It’s Mark Smith again on nationalism and why normal folk like him don’t really like it. He writes:
Nationalists usually argue that Scotland would be better off economically and socially because of independence, but it actually doesn’t matter because independence is their top priority. Their thinking is: the economy and equality are important, but not as important as independence.
Then he tells us why Nicola is doing so well in the polls. You know what’s coming, don’t you? It’s because she’s not being nationalistic! She’s dealing with the outbreak and refusing to mention constitutional matters even though the press pack try to push her into that daily.
The opinion polls suggest that when you ask them, few respondents put independence above big social and economic issues like health, housing or education and so, for Smith, independence is not that important to the people of Scotland.
Here’s the problem.
Smith is, I hope, a complex character embracing a range of values relating to the economy, poverty, health, welfare, sexual identity, foreign affairs, war, the environment, human rights and so on. At any moment he can make a decision to act or to just say something perhaps, which requires a quick decision to temporarily put one of these into that moment. At another time, the same value may not be the one prioritised but, crucially, he won’t have to throw away any of the other values as long as they do not seriously contradict it….and so can we!
The supporters of Scottish independence, even the SNP members, are not narrow obsessives in my experience, but complex like Smith, and able to hold within themselves a range of values which can reasonably co-exist. So, without needing to retrospectively articulate them, we know that the drive for Scottish independence brings within it, at least to some extent, egalitarianism, pacifism, environmentalism, tolerance and collectivism just as Unionism with its post-imperial baggage does not.