The lethal ideology of British exceptionalism

On Friday it was announced that the number of people who died in the UK after being diagnosed with the coronavirus had risen to 980, a number which is greater than the daily total ever reported for Italy or Spain. Yet this figure is misleading. There is a difference in the way in which different parts of the UK report their figures. In Scotland and Wales, the figures given are for all deaths where coronavirus is mentioned on the death certificate. This includes deaths in care homes. The figures for England where the Tories are in charge are however only the number of those who have fallen ill with coronavirus symptoms and who have died in hospitals and whose deaths have been registered in the past 24 hours. The true number of deaths is going to be considerably higher, yet the British government does not seem disposed to let us know what that figure might be.

Possibly this is because the British state doesn’t want us to realise that the UK was badly placed to deal with this disease because of policy decisions taken by successive British governments over the years, because of the privatisation of public services and the lack of funding for social programmes that support good health and full employment. Maybe they’re trying to cover their collective arses because their handling of this crisis was a disaster from the beginning. Maybe it’s because they don’t want to scare us with the possibility that there are many more deaths to come. Maybe it’s a deliberate and cynical attempt to reduce the headline figures in an attempt to disguise the true extent of death toll from us because the herd immunity strategy that was pursued in the early weeks of the crisis has bitten this government on the bum. Maybe it’s due to some issue with the way in which the figures are collated which is perfectly innocent. I don’t know which of these scenarios it may be, or whether there’s some other explanation, and neither do you. This is because the British media doesn’t think it’s a worthwhile line of questioning.

1000 people are dying every day, you’d think that in a normal democracy with a properly functioning media there would be an outrage about that. 144 people have died in the UK due to terrorist attacks since 2000. Even on the UK’s government’s partial figures the number of people who are dying every single day from the covid-19 virus is seven times the number who have died in the UK as a result of terrorism over the past twenty years. It’s Hillsborough, Aberfan, Malaysian Airlines Flight 17, and the Herald of Free Enterprise combined, every single day. Yet the true figure is certainly higher, and the number is set to grow. And every single one of those who add to the number represents a human being, with dreams, with families, with ambitions, with fears, with loves and losses and a life no longer led.

Instead of the sound of a media that’s clamouring for answers with a steely eyed determination to hold the British government to account, there’s the syrupy symphony of sychophancy. The BBC merely parrots Tory propaganda, and promotes rousing messages from Ibris Elba as though it were the North Korean TV channel. Meanwhile the tabloid press has turned into a sickening chorus of fangirlishness for Boris.

We’re getting our intelligence insulted by the likes of today’s front page in The Sun, which helpfully informs us that Boris Johnson’s girlfriend Carrie Symonds has sent him copies of the scans of their unborn baby. And according to The Sun’s chief political editor, Tom Newton-Dunn, Boris Johnson is enjoying watching movies and playing sudoku on his iPad as he lies in his hospital bed recovering from his illness. We’re promised a lot more in tomorrow’s Mail on Sunday about how Boris is spending his time in convalescence – which movies he’s watching, how he’s doing with his sudoku scores. I can hardly wait.  It is all lovely, at least if you define sickening sycophancy as lovely, but it’s not exactly helpful to anything but the self-serving mythos of the liar and charlatan who wormed his way into Number 10 on the basis of made up stories about Brexit.

Cos here’s the thing. You don’t become a hero by virtue of coming down with an infection and surviving it, for all the attempts of the British media to paint Boris Johnson as some sort of martyr for Great British Spirit. The heroes are those who put their own lives on the line in order to treat the tsunami of victims who are overwhelming our health services. A task which is not made any easier by the Boris Johnsons of this world, who have cut public services to the bone in an ideologically driven austerity for which there was never any need.

Some of these deaths could have been prevented if different policy decisions had been made. Some deaths could have been avoided if the British government had followed the example of Germany or South Korea and adopted a rigorous policy of testing and tracing the contacts of those infected. Deaths could be avoided if medical staff had access to the protection equipment that they’re screaming out for. But hey. Boris Johnson is feeling better. Isn’t that lovely.

