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Irony? Nah.

Written By: - Date published: 1:33 pm, May 17th, 2013 - 56 comments
Categories: colonialism, humour, im/migration, Media, uk politics - Tags: , ,

When a culturally driven desire for a degree of autonomy clashes with culturally driven intolerence, some interesting dynamics can be unleashed. And when the dominant culture seeks to report on it… well, it can all get a bit confusing for them.

The United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) reportedly made big gains in the recent local elections held in England and Wales. And they thought they’d ride that wave of popularity north and into Scotland. Given the history of English based rascists attempting recruitment in Scotland, you’d have thought, as Mr Farage obviously didn’t, that a recruitment drive might not be the best of ideas. Anyway,  off he went to Edinburgh.

And this is where it gets interesting for me. The Guardian reports that some of the crowd who greeted Farange were “activists in the radical left pro-Scottish independence movement” –  as though those who opposed this lunatic’s presence were as lunatic and dangerous as himself and merely off across the other side of the political spectrum. Meanwhile the Independent headlined with “Angry Scottish mob…” Something of a radical mob then. And mobs, as we all know, are to be disdained and feared. While radicals, as we are encouraged to learn, are dangerous nutters. So, I dunno, maybe fascism is just a point of view –  a polite and civilised juxtaposition to those who form radical mobs?

I have ‘no idea’ why the press would exhibit any degree of consternation or confusion over Nigel Farange being told ‘where to go’ when he went to Scotland. Sure, south of the border he might be a bit popular. But that’s got nothing to do with anything. See, dominant cultures forever struggle to understand even the most basic sentiments and dynamics of the cultures they dominate. (Just look at NZ and the reporting on Maori concerns or issues or the way individual actions within Maoridom are twisted and turned by the media to be ‘dangerous’ or ‘unreasonable’)

Anyway, Farage made an incursion into the space of a subjugated culture carrying all the paraphenalia and historical baggage of the dominant culture with him. What the fuck did he expect? A nice sit down and a chat over a cuppa? Didn’t happen.

And as humourously reported in the otherwise somewhat confused Guardian piece –

“…, finally, the harassed and ill-prepared handful of officers were forced to push him back into the Canon’s Gait, slamming its front doors shut, as the demonstrators chanted: “Nigel, you’re a bawbag, Nigel you’re a bawbag, na, na, na, hey!” with gusto.

The etched sign above the Canon Gait’s door read: “Enjoy your visit.”

Ah, if only all politicians with racist policy platforms were afforded such welcomes everywhere.


56 comments on “Irony? Nah.”

  1. ghostrider888 1

    Long Live the ‘Bruce.

  2. Shane Gallagher 2

    It constantly shocked me how ignorant the English were about Scotland. They would arrive in Edinburgh (not the most Scottish of cities) and suddenly go into shock as they discovered that “it is different here! “I can’t understand the accent… ” was often the bewildered next comment. 🙂 They just didn’t get that it was a different country, a different culture.

    • Clockie 2.1

      By the same token the Scots don’t understand why Shetlanders view them the same way they view the English:

      Big fleas have little fleas,
      Upon their backs to bite ’em,
      And little fleas have lesser fleas,
      and so, ad infinitum.

      • Shane Gallagher 2.1.1

        Yes I knew a few Shetlanders in Edinburgh! There were so many internal divisions as well – lowlanders vs. highlanders, east coast vs. west coast, mainlanders vs. islanders, Edinburgh vs. Glasgow… it went on and on!

        • Clockie

          The Shetlanders were turned into feudal serfs by the Scots and forced to pay rent in cash or kind to the new lowland Scots “lairds” for land that they had held in their own right previously. They were cruelly exploited and oppressed by the new colonising power of the Scottish crown and it’s representatives, particularly the brutal Earl Patrick Stuart. They later had a system of enclosures forced on them which caused a major exodus in the late 1800’s. That’s why there is such a large number of people with Shetland ancestry in New Zealand relative to the original population. Some of the native Shetlanders still think of themselves as Shetlanders first, British second and grudgingly, Scottish a poor third because they have to admit that Shetland is currently a county of Scotland. 🙂

  3. tamati 3

    Are you confusing UKIP with the BNP?

    • The Al1en 3.1

      Same thing minus the skinheads.

      • Arfamo 3.1.1

        +1 🙂

      • Populuxe1 3.1.2

        Well no, nationalism doesn’t always equate to racisim.

        • felix

          Before you go off on one of your thread-derailing sanctimonious bashing-yourself-with-the-wrong-end-of-the-stick tangents, you might like to reflect on the fact that no-one – that’s no-one – said nationalism always equates to racism.

          I point this out so others can easily find the exact moment when you designed your mighty strawman opponent.

          • Populuxe1

            Before you pucker up your mouth like a cat’s bum, Felix, let us look at the thread:

            tamati: “Are you confusing UKIP with the BNP?”

            The Allen: “Same thing minus the skinheads.”

            The UKIP is a conservative nationalist Euro-skeptic party whereas the BNP actively campaigns against immigrants and contains a strongly racist component.

            I would hardly call that a straw man and I’m sorry you’re that pathetic.

            • felix

              Are you saying you genuinely don’t know the difference between saying “UKIP are racists” and saying “nationalism always equates to racism”?

              Serious question.

              • Populuxe1

                Oooh I can hear those lips puckering up like you were sucking an alum soaked lemon, Felix. The fact of the matter is you are the one picking a fight with a straw man here. I was alluding to the assumption that because the UKIP are a nationalist party that they are comporable to a bunch of racists like the BNP. I’m sorry to are tone deaf to nuance.

                • felix

                  I’m only responding to what you actually said, Pop. Instead of trying to insult me – which any fool can see is never going to work – how about you answer two very simple straight questions.

                  One is a matter of definition, the other is a matter of fact. If you’re correct, answering the questions will prove it.

                  1st, the matter of definition: If you argue against something that no-one has said, that’s a strawman. Do you agree or disagree?

                  2nd, the matter of fact: No-one here said anything about nationalism always equating to racism. Do you agree or disagree?

                  Each question is very straight and has only two possible answers.

                  In the case of the first, if you disagree the onus is on you to show why the definition is incorrect.

                  In the second, if you disagree the onus is on you to show where someone did make such a claim.

                  Ready? Go.

                  • felix

                    Yeah didn’t think so.

                    • Populuxe1

                      Sorry I didn’t jump straight on that, Felix, but it’s the weekend and I have a life.

                      “1st, the matter of definition: If you argue against something that no-one has said, that’s a strawman. Do you agree or disagree?”

                      No, technically a strawman argument is to misrepresent someone’s argument and argue against that – which I specifically did not do. Mine was a tangental or adjunct observation regarding the context.

                      “2nd, the matter of fact: No-one here said anything about nationalism always equating to racism. Do you agree or disagree?”

                      I was responding to the tacit implication in The Allen’s statement “Same thing minus the skinheads.”

                      Does that help, or should I translate it into Aspie?

                    • ghostrider888

                      wotta ’bout Esperanto?

                    • felix

                      Well, we’re getting closer.

                      “I was responding to the tacit implication in The Allen’s statement “Same thing minus the skinheads.”

                      Are you saying that The Al1en’s statement suggests that nationalism is always racism or not? Straight answer please, either you are or you aren’t.

                      ghostie: English would be fine, but there’s fuck all chance of that.

                    • felix

                      ps Timestamps tell a different story about your life. You were all over the blog for hours yesterday after your last post in this thread.

                    • ghostrider888

                      hey felix me old china, some interesting reading I linked on O.M; same old same old 😀

                    • prism

                      “No, technically a strawman argument is to misrepresent someone’s argument and argue against that – which I specifically did not do. Mine was a tangental or adjunct observation regarding the context.”

                      Is that called white-anting then?

                    • felix

                      It’s just a distraction.

                      Fact is Pop either misrepresented the argument to make it seem as if someone was saying that nationalism always equates to racism, OR Pop genuinely doesn’t know how to visualise a Venn diagram with more than one circle.

                      There isn’t a third option available that would reconcile with all Pop’s comments in this thread (or if there is, Pop hasn’t thought of it yet.)

                      The short-range forecast is more bullshit, bluster, and personal abuse, all disappearing into a massive memory hole by tomorrow morning.

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      “1st, the matter of definition: If you argue against something that no-one has said, that’s a strawman. Do you agree or disagree?”

                      No, technically a strawman argument is to misrepresent someone’s argument and argue against that

                      I’ll just note, in passing, that technically there is no distinction being made here. If you argue against a misrepresentation of what was said, you are in fact arguing against something that ‘no-one has said’ in the conversation. Pop’s version is simply a subset of Felix’s.

                      Further, Pop is wrong. A strawman argument is one made against a man of straw that the speaker has raised up. It doesn’t have to be a misrepresentation of any particular person’s argument.

                    • Pascal's bookie

                      Also, of some relevance:


                      But Chris Pain, leader of the county council’s UKIP group, the official opposition, told today’s annual meeting of the council: “I cannot support this document.
                      “It actually pushes forward the chance of multiculturalism, one of the fundamental things that’s wrong with our society.

                      So there is that.

            • Bill

              ..the BNP actively campaigns against immigrants

              So does UKIP.

              On the other hand, the SNP most certainly doesn’t. So, what was your point again?

