First time round with Joan McAlpine there was so much unionist misquoting and smearing that the use of the term “anti-Scottish,” about the concerted attempts of London based politicians to impose conditions on the referendum, was at least partly deflected. And Tom Harris with his comedic downfall helped to divert attention.
Mike Russell has now repeated the use of “anti-Scottish” to describe the Labour-Conservative attempts to end free university education in Scotland. There is a rational defence of the language he used, but it again provoked much wailing and gnashing of teeth on the part of the usual unionist suspects.
My impression is that when Scottish Labour and Conservative representatives start proclaiming how patriotically Scottish they are, they look a bit forced and unnatural. There is a subliminal message that if they doth protest so much they must be hiding something. They are certainly on weak ground in terms of how well they have defended or advanced Scottish interests.
So why let them off the hook and give them a half excuse to portray the SNP, or pro-independence campaigners, as those who would question the Scottish identity of those that disagree with them? It is not about what exactly is said, it is about how easily it will be to distort and defame. We should be careful not to give them any ammunition.
And it is not necessary to use the term anti-Scottish to expose the dishonesty of failed Labour politicians pursuing failed Tory policies on privatising education. Or the Bill and Ben double act of Michael Forsyth and George Foulkes seeking to impose conditions on Scotland via the absurd House of Lords.
We had Ed Miliband in Scotland this week too, telling us he would make a positive case for the Union, and then failing to do so. One of the supposedly positive things he said was: “I have no doubt, even as we speak, that the SNP are getting ready to say how dare I, as someone born and living in England, come here and join this argument.”
We know that smears and scares are all that unionists have to offer. I sometimes think that being positive is anti-Scottish, but it has been working, lets stick with it.