Design by G. Mills
Anti-woke-ism, ideology and Scottish Independence
Introduction – stating the problem.
Things have got somewhat murky in the long war to dismantle capitalism, imperialism, and the related oppressions of minorities and the less powerful. This is my current attempt to engage with the murk and to try to clarify some of it.
When capitalism gets in trouble, as it always will, it finds new fronts on which to defend the rich and powerful and ensure its grip on the weak and oppressed. Capitalism cannot allow for fairness and equity because the very structures that are needed to keep it in place – hierarchy, division, power and pay differentials and repressive state institutions – cannot be dismantled this side of them being revolutionised by progressives. However, capitalism is capable of all manner of contortions to try to ward off any threats to its continued existence.
In the U.S. that took the form of allowing Donald Trump to appear to be a saviour of working people. In the UK it is Boris Johnson’s government pretending to be in favour of ‘levelling up’ and co-opting a handful of black and minority ethnic people to front up some of his state offices. Both moves are purely about shoring up capitalism at a time when its failures – over-consumption, poverty for most, riches for a few, climate crises, wars, famines, colonial oppressions (still!), manufactured needs, corruption, attacks on public services, mass obsolescence and waste, international differentials and the complete failure of ‘trickle-down economics’ – are obvious and about making sure that the oligarchic control of economies remains firmly in the grip of, predominantly, wealthy white men – the status quo.
This essay examines some of the recent currents in capitalism’s machinations. To do that I focus on the threads that bind the right (including the alt right) in the US and the right in the UK and I pay particular attention to developments in the movement for Independence in Scotland.
Populist rhetoric in the hands of right-wingers.
In recent years, the attack on the left and oppressed groups has taken the form of rhetoric aimed at undermining any struggles that gain momentum against the status quo. There is nothing new about this – the right have always done this. However, they have become more brazen and outspoken and their grip on main-stream media has been consolidated to the extent that a handful of extremely rich proprietors are able to control organised public messaging. They are also able to get some purchase on their tactics because they play on real fears and vulnerabilities to get their ideas across.
Today, the rhetoric in question mocks and slams those who are deemed ‘woke’, who operate with ‘ideology’, who claim the need for ‘intersectionality’ and who are ‘politically correct’ in their ‘identity politics’.
Screenshot labelled 3BBC published by Ikenna Azụbụike Ọnwụnabọnze1Ọnwụnabọnze, I. A. (2020) Black Lives Matter: ‘If you are not angry, you are not paying attention’ RS21 19th June. https://www.rs21.org.uk/2020/06/19/black-lives-matter-if-you-are-not-angry-you-are-not-paying-attention/
The list of those who are the butt of current attacks includes the following: Black and other ethnic minority people and especially the Black Lives Matter movement; Feminists and especially intersectional ones; Gay people and especially those who are fighting for rights; People who question outdated gender stereotypes; Climate activists and especially Extinction Rebellion; People who question the massively disproportionate celebration of rich (and sometimes enslaving) white men in statues; Defenders of democratic rights and especially the ‘Kill the Bill’ movement; Academics in general but left-wing ones especially; ‘Do-gooding’ lawyers; Social workers; Supporters of Jeremy Corbyn; People who are pro the EU; People who think gun ownership is not a good thing and anyone seemingly left wing or even just a bit liberal.
Make no mistake. This is war conducted on an ideological front.
It is profoundly ironic that the right have taken the word ‘ideology’ and use it to attack the left in acts that are themselves, unmistakeably, ideological. What does ‘ideology’ mean?
