Paper 4 in the ten part weekly series by Professor Alf Baird which is having a big impact on political debate in Scotland. Each week the number of readers and comments increase as more people arm themselves with this information in our battle for Scottish Independence. Pay particular attention to the section headed Fanon. I read this section being very aware these characteristics are now clearly present in the SNP Government today. We need very different tactics and people sufficiently courageous to take on the challenges that are needed. Sadly I just can’t see the current SNP leadership fitting that bill in any shape or form.


‘We have seen that colonization materially kills the colonized. It must be added that it kills him spiritually. Colonization distorts relationships, destroys or petrifies institutions, and corrupts men, both colonizers and colonized. To live, the colonized needs to do away with colonization. The liquidation of colonization is nothing but a prelude to complete liberation, to self-recovery.’

(Albert Memmi)

The quest for national independence and self-determination of ‘a people’ is invariably regarded as decolonisation, not least by the UN which retains a committee (C-24) for that very purpose. This also raises the question as to whether or not Scotland is a colony. Constitutionally, Scotland remains a signatory party to a treaty-based alliance (the UK union), and the Scots are regarded as a sovereign people, which suggests Scotland is not a colony. However, what is perhaps more important here is the practical and political realities of Scotland’s experience and ongoing treatment within the UK alliance arrangement. Just like any alliance, joint-venture, or even marriage contract, all is perhaps not what it appears on the surface.

Here we might first consider that colonial territories and peoples are usually subject to external control over their laws, culture, language, political leadership, land and resources;each of these external controls noticeably figure highly in the case of Scotland. Moreover, what independent countries take for granted, colonies often do not have. Scotland is not globally competitive, for example, its economy has been stagnating for a very long time, a consequence of resources being exploited cheaply (via the UK ‘alliance’) and with surpluses mostly intercepted and extracted rather than used to develop the country (i.e. Scotland) and its people. 

In the world of commerce an independent country has an opportunity to do whatever it needs to do in order to develop a competitive advantage, whereas a colony and its people are generally held back through exploitation, discrimination and external control by an ‘administrative Power’, leaving them under-developed. In this sense a colony is organised primarily to serve the needs of the ‘mother country’, in our case the UK/England, whereas an independent ‘liberated’ Scotland would (or should) be focused on developing Scotland and its people.

In being forced out of the EU against their will, Brexit demonstrated that, within the UK alliance the Scots are treated not as a sovereign people but as a subaltern people. The same applies with several recent successive Scottish electoral mandates secured in favour of holding a second referendum on independence, none of which have been respected by Westminster. In post-colonial studies the term ‘subaltern’denotes colonial populations that are socially, politically, and geographically outside the hierarchy of power of a colony, and outside of the empire’s metropolitan homeland. The Devolution arrangement itself also reflects a colonial reality as distinct from a sovereign member nation and signatory party in a joint alliance arrangement. 

Despite the Scots being a sovereign people and signatory party to the Treaty of Union, Scotland therefore appears to demonstrate only too well the three essential defining features of a colony, which are:

• Scotland is subject to full or partial political control by another country (i.e. England, the latter holding some 80% of seats in the UK parliament, Scotland lacking any veto); 

• Scotland is exploited economically by the ‘administering Power’, and;

• Scotland has been and continues to be occupied by significant numbers of ‘settlers’ from the ‘administrative Power’, people from England comprising the largest ethnic migrant group in Scotland.

Related to this, Internal Colonialism theory contends that ethnic and cultural divisions within a ‘state’ are not removed in the course of its development or industrialisation, they remain in place and indeed may fester. In Scotland’s case, the institutionalization of an ethnic/cultural division of labour is evident. This division of labour is imposed on Scotland by the ruling Anglophone group and it associates deprivation and hence inequality not just with membership of an oppressed and exploited social class, but with membership of an oppressed and exploited ethnic group, i.e. the Scots speaking Scot. This brings us to the realisation that colonialism involves institutionalized racism and socio-linguistic prejudice.

In this the top jobs, the high wages, and the social status which comes with these things are reserved for members of the dominant elite culture which is Anglophone or (and, the qualification here is important) for members of the subordinate (Scots) group who choose to embrace the dominant culture (including language). In colonialism, it tends be the bourgeoisie native who seeks to protect their privileges and status through assimilation and by discarding their own culture and language, which in turn differentiates them from the mass of the indigenous community. Longstanding inequalities between England as core nation and the peripheral UK nations including Scotland reflect such characteristics in the context of internal colonialism.

This brings about a need, given ongoing momentum towards independence from the colonial power base, which is Anglophone, to consider the social basis of ethnic identity. There have been fundamental changes in the strength of ethnic solidarity in the United Kingdom in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, however, many of the inhabitants of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland continue to maintain an ethnic identity and hence a national consciousness quite different from England. In the UK context, as elsewhere, it is apparent that ethnic identity is predominantly linguistically and culturally determined.

There is also a need to consider the discord between socioeconomic development and ethnicity. A common feature of Scotland’s meritocracy is an Anglophone elite hierarchy retaining control over the industrialisation process. However, the dominant position of Anglophone elites extends beyond industrialization to also control almost every aspect of public and social institutions, in government, state agencies, justice,education, healthcare, religion, transport, the third sector and more. Hence in the UK Celtic periphery, most institutions exhibit a colonial hierarchical structure.

