Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Nationalism and the goddam press

There's a lot of things not exactly helping the unionist cause. Prior to the election it was Scottish Labour doing what they do best - which is talking shite and trying to scare people into thinking if Scotland became independent... Scrub that: prior to the election, it was Scottish Labour - period.

Now what's concerning me is that there doesn't seem to be any Scot - or even anyone who writes about Scottish politics - who isn't a) a nationalist, b) a shit-talker.

Take this pile of nonsense from Andrew O'Hagan, which I found via Martin Kelly. For example:
"Yet the Britishness of Glasgow secedes, as it always has, to a very workerist mentality: it's culture of local patter and home-grown sport and socialist politics has always made it feel very Scottish and quite defiant."
"Home-grown sport"? Can't think what that might mean. Not the SPL, surely - since it's dominated by two teams that owe their allegiance to Britain and Ireland, rather than Scotland. The article has a particularly bad example of the false idea that identities and allegiances necessarily compete:
"The next day, I travelled into Glasgow's East End to spend the morning at E________ A_______, a clean, optimistic, comprehensive school in the Shettleston area."
In the interests of avoiding surveillance, you'll have to turn to the Telegraph article to find the name of the school. Suffice to say I nearly choked on my lunch...
"In the class, there were 13 children aged around 12. I gave out a piece of paper and asked them to write their names under the column they felt best described their nationality - British or Scottish. One by one they wrote their names in the "Scottish" column, except for Stacy Saunders, who wrote her name in both columns, and one lone Britisher, Taylor Reid."
Why he was allowed to do this, I can't imagine - he'd do this in one of my classes over my dead body. The point about this sort of question - recycled in various ways in numerous opinion polls - is that it makes about as much sense as asking them whether they felt more Glasgwegian than Scottish.

Speaking of opinion polls, the latest one showing support for independence at 40% is, apparently, a sign that the 'pendulum has swung', according to Christopher Harvie. Seems it has - back from 44% in 2006.

The argument for the union may be lost, for all I know - but it doesn't help when the debate in the press seems to be monopolised by a) nationalists b) people who are always finding 'seismic shifts' in the latest opinion poll c) tourists and 'professional Scotsmen' of various kinds.


Can't work out if the council's stopped blocking blogger or if it's because I'm getting into it via Google reader. Anyway, it's allowed me to put up a wee post at Educational Conscription.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Edukashun: a quick question

To all those who favour vouchers/bringing back grammars/privatising the education system/shooting anyone so genetically-inferior they work for the public sector:

Here's some facts, provided by the Telegraph - although I'm sure they didn't intend do.

Here's two more: Finland has a comprehensive system; Sweden has a voucher system.

Why isn't Sweden doing better? Could it be that structure doesn't matter that much?

Or it does matter. This means you're still wrong.

Have to go now so please feel free to admit this in the comments below and I'll read them later.


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