The word ‘ideology’ is based on classical Greek though it was coined at the start of the nineteenth century in revolutionary France.2The post-enlightenment philosopher Destutt de Tracy published Eléments d’idéologie from 1801. Destutt is reputed to be of Scots heritage and descended from Scots émigré Walter Stutt.It appears as if ideology could be the study of ideas (or knowledge or forms), but that notion is more usually covered these days by epistemology. That latter term was also coined by a Scot - philosopher James Frederick Ferrier who was influenced by German idealism. There are many subsequent theories of ideology. Subsequently, ideology has come to mean, simply, any system of ideas. Ideologies are just any more or less coherent system of ideas. Conservatism is an ideology, Marxism is an ideology, Christianity and Liberalism encompass many ideologies and popular Darwinism and its opposite, Creationism, are ideologies. Ideology is just a generic term for a set of (reasonably) coherent ideas. Some ideologies are also religions. Some ideologies have strong theoretical bases and some have weak theoretical bases. What differentiates a science from an ideology is that science seeks to and often can demonstrate the validity of its theoretical base, and good science subjects itself to scrutiny in ways that ideologies rarely do. But even scientific theories are not immutable and sometimes they are subject to radical rethinking. Ideologies might or might not be able to demonstrate validity.
In the arena of politics, ideologies rub up against each other. There are ideologies of the right and ideologies of the left. But you could be forgiven for thinking that ‘ideology’ is something only the left are keen on. The right have managed to construct a view of ideology that pretends that the left loves ideology whereas the right is somehow immune from the trappings of ideology. This is the right’s clever con trick.
The right and especially the US alt-right, rely to some extent on the work of Jordan Peterson to underpin their idea of ideology. He uses ‘ideology’ as a stick to beat a wide range of political movements that stand up for rights and fairness in one form or another. In his book ’12 Rules for Life’, his pal and the author of the Foreword to the book tries to define ‘ideology’ thus:
Ideologies are simple ideas, disguised as science or philosophy, that purport to explain the complexity of the world and offer remedies that will perfect it. Ideologues are people who pretend they know how to “make the world a better place” before they have taken care of their own chaos within.3Peterson, J. B. (2018) 12 Rules for Life: An antidote to Chaos Penguin p. xiv. N.B. I am working, somewhat laboriously, on a detailed critique of this book. Let me know via email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to be notified when it is completed.
Peterson goes on in various places in his book, to use ‘ideology’ in this idiosyncratic, highly politicised and hostile way.4Ibid. See especially, pp. 215 and 315 and more weirdly, p. 210. This erroneous take on ‘ideology’ is both lazy and knowing in its attempt to cast ‘ideology’ as a crime supposedly perpetrated by usually left-wing others and to draw attention away from the uses of opposing ideologies by those on the right. It is lazy because it is not original, and it is knowing because it is a deliberate attempt to politicise what should be a relatively neutral term.
To attack the left for using ‘ideology’ when using a different ‘ideology’ to do so is, of course, hypocritical but it is also ultimately counterproductive. As capitalism gets more desperate to defend its existence, it calls upon more and more spurious ideologies to do so and its reactionary messages become easier to spot.5‘It has now got to the point where some of the statements being made are so easily refutable, so verifiably and unquestionably false, that you have to presume that the people writing them know that.’ David Olusoga as reported by Aamna Mohdin in The Guardian 7th June 2021. While Olusoga’s point was made in the context of attacks on Black British history, it is arguably transferable to right wing politics in general.
We are all surrounded by ideologies all the time. Some are more coherent than others. The question is not – Are we influenced by ideologies? The real questions are – Which ideologies are we influenced by and why? Of course, many people imagine that they are lone islands of pure, individualised thought and that they came to their viewpoints all on their own. Our egos like that idea. And it can be uncomfortable to acknowledge that we are all floating about in ideological soup and about the best we can manage is to understand something about where our ideas are coming from and why we respond to some more than others. But do that we must.
To understand late capitalism’s current use of destructive rhetoric we need to travel back to the middle of the last century. Two opposing forces emerged in the wake of the Second World War. On one side was the remnants of British imperialism and ascendant US imperialism. Lined up in opposition were all the collective forces who did not wish to go back to the reactionary pre-war times of economic depression, hunger marches, people dying for lack of health care, cap doffing, colonialism, racism, sex discrimination and class oppression.
