Written by Andrew Wilson
For me and my fellow teenage Scots, the Scottish independence referendum was our first taste of democracy. In many ways, it was much like losing your virginity: passionate, confusing and over before you know it and from a pro-independent point, disappointing.
The lead up to the 18th of September 2014 raised numerous questions about myself and my political beliefs. From an early age – sorry if this sounded like the beginning of a personal statement – I have taken an interest in left-wing politics. From Noam Chomsky to our bearded friend Mr Marx, I have lived, breathed and shat left-wing. It is more a part of me than cheap lager and Dr. Martens. However, it is was these beliefs that caused a conflict within me. How can I, a left-winger, be a nationalist?
When you think of nationalism what appears in your mind? For some the answer to that question might be pride, passion, patriotism. However, for others the answer is likely to be hatred, fear and the inherent belief that the people born in your borders – that are white, male and straight of course – are better than the people born within another border. So where does that leave us predominantly left-wing independence supporters?
By definition, an advocate of political independence for a nation is a nationalist. Well then guys, in the eyes of Oxford dictionary, you and me are both nationalists; but you fucking hate the EDL? You’re a lefty? You love immigration? Me too, but we’re nationalists now. We’ve got some mosques to invade.
Let me guess, as a pro-independence supporter in the unforgiving lands of Twitter, you’ve been labelled as a cypernat? Of course you have. It’s insulting. The intended connotations are clear. You’re a mosque invading, immigrant bashing monster that may have hidden homosexual feelings for Tommy Robinson. Tommy may have nice eyes and maybe you are a nationalist, but maybe there are different types of nationalism.
It would be crass to suggest that the Greens or the SNP are in any way similar to the EDL, UKIP or even the Tories; but isn’t that what’s being suggested when you call me – a Green party supporting, lefty – a nationalist? Enough of the rhetorical questions, you are suggesting just that! Isn’t it possible that Scottish nationalism is distant from English nationalism? Unlike the EDL or UKIP, we are not concerned with uniting the indigenous populace to rid themselves of anything multicultural, all we want is to be self-determinant. We want a fairer Scotland, an equal Scotland, a Scotland which welcomes all regardless of ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation.
The next time someone calls you a nationalist, accept it, for wanting to live in a fairer place is not something to be ashamed of, it is something to be encouraged. The next time someone calls you a nationalist, remind yourself that you are not an EDL member with a Scottish accent, you are in fact everything they fear. The next time someone calls you a nationalist, remember that you are the best kind of nationalist there is: an anti-homophobic, anti-sexist, pro-immigration, left-winger. And for those that believe that Scotland should remain a part of the union, you are more than entitled to that opinion; however, before you call a pro-independence support like myself and thousands of others a nationalist, think about what that really means.
I am a proud Scottish nationalist and you should be too.