I was reading an article by Kenny Farquarhson in the Times on how independence supporters are really terrorists-in-waiting. It made me wonder; is British unionism capable of giving up on its lifelong propensity for utterly horrific violence?
Of course, in Scottish politics this is a taboo. Things that happen in Scotland are the fault of Scottish independence supporters because we’re responsible for everything that happens in Scotland. But it is universally agreed (by unionists) that unionists bear no responsibility for anything which has ever happened in Britain. That is ‘history’, ‘politics’ or ‘crime’, not unionism.
One of unionism’s favourite quotes is that “Scottish nationalism is angry and divisive which is why civic Britain’s track record of being brilliant is so attractive”. Like so many of unionism’s best one-liners it was not pithy and not quite wholly true.
It has to be acknowledged that the United Kingdom of Britain and Ireland was created entirely peacefully and without a shot being fired and suggesting otherwise is slander. But this taboo is so deeply internalised by the Scottish political class that no-one has ever checked.
There have been some isolated incidents, such as the violent subjugation of Ireland, the forced erasure of Wales after vicious military struggle and multiple violent attempts to subjugate Scotland, perhaps notably the Siege of Dundee in which Cromwell basically destroyed the whole city. Luckily Scotland nearly went bankrupt and so we were sold to Britain without the need for mass murder.
What we must also acknowledge is that once Britain was created it didn’t do anything horrible to its citizens. For example, it played no role in the death of a million people in Ireland from a famine. No really, it played no role (chuckling isn’t a role exactly).
On the other hand, British Unionists were peace-loving and benevolent wherever else they went, definitely not killing about 1.8 billion Indians during Empire or say 30,000 Chinese people while we were forcing them to allow the import of our opium. There was some business to do with slavery and the genocide of Native Americans, but let’s be reasonable.
Because all of these things were a long time ago and since a long time ago none of this has happened – or has it? If we look closely can we glean any evidence of endemic British unionist violence since long ago times?
Others will argue that it is a truly pathetic attempt to smear a legitimate political cause which does not espouse violence by accumulating a range of examples from history which bear no relationship whatsoever to current political culture
It turns out that yes, there is some evidence. It takes a bit of digging out (i.e. check the massive list on Wikipedia) but to help out I’ll do a quick count up. Thirty three. Thirty three wars or armed conflicts since the Second World War, or one every two or three years. (You might want to subtract two cold wars, so that is 31 wars, or one every two or three years.)
And thankfully unionists didn’t engage in any violence during the independence referendum of 2014 – except all the violence that actually did take place during and after the independence referendum of 2014.
Is there something genetically wrong with unionists which makes them incapable of addressing any issue without resort to bloodshed? Might that be an appalling and irresponsible thing to write for the purpose of scoring cheap political points? How can we ever know without me voicing it out loud for absolutely everyone to see (Murdoch paywall permitting)? It’s basically my duty, right?
Some will argue that breaking the taboo of pretending unionists are broadly civilised is just encouraging their endless violence. Others will argue that it is a truly pathetic attempt to smear a legitimate political cause which does not espouse violence by accumulating a range of examples from history which bear no relationship whatsoever to current political culture.
Who really knows? But I did it anyway because that’s the sort of shit I do.