The reason that the media isn’t holding this woeful government to account is the same reason that the wrong policy decisions were made in the first place. British, or more exactly English, exceptionalism. It’s that exceptionalism which leads British nationalists not to recognise their own nationalism. It is the unshakeable, deep rooted, conviction that British is best, that Britishness is the natural state which is envied by everyone else. It’s a British belief in itself which cannot be nationalist because it’s inherently better. It’s the belief that because within the British state English priorities, politics, and policies effortlessly dominate the other nations of the UK that Britishness has somehow transcended mere nationalism. It is of course a delusion.

The ruling class of the UK is imbued with the unshakeable conviction that the rules and norms which Johnny Foreigner adheres to need not apply to a red blooded Englishman. When you represent a state which has just left the EU because it considers itself unique and different, you’re not going to quibble when the government proposes not to follow World Health Organisation recommendations for tackling the virus.

The English nationalist exceptionalist mindset means that it becomes expected, desired even, that the British state will follow a different model from the rest of the world even though the rest of the world is following a model which is proven, scientifically based, and which works. And it’s taken for granted that the ‘lesser’ nations of the UK will obediently follow Westminster’s example. Exceptionalism is why the British government squandered the lead that the UK had in the early days of the epidemic with its reluctance to introduce the social isolation rules that were already in force elsewhere. Because the British are special. The British are different. The British won’t tolerate the restrictions on their personal liberty that lesser breeds put up with. Exceptionalism is why the British media won’t hold the government to account for it – even though it’s an exceptionalism which kills. British exceptionalism is a lethal ideology.

The British state is however truly exceptional in one area. It’s exceptional in its disregard for its citizens, its lack of concern for the wider good, and its single minded focus on enriching those who are already wealthy. British nationalist exceptionalism is holding Scotland back, not because Scotland could also be exceptional. It’s preventing Scotland from being normal.

And finally, because we could all do with some cheering up during these difficult times… Note: This song contains swerrie words. 

You can help to support this blog with a Paypal donation. Please log into and send a payment to the email address Or alternatively click the donate button. If you don’t have a Paypal account, just select “donate with card” after clicking the button.
Donate Button

If you have trouble using the button, or you prefer not to use Paypal, you can donate or purchase a t-shirt or map by making a payment directly into my bank account, or by sending a cheque or postal order. If you’d like to donate by one of these methods, please email me at and I will send the necessary information.

Please also use this email address if you would like the dug and me to come along to your local group for a talk.

GINGER2croppedGaelic maps of Scotland are available for £15 each, plus £7 P&P within the UK for up to three maps. T-shirts are £12 each, and are available in small, medium, large, XL and XXL sizes. P&P is £5 for up to three t-shirts. My books, the Collected Yaps Vols 1 to 4 are available for £11 each. P&P is £4 for up to two books. Payment can be made via Paypal.

newbook My new book has just been published by Vagabond Voices. Containing the best articles from The National from 2016 to date. Weighing in at over 350 pages, this is the biggest and best anthology of Wee Gingerisms yet. This collection of pieces covers the increasingly demented Brexit years, and the continuing presence and strength of Scotland’s independence movement.

You can order the book directly from the publisher. Ordering directly means that postage is free. You can order here –

You can also order a book directly from me. The book costs £11.95 and P&P is an additional £3.50, making a total of £15.45. To order just make a Paypal payment to, or alternatively use the DONATE button below. Please make sure to give me your postal address when ordering. Orders to be sent outwith the UK will incur extra postage costs, please email me for details. If you can’t use Paypal, or prefer an alternative payment method, please email

56 thoughts on “The lethal ideology of British exceptionalism

  1. The truth is out there…😏

    Strange how some people actually say they ‘love him’… he’ll be hailed a ‘hero’ now. A survivor. A ‘true warrior’.

    His, no sorry, his mentor’s, ‘herd immunity’ theory will be getting shoved down the throats of his sycophantic ‘British public’ and assuredly there will be those with fixated mentality who will follow.

    Wonder if they’ll release him on Easter Monday…they’ll rewrite the bible…

    Wonder if he’s been put in a mixed, regular ward whilst he’s convalescing…

    Wonder if he received intensive care treatment before a sick elderly person, a bus driver, a nurse, a shop worker, a doctor, a carer…

    Wonder if his appetite has returned and if he’s dining on NHS rations…

    Wonder if he shares the loo with 6 other patients…

    Wonder if he truly appreciates the non-discriminatory practice the NHS extended to his condition…i.e. not being held to health ransom for the pay increase he and his cronies denied and fnaughed at.

    Wonder if his ‘bounce back’ is going to be his ‘let’s get brexit done’ mantra in the coming weeks…or is his mentor ‘getting it sorted’ whilst the lockdown is in place…

    Wonder if he’ll change…

    Clap for boris…not me.

    Can extend a ‘get well’, but that’s it.

    Maybe we should all sign a card to him in memory of those he encouraged into an early demise.

  2. You are kinder than I am. I’m now convinced that the culling of the vulnerable is deliberate. While they may not have caused this virus they knew it was on it’s way. They had been warned for years that the next big danger to society, barring nuclear war and destruction of humanity due to global warming, was a global pandemic. They could have, should have been prepared. Instead, over the last ten years, they have systematiclly run down the NHS and put the poor and vulnerable in an even more dangerous place by increasing the size of the holes in their already streched safety net. When warned the virus was an imminent danger they saw it as an opportunity to be rid of their “burden” in one fell swoop. This Tory govt are sociopaths and when this is over they should be tried in an international court for their crimes against humanity. Just one of the many reasons Nicola Sturgeon did not speak for me in “willing Boris on”.

      • Absolutely amazing Legerwood. Crowdfunded £20,000 to get it off of the ground. No financial help from the Government! Why on earth don’t they have one politician or civil servant focusing on every aspect of PPE, testing and so on. One for example, solely in charge of producing visors and opening factories or whatever run by people such as the family in the video? It’s becoming clearer by the day, day after day, that this Westminster Government couldnae run a menage and should be hanging its collective head in shame.

      • Superb stuff, had missed that… Saw examples on forums of many others making replacement headbands (usual breakage) in similar community efforts…
        The shocking reality is that UK manufacturers of PPE who were on overtime producing kit for export had contacted HMG to offer production slots but were declined, exact same story with ventilators…
        This government are not guilty of incompetence but manslaughter…

      • The lab techs in our local secondary school have been making masks using the schools 3D printers for over two weeks now.

  3. Inspired perhaps by Fintan’s wonderful piece, but wonderfully put in a scottish context…
    Chuckled at the video as well, dutifully shared…

  4. Pingback: The lethal ideology of British exceptionalism | speymouth

  5. ‘Willing Boris on’. Read between the lines.

    No care there for the Tories. Cutting NHS funding.

    Illegal wars, financial fraud and tax evasion.

    Scottish Independence would help the rest of the UK. Not wasting Scotland’s revenues and resources. Putting them to good use.


    The present Tory debacle lays bare the grinning face of genocide that is the UK establishment; Tory and New Labour, each tools of the US ‘Atlantacists’ – US Neo-Con Republicans and the US Deep State.

    An individual cannot reform such a corrupt system. So the only answer is the advice on war: “Don’t be there !”


    Scotland _has_ an exit path and is already half way down it; Independence – NOW !!

    With luck the present USUK coronavirus debacle – made so much worse by their genocidal Neo-Con ideology – may so weaken the USUK Imperial beast that the vassal states of the EU may finally grow a spine and boot the b___ers out. Resulting in a stronger EU which an independent Scotland can join forthwith !!

    Remember who still has US military bases and US NSA eavesdroppers monitoring their chancellor; Germany. Rember who closed their airspace to the aircraft of the Bolivian President, when the US were lead to believe that Edward Snowden was on board. France, Italy, Spain. All gutless vassel states of the US Empire. An unprecedented attack on diplomatic protocol which treats such aircraft as the inviolable sovereign territory of the state using it. That revealed the shameful reality of the US Imperial system controlling European states, ‘like a beach when the tide went out.’ Paraphrased. Reputedly a brilliant successful plan by Julian Assange.

    So God help an Independent Scotland to avoid the murderous pressure of the Imperial US hegemon that has pushed the UK to ruin.



    Both Tory and New Labour policies have been genocidal and sociopathic.

    From the millions of Iraqis murdered by the USUK; in Gulf War 1 – Kuwait; to the USUK’s murderous sanctions, killing up to 2m including 1m children under 5, not Madeleine Albright’s “We think it was worth it 500,000”; to Tony Bliar’s Gulf War 2 with 1m plus in the Lancet study, plus those following it.