        • The Al1en

          Same thing minus the skinheads.

  4. A bit like the ‘Men’s Movement’ trying to recruit from NOW.

    Like you say, Bill, a really strange situation, full of irony.

    According to the Guardian George Galloway of Respect (???), Lord Foulkes of Cumnock, a former Labour (???) Scotland Minister and Lord Forsyth of Trumlean, a former Tory Scottish Secretary all confirmed the ‘anti-English’ sentiment of the ‘cyber-nationalists’ and elements of the Scottish Nationalist movement.

    This, apparently, is the great sin. Being angry at a nation that has exploited your nation for centuries (often under cover of racist sentiment) is not good form. Much better to be polite. We are all Gandhians now, except …

    Being angry at such impoliteness – calling them “yobbo, fascist scum” – is perfectly understandable and, presumably, forgivable.

    This has all the hallmarks of a media stunt by Farage. Apparently, he appeared at the pub, without telling the publican he would be there, and held an unannounced press conference, yet there was a group of protestors ready to greet him.

    Farage warned that the protesters who forced him to flee a press conference in Edinburgh and seek police protection, had exposed a “pretty ugly” face of Scottish nationalism that is “akin to fascism”.”

    But Foulkes was highly critical of Farage for failing to prepare for his visit to Scotland. “He didn’t help. He came up, went into a pub without getting permission from the publican and held an impromptu press conference. There were students protesting and he dealt with them in a peremptory and unsympathetic manner.

    • Bill 4.1

      Like I said in the post, some ‘interesting’ dynamics start to play out in the dominant culture.

      So, now we have George Galloway and others of Labour or ex-Labour essentially offering backing to Farage who has branded those expressing anti-fascist sentiments “yobbo, fascist scum.” And, of course, by extention, the implication is that the SNP is fascist and that independence for Scotland is being driven by fascist tendencies that express themselves as a deep antipathy towards the English. (Note: antipathy towards the English establishment etc and antipathy towards English people are two entirely different things. The former is fairly widespread. The latter isn’t.)

      Meanwhile –

      Mike Shaw, president of Edinburgh University Students Association’s Socialist Society, tweeted: “Ukip protest yesterday branded as ‘anti-English’. As a proud Englishman, arrested yesterday for protesting, I dispute these claims.”

      And here be two videos of the whole debacle that, let’s face it, show that things weren’t exactly ugly or out of hand….which raises questions over the reactions coming from current and ex-Labour Party sources and the quarters of the ‘establishment press’.



      But then, maybe it ought not to be forgotten that the UK Labour Party and the UK Conservative Party have formed an alliance to oppose any talk of independence and (it could be argued) squelch the democratic aspirations of ordinary people.

      • andyS 4.1.1

        I completely agree with your sentiments regarding the LibLabCon alliance to keep the UK in the EU.

        UKIP essentially represent a protest vote – they attract voters from across the political spectrum.
        In the recent South Shields By Election, the labour strong hold vacated by David Milliband’s departure to NY, UKIP picked up 24% of the vote.

        The Lib Dems got around 300 odd votes, half that of the BNP and marginally more than the Monster Raving Loony Party

        [I obviously expressed no such sentiment and if you ascribe things to me that I didn’t say again you’ll be enjoying a ban – Bill]

      • Puddleglum 4.1.2

        Thanks Bill for all the extra information. I was struggling to find evidence of the ‘near riot’ conditions implied by the headlines and commentary.

        It looked, so far as I could tell from the video I was looking at, a boisterous but non-violent affair. In the second video link you mention, one protestor explicitly states that it was the policies that were not welcome in Scotland.

        I’d like to hear how the commentators, Galloway et al. make their distinctions between ‘anti-English’ (i.e., racist) sentiment and ‘anti-English control’ (i.e., nationalism) sentiment.

  5. For all that the UKIP seems to consist of Little-England conservatives who’ve taken the concept of English eccentricity to a level easily confused with mental illness, the fact is that if you’re part of an angry mob hurling abuse at some guy in the street, you’re not the good guy – the scum present is actually you and your mates, not the bloke you’re screeching at.

    • Bill 5.1

      I think chanting “Nigel, you’re a bawbag, Nigel you’re a bawbag, na, na, na, hey!” is pretty funny and not at all screeching.

      And they did allow the press conference to proceed. They didn’t just shut it down, but asked questions of the guy and what not. (See the vid link above)

      • Psycho Milt 5.1.1

        I did see the video. As reported, it consists of a mob abusing this bloke Farage. Like I said, if you’re part of an angry mob shouting abuse at someone in the street, don’t try and kid yourself you’re the good guy in the scene – you’re so not.

