As is always the case, the closer one is to the political establishment, the safer one is from state and media attack. We see examples of this from the British state broadcaster all the time; non-establishment politicians and activists are smeared while their every infraction is blown up out of proportion, while – no matter how criminal their behaviour – the establishment politicians and activists are shielded by the state media and the rest of the political and policing establishment.
Calling this analysis “marmite” strikes me, then, as an attempt to create a false distinction between the two dominations – as though they were happening at different times and on different continents. No, they are ongoing simultaneously and under the yoke of the same dominating hegemonic force. They are, whether we like it or not, two theatres of the same conflict. As to the violence, one is latent and the other in hiatus. Insistence upon this false distinction – a form of cognitive dissonance – disables both sides of the struggle from learning from the lessons of the other.
Rather naïvely Peter assumes the law to be the written text of civilisation’s better angels, or – as he puts it – “the codification of society’s mores and principles.” Here he touches on what the child is taught to think of the policeman and the law, that it is universally good and wholesome. It lacks completely any normal and healthy hermeneutic of suspicion that comes with the reality of the law, its place in society, and the purposes it always and everywhere serves.
“Cyber troop teams” have been found to be charged with producing substantive content for the purposes of spreading political messages. This is more than simple Twitter or Facebook updates and responses, but includes blog articles, YouTube vlogs and videos, “fake news,” and memes that promote the government’s agenda. In Britain the government has been shown to have been creating “persuasive messages” under a whole host of false personas and aliases in psy-ops framed as “anti-radicalisation” campaigns.
Whether or not we are paranoid or delusion we are all subject to comprehensive, deeply penetrative, and highly technologically sophisticated surveillance by the state. In a sense Edward Snowden did not tell us anything in 2013 we did not already suspect. When I came to Ireland in the 1990s the British government signals intelligence (SIGINT) centre at Cheltenham in England, GCHQ, was already well known, and was popularly assumed to be listening into and recording all telecommunications in the Irish Republic. It was assumed that because of the conflict in the six counties between Irish Republicans and the British state it was only to be expected that British Intelligence would listening to Ireland. This presumption was well founded.
Civil society is a naturally cautious and conservative set of relations and institutions, and when it is governed – if we can even describe such as governance – by the unambitious and women and men who are essentially followers of whimsical public demand it loses any forward momentum that theretofore existed. It gives way to socio-political inertia and begins to atrophy. There exists no better example of this than Brexit Britain.
Immense effort has been put into the unionist project of framing Scottish nationalism as the product of small-minded and petty Anglophobia. Both the Westminster establishment and the Scottish unionists have attempted, thankfully without much success, to paint the independence movement as a collection of under-educated and impoverished malcontents driven by a common hatred of the English. This could not be further from the truth.
How primitive of us to think that Gàidhlig is part of our heritage, our history, and our culture. We should know by now that only the master really knows our country. Perhaps we should write an apology: Tha sinn duilich gu dearbh, ach tha e àm a ghabh sinn ar dùthcha air ais.
Not so long ago the image of a super-wealthy international villain with designs on global domination was the stuff of fiction, the standard fare of the James Bond novels and movie franchise. A few years ago, with talk of the Carlyle and Bilderberg groups, it had graduated into the sphere of the crackpot conspiracy theorists. But now in the aftermath of Brexit the spectre of the plutocratic puppet master of geopolitics has at last arrived.
Governments come and go, but all the while there remains a permanent sub-structure to the state – the bureaucratic state – that remains essentially unaltered no matter which particular political party is in government or which particular personality is head of state or head of government.