There was a rather heady moment this week at First Minister’s questions. This is a rare occasion given the typically glib nature of the talent there. It occurred when the conservative agitator Murdo Fraser quipped:
“Relative to its population share, Scotland has consistently attracted fewer migrants to live here than have other parts of the United Kingdom. Why does the First Minister think that, after 10 years of Scottish National Party Government, Scotland is a relatively unattractive place for immigrants to come to”.
The First Minister in her pugilistic manner replied:
“What an utterly disgraceful thing it is for a member of the Parliament to stand up in the chamber and describe his own country as an “unattractive place” to live”.
This caused her goons to praise their dear leader as they all ways do.
No matter what your personal views are on the exchange, one thing can be said, there is, an undeniable link between George Orwell’s definition of nationalism and the SNP.
Orwell made it clear that to him nationalism was about power grabbing, obsession, indifference to reality and instability. Whereas, patriotism was a love of one’s country without the need for power. Orwell even wrote about such situations “The smallest slur upon his own unit, or any implied praise of a rival organization, fills him with uneasiness which he can relieve only by making some sharp retort”.
But, the comparison does not stop there. The aforementioned indifference to reality and instability are on full display within this exchange. This can be seen with regards lack of a discussion about the Scottish economy which only grew by 0.4% last year and thus output was down by 0.2%, meaning recession is becoming increasingly possible. The reason I mention the economy is because the economy and immigration go hand in hand. Therefore, given the potential for economic instability there is going to be a lack of individual as well as business interest in Scotland.
Thus, Murdo Fraser’s point- although not put in such away- helps to showcase the incompatibility of hardcore nationalism and front line politics. Hopefully, the up and coming elections begin to cause the slow reduction of the SNP and a return of the political discourses of Scotland and the United Kingdom to sanity.