The definition of nationalism in Chambers Dictionary is “to strive for the independence, unity or interests of a nation”. That describes Scottish Nationalism throughout its history, as near as a simple definition can be applied.
It has nothing to do with racism, chauvinism or imperialism, although they are all used as synonyms by Westminster politicians like Paddy Ashdown (your report, 8 October).
Perhaps when he attempts to smear Scottish Nationalism, by making comparisons with the “Right” in Europe, he would do well to remember that the Scottish Wars of Independence were fought against English aggression and imperialism for nearly 300 years and, in modern times Scots have had to fight against English indifference to Scottish interests.
Does he think 45 per cent of Scots voted for what they thought was independence because they were happy with the current arrangement?
Unfortunately, politicians like Ashdown are aided and abetted, although inadvertently, by those in the Yes campaign who could not wait to declare: “I am not a Nationalist” or “This is not about identity”, as they strove to find arguments to justify the demands for independence.
Thus the No campaign was allowed not only to set the agenda, but was allowed to say which political terms were acceptable, as it spread its fear and lies with impunity.
When someone can tweet: “Patriotism is about love, Nationalism is about hatred”, it is obvious there is a hell of a lot of education to be done before the next upsurge of demand for independence.
Polish Nationalists fought against Prussian, Austrian and Russian imperialism, Czech Nationalists fought against Austrian and German imperialism and Scottish Nationalists fought against English imperialism.
Are those who decry Nationalism prepared to claim there is only shades of difference between Scots, Poles and Czechs fighting for freedom, and English, German (Prussian), Russian and Austrian aggression and imperialism?
Gordon Wilson is correct to say Ashdown’s arguments “are demented” but they are the currency of Westminster debate. Unfortunately, the groundwork was prepared for Ashdown by those Yes campaigners who may have used different words but made the same argument.