    To those in the UK murdered by ten years of austerity; hundreds of thousands or even one million.

    The deaths were deliberate inevitable outcomes of policies chosen by those who either didn’t care or couldn’t care; sociopaths. Policies utterly genocidal and sociopathic; sickening in their depravity and callousness.

    Hence the resignation of two UN officials; Dennis Halliday “I don’t want to administer a programme that satisfies the definition of genocide”, and of his successor, Hans von Sponeck.

    It was Howard Zinn in the US who pointed out the uselessness of those who thought that they could change the US Imperial system from within. Instead they universally ended up being corrupted themselves; those in government, those in the diplomatic service, those in the security services, those in the military and others. All of them. Universally corrupted. One individual cannot reform a corrupt system from within. And the US and UK systems are utterly morally corrupt from the glaring genocidal examples above. SO. ‘Don’t be there !’

    Further – ‘Sociopathic Leaders’, a comment by Ex Pat to ‘The Lessons We Learn’, 22nd March 2020 – WeeGingerDug blog –

    And maybe don’t ‘abort’. ymmv. – ‘Hello from Hereford’. – a comment to ‘The Lessons We Learn’, 22nd March 2020 – WeeGingerDug blog –

    • Great points being raised by Alistair Campbell and one wonders why the right questions aren’t being asked by the journalists at number 10 briefings? Wonders? I reckon we all know why!

      One of his questions was, however, put to the CMO? yesterday (woman with white, blonde hair) and that was, “Can you tell us how many NHS and social care workers have now died as a result of Covid-19? And what investigations have been carried out into how many of them had adequate PPE?”

      She stuttered and stammered and then said that she couldn’t divulge that information as she’d be breaching confidentiality. Relatives of those who have died would have to agree to her releasing such information. Have you ever heard anything like it? No one was asking her to list off the names only the diabolical numbers.

      As to the second part of that question Matt Hancock had the feckin audacity to say that he had no idea how many NHS / Social Care workers had died due to inadequate PPE, as those frontline workers could have contracted the virus outside of work.

      There you have it. They don’t give a damn about them and never have. Bl**dy-well clapping for the NHS is costing these hypocritical charlatans nought. When this all over NHS / Social Care staff should demand a massive payrise and had better get it, because the whole country will be right behind them.


      ‘WATCH: Tory MPs cheer after blocking pay rise for NHS nurses.’

      ”Every Tory MP except one voted against Labour’s motion, which came during Theresa May’s stint as prime minister….

      The Tories won, thanks to the help of the DUP, by a majority of 14 and when the result was announced, many Tories could be heard cheering.

  7. The news media are controlled by the British state in that who gets to ask questions is strictly controlled.
    In fairness to the First Minister she is much fairer. I soon as the names of the Telegraph, Scotsman, Mail, record is mentioned I would move on.

  8. No he’s really not a plucky hero. He’s where the buck stops.

    There’s no amount of policy gonk double-speak or meeja mince going to clean those hands either. What they’ve done as a party and as a party of government to the populations of these islands is, and has been, beyond shameful.

  9. I am quite certain that when this covid crisis comes to an end, nothing will change. As far as the people in power are concerned whether Scotland or Westminster every thing will be the way it was before.
    How could anyone think otherwise. After two world wars the people of the UK were screwed over good and proper. and the establishment carried on as usual. There will be no change. Food banks , austerity, Brexit. I mean think about it MPs have given themselves TEN THOUSAND POUNDS so they can work at home. FFS Nothing will change.

    • > After two world wars the people of the UK were screwed over good and proper.

      ER, WRONG !!

      1. 1945

      The British people won World War 2 and voted Labour in a landslide victory in the election of 1945. The war was over and they had not forgotten the man and the Tory party who had set troops on the striking Tonypandy miners (in 1910-11: excellently long memories ! ; ) ).

      ‘1945’ – Ken Loach @23:12 – Youtube –

      2. NHS

      The _reason_ that the UK has a National Health System is because 10 million men under arms came home and wouldn’t settle for anything less.

      Tony Benn – NHS: ‘There’d have been a revolution’ (if Thatcher tried to demolish the NHS) –

      _You_ get to keep the NHS when _you_ have the guts to confront those who would take it from you. Be under no illusion that when this Tory debacle is over there will be such a confrontation and they will be gone; out of power or ‘gone’ gone. _Your_ choice; not theirs.

