by Brian Nicholson
The pen (or the keyboard) is mightier than the sword. The most irritating tactic of the Unionists is the perversion of the debate on Scotland’s constitutional future. In their attempt to retain control over our country, they use language and terminology to twist and distort the arguments.
If they are allowed to frame the debate in their language, they will win the vote. So the challenge is to not only ask the right referendum question, but ensure that the tone and terminology of the debate is not captured by the unionists.
To that end, we need to look at their terminology.
Separatist and Separation
The prime attack by the Unionists is the use of separation to try to prey on the fear of change and to create uncertainty in our fellow Scots. They seek to reinforce the perception that it is the union that is the normal condition in Scotland instead of the exception. Constant references to “breaking up Britain” and “severing the union” are used to bludgeon legitimate debate and dialogue.
Nationalists must counter this by our own use of terminology. We must remind Scots that Scotland is already a separate and sovereign country governed by a joint parliament. Every reference to BRITAIN as a country must be challenged. To be successful, we need to unhinge the term Britain from the concept of government and country.
To that end, it is time to speak of the “UK army” not the “British army”, the “Westminster parliament” not the “British parliament”, “Olympic team of the United Kingdoms” not the “British Olympic Team” and on and on.
We need to reinforce the concept of the United Kingdoms (plural) rather than the United Kingdom (singular). The Union of the Crowns, 1603, makes this absolutely the law of the land. The Treaty of Union, 1707, recognises this further.
Generations of British Nationalists have sought to erase this from history and have foisted onto Scots the concept of “One country, One Parliament”. This Britain/Westminster concept must be challenged at all levels.
In 2007, with the Election of the SNP, the Holyrood Parliament and government was given back its true designation as the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government. We can all remember the hue and cry from the Unionists as we dumped the “Scottish Executive” in the bin of history. Other than die hard BritNats, how many still cling to that old, incorrect term?
Every blog, post, email, letter, report written by those of us who support independence must ensure that we do NOT use the terminology of the union, but instead we communicate our own Scots language supporting our own Scots law.
We must reinforce the concepts of “two countries, one parliament today” and two countries, two parliaments tomorrow”. Independence is not a break up of a country, but a transfer of governing power from London to Holyrood. In short, we are tearing up a treaty, nothing more.
How we debate will colour the result, and we must make sure that the Unionists are no longer allowed to distort and twist Scottish history to their own end.
Put your words through the Scots proof reader and make sure you speak to fellow Scots in their own Scots language.
Aye we can.