In the Anglophone dominated internal colonialism reality that immerses and controls Scotland, the Scots speaking Scot is generally rendered as, and reduced to, a minor and inferior ethnic participant parroting a supposedly ‘invalid’ language and made devoid of much in the way of status or opportunity. In other words, the Anglophone cultural hegemony dominatedUK ‘union’ which essentially treats Scotland as a colony, renders the working-class Scots speaking Scot much like Jimmy Reid’s ‘alienated worker, and little better than Nietzsche’s Untermensch (‘inferior people’). This oppressive reality reflects and merits the strongest desires for independence (and hence decolonisation) amongst the Scots speaking oppressed group who comprise the bulk of the independence movement.

Devolution illustrates the unequal status between the Celtic ‘fringe’ nations of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and ‘core nation’ England. British ‘unionism’ is an Anglophone hegemonic transnational nationalist political ideology, an especially dominating form of nationalism, as history confirms. British ‘unionism’ might also be viewed in the context of England’s need for Lebensraum, the Celtic fringe offering space, resources and an altruistic, egalitarian, welcoming and trusting, if somewhat naive peoples serving an over-populated, unscrupulous Anglophone elite and unsympathetic ‘core’.

Analysis of post-colonialism literature and associated theoretical perspectives enables us to better understand the phenomenon of colonialism and its outcomes vis-à-vis Scotland.

Professor Edward Said

Colonialism gave elites: ‘the power to scheme grandly, subordinating peoples by banishing their identities, except as a lower order of being.’ In this pursuit: ‘the cultural processplayed an indispensable role…as a vital, informing, and invigorating counterpoint to the economic and political machinery at the material centre of imperialism.’ This emphasizes the important role of Cultural and Linguistic Imperialism in Scotland and the concentration on (Scots) language oppression. In the context of Scotland’s governance,including Devolution, we see that: ‘The national bourgeoisies tended to replace the colonial force with a new class-based and ultimately exploitative one, which replicated the old colonial structures in new terms.’ This colonial meritocracy is replenished by: ‘The great colonial schools (which) taught generations of the native bourgeoisie the history of France of Britain (whilst) also demoted the native (i.e. Scottish) history.’And again, language appears a key factor in subjugation, this from Joyce’s Stephen Dedalus: ‘The language we are speaking is his before it is mine. His language, so familiar and so foreign, will always be for me an acquired speech. Colonialism is an aspect of Imperialism where: ‘Imperialism after all is an act of geographical violence. For the native, the history of colonial servitude is inaugurated by loss of the locality to the outsider; its geographical identity must thereafter be searched for and somehow restored. Which brings us to consider some of Imperialism’s core objectives, in that: ‘Colonial space must be transformed sufficiently so as no longer to appear foreign to the imperial eye. This ‘incorporation’ involves certain policies, for instance: More than any other of its colonies, Britain’s Ireland was subjected to…repeated settling projects’ (and) ‘What was done in Ireland was also done in Bengal or, by the French, in Algeria’, and is not entirely unknown in Scotland either. And yet again we return to the importance of language, because only liberation provides for: ‘The decolonized entity (which experiences) an almost magically inspired, quasi-alchemical redevelopment of the native language.’ And with that, the critical importance of national identity becomes ever clearer as we see that: ‘The imperial relationship is there in all cases. Irish people can never be English any more than Cambodians or Algerians can be French. In every colonial relationship an absolute hierarchical distinction remains constant between ruler and ruled, whether or not the latter is white.’

Professor Michael Hechter

Yet how is colonialism ‘enabled’ other than via: ‘The docility of….Scotland was achieved by the co-option of regional elites….a precursor of Lord Lugard’s famed colonial policy of ‘indirect rule’. This resulted in the: ‘Widening cultural identification between gentry and ordinary people (which) may be fruitfully seen as a product of the colonial situation.’Inevitably requiring the native elite to cast aside its own culture, language, and people, viz: ‘The conscious rationale behind anglicization among the peripheral elite was to dissociate themselves as much as possible from the mass of their countrymen’. And in the UK’s supposed ‘alliance’ or ‘union’ context, basically: ‘what we are talking about is the colonial incursion of England into the Celtic lands’. For this artificial UK ‘political construct’ to work thus required the Scottish: ‘gentry to shed their language and mores to become Englishmen in fact, as well as in name.’ The ordinary people see this of course, in that: ‘The gentry were defined as enemies, not only because of their wealth, but because of their conversion to another culture, that of England’. Colonialism remains prejudice, racism, and worse, not least because to be English-speaking within the UK Celtic periphery: ‘was to be culturally privileged – just as it is today in neo-colonial cities like Accra or Lagos’. Within the Celtic Periphery this also meant that the English held: ‘a disproportionate share of jobs in managerial and commercial categories’. Subsequent socio-linguistic prejudice and ethnically oriented inequalities thus giving rise to: ‘The phenomenon of Celtic nationalism (which) may be seen as a political response to the persistence of regional inequality’. And which is due to: ‘Ethnic discrimination (as a) characteristic of English attitudes towards the Celtic areas’, e.g. with investment capital being concentrated in England. Celtic periphery nations were thus primarily organised to be economically specialized: ‘in the subordinate position of supplying materials and cheap labour’ (and) ‘directed to supplying the needs of the metropolitan core’. This meant colonialism has rendered the periphery nations vulnerable because: ‘The structural consequences of colonial development were such that the country and the people were laid bare and defenceless to the play of the market forces as redirected only by the interests of the foreign metropolitan power’.  But of course, the core nation always ensured its own advantage: ‘In contrast to the highly specialized nature of Celtic economic structure….the industrial economy of England was diversified and hence…much less vulnerable’.

