohort of mendacious, right-wing ideologues like Deerin, Torrance, Massie, Daisley, Neil, Nelson, Rifkind? All right-wing Tories to a man and yet given endless space in the British and Scottish press to tell us how we must pledge ourselves to Brexit Britannia in her hour of need. Bollocks to all of them!

    Meanwhile another of our own, or so I thought, gets another column in the Guardian today to take a cheap shot at Salmond. Come on Gerry, this is getting tiresome, repetitive, and is quickly becoming a massive grudge on your part.

    Great writing Paul, keep it going, keep it feisty.

  4. British nationalism is so deeply embedded many dont recognise it. The fish doesn’t see the water.

    I’m biased of course. Perhaps the best thing to do therefore is ask those ftom outside these Isles which nationalism they see as the more threatening..

  5. The tory, labour and lib dems are British Nationalist Parties. The Daily Mail is the BNPs propaganda leaflet. Chris Deerin is well suited to work for the BNPs propaganda leaflet.

  6. The last I checked it wasn’t our Holyrood parliament that’s been spouting neo nazi xenophobic, anti british rhetoric. It’s been the wastemonster parliament!?!

  7. I am heartened that the Scotsman’s circulation, or should that be coagulation, is down to around the ten thousand mark now, and Herald Britland just over twice that.
    Let them dangle out on a branch and saw it off at the trunk. The only way is down among the dead leaves.
    Dead Tree Scrolls walking.
    BBC Reporting Shitland was at its British Nationalist best today,
    Their audience must now number in the thousands, but the Iron Heel Oligarchy will pluck money from the Magic Tree to pro up the British Nationalists’ Propaganda Wing regardless.
    Measured an appropriate response, Paul.
    We dash off an instant deluge of rebuttals from now on in.

  8. Well said, WGD. Brilliant final paragraph.

    It seems their own britnat stench of desperation is turning these britnats into self-delusional zombies, which, in a fragrant way, is heartening for supporters of Scotland’s independence.

  9. Pretty much nail on head Paul and well said.

    Mr Deerin is a mainstream journalist, or hack as we like to call them and as you point out, no stranger to the Mail or British Nationalism. As such I very much doubt any journo with the Mail on their CV could recognise the moral high ground if he climbed up the north face of it with the aid of a mountain rescue team, a St Bernard and a gps. As for ethics? Bwahahahahahahahaha!

    Mail, right? THIS

    No one and I do mean no one, who earns a crust from the Mail has ANY right to point the finger of sooper bad right wingery or ideological zoomerism at anyone and claim outrage.

  10. Nail on head, Any, and I mean any, journalist that chooses to work for the Daily Mail, cannot then go on to moralise upon anything. Unless it is Pippa’s arse.
    I’m looking at you Daisley.

  11. In Indy ref 1 I had a very informative conversation with an Englishman – who stated he’d never thought of himself as English, just British. In his heart and mind the 2 were synonymous – and therein lies the heart of it.

    Great article as always – so well said. From now on I won’t use the term Yoons, it will be British/English Nationalists.

    Thanks as always.

  12. Mr Deerin is now the ‘Scotland Editor ‘ of the New Statesman, a journal which once purported to support socialism and the Labour Party, but which, at the last General Election, wrote admiringly of Mrs May and while stopping short of saying vote for her candidates, continued its 18 month abomination of Mr Corbyn.

  13. Once again you say what I have been trying to say for 30 years … and so much more articulately than I could have done, Paul.

    “Scottishness isn’t about your ancestry it’s about choice” is something I have tried to say in reply to those who tell me to mind my my own business (on the subject of Scotland and Scottish Independence) because I was not born a Scot. My response was always “You are Scottish by an accident of birth – I am Scottish from choice and by belief.”

  14. British Nationalism is and always has been a euphemism for English Nationalism. ‘British’ is the con by which England got away for so long with totally dominating the other nations in the political union of the UK in it legislature, Westminster. Only by the pretence that we were all ‘British’ could they possibly pull off the democratic outrage of a Westminster parliament of 650 seats, 533 of which represented England and just 59 Scotland, 40 Wales, and 18 Northern Ireland. The elephant in the Union is that Westminster is an English Parliament for all practical purposes. Whenever the best interests of Scotland and England diverge, England is guaranteed to win out every time by a ludicrously massive majority. We have to stop self-censoring when it comes to using the ‘E’ word. It is *not* anti-English to point out that in purely numerical terms Westminster is an English Parliament which is an unresolvable democratic deficit for Scotland. It is not anti-English to point out that England’s elected representatives can never, ever be outvoted at Westminster by Scotland’s. It is *not* ‘racist’ to point out that British is used as a euphemism for English as far as who runs ‘Britain’ and for whose benefit is concerned.