The 1945 Labour government addressed some of the worst iniquities – most notably with the establishment of the NHS but also with improvements in access to education and regulations regarding housing and food pricing. Some of these were pegged or undermined by Tory governments in the 1950s but a return to a Labour government in the 1960s saw a return to implementing more people friendly policies. This coincided with the great upsurge in calls for freedom by young people, women, gay people, international liberation movements and black and minority ethnic peoples that coagulated in the swinging sixties – a time when the old orders of class, empire and traditional social divisions were being comprehensively challenged on all sides.
It is no accident then that the term ‘Nanny State’ surfaced at that time.
In 1965 the term ‘Nanny State’ was coined by the leading Conservative MP Iain McLeod in a piece in the Spectator.6MacLeod, I. (1965) 70 m.p.h. The Spectator 3rd December. McLeod was editor of the Spectator at the time – a role also held later by Boris Johnson and notable other aspiring Conservative politicians. The piece in question mocked the proposal to introduce a 70 mile per hour speed limit on British roads following a spate of serious accidents and attacked the then Labour Minister of Transport, Tom Fraser.7Incidentally, it was Fraser’s resignation which led to the byelection in which Winnie Ewing became the SNP MP.
‘Nanny state’ became a catch all phrase for any attempt by local, national or European authorities to introduce legislation that sought to help or protect the vulnerable. It was widely used in the main-stream media to attack welfare proposals and became a staple of papers such as the Daily Mail. As a piece of propaganda, it has been effective in shutting down discussion although ultimately ineffective as almost all the proposals about which it has been employed have been widely adopted.
Stuart Maconie’s book takes back the so-called ‘nanny state’ by showing how rights and welfare provided much needed support for ordinary people.
By the time Thatcher had replaced Labour at the end of the nineteen-seventies, a whole slew of legislation making life easier for oppressed groups had come into being – Equal Rights Acts, anti-discrimination legislation and laws to protect or enhance workers’ rights. Of course, many of these were accompanied by less progressive moves – Labour governments might have been preferable to Thatcher, but they were still in the habit of propping up the status quo even though with a more benign face.
Once Thatcher got going, it was back to capitalist business with a vengeance. Out went any focus on welfare, workers’ rights or the concerns of minorities. In came massive privatisation and the selling off of any public concern that could be used to turn us all into mini-investors. We were encouraged to buy into train companies, public housing, British Telecoms, the Post Office, energy companies, bus companies and banks. Turning us all into investors was a way to buy loyalty to capitalism at the same time as ensuring that the existing rich were able to hold on to their assets and indeed supplement them. Traditional industries such as mining and steel, were viewed as insufficiently profitable, and trampled underfoot. An attack on trade unionism and workers’ rights was central to these developments.
Here is Thatcher at her Thatcherite best:
There are significant differences between the American and European version of capitalism. The American traditionally emphasizes the need for limited government, light regulations, low taxes and maximum labour-market flexibility.8Thatcher, M. (1995) The Path to Power Harper Collins
This is the hallmark of neo-liberal economics – low taxes, poor welfare provision and safety nets, as few restrictions on rampaging capitalism as possible and a compliant work force who have no power, especially in the workplace. Thatcher wanted, completely brazenly, to strip away rights and safety nets in the U.K. as she reconstructed unfettered capitalism and laid the groundwork for the spiv UK government today.
Here is Thatcher again:
We intended policy in the 1980s to be directed towards fundamentally different goals from those of the post-war era. We believed that since jobs (in a free society) did not depend on government but upon satisfying customers, there was no point in setting targets for ‘full’ employment. Instead, government should create the right framework of sound money, low taxes, light regulation and flexible markets (including labour markets) to allow prosperity and employment to grow.’9Ibid. My emphasis.
Alongside the other fictive elements of neo-liberal economics above, here, in the last line, we also have the absolute myth that if the profiteers become wealthier, their good fortune will ‘trickle down’ to make sure that all people benefit. This was Thatcherite ideology in action.
Just a big fat lie. What do we have instead, even before the onset of the Covid 19 pandemic? Macjobs everywhere, insecure contracts, austerity, cowboy practices that lead to the likes of the Grenfell fire, young people unable to secure housing, an underfunded NHS and social care sector, a rotten benefits system and far, far too many people having to rely on foodbanks. Not to mention collapsing banks folding in on themselves on the back of money pyramid selling.