As a consequence of this hierarchical arrangement: ‘Internal structural differences between the Celtic periphery and England are reminiscent… of less developed societies, which arose as a function of their colonial mode of development’. Development occurred in a largely dependent mode… and special diffusion of industrialisation in the Celtic lands was considerably restricted… and excessively specialized. The persistence of systemic disadvantagesfrom policies discriminating against the Celtic periphery.. has been described as institutionalized racism’. And in this the inevitable exploitative nature of colonialism becomes evidentin that‘The situation of the Celtic fringe in the British Isles is analogous in several respects to that of less developed countries’And let us not forget what lies at the root of colonialism, namely: ‘When long-term differences in aggregate rates of development are the result of ethnic stereotypes, it is appropriate to speak of institutional racism’. 

Albert Memmi

So here is what ‘dependence’ means for a colonised people: ‘The colonial relationship chains the colonizer and the colonized into an implacable dependence, (and has) molded their respective characters and dictated their conduct.’ This process is aided by the native bourgeoisie who ‘mimic the colonizer’ in his culture and language in order to retain their status and privileges under colonial rule. There is however a price to be paid for such an ‘arrangement’ in that: ‘The deprivations of the colonized are the almost direct result of the advantages secured to the colonizer.’ In addition to the ever-present racism and prejudice, given that: ‘Racism is built into the system: the colony sells produce and raw materials cheaply, and purchases goods at very high prices from the mother country. Racism is ingrained in actions, institutions, and in the nature of the colonialist methods of production and exchange.’ And yet an inevitable question remains: ‘How can an elite of usurpers, aware of their mediocrity, establish their privileges? And the answer to this is: By one means only: (by) debasing the colonized to exalt themselves.’ Decolonisation is never therefore a conflict between capitalism and socialism or policies on this and that, because: ‘There is no connection between the liberation of the colonized and a left-wing (or right-wing) program. The only task at the moment is that of freeing the people.’ We should nevertheless be clear on the matter of who independence is about and who it is for, given that: ‘The destiny of the colonized does not concern him (the colonizer) and that what the colonized do with their freedom concerns them only.’ And, considering that colonialism is also racism, we should not be surprised that ethnicity sits at the very core of this matter, in that: ‘Being oppressed as a group, the colonized must necessarily adopt a national and ethnic form of liberation.’ For an oppressed people such as the Scots to be really free, thus necessitates: ‘Assimilation being abandoned (because) attempts at imitating the colonizer required self-denial.’ And in this regard: ‘the colonizer’s rejection is the indispensable prelude to self-discovery’ of the colonized people themselves.

Frantz Fanon

Much as we now see with the SNP today, a dominant National Party will tend to make its own ‘accommodation with colonialism’ which stops far short of liberation. Matters become clearer once the dominant National Party steps aboard the colonial gravy train and it soon becomes evident that: ‘Their objective is not the radical overthrowing of the (colonial) system.’ Here we recognise their close resemblance to former colonial parties as: ‘The notion of the party is a notion imported from the mother country’. Middle class elites running the National Party are not intellectuals and do not fully appreciate their purpose so they will look to promote other ‘priorities’ in which: ‘The elite will attach a fundamental importance to organization (and focus on administration which) will often take precedence over a reasoned study of colonial society.’ Which implies that, inside the dominant National Party: ‘the will to break colonialism is linked with another quite different will: that of coming to a friendly agreement with it.’ Which in turn dovetails nicely with the role of the colonizer, in which: ‘The settler’s work is to make even dreams of liberty impossible for the native.’ The dominant National Party will even support colonial forces to hold back momentum towards liberation and in this regard: ‘The party elite will disown the revolutionary elements’ (and) ‘The party helps the government to hold the people down…becomes more and more clearly anti-democratic, an implement of coercion’. Discovering this reality dismays the ordinary independence supporter who: ‘..realizes that while he is breaking down colonial oppression he is building up automatically yet another system of exploitation’ (which) ‘discovery is unpleasant, bitter and sickening.’ The party elite becomes ‘petrified’, unable and unwilling to move forward on the matter of national liberation, and: ‘The party machine shows itself opposed to any innovation’ to break the nation free. Hence little changes with a single dominant National Party, which soon leads to the creation of new national parties more focused on the true purpose and goal of liberation, reflecting that: ‘Colonization is a motionless, petrified world.’And with political persecutions and goings-on we return to the reality of the situation in that: ‘The colonial regime owes its legitimacy to force (and) the native hardly ever seeks for justice in the colonial framework. The people begin to better comprehend that: ‘On the plane of human rights, what is fascism if not colonialism when rooted in a traditionally colonialist country?’ And here we return to the reality of the situation, in which: ‘Colonial status is simply the organized reduction to slavery of a whole people.’

Aime Cesaire

Scots must now be made aware of the irreversible consequence and danger of permitting their prolonged colonialism to continue, given that: ‘The iron law of colonialist capitalism (is) of a society that is not only perishable but already in the process of perishing.’ On the question of national development, which is enormously constrained through colonialism: ‘it is the colonized man who wants to move forward, and the colonizer who holds things back.’ Lest we forget what a colonial people are subject to, and that: ‘Colonialism has grafted modern abuse onto ancient injustice, hateful racism onto old inequality.’ And, rather than Scotland being a valued UK alliance ‘partner’, let us belatedly discern that: ‘Colonial activity, colonial enterprise, colonial conquest…is based on contempt for the native and justified by that contempt.’ In this, the reality of the charade of ‘union’should be more than sufficient to remind the Scots that: ‘No-one colonizes innocently, no-one colonizes with impunity either; a nation which colonizes, a civilization which justifies colonization – and therefore force – is already a sick civilization, a civilization which is morally diseased.’ And,specifically in relation to the matter of the 1707 Treaty of Union, we may conclude that: ‘Between colonization and civilization there is an infinite distance; that out of all the colonial expeditions that have been undertaken, out of all the colonial statutes that have been drawn up, out of all the memoranda that have been despatched by all the ministries, there could not come a single human value.’ In this we are reminded of the place we are in, and that: ‘Fascism is the application of colonial procedures’ (and) ‘Civilization helps us locate the origins of fascism within colonialism’Finally,on the rationale for independence and national liberationitself, which is: ‘not posed in terms of capitalism versus socialism, but in terms of the complete and total overthrow of a racist, colonialist system that would open the way to imagine a whole new world.’

Scotland’s longstanding colonial subjugation contained within the mirage of British ‘unionism’ has resulted in an exploited land and an ever diminished and subjugated people and culture, discriminated against and ‘doun-hauden’ (oppressed)by an Anglophone elite representing and protecting the interests of a ruling ‘administrative Power’. Ultimately thereare only two options with colonialism: assimilation and hence continued subjugation and oppression, or; independence and decolonisation.

Independence is therefore a fundamental necessity for Scotland as only sovereignty can fully enable and encourage the development of Scotland and its people, whilst at the same time protecting a threatened culture, language and nation.


My thanks to Alf for sharing these excellent papers via my blog. Each week the numbers of readers increase and good debates follow over several days afterwards. Exactly what I hoped would happen. It never hurts to know more about these topics when discussing Independence.

I am, as always



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  1. Scotland de jure a partner, de facto a colony. Much food for thought here though it will be dismissed as Anglophobia by some/many.

    It is surely undeniable though that most of the Clan leaders today are very posh, Anglified and privately educated individuals. Then you have the assimilated like Alistair Jack or Michael Gove whose accents are almost parodies of the English gentlemen. As for our so called national party, Fanon explains why indeed they have settled down and settled up. Rabbie had the truth of it, bought and sold for English Gold, a parcel o rogues in a nation. Few of the current SNP MPs/MSPs could command those sorts of salaries elsewhere, must be hard to think of losing it!

    Interestingly of the SNP’s most obviously “Scots” MSP’s Ivan McKee does not (did not?) take his full salary merely a average wage but puts the rest of the money to good causes in his constituency. He’s also one of the few that could match his salary elsewhere.

    We need to communicate these ideas widely and in a way that is accessible to all.

    Liked by 14 people

  2. I’m exhausted but strangely relaxed because Alf’s latest post has neatly arranged so many thoughts and ideas which have swirled around in my mind for years. Now I know why I am forced to curb and control my involuntary reaction to so many situations – and accents.

    Thank you, Alf. Thank you, also, for explaining why so many “sheeple” are content to graze on poor pasture.

    Liked by 9 people

    1. Reminds me uncomfortably of what we all subconsciously know, that each of us personally internalizes colonization. I suppose that discomfort is an interior recognition of what has been surrendered in trying to live in this society. Those who feel no sense of dislocation are those who have been so successfully subsumed that they now feel perfectly at home in the elite culture. This is probably generational in effect since they have been brought up in families that over many generations have made that accommodation so that they now have little identification with what was their native culture. These people are very hard to reach for that reason and also because it has proved beneficial for them personally.

      Unfortunately, I don’t think that it is merely colonization by another culture which brings this about. To ignore the effects of hierarchy i.e., class and how it operates, is to ignore that the mechanism is actually the same. Elites will always try to control and to rule hence the reason why both National parties and left wing governments can be affected in the same way by being in government. There is the ineluctable process of creating advantage and disadvantage in order to control through patronage and when at their worst, they will actually create a power structure which persecutes those who oppose. Power for them becomes an end in itself.

      The dislocation I referred to in the first paragraph is sometimes also that felt by people who change class, usually felt most acutely post-war, where being the first person in your family to benefit from higher education would create a sense of distance from parents, who because of the lack of opportunity pre-war, had perhaps been forced to leave school at fourteen. Writers of that post-war generation would sometimes express regret that their hard-working parents, in their ambitions for their offspring, had unknowingly helped to put a barrier between them.

      Now at least two generations on from that time, you don’t hear so much of that regret being expressed, perhaps because so many of our writers and academics were born into that ‘new’ middle class – often inheritors of that first post-war generation’s elevation through the benefits of education. You don’t often hear much regret either about the loss of connection to the culture and language of the past either. Forgetting is a great thing, it can wash away guilt. We also can’t forget the financial advantages in doing so when it comes to both class and nationality. Nationalism and socialism are so ‘yesterday’ aren’t they? Nicola Sturgeon would certainly think that and so would most of her supporters.

      Liked by 5 people

  3. ‘There is no connection between the liberation of the colonized and a left-wing (or right-wing) program. The only task at the moment is that of freeing the people.’

    How true.

    That is why we should not fall into the trap of defining what Independence means in the future.

    Unionist Supporter: But what is Independence?
    Independence Supporter: It is not Union

    That’s all that is required.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Alf quotes Franz Fannon and says that, for ” the dominant National Party: ‘the will to break colonialism is linked with another quite different will: that of coming to a friendly agreement with it.’ ”

      This is basically what happened in Ireland over 100 years ago: the hegemonic Irish Party, under John Redmond, came to an accommodation in 1914 with Westminster, that they would accept some form of watered down Home Rule essentially in return for Ireland fighting in the upcoming Great War. It never was implemented (although the Irish did fight). Instead there was an Easter Rising in 1916 and then Sinn Fein totally eclipsed Redmond’s party in 1918. The rest is history.

      In Scotland the SNP are undoubtedly settling for Devolution. That is now becoming apparent from even die hard loyalists and commentators judging by some of the remarks on social media and the press (most notably The National). Let’s hope that the SNP too will be passed out by events and that the Yes movement gets it together via a party like Alba and move onward to Independence.

      Liked by 8 people

    2. Yes, but then you get the usual criticisms from opponents that you are not setting out a programme for government after independence. What are we voting for really, they complain. The chorus of media apparatchiks would do it all over again, just as they did in 2014.

      It would require an electorate to trust that the vote for independence would then lead to elections for a government where perhaps new political parties could present their policies that they, as electors, could vote for or against as you would in any democracy. We are certainly not at that stage yet with the present SNP. A lot would have to change before we could get to the situation of having built enough trust in the process and the politicians who would enact it. My ashes will be long cold before that day comes.

      Liked by 5 people

      1. The problem in 2014 is specifically that YES got dragged into a fight that we could not possibly win.


        Because everybody has a different idea of what kind of country will emerge in an Independent Scotland. That resulted in contradictions … contradictions that were used by BT and the British State to divide and conquer.

        We also got into a situation where we had to explain what would happen in ALL possible circumstances and scenarios. That automatically means that we were on the back foot. High level answers to questions are all that is required:

        Q: What currency will we use?
        A: Our own … and it will be a hard petro-currency backed by real assets of oil, gas and renewable energy sources.

        Q: We’ll have a hard border with England?
        A: That’s THEIR problem – we will trade direct with Europe and rest of the world. (We can re-open ports in Rosyth, Greenock etc)

        Q: But England is our biggest market?
        A: Is it? All our European trade goes through English ports which bloats this so called trade (see above).


        I think we need to fight on our own turf. You know, we already have the case for Independence. We don’t have to build it. We don’t have to refresh it. It merely exists. It always has existed. It always will exist.

        Its name is: DEMOCRACY.

        Liked by 9 people

  4. We, Scotland have been colonialized and still are under the present SNP government. It all falls into place . I learn so much every week from Prof. Baird’s writing’s. Thankyou.

    Liked by 7 people

  5. I cannot agree with the statement that Scotland is being forced out of the EU against its will. Over 1 million Scots voted to leave the EU and the SNP took party in political campaigning in England to legitimise the vote as a UK wide vote. It also advances the argument that independence would not be legitimate unless every region returns a yes vote otherwise “the borders are being forced out of the EU against their will”.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Scotland’s enforced EU withdrawal is not the core issue, but rather a symptom of the colonial malaise. Since you raise it, perhaps Brexit is more important to you, though – than Scottish independence?

      Liked by 6 people

    2. Firstly, I think we should leave the question of joining the EU or EFTA or neither until after we have regained our independence.
      Secondly, I would refer Tom to last week’s paper from Alf on the question of the Franchise. As Southern Scotland is among the most heavily colonised area in Scotland plus its history of a large number of very wealthy landowners, who may affect the votes of their tenants, and the number of ‘gentlemen farmers ‘ such as Alister Jack, we will need to ensure that the vote os more restricted than in 2014 and that there is no outside interference, particularly from south of the border.
      As we have seen from previous examples from Alf Baird, this is a well researched and thought-provoking paper which I hope will be spread widely and discussed. There is much to take in and I look forward to more comments in the next few days.

      Liked by 6 people

    3. In researching that very point, Tom, I found that one third of that million were previous YES voters, many of those SNP members. The other two-thirds were Unionists of all hues: Scottish Unionists; English Nationalists; British Nationalists. Therefore, slight more than 300,000 voted Leave who were not Unionist of some kind, making the overall Remain vote among previous YES voters a very substantial one. In any case, that is not the crux of the problem. The crux is that, whatever Scotland votes for, it is corralled into the ‘British’ (that is, English) whole, so that England and only England makes all and every decision in the UK, albeit, in the Brexit instance, Wales played a large role. Again, Wales has a very large English migrant population. You see the thread running through all of this for both Scotland and Wales?

      Liked by 8 people

  6. Brilliant apposite segment from Alf’s ground breaking book. A book that should have been disseminated and analysed throughout our media and universities on publication. But wasn’t for all of the reasons explored in the above extract.

    ‘1984’ , Orwell’s classic is often quoted because of its totalitarian overtones. However, an important element in the text is the description of the most sinister means of control and influence on the population, that of ‘Newspeak’. The truncated and intellectually disabling language that is utilised deliberately to affect people’s intellectual freedom by limiting it into soundbites designed by government opinion ‘shapers’. The operation of ‘doublethink’ is a means of stopping cognitive rational thinking by blocking any questioning of the ruling government’s policies or direction of travel, including war. Propaganda becomes truth, what is now, incredibly. recognised by the expression ‘post truth’.

    When I was at University, I studied Hechter and felt that I was reading something that was mind blowing, in that I recognised Scotland’s predicament for the first time as something that I knew emotionally to be true, one of a colony in everything but name. I wanted to write about it, back then, but lacked the political examples around m. All around me at the time were hegemonic Unionist parties and institutions and several generations of Scots who had lived through wars, and been traumatised into the ‘togetherness’ mind think that war brings into an emotional and deep attachment to ‘Britain’. One that has been deliberately reinforced even after those generations have all but disappeared. I also lacked the courage to attempt to write about it as my tutors, nice men , were predominantly English or Scottish bourgeois who I felt would not understand me taking this approach.

