Argyll's online broadsheet.

For ratzo: No one comment gave us cause …

Comment posted SNP need to back off the ‘Anti-Scottish’ tactic by newsroom.

For ratzo: No one comment gave us cause to decide that it was important to call attention to a direction of travel that is potentially dangerous and should be left behind.

And this is no facile argument.

Supporting the charging of fees for tertiary education – for example – may be short or long sighted, it may be capitalist, it may be elitist, it may damage the economy, it may fuel growth – but it is not ‘Anti-Scottish’. It is entirely feasible than an independent Scotland might have to charge such fees – and how would that square with the tag of being ‘Anti Scottish’?

As soon as you start labelling anything negatively as  ‘Anti-Scottish’, you are also creating a positive category of ‘Scottish’ – and that binary distinction in these terms is essentially racist and yes, it is incipiently fascist.

Fascism is not hurling people into concentration camps and murdering opponents at will.

That is the end result of fascism.

Fascism is the insistence on and the imposition of a single perspective, a single purpose, a single rightness – and an inability to tolerate the contrary view.

This is why the Blair regime became essentially fascist and why much of the legislation enacted – badly –  in a hurry, by David Blunkett was fascist in spirit.

Maya Evans, standing at the Cenotaph in London in October 2005, refusing to stop reading (not shouting) aloud the names of British soldiers who had been killed in the 2003 Iraq war was neither a terrorist nor did she represent a terrorist threat. But she was arrested and charged under anti-terrorism legislation – simply because what she was doing was politically uncomfortable for the Blair regime that had taken us into that war. That regime could not tolerate that contrary view. Evans became the first person in the UK to be convicted under Blunkett’s 2005 Serious Organised Crime and Police Act.

newsroom also commented

  • For kenmcdonald: We do not intend to comment further on this matter – but the essence of extremism is unreason.
  • For the cybernats:
    Everyone is aware of the existence and operation of the so-called ‘cybernats’ – the SNP’s internet attack dogs, sent out to howl at the quiver of criticism on the horizon.

    It is not difficult to discriminate between the, sometimes angry, responses of wounded nationalists and the vicious rants of the cybernats.

    I have been watching the comments to this article and its clarifying comment with interest, amusement and serious concern.

    The interest is purely academic, in the sense of observing and analysing behavioural phenomena. In the extremist comments I have seen an all but absolute absence of reason; a shrill and dark abuse of anyone with contrary views; and an unthinking dismissal of an issue that begs reflection.

    The amusement relates to the rural Irish wisdom that: ‘If you throw a stone amongst a pack of dogs, it’s the one that gets hit that squeals’.

    So I know that our very real anxiety about the underlying fascist attitude in the emergence of the ‘Anti-Scottish’ tag has been received as damaging.

    The real damage is in the attitude rather than in the criticism. The cybernats and their masters might better reflect on the damage done by their own conduct in the face of reasoned criticism.

    For Argyll has been well disposed to independence – and equally well disposed to a federalist solution.

    In the light of what I have seen in the extremist strain amongst the comments above, I now have very real reservations about an SNP led independence, if this is evidence of what is to come.

    What I am seeing is the habit – the deliberate habit – of the truly fascist. This will not tolerate criticism in the pursuit of a totalitarian, authoritarian nationalism. This will not stop to discriminate between legitimate and illegitimate criticism. ALL criticism is regarded as illegitimate.

    If the SNP attack dogs can be licensed to behave in this way at a time when their party is working hard to court favour for an independence vote in 2014, what will this sort of administration be like when, if successful, it no longer needs to worry whether people like it or not?

    Will I personally vote for independence if this is the true proposition to contemplate? If this is where we are headed, I would no longer consider it for one second.

    I have been horrified to live through the Blair regime that saw folk arrested in Brighton – by police – during a Labour party conference, simply for wearing anti-Blair T-shirts; and at the same conference saw an octogenarian physically hauled out of the conference chamber for shouting ‘Rubbish’ during a speech by Jack Straw.

    That is starting to look pretty tame against the incipient fascism here in Scotland.