      3. Nobody gives you independence. You _take_it_.

      Scotland will be independent when its people have the guts to take it.

      The sooner the better, based on the current demonstration of cretinous Neo-Con Tory genocide.

      • The British people won the 2nd world war, oh dear here we go again. People of the UK and commonwealth countries were on the winning side of ww2. Without America and the Soviet Union it would have been a different story

    • Completely agree that the headlines are more appropriate to North Korea, the media (BBC in particular) have colluded with these charlatans to minimise and now ignore the figures.
      C4 and Richard Murphy reported on the under-stated English death count, and in the FT they published a chart which recalculated England’s COVID related deaths at over 1,600 for 27th March, that is over a fortnight ago.
      There is a Court in the Hague for these politicians…

  10. Swedish exceptionalism – no lock down, just sensible limited measures which appear to be working far better than the Italian, Spanish and now British models.

    Mind you they’re being pressured to conform.

  11. At the very core of this Johnson administration is dishonesty.
    When this is compounded by a British press which also operates in a dishonest manner,then democracy and accountability are a thing of the past.
    Eventually the truth will out and then there will be a reckoning.
    Meantime we have seen needless deaths in the pursuit of a dishonest right wing ideology.

  12. Things can change if people vote for it. Scotland has changed for the better over the last twenty years (Devolution) because people have voted for it. Better policies in place.

    Independence will change Scotland (the world) for the better when people vote for it.

    There will be less British exceptionalism and a better world. Scottish resources and revenues put to better use.

    No more illegal wars, financial fraud and tax evasion. Westminster Gov appalling policies. The Barnett Formula. Scotland outvoted 10 to 1. Westminster corruption and lies. The MSM non Dom tax evaders.

  13. Sunday morning. It’s Easter. I will have a look at “Britain’s Easter on BBC Scotland” states the bbc announcer. Sounds a bit embarrassed. Maybe he knows what’s coming.

    Whether from a faith, religious or historical context what a singular Anglo CofE biased view of the world.
    Of course we need to have Jerusalem … In England’s green and pleasant land —twice. Britain and England are the same. So britishers you are English. Jerusalem in the background …3 times.
    Cromwell bad, Charles 2 is good as he liked Easter and his mistresses. Contradiction there? So you can covet another…… as long as you are King. Weird.

    Transported to another dimension says a presenter ( sung at a royal wedding) so part of the English establishment.

    I intend to transport somewhere else. I don’t really drink but I can make an exception this morning.

  14. Another great piece Paul. It does however just further stoke the sense of impotent rage I feel towards Westminster and the British establishment, propped up by a largely sycophantic media.

    God knows I’m a card-carrying SNP supporter but I desperately want Nicola and co to diverge much more from the Tory’s disastrous approach. I’m not talking about politicising the virus but we MUST demonstrate an independent mindset drawing from the experience and successful tactics of other European countries.

    If we don’t then I fear we give Britnats like Carlaw the opportunity to say “See? Scotland needs the UK to survive”.

    • The Former Democratic State of Yookani is seriously fecked up. Crowdfund for a guy who’s done nothing right since he took office and then has been proven even less capable since this pandemic started. ( but still managed to find the strength of character to push thru a payrise & expenses wedge for him and his mates before going on the Pat&Mick…)

  15. This dates from early December last year.

    But well worth a re-read.

    How does Dr Meyerson feel now?

    As a doctor I have to speak out: Johnson has contributed to thousands of deaths

    Andrew Meyerson

    The prime minister’s neglect of the NHS has resulted in too many tragedies. If he were a doctor, he would be struck off

    • Andrew Meyerson is a junior doctor working at Worcestershire Royal hospital

    • A damning indictment, pre-coronavirus deaths. I just wonder what Dr Meyerson and his colleagues will have to say now, WS?

  16. It becomes increasingly clear to me that what the Brits will learn from this pandemic is that even the unnecessary deaths of thousands of their own citizens will be considered a price worth paying by their populace. They know now, if they were ever in any doubt, that their transparent lies and incompetence will be tolerated – indeed celebrated – by British nationalists.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *