Alex Salmond’s Anglophobic racism
Is there much more than a letter between the SNP and the BNP? Both are nationalist parties: both seek to enforce separatism, propagate insularity and practise protectionism, all under the guise of benign patriotism. And both are led by racists.
Let us imagine that Nick Griffin discovered that curry may first have been eaten in Britain and only later popularised by Asians. What if he then declared: “I don’t mind the Asians claiming curry as their own, as long as they leave us our country.”
This was Alex Salmond’s precise reaction to the seismic revelation that haggis may first have been eaten in England. And he went further (as is his wont): detecting an opportunity for political hyperbole, this trivial piece of culinary history became akin to a ‘land grab’; an unwarranted political threat by ‘the English’ on ‘our country’. Go to parts of Birmingham, Leicester, Luton, Bradford or Tower Hamlets and dare to talk of ‘the Asians’ making a ‘land grab’ on ‘our country’, and you’ll soon find yourself in court.
What, then, if a colleague and senior adviser of Mr Griffin then accused those who did not agree with his nationalism of being ‘anti-British’?
But any Scot who does not agree with the Salmond brand of nationalism is a traitor. Indeed, all Scottish Unionists are traitors. The SNP haven’t used that word, but they might as well have done, for what else does an allegation of being anti-Scottish mean to a patriotic Scot?
It is curious that we repudiate British nationalism while tolerating Scottish nationalism. After decades of bloodshed and civil strife, Irish nationalists have been welcomed into the fold of the enlightened, and Welsh nationalism is tolerated because it’s basically as warm and fluffy as the sheep. In these constituent countries of the United Kingdom, nationalism is synonymous with patriotism. But underlying them all is a deep antipathy towards some alien other, namely the English. What exactly is the difference between Nick Griffin’s racist outbursts against Asians and Alex Salmond’s nationalistic enmity against the English? Do they do not both represent a form of bigotry?
UKIP are not infrequently derided as closet racists, petty little Englanders and xenophobes for seeking the secession of the United Kingdom from the European Union. Their backward-looking insularity is self-evident to the progressive, enlightened, globally-minded establishment. The BNP are undoubtedly racist for seeking to exclude non-white people from their ranks and for advocating the primacy of the ‘indigenous Caucasian’ (or 'ethnic groups emanating from that race’). Understandably, the non-racist, non-sectarian UKIP often get a little irate when their brand of ‘extreme Right’ is mentioned in the same breath as the BNP’s more robust brand. Peas in a pod, some say: the one leads to the other.
But why is Alex Salmond not cast by the media as a little Scotlander, a petty anti-English xenophobe or a racist? Certainly, if one were to spout the bile he does against any minority ethnic group, one might just find oneself accused of inciting racial hatred. But Anglophobia is apparently not as illegal as Islamophobia, or as abhorrent as Europhobia. Indeed, it appears to be quite a respectable and legal pursuit, even by politicians.
We all know what the media and the entire establishment make of a white politician renowned for his ‘persistent contempt for Pakistanis’. Such irrational scorn based on nothing but skin colour is rightly to be reviled. Yet Alex Salmond is noted for his ‘persistent contempt for the English’, and is simultaneously lauded as ‘the best politician in Britain’.
The eminent Scottish composer James MacMillan accuses Alex Salmond of inciting racial tensions, and the entire SNP leadership has a history of ‘anti-English bigotry’. Which is curious when you consider the lengths to which Mr Salmond is going to eradicate sectarianism in Scottish football.
Why is bigotry to be outlawed from the Ibrox Stadium or Celtic Park but tolerated, encouraged and positively embraced at Holyrood? Sectarianism is as vibrant across political movements as it is across religious denominations. It is bigotry, discrimination or hatred which arises from attaching importance to perceived differences between subdivisions within a group. Together we are a United Kingdom, with a shared history, philosophy, industry, religion and literature. Agitate and exaggerate the differences, and the rhetoric leads to enmity, hostility and disunity. The spirit that hates the Protestant or the Roman Catholic for their religion is the same as that which hates the English for their polity. Sectarianism is sectarianism; nationalism is nationalism; evil is evil.