Scottish Tory leader accused of “tribal” mentality after lecture on nationalism
SCOTTISH TORY LEADER RUTH DAVIDSON has been branded a dealer of “doublethink” after she described the SNP as a party of “Orwellian” nationalism at her lecture for the constitutional unit at University College London.
The speech, which marked the annual Orwell Lecture, in honour of the world famous English political writer George Orwell, saw Davidson accuse First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and her party of fanning division by “claiming a monopoly on Scottishness.”
Despite facing a month which has seen revelations that councillors with sectarian and extremist views were elected under the banner of both the UK and Scottish Tory party, Davidson also accused Scottish nationalists of exclusive nationalism and condemning others as “anti-Scottish.”
The Scottish Tory leader has still not made any reference to the councillors who have been revealed over recent days. She also said that “Scotland versus the Tories” was “monopolising” an exclusive national identity.
Using Orwell’s definitions of nationalism and patriotism she stated that patriotism was “inclusive and respectful of others but nationalism asserted the primacy of one nation and people over all others.”
Davidson said: “In Scotland political nationalism has introduced the idea that only one side of the constitutional divide can be the authentic voice of ‘the people of Scotland’, that only it has the right to be heard, that other voices are, by their nature, illegitimate and phoney.”
“Back in March the prime minister set out her opposition to a second referendum on independence. Responding, Alex Salmond declared that ‘no self-respecting Scot’ would accept a ‘Westminster prime minister . . . undermining Scottish nationhood’. The implication being that to agree with the prime minister on this issue would be to somehow concede you were a lesser type of Scot.”
She also stated that the SNP had the hallmarks of “obsession, indifference to reality and superiority.” But political opponents were quick to point to the recent history of elected party officials engaging in forms of racial abuse and antagonism.
Last summer the EU referendum resulted in the UK voting 52 per cent to leave the UK. Following the vote, England and Wales saw a spike in attacks against EU nationals, ethnic minorities and other groups.
Read more – Ruth Davidson roundly mocked for Corbyn IRA jibe
In response to the talk, Deidre Brock SNP incumbent for Edinburgh North and Leith, said: “This is a lesson in doublethink from Ruth Davidson, whose own political message could not be more tribal. It is Orwellian to lecture others on nationalism when she’s the one who drapes herself in a flag and drives around in a tank.
“Ruth Davidson should get her own house in order before seeking to deliver grandiose lectures to others.”
Politicians from rival parties have place much of the blame for the rise in racial tensions at the door of the Conservative party and its decision to hold a referendum characterised by anti-immigration sentiment. Boris Johnson and Michael Gove were among the leading Conservatives figures in the Leave campaign, which found itself sharing platforms with former UKIP leader Nigel Farage and promising to “deal with mass immigration in the UK.”
The SNP, Scottish Greens, Scottish Labour and Liberal Democrats have committed to protecting the rights of EU nationals. The Scottish Tories and their leader, who campaigned for the UK to Remain in the EU, have given no guarantee, instead backing the UK Tory party in refusing to grant the right to stay.
However, Ruth Davidson, in her speech still maintained that the SNP were the “worst offenders” for the abuse of political language.
James Kelly, Scottish Labour MSP for Glasgow, said: “At every turn Ruth Davidson has put the narrow British nationalism of the Tories ahead of what's best for the people of this country. What an embarrassment Ruth Davidson is.”
Picture courtesy of Constitutional Unit
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