Thatcher’s ethos was one in which the attack on the so-called ‘Nanny State’ could flourish.
Around the turn of the 21st century another favourite of the right-wing rhetoricians came into view. Health and Safety regulations were always hated by employers because they required employers to take steps to ensure they did not maim or kill their employees – and that cut into profit margins. The Health and Safety at Work Act came into being in 1974. Once Thatcher and then Major were replaced by Blair’s Labour government in 1997, The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 made more explicit demands on management. Now those who had been squealing about the ‘Nanny State’ added a new mockery to their lexicon – ‘Elf and Safety’ became the stock in trade of the right-wing press who were constantly finding ridiculous and sometimes completely fictitious absurdities to fulminate about.
Throughout the nineteen eighties, and under Thatcherism, ‘political correctness’ also started to be bandied about as an attack on the left. Throughout this period, though the sentiment goes back further, the attack from the right on the European Union was also gathering momentum. The EU has many faults but among its liberalish achievements were work and social directives that made work more bearable for workers. For example, working hours, time off, leave, stronger equal rights, maternity rights, parental leave, anti-discrimination laws and strengthened health and safety legislation. While other issues have also played a part in the forward march of Brexiteering, it is substantially about trying to roll back workers’ rights to achieve more of the compliant and neutered workforce that Thatcher was after. In addition, the Blair government signed up separately to the European Convention on Human Rights in the Human Rights Act of 1998 and Conservatives have been trying to roll that back ever since.
In 2012 a small book was written by five young Thatcherites who had become Conservative MPs in May 2010. The book Britannia Unchained was written by Kwasi Kwarteng, Priti Patel, Dominic Raab, Chris Skidmore and Liz Truss.10Kwarteng, K., Patel, P., Raab, D., Skidmore, C., & Truss, E. (2012) Britannia Unchained Palgrave Macmillan All five of them went on to become ministers in Boris Johnson’s government although Skidmore was sacked in 2020. Currently they are Home Secretary (Priti Patel), Foreign Secretary (Dominic Raab), Secretary of State for International Trade (Liz Truss) and Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (Kwasi Kwarteng). They were all members of the Free Enterprise Group of Conservative MPs which included among its numbers such Brexit-loving luminaries as Andrea Leadsom, Jacob Rees-Mogg, ‘the hard man of Brexit’ Steve Baker and current Health Secretary, Matt Hancock. It has strong links to the right-wing think tank and lobby group, The Institute of Economic Affairs, which is bankrolled by tobacco and oil companies and US groups who want to buy into a privatised NHS and sell us chemically treated American beef and chicken.11Ramsay, A. (2018) Right-wing think tank accused of promoting tobacco and oil industry “propaganda” in schools. Open Democracy https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/dark-money-investigations/right-wing-think-tank-accused-of-promoting-tobacco-oil-indu/
The main thrust of the book was to argue, against the evidence, that British workers were ‘idlers’ with poor productivity. To improve productivity, prosperity and growth, their proposal was a re-entrenchment of Thatcher’s ideology: cutting back on workers’ rights, longer hours and reducing pay. They are supported by Mark Littlewood of the IEA who, among other things, has called for the abolition of the national minimum wage, campaigned against a cap on the excessive and astronomic pay of business executives and campaigned against employment tribunals. As I write, he is attacking the recent ruling that ensures Uber drivers have some employee rights and are not left to the mercy of their scamming employers.
These are the values, ideologies and policies of the current Conservative government. They have long been the basic ideology of Conservatism which always seeks to preserve (conserve) the rich white man’s status quo. They may be playing around with notions of ‘levelling up’ to con disillusioned red wall voters in England, but their raison d’être has always been to lay the groundwork for capitalist profiteering and to find ways to peg back workers rights. They may be making a show of being less socially conservative than in the past with nods toward the environment and social rights but these are designed to deflect attention from their core agenda which is always to defend the rights of the rich to stay in power, line their own pockets and fleece the rest of us.
