Saturday, 14 June 2014

Blòð eða Bjǫð / Fuil 'is Talamh / Blood and Soil

A trilingual title? That's a first for this blog! It's quadriligual actually as blood and soil is the same in Scots and English. For the uninitiated, the other two languages are Old Norse and Gaelic. A theme of this week has been an attempt to paint moves for Scottish Independence as blood and soil nationalism or, as a far more accomplished writer than me put it, "purity of lineage".

I'm afraid anyone coming to a blog written by a bagpipe playing, traditional song singing, Gaelic learning Scotsman who rejoices in supposedly one of the most Scottish of names - Roddy Macdonald / Ruaridh Dòmhnallach - looking for an exposition on true-blooded "Scottishness" will be sorely disappointed. The languages in the title appear in the order they were spoken in Scotland by my paternal ancestors.

Shock-horror! Macdonalds weren't originally Scots.  We're rather better disguised immigrants than, for example the MacAulays, which translates as Olafsson, and many other families. However, we are as "half-blood" a family as just about any in Scotland, or anywhere else in the world.  Look at the Donald from whom we are descended and by the time you get back to his great, great, grand-parents you'll find Scots, Irish, Norman (and English if you count Henri 1st Beauclerc, King of England as English), Russian, Norwegian, Flemish and God-knows what else.

I dare say if you trawl the sewers of the internet, you'll find Scottish "Blood and Soil" nationalists. Hell, enough proto-fascist, British Nationalists turned out in the Euro elections that we are now saddled with UKIP's first elected representative (MEP) in Scotland.  You can find anything on the internet if you look for it. Search Twitter and you'll see that the earlier quoted accomplished writer has been subjected to vile misogynistic abuse since long before she declared her hand in the independence debate. I could post up links to loads of instances of abuse by Britnats but really, I can't be bothered with whataboutery any more. To further publicise such sewage as the BBC and Press have one-sidedly done is to cheapen our national discourse.

Attempts to demonize Cybernats as being the same as the electronic equivalent of the Special Brew-swilling drunks you sometimes see in the street effing and blinding at everybody are a classic British Establishment ploy to turn the electorate back to getting their information solely from the bought-and-paid-for professional politicians and their lackeys in the media.  Independence is about thinking for yourself and doing your own research. Google is your friend.

Anyhoo, I'm also a carer and it's nearly time to take my ordinary mum to her weekly bingo (she doesn't drink and is of a vintage that she thinks Bingo is the only regular recreation that is socially acceptable for a woman on her own). But before I go, I'll let you into another wee secret: I wasn't even born here and did most of my growing up in the Far East and England. I'm a relic of Empire and my ordinary mum tells the story that one day in 1964 in Nairobi she was a white woman with a pram in the wrong place at the wrong time when a panga-wielding mob showed up. She had the presence of mind to grab me from my pram, run to a phone box and wedge her foot against the door while phoning my dad.  My dad gathered a motley crew of the Kenyan lab technicians he was training and guards from the former British Military Hospital in which he was working and came down to rescue us unscathed in a Bren-mounted Lannie.

Stick your blood and soil where the sun doesn't shine. It's tosh. Rise above the slurs. We know that all mums are extraordinary, as extraordinary as the civilized, truly grass roots campaign that is Yes Scotland. I'll leave you with a pic from the land of my birth. Harambee.