Slugger O'Toole

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Scottish unionist parties bogged down with a dysfunctional deficit model

Thu 26 January 2012, 7:59am

Nice spot from Dewi has Gerry Hassan’s considered early response to Alex Salmond’s announcement yesterday, well not so much to Salmond as to the residual use of ‘the deficit model’ by what is now becoming fashionably known as the unionist parties:

A strange switch has happened in which the SNP have become thoughtful, pragmatic nationalists as far as you could imagine from ‘Braveheart’ and ‘Trainspotting’ sentiment. Instead, the romantic, fantasyland nationalists are those defending the British state and Westminster world: Gordon Brown, David Cameron and the unionist parties in Scotland.

They are romantic nationalists because they are letting their emotional attachment to the idea of the UK drive how they think of things. They tell themselves and the rest of us a selective, implausible, sanitised version of British history where we only did good things: brought ‘civilisation’ to the Empire, abolished slavery and beat the Nazis, and never address the complexities, nuances and darkside of having been an imperial power. In short, the new romantic nationalists defend an idealised, fictionalised United Kingdom, a world of in the words of Michael Moore, Lib Dem Secretary of State for Scotland, ‘a generous welfare state’; the parallel universe of Gordon Brown’s land of liberty, tolerance and dissent. Alex Massie notes this significant change, commenting that ‘increasingly it is Unionism that tugs the heart’.

I’m reserving Alex’s post for a separate blog later on…m

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Comments (5)

  1. Nevin (profile) says:

    “A strange switch has happened in which the SNP have become thoughtful, pragmatic nationalists as far as you could imagine from ‘Braveheart’ and ‘Trainspotting’ sentiment.”

    How sure-footed is Hassan himself? What is his political agenda? Just three weeks ago he made this assessment of the SNP:

    The SNP leadership has some awareness of this; hence the delays, hoping the ground can be prepared, strategy fine-tuned, monies raised, and even more activists garnered. Yet, this is the delay of a dithering army, unsure at its moment of greatest triumph so far, whether and how to pounce.

    Has the whole debate now moved onto shifting sands? Will the spin merchants truly muddy the waters leaving the plain people thoroughly bemused?

    What do you think?
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  2. Mick Fealty (profile) says:

    That’s a tree Nev!

    What do you think?
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  3. Nevin (profile) says:

    Mick, I’m just trying to hack my way through the forest of spin and jargon! Here’s a very recent one liner – 20 hours ago – from Gerry’s Twitter that made me smile. It seems that the leader of the ‘dithering army’ has undergone a radical transformation: “Salmond striking thoughtful, statesman like tone. We should all do same.”.

    What do you think?
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  4. Mick Fealty (profile) says:

    You’re posing big imponderable questions you’ve conjured out of the back of your head…

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  5. FuturePhysicist (profile) says:

    Indeed the unionists are getting more romantic just as the nationalists are heading to the divorce courts. The prospect of being a hard up single dad isn’t working, nor is “think of the children” so they’re breaking out the “The marriage is difficult but … I Love you”, as the dad wanting a divorce plans for a separation.

    So you have to ask a unionist are the “children” and the “courts of public opinion” really on their side?

    What do you think?
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