For a while I have been involved with British Unity, the campaign started on Facebook to oppose Alex Salmond’s drive for Scottish independence.
Most of the people involved are good sorts and have a passionate desire to maintain the Union, hence my support of the campaign.
I did have cause, however, to voice my disapproval of this group when I discovered that they practised the sectarian smearing so typical of life in 21st century Scotland.
On the British Unity support group page on Facebook, it was put forward by someone that loyalist groups be linked to as they are devout supporters of the Unionist cause.
This was immediately machine-gunned down by the admins of the page who were scared of an SNP backlash should their campaign be seen to promote such groups.
I, along with others, pointed out that loyalists are Unionists and, indeed people whose votes are needed to win the coming Referendum.
However, I was informed that British Unity does not want to be linked to any political party or religion i.e. be sen as getting involved with sectarianism.
Now excuse my ignorance but when did loyalist = sectarian other than in the heavily politicised world of Scottish society? In other words, if we are going to buy the labels that Salmond and his kind slap on us all, why bother resisting his attempt to break up the Union?
The reality is that Salmond & co did not invent this political labelling; it has long been the work of Labour activists, of whom is one of the founders of British Unity.
It has to be said that no specific loyalist links were mooted to be added to BU’s links but the very word “loyalist” was treated with contempt and disdain. Also, it was stated that there would be no link to any Rangers groups or the Orange Order.
Now people may think much ado is being made here by myself about nothing and that it makes good political sense to not link directly to any one “side” in what is supposed to be a neutral campaign.
But there are two things wrong with this viewpoint.
Firstly, that there are “sides” is itself a commentary on Scottish society. For example, if the BU campaign was being held in England you would suppose that you could have “Manchester Utd BU Branch” and “Manchester City BU Supporters” all happily supporting the campaign and even being in UNITY concerning their support.
How strange that in Scotland you cannot be seen to be courting the supporters of a team whose entire constituency could hand you a crushing victory in a Referendum you are trying to win. It’s like keeping Messi on the subs bench.
What could be the consequences of British Unity being involved with Rangers supporters? That they would lose votes they weren’t going to get anyway from the Tartan Army and their Anglophobic ilk?
Or that thousands of Celtic fans who are Unionists would vote for separation just because Rangers fans supported BU?
Who or what is stopping Celtic supporters who support the Union forming a group to promote the British Unity campaign?
The big problem with British Unity is that it is way too scared of upsetting people when it should be making a bold stand for the Union.
The second thing I referred to in relation to BU’s neutrality is that it isn’t neutral. It supports Better Together and as such is part of a multi-party campaign.
That’s not neutrality.
Neutrality is not having an opinion one way or another concerning something and being totally inactive.
British Unity is not a neutral collective of Unionists – it is a selective collective of Unionists..
The Morningside Knitting Club For The Union is welcome but loyalists are not. Well, they are but they can’t mention anything to do with loyalist things.
And the real tragedy of all this stuff and nonsense is it highlights the class divide still there in Scottish society.
If you’re a “Queen & country” loyalist from Harthill who has been in the Orange Lodge for 30 years, you are welcome to support the British Unity campaign as long as you don’t talk about the Orange Order.
But if you are a middle class Tory from Jordanhill you are a “real” Unionist and your views matter.
In my opinion, it sucks.
It’s not representative, it’s just a front to hide the fact that of the hundreds of thousands who vote for the Union in 2014, a vast percentage of them will be people who are disenfranchised by their fellow Unionists.
THEIR reasons for voting for the Union, don’t matter because they don’t have a voice. No political party acknowledges them and all are happy to smear them as sectarian while asking for their vote.
Hundreds of thousands of people support Rangers Football Club. The overwhelming majority of them are staunch supporters of the Union. But no political party or campaign has the testicles to be seen seeking their votes because in 21st century Scotland they would rather play the coward’s game of political correctness.
Let me just say here that many Celtic fans and, indeed, if you want to bring religion into it, Roman Catholics, are staunch Unionists too and a good percentage are loyalists in that they support the monarchy.
And that is really the hub of it – overt support for the British Throne.
Being a loyalist is support for Queen and country. Regardless of race, religion, colour or creed.
Many of the Unionists that support British Unity and the Better Together campaign are what you would call political Unionists.
They are not “Queen & country” people and look down on those who are.
But I have news for them.
The real Unionists will not be brushed aside by political or politically correct Unionists.
Because the Unionism of a true patriot transcends politics.
And the real patriots are uniting…