Let's be clear. Allan Massie is a British nationalist.* Not quite in the spittle-flecked, purple-faced, ranting style of Alan Cochrane. (Although he appears to be competing with Poor Old Cockers in this diatribe.) But a British nationalist nonetheless. As such, he portrays the SNP, not as they are, but as British nationalists would like them to be seen by the public.
The same applies to Scotland's politics and what we might term the "mood of the nation". Either Mr Massie is so completely detached from the political scene in Scotland that it is invisible to him, or he is deliberately trying to mislead when he describes that mood as "ugly". In fact, the mood is very upbeat and hopeful. One might almost say exited at the prospect of putting a democratic dent in the the armour of a British state that has hitherto been deaf to the voice of the people and impervious to meaningful reform.
There is ugliness,of course. But it comes, not from the ranks of the SNP and other progressive parties in Scotland, but from the relatively small band of British nationalist fanatics engaged in an increasingly shrill and vitriolic campaign in defence of the ruling elites of the British state.
Massie also claims that the SNP is still fighting the referendum. Again, he is either tragically ill-informed or dishonest. Certainly, independence remains the long-term goal. But the SNP is fighting this election on a policy platform that is progressive and so clear that even a blinkered British nationalist such as Alan Massie can't avoid acknowledging at least some of it.
That policy platform includes such things as,
- an end to austerity economics
- no renewal of Trident
- real Home Rule for Scotland, as promised in the lead up to the referendum vote
- abolition of the House of Lords
- introduction of a living wage
While these sort of policies are evidently anathema to right-wing ideologues like Allan Massie, to most people they appear no more than the kind of considered alternatives to the stultifying orthodoxies of the British state which, in a properly functioning democracy, would be on offer from any party seeking to oust the Tories.
Massie opines that Middle England would be "furious" if the British political system fails to ensure that hegemonic two-party duopoly is maintained. His view is that, if any party other than those which are approved by the British establishment gains political power while playing by the British state's own rules, then those rules must be ignored.
His reasoning is that the rules must be ignored so as to avoid a turmoil of public outrage that he himself is doing his level best to whip up. Not because the SNP has broken any rules, but precisely because they are working within those rules.
Massie and his fellow British nationalists are playing a dangerous game with
their hate-mongering. Compare the language deployed by the British nationalist propaganda machine with the reasoned rhetoric of Nicola Sturgeon and other Scottish progressives such as Patrick Harvie. There may well be a whirlwind to reap from the seeds of anti-Scottish animus that they are sowing.
Massie is mightily concerned about a backlash in England to any SNP involvement in the government of the UK. His British nationalist bigotry prevents him giving so much as a moment's thought to the reaction of the people of Scotland if their democratically elected representatives are excluded in a storm of spitting, contemptuous vilification such as Massie gives us a glimpse of in his latest piece for the Daily Mail.
* To borrow the most incendiary saying of all: If Scotland rules England, I can foresee the Thames foaming with much blood