Stephen Daisley exemplifies the anti-democratic obscenity of British Nationalist extremism. But he serves a useful purpose in that he reveals the reality of a vile ideology that harks back to the supposed glories of belligerent Britannia’s bloody imperialist past.
Read Daisley’s spittle-flecked rants about Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP and you’d think he was referring to some murderous terrorist cult and its super-villain leader rather than the democratically elected First Minister of Scotland and the party chosen by the people to govern Scotland – insofar as the constraints of devolution permit.
Much of this is personal, of course. Daisley has hated the SNP with a vengeance ever since an SNP politician drew attention to something phenomenally stupid and unprofessional that he’d done leading to an embarrassing rebuke and a bit of a career blip. Seeking a vehicle for his bitter resentment, Daisley found a natural home on the far-flung fringes of Unionist loonydom.
His columns offer a stomach-turning glimpse into the manic minds of those who embrace a political philosophy based entirely on a mix of mindless hatred and elitist exceptionalism. Only such a mind could react with Daisley’s venomous malice towards a perfectly legitimate, lawful, peaceful, democratic political movement such as that which seeks to restore Scotland’s independence. Such minds are not uncommon among British Nationalists.
Daisley acknowledges that the “SNP is in its 13th uninterrupted year” of duly elected administration. He admits that support for independence is “close to 50 per cent”. He allows that “almost half of Scots want to walk away from the UK”. How does he respond? Does he respond with reasoned counter-argument and some approximation of the mythic ‘positive case for the Union’? Does he evince a determination to pursue his political aims through the democratic process in the way that Scotland’s civic nationalist movement does? No! Faced with a democratic threat to the constitutional arrangements he favours he immediately reaches into an arsenal of draconian measures reminiscent of the repressive impositions of totalitarian governments.
Much as one’s instinct might be to dismiss Daisley’s demented diatribes as the ravings of a political outlier, it would be a mistake to do so too readily. The frustration of hard-line Unionists who supposed the 2014 referendum would kill the independence movement and the SNP ‘stone dead’ is such that the bilious barbarism spewed by the likes of Daisley is entering the mainstream of British Nationalism.
Don’t think of Daisley’s fervid fulminations as a curiosity. Regard them rather as a symptom of the cancerous British Nationalist fanaticism that now poses a real and imminent threat to Scotland’s democracy.
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