        • The Al1en

          Surely that’s all relative. One man’s angry mob is another man’s act of defiance against a divisive bigot and a racist.
          The way I see it, the baw baggers, even though they’re shit at football, were good to the man.

    • Murray Olsen 5.2

      I’d say shouting at the bad guy doesn’t make you a bad guy at all. I don’t see much difference between the UKIP and the BNP. I have English friends who invest a lot of hope in the UKIP, mainly because of disillusion with the Tories of either tie colour. I think they’ll be sadly disappointed.

  6. andyS 6

    The Daily Mash almost got it right

    “Farage attacked by Scottish Farage”


    The Scot can’t see beyond their own dogma. They want independence from England but want to be part of the supra national state of the EU, where presumably they will turn into another Greece or Cyprus.

    Personally speaking, as a Brit, they can keep their country and provide us with our own little North Korea. Stuff them

    • Colonial Viper 6.1

      they can keep their country and provide us with our own little North Korea.

      That’s hilarious.

      I don’t blame the Scots for wanting to GTFO of your little Kingdom.

    • karol 6.2

      All natonalisms are not the same. the Scots anger comes from a position of being dominated and oppressed by the English. Farage’s motivation is to maintain the dominance of those of Anglo-Saxon-descent dominance in a multicultural England. England (and Britain) is still largely run by (and for) the wealthiest English classes.

      I guess there’s an attraction for Scotland to be able to appeal to the EU on social/national justice issues, rather than follow the Brit government with it’s stronger allegiance to “neoliberal” US government.

      It could be that it’s a case of a small independent country in a super-power world, wanting to choose allies that will be more sympathetic to their cause.

      • Colonial Viper 6.2.1

        As long as they stay out of the Eurozone they’ll be OK.

      • Bill 6.2.2

        If I can attempt to draw a parallel (which is kind of what I intended to do when I first thought of writing the post)

        Farange and UKIP kind of broadly equate with the mind sets of the likes of Don Brash and ACT – roughly.

        And the call for Scottish independence roughly equates with the call for tino rangatiratanga. And the press and establishment reacts in very similar ways in both locations when approaching issues of self determination – ie, fear monger, demonise and misdirect.

        • Colonial Viper

          Ahhhh Farage running his own Iwi/Kiwi campaign stunt.

          • Bill

            Farage (now that I’ve bothered to check how to spell his name) is all about Brits/Foreigners in his campaigning…foreigners/immigrants getting unfair and advantageous access to social provisions over ‘hard working, salt of the earth’ Brits.

            Sooo… yeah, basically the same shit.

            And he gets called on it and swathes of the establishment rush to condemn those who called him on it.

            And somewhat as an aside – note the fairly common mindset espoused by andyS that would have us believe that [choose between the following interchangable designations] foreigners/immigrants/scots/maori are lesser scum who never had it so good, couldn’t possibly manage their own affairs, should be grateful for the largess of the long suffering peoples of the dominant cultureand should therefore ‘quit their whining’ and/or fuck off to dystopia?

          • Bill

            Go read the principles their immigration policy is to be based on which, among all the misleading, scaremongering bullshit is this…

            UKIP would withdraw from the European Convention of Human Rights and the European Convention on Refugees. This would enable us to deport foreign criminal and terrorist suspects where desirable. UKIP would allow genuine asylum applications in accordance with our international obligations.

            Notice that they’re intent would be to withdraw from recognised frameworks that provide for international obligations and then allow asylum in accord with their own unilateral definition of their ‘international obligations’….ie, most likely none.

            • andyS


              [lprent: currently banned – doubling the ban for leaving comments. Now 13th June. ]

        • ghostrider888

          ‘n that

    • Bill 6.3


      And so adherence to the confused discourse of the dominant culture results in the demonisation of anti-fascists as….fascists…who would form a hard line communist state…within the auspices of the EU. Confused much?

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    GreensBy Jan Logie
    2 weeks ago
  • Certainty needed for community services
    A couple of months ago I was at a seminar where three community organisations were presenting. Two of the three presenters were waiting to find out if their organisation would get a contract renewed with MSD. Not knowing if their ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    2 weeks ago
  • Domestic Violence – some advice for the media
    For the purpose of this piece, I’m going to use Domestic Violence (DV) as a proxy for intimate partner violence. DV is not isolated to physical abuse in a relationship between people with the same power. DV is a pattern of ...
    GreensBy Jan Logie
    3 weeks ago
  • Leroy’s New Paw Prints
    Leroy, an Auckland great dane recently received a new 3D printed bionic leg after cancer was discovered. I think this is a fantastic story and highlights the real potential of additive manufacturing, or 3D printing Leroy’s prosthetic was printed in titanium and was ...
    GreensBy Gareth Hughes
    3 weeks ago