I’ve heard that Gerry Hassan, writer, researcher, thinker, might be having a wee go at me and my pals on the ‘ardent’ wing of the Yes movement – Wings, Indyref2.
Far under this heading:
He seems to be saying two things there. First, the SNP are the party of ‘the status quo’ and second, that ‘ardent nationalists’ are inadvertently illustrating this by defending ‘every part of present-day Scotland.’
Leaving aside the difficulty of identifying the status quo in a complex modern society, isn’t the dominant version of the status quo, in essence, Unionist? I’m thinking of those interlocking elite groups, often privately educated and at the top, in the three Unionist political parties, in the civil service, in the press and in the broadcasters, on the corporate boards and executives, in arts management and in education. Though the SNP is in government (minority) it is hardly dominant in this Scotland.
As for the ‘ardent nationalists’ defending ‘every part of present-day Scotland’, are we not illustrating the same point in that we are obliged to work ceaselessly to counter the potentially overwhelming dominance of unionist perspectives and messages flowing from multiple centres of massively funded power and influence in the corporations, in the corporate and state media and in the universities?
Secondly, where is the evidence that we defend ‘every part of present-day Scotland?’ I feel driven to defend only those parts being unfairly and inaccurately attacked by the corporate and state media, in an attempt to counter a monstrous imbalance. That we do it every day is primarily testament to the scale of the problem and not to our ardency though I’m happy to be called ‘ardent’ – ‘passionate’, ‘enthusiastic’, even ‘fiery.’
Finally, an important comment on Gerry’s writing. It’s articulate, flowing and seemingly well-informed but it’s almost entirely evidence-free. He writes as if he knows it all and doesn’t need to offer any evidence. For example, when he writes:
He doesn’t offer us any evidence at all that the party as a whole, of 130 000 souls, has become ‘embroiled’ in anything. As far as I know, there is only the suggestion that one or two political aides to Salmond and Sturgeon have allegedly spoken to journalists to suggest a falling-out between the two. Even if this were to be confirmed it means nothing more than a spat between people whose task is to champion the interests of the person they are paid to assist. There is no evidence at all of a ‘civil war’ in the party. If there was, we might see the names and the numbers, but we don’t. How many SNP members have resigned saying it is because of these ‘events?’ How many councillors or MSPs have left to join the Labour Party? Sorry, I’ll need to wipe my eyes before continuing.
Gerry, along with other, unionist, commentators thinking inside the Holyrood bubble, makes the mistake of thinking that it is more than it is. Is there any evidence at all of even writing about splitting, in the MSP or MP cohorts or in the constituencies? I see none at all.
I should declare something here. I was Director of Studies for Gerry’s PhD. Yes, he is Dr Gerry Hassan, but he doesn’t use the title often. His study was of the ‘Scottish Commentariat’. It was very successful in its own terms. It passed first time with no modifications required. That’s rare. The external examiner and the University research lead loved it, but it did not involve any empirical study of large cohorts of voters, members, activists or politicians which might have led to confident claims of trends and patterns within them. Similarly, this piece, can make no claim to revealing evidence of the ‘end of an era for the SNP’ because it is mostly imaginative, based on the equally evidence-free pontifications of those journalists and politicians who make up that disconnected elite group, ‘The Commentariat.’
As I was finishing this, I thought I’d do something but when I did, it made me wonder why I’d bothered writing at all. I checked to see how much traffic Gerry’s blog gets and found this: