The problem that will not speak its name

This weekend British nationalist fascists rioted in London in defence of statues that no one was attacking and against a Black Lives Matter protest that had already been cancelled. The statues had already been safely encased in metal and boarding, but still the British nationalist fascists went on the rampage, raising their arms in Nazi salutes and attacking anyone who stood in their way. No one has seen a group of Nazis get so worked up over a sealed box since Raiders of the Lost Ark came out in the cinema.

While we’re on the topic of statues. There’s a petition going the rounds on social media asking to start a crowdfunder to raise money to erect a statue to Boris Johnson in Glasgow, with the express purpose of then pulling it down and throwing it in the Clyde. That seems like a plan.

Although the centre of London was the scene of riots and violence from British nationalist fascists who were enabled and inspired by the British nationalist with a history of racist statements who resides in 10 Downing Street, those British nationalist fascists were not called British nationalist fascists in the British media. It’s British exceptionalism at work again. In the exact same way people who come to live in the UK are immigrants, but British citizens who reside abroad are always expats, never immigrants in someone else’s country. The colonialist mentality runs deep in British nationalism.

Odd how the English language works isn’t it. Black people protesting against racism are ‘rioters’, but white British nationalist fascists rioting in favour of racist symbols are ‘protesters’. The anti-fascists ‘attacked the police’, but the British nationalist fascists ‘collided with the police’, almost as though it all happened accidentally. Boris Johnson described the Black Lives Matter protests as thuggery, but the fascist riots as ‘scuffles’. British nationalist fascists making Nazi salutes are ‘raising their arms’. One newspaper even went so far as to describe the British nationalist fascists as anti-anti-fascists. Since one anti- merely serves to cancel out the other, why not just dispense with it and call them what they are? British nationalist fascists.

In Scotland it gets even weirder. When British nationalist thugs beat up innocent and peaceful independence supporters in the centre of Glasgow in the wake of the independence referendum in 2014, it was ‘clashes in George Square’ and ‘rival referendum supporters clash in Glasgow’. The British nationalist fascists who march to celebrate the oppression and subjugation of a large part of the Scottish population, leaving a trail of violence in their wake, are called ‘loyalists’. They regularly break the law in order to demonstrate their loyalty. Which is like fucking for virginity or ballot stuffing for democracy. This is why you never see marches and rallies against independence in Scotland. They’d be indistinguishable from the Orange Order and Britain First.

They’re never British nationalist fascists. They’re never British nationalist thugs. They’re never British nationalists. They’re anti-anti-fascists. They’re pro-statue counter protesters. They’re anti-racism critics. They’re statue defenders.

There’s a big void in the English language, at least as it’s used in the media, when it comes to calling out British nationalist bigots for what they are. British nationalism has a problem recognising the ugliness that lurks within it. It’s even more of a problem because mainstream British nationalists don’t wish to acknowledge it exists. How can they call out the violent nationalists amidst their own ranks when one of their defining beliefs is that they’re not nationalists because they support the British state? Instead they must resort to ever more inventive linguistic gymnastics in order to distance themselves from the evil that lies within, the heart of darkness dripping hatred, and they end up like the Inuit with their alleged 100 words for snow. British nationalists have 100 ways of saying, “I’m not a bigot/racist but.”

This weekend we all got a lesson in how language is used to perpetuate systemic racism and preserve the supremacy of the British ruling elite. We saw the Daily Mail’s Sunday edition with a front page picture of a British nationalist fascist thug punching a black woman and the headline, “What HAS become of the tolerant Britain that we love?”

The Daily Mail is what happened to it, that’s what. The prostitution of the British media in search of a monetised click or page view enabling and normalising fascism and racism is what happened to it. Every week, along with the Express and the Sun and the other hate mongers of the right wing press, it’s sought another minority group to demonise and threaten. And now having unleashed the demons of violent British nationalist fascist thuggery, it wrings its hands and bewails this dreadful state of affairs. This is what you wanted, Daily Mail, Daily Express and all the rest. This is your baby. The blood of that poor woman is on your hands as much as it’s on the fist of the thug who punched her. He had to learn his hatred from somewhere. You taught it to him, you and the rest of the right wing British nationalist gutter press.

We are where we are because the BBC and other British media outlets have given platforms to hate. They’ve aired the views of the Nigel Farages, the Stephen Yaxley-Lennons, the Katie Hopkinses of this world. They’ve normalised them. They’ve spread them. The media has treated the lies of the Brextremists as morally and factually equivalent to the truth and has allowed Boris Johnson to get away with using racist and homophobic language. They created this. They enabled this. This is on them. They are the agents of the nationalism that will not speak its own name. And now we reap the whirlwind.

And in the greatest hypocrisy of all, those proponents of British nationalism consistently deny that they are nationalist at all. It’s always some other who is nationalist. It’s never the British. Sectarianism is a problem for Scotland and Ireland, not the British state that created and fostered it. Racism is a problem for the far right, not the British media that normalised and spread it. Inequality is just one of those things, not the result of that tiny group of self-selecting Oxbridge graduates who make up the British ruling class. We cannot even begin to solve the problem when it is the creature of those who deny that they have a problem at all. That’s why the British state is irredeemable. It cannot be fixed, Scotland can only leave it. Independence is a moral imperative.