    In retrospect, I may have been wrong. But as a working class Scot, I wondered if I had the credibility to be taken seriously. There in a nutshell is the Scottish ‘cringe’, the dominance of Imperialism over the colonial subordinated, ‘subaltern’ mindset. It took me years to throw off that feeling and because of the psychological conditioning by the msm, education, and UK Government, it is still going on. One example was on Radio Scotland in the last couple of weeks was David Curry, a sports journalist doing a punt for his programme and in the ‘banter’ with John Beattie, stated that he would be ‘Italian’ this week, meaning supporting Italy against England in the Euros. Beattie, who is a colonial, from I believe S.A. went ‘oh?’ in a censorious tone. Currie immediately replied ‘Only joshing John’. Orwell’s ‘Thoughtcrime’ had been exposed and retracted in seconds.

    This type of editing of thought/speech became evident even in the aftermath of the outrageous scenes at Wembley and London streets with over 800 arrests throughout England plus all the racist attacks and vandalism. All we heard was wall to wall verbal avoidance by the cosy coterie of Bourgeois middle class, central belt navel gazing Scots, who dominate the Pacific (and pacifying) Quay Ministry of Truth along the lines of ‘let’s not be beastly about the English’. Therefore, confirming Alf’s analysis in the sad illustration of the colonial appeasers and their collusion wi oor ‘Doonhauden’ plight.

    Liked by 9 people

  7. Yir richt Iain, Fanon hiz it spelt oot. This has got to be essential reading in order that the reason we seek Independence is better understood by the audience we seek to address. Alf Baird by his various references lends to this task by his innate lucidity.

    panda paws, if I might be so bold Ivan McKee may indeed have philanthropic qualities and yes he might well match his salary elsewhere but in the present he is not promoting Independence for Scotland in his capacity as an SNP MSP elected to the Scottish Parliament for that express purpose!

    Having recently read in the iSCOT magazine two I must imagine, promotional window shots of Ivan McKee and Michelle Thompson I can only but despair of the task ahead given neither displayed any ambitious desire to drive the campaign forward, only what we could have if we had Independence.

    This is particularly disappointing from Michelle Thompson as I recall in a promotional video for the recent Holyrood Election she sought out opinion from Dennis Canavan again I imagine to underscore her credentials as a bona fide candidate or am I jist an auld cynic?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. No, feel free to be bold. I’ve not seen the articles you refer to but I’m very disappointed if Ivan and Michelle have settled for devolution. However Michelle will be watching her back given how she was treated before and I doubt Ivan is one of Sturgeon’s favourites so maybe they are being circumspect??? Or maybe I’m not being cynical enough?

      Liked by 4 people

      1. As I campaigned for Michelle in 2014 and was very ubhappy about her being left unsupported by the SNP, though she had done nothing wrong, I am disappounted if this is true,
        I would hope that if some challenges are made to the current Scottish government, she and many others would join the voices for change, We can onlu hope that this will happen soon.

        Liked by 4 people

  8. Excellent article Alf.

    There’s a really big problem I think in that English settlers are being given high ranking positions within Scottish institutes, and they are acting as gatekeepers to any progress on Scots language culture literature etc from being exposed to the Scottish public.

    Another major problem is co-opted Scots who are reinforcing the above position of the English settlers, and are secondary gatekeepers, this monopoly must be broken if we’re to have any chance of teaching our own people about our country’s history culture ,language and much, much more.

    All this Anglicising of Scotland, has opened the flood gates to more English settlers moving North to Scotland, its a vicious circle that must be broken somehow.

    Finally this courtesy of Rob Brown’s blog, says to me that Sturgeon has no interest at all in freeing Scotland from its colonial state. We have five years, of Sturgeon still to go, whilst more English settlers and gatekeepers swarm into Scotland, and in that time Westminster will be working flat out to undermine us at every turn

    “In an address she delivered at Strathclyde University in 2012, Ms Sturgeon” said she had “never doubted that Scotland is a nation” but – and it was a big but…”

    “The fact of nationhood or Scottish identity is not the motive force for independence. Nor do I believe that independence, however desirable, is essential for the preservation of our distinctive Scottish identity.”

    Liked by 4 people

      1. Maybe its just coincidental that ‘Nationalism’ is next week’s determinant no. 5, which will give some clarity on the various definitions.

        Liked by 2 people

  9. It is only when it is spelled out like that, Alf and Iain, that most can see how it works. That’s the problem with belief systems: no matter how wrong and damaging they are, the majority will see it only when it is spelled out to them and they cannot unknow it. Once you know something, and that something is true and provable, you cannot go back to cosy unknowing. The same has to be done with the malignancy of the trans lobby and its propensity for crippling our society. When enough people see that it has absolutely zilch to do with compassion for genuine body dysphoric people and that it has been hi-jacked by neoliberal, predatory capitalism and the stinkingly wealthy porn industry, among other corporate and global giants that exploit human beings for profit, we will save ourselves. The same applies to independence.

    Both colonizations require an attitude that is not nice and kind or soft and persuasive, but cold, hard and factual, with no apologies for very unpleasant truths that might hurt feelings. People who would exploit others for their own gain and selfishness have no right to ask for our compassion. If people do not have the wit to understand that they might be part of the problem, that is their misfortune. It doesn’t mean that we have to kow tow or pander to them. An evil, for want of a better word, that is damaging to the human psyche – and both these colonizations are just that, in similar, yet different, ways – has to be brought face-to-face with itself; it must have a mirror held up to it; or it will destroy and eliminate ultimately, and we will all be the lesser for its triumph. I must say that I have seldom read anything about Scotland’s condition that is so crystal clear and unapologetic as these pieces by Alf Baird. I can highly recommend his book, ‘Doun-Hauden’ from which much of these pieces are taken. Thanks must also go to Iain for having the courage and determination to ensure that his blog followers have the opportunity to read the pieces.

    Liked by 8 people

  10. ‘Republic of Scotland’…I didn’t realise that Sturgeon had been as transparent about her treachery that early on!
    The saddest aspect of all is the collusion, as Alf explains, that the middle class SNP leadership; MPs; and MSPs enact every day in complicit silence with the UK Gov. whilst Scotland haemorrhages its youth and talent and replaces it with the colonial plantation taking place, rapidly, with the new ‘remote ways of working’ i.e. land and home ownership over the assets of ordinary Scottish folk.

    I can’t honestly see more than a couple of noble exceptions within the SNP who we can trust to go forward . Time is short for our youth’s future. We need a new dynamic, hard and determined group of indomitable individuals. Clever and experienced people such as Iain and Alf, to directly challenge the colonial criminals lording it over us. This must be done via the U.N. combined with a campaign of information directly to the Scottish public about how our Sovereignty exists but is in imminent and terminal danger of being stolen from us those supposedly entrusted with it.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. “Republic of Scotland’…I didn’t realise that Sturgeon had been as transparent about her treachery that early on!”

      Lochside, most people wouldn’t have noticed it that much as she was still Alex Salmond’s deputy so much of what she said would just have gone over our heads.

      Its a pity that, looking back on it, hindsight is a wonderful thing, if only we’d have paid a bit more attention, but then like most folk we were to busy doing down David Cameron and Westminster to really notice the danger closer to home.

      We’ve been betrayed by Sturgeon, and most folk don’t eve realise it, as they’re still buying into she’ll hold an indyref some time in this tenure, when its patently obvious she has no intentions of doing so.

      Liked by 2 people

  11. To merely say: Another fine contribution, Alf! would be an outrageous understatement, on my part. This is the level of analysis we require. We must disentangle ourselves and advance beyond the miserably failed “Wastemonster” type of rhetoric of old, and state our case in a fresh and radically educative manner.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Thank you. Yes, I do think it helps that Scots develop a much deeper understanding of the true nature and extent of our oppression, and the real reasons why ‘a people’ seek independence/decolonisation, and which will also also hopefully motivate oor daeless elected national representatives, today and in future, to take their responsibilities more seriously.

      Liked by 5 people

  12. Nothing will change until we have leaders who are willing to fight for independence. Willing to break Westminster’s inherently anti-Scottish rules and laws. Willing to go to jail for the cause if necessary. Even willing to die for the cause. What we have at the moment is a group of over-age political students playing at being freedom fighters. Meanwhile Scotland is slowly but surely being overrun by settlers from England. If Scotland doesn’t hold indyref2 in the next 18 months Nicola Sturgeon and her gutless cronies will go down in Scottish history as traitors.

    Liked by 5 people

  13. While in agreement with Alf Baird’s evidential assertion that Scotland is a de facto colony of England, I became rather uneasy over recurrent use of the terms “racism” and “ethnic”. On more careful scrutiny this discomfort was assuaged somewhat by noting that “racism” was simply being identified as one of the many other malignant components of classical colonisation:

    “This brings us to the realisation that colonialism involves institutionalized racism and socio-linguistic prejudice.”

    The application of the word “ethnic”, though, does in my opinion remain more open to misunderstanding. Alf Baird himself clearly and impeccably uses the term in the academic cultural sense:

    “This brings about a need […] to consider the social basis of ethnic identity. […] In the UK context, as elsewhere, it is apparent that ethnic identity is predominantly linguistically and culturally determined.”

    That usage is not at variance with the next quote, but it does need carefully borne in mind to avoid any blurring:

    “And, considering that colonialism is also racism, we should not be surprised that ethnicity sits at the very core of this matter, in that: ‘Being oppressed as a group, the colonized must necessarily adopt a national and ethnic form of liberation.’

    The real problematic here of course arises with regard to common parlance over, say, what the media phrase “ethnic cleansing” brings to mind. And, more mundanely, here is a first-batch result of an online search for the meaning of the term “ethnic”:

    Collins Dictionary: “Ethnic means connected with or relating to different racial or cultural groups of people”

    The Scots/Gaels, Irish, Welsh, English, are of course all mongrel mixtures just like the rest of the inhabitants of the planet. It was the Englishman George Orwell (echoed so aptly by Alf Baird, and alluded to by Lochside at 12.11 pm above) who focused our attention primarily on the power of language to shackle or emancipate a people’s consciousness. Not long after the 2014 Scottish referendum, I wrote the following:


    Sgrìobh Seòras Orwell 1984 air Eilean Diùra.
    Chunnaic mi pìos mu a dhèidhinn air an tv o chionn greis.
    Thachair tubaist bàta ris aig Coire a’ Bhreacain.
    E fhèin, a mhac òg trì bliadhna dh’aois,
    agus dithis dhaoine eile san eathar a bha seo
    a chaidh a ghlacadh le sruthan-lìonaidh làidir
    ‘s a tharraing a dh’ionnsaigh a’ chuairt-slugain mhòir.
    Bhris an cùl-mhotair dheth agus thuit e sa mhuir.
    Ach rinn iad a’ chùis air iomramh gu creig leathann
    far an deach an eathar fodha. Las iad teine an sin.
    Ri h-ùine chaidh am faicinn le iasgairean giomaich.