      • Spot on Orlando. At least the EU gives its member countries a veto and a constitution with a process for leaving if a country wants to.

    • “England’s elected representatives can never, ever be outvoted at Westminster by Scotland’s.”

      In fact England’s elected representatives can never, ever be outvoted at Westminster, full stop.

      • @Jim Graham. Quite – as I think my enumerating the numbers of all representative constituent parts of the UK indicated. Even in the unlikely event of them all combining, Scotland, Wales, and NI combined would still be outvoted by England by a factor of several hundreds. But the purpose of my post is, of course, Scotland’s position in an English Parliament, and for that all we need to know is that Scotland is laughably outvoted at every point of divergence in this ‘Union of equals’. It’s a democratic deficit which is insoluble short of independence, and should in fact be the mainstay of any independence campaign, regardless of aggravating factors like Brexit.

    • Well explained OQ, the differance between this union and other political unions is that in most others the smaller countries or states have a veto over larger nations as in the EU, where Larger Countries are kept under control. May be this is one of the reasons why the right winged red and blue tory party’s in England voted to leave, as they have been used to dragging the rest of us where ever they wanted to go.

  15. Deerin put me off the New Statesman in much the same way Tom Gordon killed the Herald for me.

    You’d think the biography of Julius Streicher would keep them grounded.

    • Agreed. If Deerin and others of his ilk even understood a little bit about the damage propaganda can do when linked to extreme politics like Nazism they would stop doing it. You are correct about comparing part of the Herald article to that nutter Julius Striechet.

  16. I was a wee bit offended when Deerin likened me to a member of the Ku Klux Klan, especially since all of the violence – including an attempt to run Alex Salmond’s car off the road ing Indyref1, was perpetrated by Better Together supporters. Still, I suppose that, in the long run, it is good to know what our Unionist fellow citizens really think of us.

  17. So offensive. Never seen a swastika at a independence march as opposed to those on display at Charlottsville. How he can fabricate such a link shows he either is incapable of rationale thought or he simply has an alternative agenda. Id like to think he was a simpleton but…….

  18. I have never understood how so called intelligent people can write such utter rubbish. This is then followed by me being gobsmacked that some people believe this crap.

    If you were in a group of people and an individual stated these opinions you would think they were having a laugh or were simply from Mars. You would have a comment or ten to say back to them.

    When a newspaper prints this drivel never buy it again. The Herald is a poor shadow of its past. Best it goes out of business.

  19. Exactly England through sheer numbers dominates the rest of so called UK and they will never change .To do so would mean reducing their power Brit empire never willingly gave up anything .

  20. “His article for the Herald this week proves that nothing has changed. British nationalism remains as lacking in self-awareness as ever”

    You hear it everyday, the Brits have a sense of self importance way out canter with reality. Only yesterday did I hear the BBC proclaiming the British Government position on a temporary customs union as a fact, as if the other party in the talks has already accepted it. They were at it again this morning over the line the British Government have decided to take over Ireland. It seems to be the case that they think we are the British so of course we are right and everybody must accept our position. These same people are quite happy to mock the Russians when they start spouting similar nonsense, irony it would seem is lost on these types.

    To be honest it is toe curling and these days I feel completely detached from any sense of Britishness, worse I am actually ashamed of being associated with it. At times it is like being a stranger in your own country.

    Unfortunately too many Scots either buy into the dual concept or do not care, as Craig Murray mentioned on his blog “we remain a parcel of cowards as a nation”. As much as many on the British nationalist are lacking self-awareness, I think a significant number are well aware of what they are and use this non-nationalism position as a sly tactic.

    Sad to say but you can only hope that Brexit is a total car crash so that it might wake a few people up.

  21. oh i suppose its his turn with the shit stick this week , the next one will no doubt spout the same pish as we have come to expect from our media , same shit different day as the saying goes .

    They know they have not silenced us but they cant ever admit it , now that must be troubling them .

  22. We should at least get good Scottish news on Misreporting Scotland tonight about employment figures improving since Fluffy’s taking the credit in The Scotsman:

    Scottish Secretary David Mundell welcomed the Scottish figures which show that economic activity is also rising. He said: “It is good news that Scotland’s employment has reached a record high. Unemployment is at a near historic low, at 3.9 per cent, which is a trend I hope to see continue. The UK Government will continue to work to strengthen Scotland’s economy, and I encourage the Scottish Government to continue to use their economic levers to increase Scotland’s prosperity.”

    Aren’t you delighted that the UK Government and our SoS are working so hard fir Scotland?

    • Fluffy of course wasnt asked exactly what levers the scottish government has access to , i wonder why .Even now he is probably checking to make sure this dosent bloody happen again ,.

