Monday, 19 October 2015

Scotland's Answer to "Top Gear"

The Scotsman has an article headed "Nicola Sturgeon calls for an end to online abuse". The norie that online abuse, which is always wrong, is the exclusive province of nationalists is of course nonsense, though nonsense that suits the Scotsman.

The Blether Region's interest was piqued, however, by the cause of the First Minister's comments. It seems that Wings Over Scotland, aka Stuart Campbell, had questioned the right of J. K. Rowling, a £1 million donor to the Better Together campaign, to support the Scottish rugby team.

The Blether Region is not very big on sports, even ones like rugby that let the wee pretendy nations of Scotland and Wales compete alongside real ones like Fiji and Samoa. Hell, rugby even lets the Irish pretend they're united rather than partitioned into perpetual dysfunction.

As readers may have guessed, the Blether Region is being sarcastic, and yet a very good case can be made that separate sporting teams, like separate promissory banknotes or stamps with cute wee thistles on them, are a distraction from constitutional change, muddying the waters about where power lies. One might even call them the opium of the people.

As for Wings Over Scotland, why someone who, like 55% of Scots, voted No in the referendum, should be banned from supporting Scotland at the rugby is not obvious (would you ban your granny?). Moreover, Wings Over Scotland itself has been guilty of far, far worse in its comments on Gaelic, whose promotion it rejects on the grounds that keeping it alive amounts to "blood-and-soil ethnic nationalism".

Although there are some cultural nationalists whose main or exclusive linguistic interest is Scots rather than Gaelic, Stuart Campbell's comments would seem to preclude that possibility. It seems that, for him, the most potent symbol of Scottish nationality is not language but the predictably macho one of what was once memorably described as "a game played by men with odd-shaped balls" — uncodified before the nineteenth century and named after an English public school.

Good thing the Blether Region no longer reads him.

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