Blood and soil and English supporters of Scottish independence
I notice the unionist twittersphere have been sharing this article as an example of “blood and soil” Scottish nationalism.
I think most of us would agree that what Sonja Cameron did was wrong and there is certainly a debate to be had about whether she should be allowed to be a candidate.
Let’s not make this about blood and soil nationalism though, not least because Sonja was born in Germany. Also because her crime occurred 23 years ago, she was suspended from the SNP and was punished by the legal system.
I know I have changed a lot in 23 years and I know I am a believer in forgiveness and redemption. Therefore, I have no problem with people who have committed crimes and paid their debt to society being able to get involved in the political process. We should judge people on what they are like now, not what they were like a quarter of a century ago.
As we have written before, like everywhere else in the world, Scotland has its fair share of bigots.
Sonja Cameron was one of them at some point in her life. However, the Scottish independence movement as a whole does not tolerate this sort of behavior. Our movement, in contrast to the one that was behind Trump and Brexit, is inclusive and welcoming. You can actually see from polling data that 2014 Yes voters are significantly more open and welcoming.
We wrote about the five differences between Scottish and British nationalism here.
For the SNP, identity is a choice rather than an accident of birth, an interior dialogue between people who find themselves living in Scotland and the Scotland they find around them. For Ukip, identity is external, it lies out there in the modern, multicultural world which is Not England and therefore threatening. Ukip blames immigrants for our social and economic maladies while the SNP proposes them as a partial solution to demographic decline and a monochromatic culture. Reduced to its simplest terms, Ukip wants fewer people to be English while the SNP wants more people to be Scottish.
Although the SNP don’t represent the whole independence movement they do set the tone and I would say this description fits the majority of us well.
I would argue too that post Brexit this inclusiveness has attracted lots of previous No voters to the prospect of independence. Obviously European citizens living here now think independence is more attractive and they have been joined by a significant amount of people who have realized the UK isn’t heading in the direction they were promised in 2014. When contrasted with the ugly tribalism behind Brexit Scottish Independence now seems the more appealing option to many.
This movement to Yes has been balanced by a similar amount of people moving the other way. Those more conservative independence supporting types who are more concerned about immigration and don’t see the point of being independent while being in the EU. So, if anything, it is reasonable to assume the more ethnic elements of the Scottish independence movement have now deserted it for the great UKIP driven isolationist Britain.
If there is a future poll on the attitude of indyref2 Yes voters towards immigration you can bet that the percentage who say they are in favour will be even higher than the one above.
Coincidentally, this week I saw three English voices speaking out for independence.
One, the head of a Free Market economic think tank of all things. The other two are people who voted No in 2014 but have changed their minds. I have added the videos below. Their reasons for switching confirm what we recorded in our No to Yes blog. The reasons have nothing to do with blood and soil nationalism. They just see the direction that Scotland is trying to take as much more in line with their open, progressive worldview.
Let us know what you think about Sonja being made an SNP candidate, the tone of Scottish nationalism and these videos in the comments section below.