    Tha sinne dìreach às dèidh ar reifreann
    air neo-eisimeileachd a chall.
    Alba mar eathar air a dol fodha cha mhòr
    ann an cuairt-shlugain Orwellach,
    ann an Coire a’ Bhreacain de bhreugan.

    Ach mar Orwell fhèin, cha deach ar bàthadh.
    Ràinig sinn creag nas àirde na na garbh-thuinn.
    Agus las sinn teine a tha a’ loisgeadh fhathast.


    George Orwell wrote 1984 on the Island of Jura.
    I saw something about it on tv recently.
    He was in a boating incident by Corryvreckan.
    Himself, his three-year-old son, and two other men
    in this small boat that got caught by strong tides
    and was drawn towards the great whirlpool.
    The outboard motor sheered off and fell into the sea.
    But they managed to row to a rocky outcrop
    where their boat sank. There they lit a fire
    which was eventually spotted by lobster fishermen.

    We have just lost our referendum on independence.
    Scotland like a boat sinking, as it were,
    in an Orwellian whirlpool,
    in a Corryvreckan of lies.

    Like Orwell himself, though, we were not drowned,
    but landed on a rock higher than the waves.
    And we lit a fire which still burns strong.

    (Fearghas MacFhionnlaigh 2015)

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Fearghas, how would you describe the wholesale murder of Highland men, women and children following the ’45? Ethnic cleansing? The fact that the Jacobite battles are, even yet, referred to as “rebellions” is enough for me. Blood boiling doesn’t cover it!!

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Reply to jancowanrocketmail 1.06 pm.
        Cumberland’s atrocities in the wake of Culloden were absolutely “ethnic-cleansing”. As was Cromwell’s brutality in Ireland. My comment, however, was an attempt to carefully distinguish that horrific application of the word “ethnic” from its completely pacific use in the context of Alf Baird’s quote from Albert Memmi:

        “And, considering that colonialism is also racism, we should not be surprised that ethnicity sits at the very core of this matter, in that: ‘Being oppressed as a group, the colonized must necessarily adopt a national and ethnic form of liberation.’”


      2. Reply to jancowanrocketmail 1.06 pm.
        For myself, I think the word “ethnic” is no longer servicable (if indeed it ever was) in relation to the historic and ongoing Scottish independence movement. Your own question to me merely reinforces my conviction that mainstream understanding is now irreversibly defined by the utterly dreadful Yugoslav conflict. Henceforth, if we mean “linguistic” or “cultural” we should just say “linguistic” or “cultural”.


    2. The key words of George Orwell which consolidated my focus on Scottish language as a teenager —

      “The purpose of Newspeak was not only to provide a medium of expression for the world-view and mental habits proper to the devotees of Ingsoc, but to make all other modes of thought impossible. It was intended that when Newspeak had been adopted once and for all and Oldspeak forgotten, a heretical thought – that is, a thought diverging from the principles of Ingsoc – should be literally unthinkable, at least so far as thought is dependent on words.” (George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four, Harmondsworth, 1968, pp. 241-2.)


  14. Thank you Mr Baird. At last, we have a serious, academic and political theoretical perspective on the Scottish Condition. You have proven to be a braveheart in putting this into the public domain. I have been waiting on similar serious and academic perspectives put forward for public debate. Much as I respect and appreciate the views put forward by, the hugely respected, Tom Devine, the academic perspective of those in the most senior positions in our universities on Scotland’s Independence has been seriously lacking. What contribution to the debate has been made by our Sociologists, our political philosophers, our political theorists, our Economic professors. And particularly, our constitutional lawyers. What say you? Scotland’s academics have a role to play here in informing the people of Scotland of their political, sociological, constitutional and legal rights and have an important role to play in illuminating these issues. It’s your turn on stage, guys!!! What say you?

    Liked by 6 people

    1. “What say you?”

      What say I, as arguably the solitary Scottish professor apparently able or willing to probe deep intae Scotland’s mankit socio-political colonial slump? Alas, with Scots today accounting for barely 10 per cent of all academics employed in Scotland’s elite universities (and far less at professorial level), I fear we cannot expect from that source much in the way of analytical insight nor even sincere interest in our nation’s precarious condition. Colonialism does of course mean a people remain largely under-developed, as reflected in the serious lack of ‘Scottish’ academics and professors in Scotland’s universities, whilst the colonizer has an open door there and is given an easy life at our expense, and that is the reality, and ultimately the raison d’être for independence. Moreover, in a colony all social institutions are colonial in nature, including universities, hence they are hardly likely to initiate research in far less advocate decolonisation.

      Liked by 6 people

  15. Thank you. Interesting comment which helps us plan our strategic way forward. We are advancing, non doubts.
    Yes is awake and aware, have no doubt. And we are listening to you.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Oddly enough I heard that Glasgow Uni may be creating a post of ‘Professor of Decolonisation’, in response to BLM etc. Evidently Muscatelli’s team fail to see the irony, given Scotland’s continued and perhaps now intensifying colonisation. Perhaps I should apply?

      Liked by 3 people

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