Gail Addis: Nationalism is Identity Politics

Here is another piece from our 'Tell Us Your Story' campaign.

I’ve watched with a horrified fascination as the consequences of the 2008 economic crash become apparent in Europe, America and worldwide. There are obvious parallels with the 1930’s, much mulled over by commentators, but in our corner of Europe, it has been marked by the boost given to Scottish Nationalism.

'Civic Nationalism’ as illusory as Brigadoon. Nationalism is identity politics, the demonisation of others inevitable.The appeal to our pride in ourselves as Scottish is exclusive, not inclusive.

Separatism is regressive, not progressive, as ten years of SNP administration have shown. The case for independence would have been strengthened if they had governed better than they’ve campaigned. Instead, centralising control and the demolition or denigration of any institution with ‘British' in its title, from the BBC to the Transport Police, regardless of whether it’s sensible or financially sustainable, has been the policy.

The bottom line for many of us is that we live on an island, and are British as well as Scottish.

We share a heritage of literature, art, music, politics, science and history from neolithic times, not just since the Union.

The idea of England, Wales and Northern Ireland being as foreign to us as other European countries seems ridiculous. I don’t want to cross a border, real or virtual, carrying a Scottish passport to go climb the hills of Cumbria and Wales, walk the South Downs or go to the Proms and the National Gallery.

I hope that we have now seen the tide turn, and we can stay united. Building walls, creating divisions, ‘Othering' your neighbours, is not what anyone needs.

- Gail Addis