    • AnnieM, Mundell is robbing Scotland of £2 billion in austerity cuts over the length of this Parliament.
      Over 4000 HMRC jobs moved from Scotland to a brand new HQ in Crawley, that’s in the SE just below London, Job Centres closing, 5 frigates instead of 13, perhaps if we are lucky, and this little toady wants to take credit for growth in the Scottish economy?
      Right enough, he created jobs in the Scottish Office. Gardham now has £360,000 to spend on propaganda hacks, and Lord Ian Duncan will be invaluable drinking the tea that Mundell is now tasked with making to fill in the hours in the Tory Northern Territory Stronghold.
      We have the biggest new build hospital in Europe, and the £3 billion aircraft carrier is reported as entering its ‘new home’ in Portsmouth.
      Both are named after Queen Elizabeth, a reminder that we a re a subjugated race, under the heel of the just but vengeful head of the English Establishment.
      Just think how we are going to thrive as an independent nation and a member of the EU.
      Jaguar, Land Rover, Toyota, Peugot,Nissan, Ford, will look Northwards when England splits…we could double our population in a decade.
      And , boy, don’t the British Nationalist ProudScotsBut know that.

      • This is marvellous stuff, Jack, and I am racking my brains to discover how we can get this put “out there” with the force and regularity with which people are bombarded by the British National standpoint!

        • I was right. Historically low unemployment and higher employment figures in Scotland are actually being reported on the BBC tonight!

          Only because Fluffy says that it’s thanks to the UK Government, not the SG!!

        • I knew that, Annie.
          It’s just that from now on in, we take every opportunity to debunk the British Nationalists. Let’s dub it Project Home Stretch.
          We’re on the final lap.

          I refuse to allow these Scotland Deniers any opportunity to falsely claim that they have had anything to do with Scotland making its way in the world.

          Since the end of the Great War there has been a systematic deindustrialisation of Scotland by the Blue Red and Yellow Tories, who have plundered our natural resources to fill the London’s coffers and line the pockets of the rich, just like the Brit Empire inflicted on every other colony.
          How many trillions did the Establishment plunder and steal from countries which it invaded and subjugated?

          Those days are gone now.
          We’re on the Home Stretch.
          Wendy, how about a mass ‘nude in’ in Prices Gardens?

          • Maybe he thinks the Scottish Cringe needs a drastic remedy? Or does he want us to prove we’re aa Jock Tamsons’ Bairns? Could be quite a Féis (so long as that accent stays in place …) I don’t know what you’re on Jack, it’s a Wednesday evening and peeing it down where I am, but hey! Why not? After you then 😉

          • Meeting up with the rat pack at the local watering hole to watch some footie, Marco.
            The mention of a Flash Flesh Fest certainly would get attention, although personally, I’d be manning the Hot Bovril Stand…

          • Tee hee, Wendy.
            Not even ten thousand of us starkers lolling about on the park benches in the early autumn sunshine would make the 6.30 Distorting Scotland bulletin.
            Yet Ruth Davidson in a muddy field planting a Unity Tree would have the hack pack out in their hundreds.
            I’m getting goose bumps just thinking of it.
            Perhaps our younger YES members could Streak for Scotland at sporting events.
            I’m joking of course, perhaps, maybe.

    • More on the speech here :

      “… he had sat in the Supreme Court hearings which led to a ruling that Holyrood should not have a say on the triggering of Article 50 … “It was too little commented on at the time how events in the Supreme Court revealed a blundering attitude towards Scotland’s integrity” … “For those of us who had always supported the idea of the United Kingdom, it was a shattering moment, to see how willing May was to ride rough-shod over Scotland’s discreet authority, enshrined in the Scotland Act of 1998 and located in the Sewell Convention, so that she could hold onto power and please the Brexiteers whom she had formerly opposed.” … “It was hard now to resist the fact that Britain was being smashed by those who claimed to defend it, and that Scotland would probably be a better country for all that.”

      Etc. etc. many a quote worth mining 😉

    • The whole thing is in today’s National. I get it in digital form by subscription, but I’m going to buy it today in paper form to keep for posterity. It’s a massive read, but well worth the effort.

      • Thanks Toni, if anyone wants to read it all it’s here :

        But be warned he goes on, and on, and on. The good bits seem to be confined to the first third or so, after which he rambles on about how Scotland’s genius for thought an imagination will surely flourish in a new interconnected digital universe. So just a few quotable gems, the few seminal cells from his rhetorical stream of intellectual ejaculate :

        Scotland used to feel too sorry for itself, and was once addicted to historical injury, but that notion is now as old as the people who said it, and I should know because I’m one.

        Politicians believe in power; writers believe in dreams.

        It is not at base a political argument, but a philosophical one, a humanitarian one, an ecological one, putting the rights of all men and women, and all children, before the fears of a class of account-holders … Letting Scotland take its place at the table of modern nations relies on your bravery in thinking again.

        The moment a nation reached intellectual maturity it became proud rather than vain.

        Britain has mismanaged itself out of existence, and Scotland may not be the beneficiary, but it can certainly be the escapee, free to succeed or to fail in its own ways. At least we will enjoy the dignity of not endlessly repeating a history that we know has come to an end.

        We were addicted to that narrative, the imperial story and then the neo-liberal account of how a capitalist society must be, and it built many buildings, deregulated many a city, and boosted many a criminal network, whilst keeping the powerful in power and the poor in their place.

        The problem, in a sense, with 2014, was that Alex Salmond was too emotional and so was David Cameron. The thought of a reconstituted Scotland might give rise to emotion, but it should not be an emotional decision, and too much emotion has always unbalanced the case. If Mr Salmond had thought more about the currency question and less about how to unfurl a saltire flag over the Centre Court at Wimbledon, we might be standing now in the independent republic of Scotland, but equally, if David Cameron had thought less about what was won and lost on the playing fields at Eton, and denied himself a round of silly buggers over Europe, the death-knell of the Union might have been delayed.

        Those of us … who can remember a simpler world before hand-held devices — devices with more computing power than it took to put a man on the Moon — may believe the Net is just another of life’s spaces, but it is not — it has become the space of all spaces, and it seems inevitable now that nations will be, in some important respect, subsumed by it.

        Compared with the new communities of the Internet, Britain seems like a minor abstraction — all pomp and no circumstance. ‘GREAT BRITAIN’: the name we once gave to a situation we were in, where we traded our sovereignty for empire, before the empire was gone.

  23. “British nationalism remains as lacking in self-awareness as ever… Scottish independence supporters [must] stop colluding with the British nationalist fantasy that British nationalism is somehow non-nationalist.”

    In one sense it doesn’t matter why there is a lack of self awareness. It exists and we have to deal with it. And one crucial way – as you have indicated – is to start calling them what they really are i.e. British Nationalists.

    But I was still wondering why there is such a lack of awareness. Obviously social conditioning from an early age is important. The content of history lessons in schools for example will have helped provide a foundation. But I think the structure of British non nationalist nationalism is mainly developed and maintained by the corporate media and especially by the BBC (and not just through its news output). This method of establishment control – especially over older people – is very difficult to counter.

    It’s not clear how much of a desire for or willingness to change there would be even if the truth of UK establishment manipulation was made clear to people. But the first thing to be done has to be making people aware that they are being manipulated. It looks obvious to us, so why do many intelligent people not seem to see the manipulation. I suspect some of them collude in their own deception. But many are ambushed by intellectual vanity. They simply think they’re too smart to be fooled. Unfortunately it’s hard to fight both ignorance and arrogance.

  24. But, but, but, surely the sun shall never set on the British Empire?
    Rule Britannia? (Sorry, I just choked on my oatmeal there.)
    Christ, Scotland, wake up and smell the thistles.
    Can we not do something about this?
    Like, stand on our own feet?.
    (Qualify for the World Cup finals again, perhaps?)
    Be a nation again, maybe?
    Do it.

  25. The new aircraft carrier (sans aircraft) is entering Portsmouth. It is being promoted as an example of Britain as a worldwide sea power. Don’t British nationalists realise that Britain is no longer a ‘world power’. They are delusional and they don’t know it. It’s enough to make you cringe.

  26. Something that strikes me about British Nationalism is the role of the monarchy.
    It’s very central to the group-think.
    An oft heard phrase is that the monarch has been the one constant during the last 70+ years of Britain’s shrinking on the world stage and somehow “saving” Britain.
    1940 The defeat by Germany – the Monarchy solid.
    1941/2 The defeat by Japan – The Monarchy solid.
    1945+ The Humiliation of loss of empire – The Monarchy solid.
    1956 Suez debacle Humiliation – The Monarchy etc.
    1970s Economic meltdown – The Monarchy etc.
    1970s Going cap in hand to, and Joining Europe Humiliation – The Monarchy etc.
    Present day Brexit – The Monarchy etc.

    What is obvious is that the one constant in all the failures since 1940 is the Monarchy.
    It’s not been “saving” Old Blighty but has been dragging it down.
    If Britain was a modern, post Monarchy republic, with nimble, forward thinking institutions, it would not find itself in the mess that it presently finds itself mired in.
    If only it had the ability to look itself in the mirror and identify the Monarchy and the associated institutions as the reason why it has diminished and continues to diminish, then things might be a lot better.

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