All nationalisms are not the same.

I’m really enjoying Iain MacWhirter’s thoughts on the run-up to the Scottish referendum that’s coming up in September..,for those of you who’ll be in my Political class in the Fall…these blog entries are well worth reading.

Iain Macwhirter

There has been a subtext to much of the coverage of the independence debate over the last three months as the London media has started to take a closer interest in what is going on in Scotland.  It has brought to the fore a latent tendency in much metropolitan commentary on Scotland to see the Scottish National Party as in some way a far right organisation hiding behind radical clothing.

Commentators like the Times’ David Aaronovitch and many of the contributors to the Guardian’s Comment is Free even say that Alex Salmond is really a clone of Nigel Farage – “two peas in the same hard pod” as the former put it.  This is because they are both nationalists and therefore base their politics on notions of race and ethnicity.   Salmond may SAY he supports more immigration, not less – but that’s just to dupe naive leftists in Scotland…

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One thought on “All nationalisms are not the same.

  1. I really like the line, “so perhaps it is time to remind ourselves that nationalism hasn’t always had such a bad rep.” As Macwhirter pointed out, 19th century European nationalism was a popular and celebrated movement, and unrequited nationalism (of those lacking a state to call their own) today is identified almost synonymously with terrorism, which reminds us that it is the powerful who dole out the reputations. As Gerard Seymour first wrote in 1975, one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter. This makes me think of imperialism, its hey-day and all it gave to the European powers as well as the United States, as well as the refusal by those same powers to let others, such as Japan, extend their control similarly throughout the Pacific and elsewhere.
    Certainly not all nationalisms are the same, the very term requires a “them” distinguishable from an “us” – but the basic idea is very much the same. When powerful states such as our own weigh in (or choose to stay out), certain nations are elevated to the independence they seek – such as in the case of Southern Sudan, and others are left without autonomy, and often oppressed, such as the Palestinians. It is a loaded question asking who, of those that want autonomy, deserve it. It is a loaded question because once we acknowledge it is deserved, the questions of where and how arise. I think whether or not autonomy is deserved takes a back seat to practicality and that practicality is determined by who already has a seat or at least a friend at the table, figuratively, or if you prefer, literally on the UN Security Council.
    I look forward to discussions on this topic!

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