    What the cybernat behaviour has done in the extremist comments above is to reinforce in large the initial concerns we had at the ‘Anti-Scottish’ adventures – that there is a genuine fascism being consciously loosed to shout criticism of any kind into silence – and that is cause for all our concern.

    Anyone who imagines that For Argyll is likely to be cowed by anything, never mind brutishly irrational screeching, has profoundly misread who we are and what we are for.
    Lynda Henderson

  • For David McCann: See our reply to ratzo.
    We were trying to treat this lightly, although we do see it as a phenomenon that is worrying.
    We’re happy to accept that this may not have been the best approach and rest our case on what we have said to ratzo.

    And, for the recored, we do see this manifestation as having all the hallmarks of juvenile spin doctoring.

  • For ratzo: We cannot see anything amusing in pointing to creeping fascism. That this will be unintentional does not neutralise its fascist impact.

    Scots who do not want independence are no less Scottish than those who do.

    Each, as they see it, has the interests of the country at heart; and each has anxieties over the independence referendum that lead them to do what they can to manipulate it towards the outcome they would prefer to see.

    We are on the record as being opposed only to the status quo, which Scotland has clearly outgrown; finding equally acceptable an openly and well specified independence or an equally open and well specified federalist revision of the UK.

    In our view, it is dangerous not to identify and be critical of bad practice, from wherever it comes.

    The sort of blind or nervous affiliation that makes it possible for people to accept on condone wrong conduct because it comes from their own ‘side’ is what breeds monsters.

    Who wants to live in a country, independent or not, where any criticism or opposition is hit upon as ‘Anti-Scottish’. If you cannot see where this can only lead, that too is of real concern.

Recent comments by newsroom

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    Not in my control and hadn’t noticed this myself [so thanks] – and will pass on your concerns.
    This us likely to be one of the consequences of recovery from recent outages which were beyond our control.
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    It is worth noting that in its judgment the Supreme Court said:
    ‘“The first thing that a totalitarian regime tries to do is to get to the children, to distance them from the subversive, varied influences of their families, and indoctrinate them in their rulers’ view of the world. Within limits, families must be left to bring up their children in their own way.’
  • Bute refugees suffer from inadequately considered placement
    Eveything you say above applies justly to those who radicalise – but not necessarily to those who are vulnerable to be radicalised.
    When you are young, everything in life is understood in simple binary oppositions. It is only time and broad experience that introduces and embeds the tonalities of understanding.
    Many of the young everywhere, from the need to belong and from the acceleration of peer pressure, are also prone to follow the accepted behavioural norms or fashions of their peers.
    This is why radicalisation is most easily effected in cities and amongst the large cultural enclaves that can form there.
    The young, in their uncluttered understanding, are also idealist – and extremism is a form of idealism perverted.
    What you say about the safety and security that relocated refugees now possess is also correct – but is amended by two considerations.
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    The second is that, as may be the case with some of the Bute families, if they feel and look ‘different’ from everyone around them and if they cannot communicate, some will feel uncomfortable and vulnerable, even intimidated – and it is unrealistic to assume that refugees will be universally made welcome in any locality.
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    This would be a responsible and necessary provision if integration is to be a realistic achievement.
    We do not know if such provision has been made and there seems to be no mention of it.
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    This is another issue – a procedural one – and one which clearly needs to be resolved while the need can be immediately understood.

    It remains a mystery why, when political party leadership elections require set percentages well above 50% to secure a win, politicians would not have reason and wit to see that decisions taking a member of a significant political union out of that union, changing the nature of the larger union [helpless to prevent that] as well as the nature of the departing member, that decisions of such weight and permanence cannot sensibly be taken by 50% + 1 single vote of an electorate.
    The opportunity for due revision was not taken following the Scottish Referendum, which was run under this rule.
    Something like a 60% threshold would guard decisions against the percentage of transient whim – and/or of misunderstanding and/or of misinformedness – in any vote; and these are the things that that can help to create very narrow majorities on very profound issues.
    Opinion polls declare that their results are subject to a 3% margin for error.
    In the EU Referendum, a 2% change of mind would have produced an even tinier – but legally acceptable – majority in the opposite direction.

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