And finally… It’s got nothing to do with independence or with the current epidemic, but I have just learned of the death of Pau Donés, lead singer and songwriter of the Spanish band Jarabe de Palo. Jarabe de Palo were and are my favourite Spanish band, and I learned Spanish by listening to their lyrics. Pau was diagnosed with colorectal cancer a few years ago. He went into remisssion, but the cancer sadly returned and this week took him from us. I’m devastated. 2020 just got a bit shittier. Here are two of my favourite songs from Jarabe de Palo, La flaca, and Agua.


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23 thoughts on “The problem that will not speak its name

  1. Spot on, Paul. Their use of language serves to underscore that England – the country ours is shackled to – is one of the most right-wing places on Earth.

  2. Very sad news re Jarabe De Palo singer. Like you, I moved to Spain in 1996 and these were the songs I used to learn Spanish from scratch.

  3. Couldn’t have put it better Paul. I heard someone on the radio referring to the fictional English elitism. A good descriptive phrase,I thought.

  4. Correct Paul. It is an imbalance in our media causing much of this angst in parts of society.

    I can only hope that in an independent Scotland that laws are put in place to circumvent this without curbing freedom of speech. I like the Norwegian model where if you own a media company you must be resident permanently in the country. No influence from overseas. They also have a right of reply by any group or person vilified.

  5. Language is so important !

    In Glasgow’s George Square yesterday and today we have ”Loyalists” attacking the Police to show their support for Law and Order .

    Loyalists ? A thug is a thug regardless of what name he calls himself or what flag he defends .

    • Never hd much time for Tories, but decades back in the time of the Troubles in NI one Tory MP who regularly appeared on TV always refused to call the UVF, etc. ‘loyalists’ but instead called them ‘disloyalists’ as he at least saw that their ‘loyalty’ was to a power that had their back in supporting their persecution (and murder) of Catholics and that they cared nothing for the UK other than this support – which the Troubles caused the UK to eventually re-assess and remove.

  6. The most stupid thing is that while these ‘loyalists’ seek to denigrate those of us who as anti the precious Union by proclaiming their ‘loyalty’ to the preciousss and wrapping themselves up in the Union Jack, they tar all those who believe in British nationalism as fascist thugs.

    • Yesterday the Daily Record illegally reproduced a leaflet from the Nonsensically titled Loyalist Defence League who were inciting their ‘followers to unlawfully descend on The Mad King’s Square (Matheson Sq? No don’t laugh) and protect the cenotaph.
      A handful of sad idiots dressed in black shuffled about for half an hour or so.
      The Herald Scotsman and Record gave this bunch of idiots validity. There were no clashes. So today, they were back, and a bunch of similarly dressed thugs converged on them as the protected the cenotaph, the police intervened and broke up thye scuffles and dispersed this stage managed bunch of hooligans.
      Can the hacks at the Dead Tree Scrolls tell me what was ‘loyal’ about this gaggle of fools?
      The Record aided and abetted in setting up this farce, and in doing so threatened the safety of our citizens and police. Well done, you grubby little rabble rousers.
      It is clear from the pictures that both sets of protestors were low life thugs; but that’s not how the hacks and broadcasters write it up.
      The Loyalist Defence ‘League’. Get a fucking grip, ye peddlers of Joke News.
      Great measured piece, Paul. I lack your patirnce and reserve.
      Our hacks and broacasters should have a long hard look at themselves. People are getting injured because you publicised a rammy in the Mad King’s Sq.
      A few dozen psychopaths attacking the police but reported a s protecting the cenotaph? You need to be seriously warped and evil to spin this out as Loyal Brits against the anarchists.

      • I was watching some videos on youtube about the riots down in London. Numpties were being interviewed and they said that BLM has been taken over by George Soros and the NWO. There is no conspiracy. These guys who go down there rioting thinking they are patriots defending statues are nothing but headlines and click bait for the gutter rags.

        These gutter rags don’t have a position. They argue both sides of the argument in order to create controversy, outrage and in turn increase circulation. They are chiding the gullible to react against left wing anarchists wanting to destroy the state when they pull down statues and afterwards condemn them as far right fascists. It really is the old hack trick of getting somebody in the spot light a few drinks in a pub, pretending not to be a journalist and butter them up with the patter in the hope that the person says something controversial.

        As always, there is a section of our society that is too reactionary that falls for this trick all the time and they will never learn.

        • Idiotic perhaps, innocent stupidity maybe, but orchestrated undoubtedly. A blind driving instructor who delights in celebrating his wife’s birthday in Barnard Castle will never be seen among them, but is watching his games play out like a hawk

          • It seems the BTL Daily Mail commentators doesn’t like how their paper are calling these ‘protesters’ Loyalists up here but in England they are far right thugs.

          • They were apparently two gangs of ‘football risk groups’, according to the lass on Distorting Scotland just now.
            They were brain dead thugs, described by the Blahs as ‘Loyalists’ and cenotaph defilers.
            Sellik and Ranjurs brigades?
            A handful of knuckle draggers, and our media validate this thuggery.
            Doubtless Tom Gordon will conduct an in depth interview with the Loyalist Commander.
            Joke News; sick Joke news.

  7. Pingback: Words Matter. Language Matters. So why… – MeerkatMusings

  8. Tragic news about Pau Donés. I’ve been listening to Jarabe de Palo (and the fantastic Estopa!) for years thanks to my Barcelona born wife. La Flaca has become something akin to an anthem for us, and I always (try to) sing it when we have a party at home. I put on the acoustic version the other day when my wife told me the news of his passing and it was an emotional moment for us. Pau Donés was a great artist and he came across as a genuinely warm and likeable person. Such a shame he’s finally lost his long battle with cancer, and at just 53 years old.
    Thanks for all your great work Paul. Donation made.

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