And these are the people who promote the anti-left-wing rhetoric of the ‘Nanny State’, ‘Elf and Safety’, ‘Political Correctness’, the discourse around Brexit and the skewed use of ‘ideology’.
Fast forward to the more recent situation in the UK
In October 2020, Kemi Badenoch, a Conservative minister attacked the Black Lives Movement in the House of Commons. In her speech during Black History Month, she critiqued ‘Critical Race Theory’, the concept of ‘white privilege’, those who challenged the veneration of slaver statues and those who called for changes to outdated and biased accounts of British history.12At the time of her attack, she was Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury and Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Equalities in Boris Johnson’s government. Kemi Badenoch’s attack on anti-racism came at the end of a whole day of debate on Black History. Unfortunately, the many excellent anti-racist speeches which preceded Kemi Badenoch were completely overshadowed in the excited reporting of her quisling speech by the right-wing media.
Her much publicised speech came in the wake of Black Lives Matter protests over the death of George Floyd under the knee of a murderous US policeman.
How useful for the British Conservative government to have a black woman attacking anti-racist protests and challenges to the dominant conservative ideology.
Ms Badenoch’s speech didn’t come out of nowhere. Prior to her speech, the same right-wing press that had gleefully spiced up its headlines with ‘Nanny State’, ‘Elf and Safety’, and ‘Political Correctness gone mad’ had carried streams of invective over teachers, academics, lawyers, politicians, journalists, activists and other commentators who had the temerity to question biased British history, problematic celebration in statues and racism and other oppressions more generally.
The attacks on ‘critical race theory’ weren’t developed by Kemi Badenoch – they were all over the British right-wing media along with all the other related hate-terms – ‘identity politics’, ‘cultural Marxism’, ‘intersectionality’, ‘cancel culture’, ‘feminazis’ and the clear favourite, by some distance – the adjective ‘woke’.
The Conservatives rather clumsy attempts at conducting this cultural war are widely supported within the party.13Again, it is ironic that Conservatives attack those they accuse of mounting a cultural war by themselves conducting a cultural war. However, there are some sections of the parliamentary party that are more belligerent than others. Step forward the ‘Common Sense Group’ of Tory MPs modelled on the now largely redundant European Research Group that successfully spearheaded Brexit. Their name is very deliberately chosen, as the folks who pretend they are not ideological like to cast themselves as being for common sense in opposition to ideology, apparently not realising that ‘common sense’ is a hallmark of Conservative pragmatist ideology.14Of course, everyone supports ‘common sense’ if it is, indeed, sensible. But it tends to be used to signify ‘not clever, complicated theory’ and ‘what you can see with your own eyes’. The earth being flat is common sense but physics (which is not common sense) tells us it isn’t. Common sense has definite limitations. The Conservative Common Sense Group was launched in summer 2020 with an explicit aim to confront what it called the ‘woke agenda’.15Their other key interest is immigration. The group has around sixty MPs and 7 peers and published a new manifesto in May 2021 in the form of an online booklet.16The Common Sense Group (2021) Common Sense: Conservative thinking for a Post-Liberal Age. https://www.thecommonsensegroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Common-Sense.pdf It would take a whole other article to go through the many absurdities across the varied articles in the book but suffice here to say that there are attacks on ‘woke’ and ‘wokeism’ as the manifesto proclaims itself explicitly to be conducting a cultural war and a ‘Battle for Britain’.17Ibid. Preface. P. 1. Here the groups ‘Black Lives Matter, Extinction Rebellion and Kill the Bill et al. . . .’ are held up as the explicit enemy.
The notion of being ‘woke’ or wokeness as a political/psychological state has a long history. The idea of being ‘woke’ refers to the idea of having a raised awareness regarding political and other threats. If you are ‘woke’, you are awake to the distortions, gaslighting and ideologies of those who are oppressing you. It means that instead of naively wandering around assuming that everything the powers that be tell you is completely reliable and true, you adopt a more sceptical and critical stance.
It is important to point out here that few people claim to be ‘woke’. ‘Woke’ isn’t a state that one reaches. Rather it is indicative of a continuing state of mindfulness about the world around you. It isn’t so much a state that one is or achieves but rather something that one might aspire to. However, that hasn’t stopped the right from invoking it as a target.18It is also important to acknowledge that the term has been latched onto by some non-black individuals and organisations in ways that constitute cultural appropriation.
Unsurprisingly, it was among Black American activists, that the term came to prominence in the mid twentieth century.19The parallel idea of ‘consciousness raising’ that I and other feminists engaged in, in the nineteen seventies, also emerged, like ‘woke’, in the U.S. Black civil rights struggles of the nineteen-sixties. It appeared in a 1938 Lead Belly track about the ‘Scottsboro Boys’, a famous case of brutal racist injustice in Alabama in 1931. In 1962 the African American writer, William Melvin Kelley, wrote a piece for the New York Times entitled ‘If You’re Woke, You Dig It’ which is taken to be the first use of the term in the mainstream press.20There are instances of the word ‘woke’ appearing in novels in the early part of the twentieth century. Kelley is the author of the stunning anti-racist novel ‘A Different Drummer’ which was also published in 1962. I thank Aja Romano for some details here as included in their article ‘A history of wokeness’ at https://www.vox.com/culture/21437879/stay-woke-wokeness-history-origin-evolution-controversy By 1962 ‘woke’ had become part of the lexicon of African American phrases which were massively adopted by first the jazz and Beat generation, as recounted by Kelley, and subsequently and much more widely by the hip generation of the nineteen-sixties.21The word ‘hip’ also falls into this category. It coincidently also means politically and culturally aware in a sense rather similar to ‘woke’. It has morphed in a variety of settings through ‘hippies’, ‘hip-hop’ and ‘hipsters’. In the UK in the nineteen-sixties people started calling each other (male and female), ‘man’, describing others as ‘cats’, saying ‘yeah’ instead of ‘yes’ and in an effort to be ‘cool’ they would profess to ‘dig’ this or that.22The extent to which some of this language penetrated very far is the fact that my Scots rural-based mother (1932-2017), not someone who considered herself (nor was considered by anyone else to be) hip or cool, would sometimes say ‘yeah man’ in an affected African American accent in the 1990s. A consequence of watching U.S. tv shows, certainly cultural transference and possibly cultural appropriation.
The American RnB/Soul singer, Erykah Badu, re-popularised the term among African Americans in the song ‘Master Teacher’ released in 2008 and it became more widely used in social media from then.23Erykah Badu (2008) New Amerykah Part One (4th World War) Universal Motown. The ‘woke’ element is reputedly from the pen of Georgia Anne Muldraw. ‘Woke’ became a much more wide-spread meme following the murder by police of Trayvon Martin and the subsequent setting up of the Black Lives Matter movement. Staying ‘woke’ had always been a matter of survival for Black people who needed to be alive to situations which could easily become sites of racist attack including police brutality and murder and this meaning was re-emphasised as the Black Lives Matter movement gathered further momentum after the murders of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and Eric Garner in New York in 2014.
It is very precisely a consequence of the widespread support for the Black Lives Matter movement, both in the US and beyond, that right-wing commentators began to look for ways to mock, attack and undermine ‘wokeness’.
If the Ku Klux Klan was still a leading anti-anti-racist (it’s a thing now) organisation, it would be campaigning against the so-called ‘woke’. In the 21st century, it has been succeeded by a proliferation of organisations whose two central political planks are to maintain white supremacy and to pull back on the kind of regulations that protect the vulnerable. Some of these organisations are militaristic and some are, following the advice of former KKK leader, David Duke, to clean up their image, operating nefariously in the political sphere.
One example of these is The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) whose reasonably innocuous name (albeit with a suggestive acronym) obscures the fact that they have campaigned overtly for white supremacism since the 1990s. They attack the Southern Poverty Law Center which campaigns against anti-Semitism, racism and for human and democratic rights and justice as ‘the “godfather” of “cancel culture” and . . . willing to attack any group that is not “woke” enough.’25Lecia Brooks (2020) Attack by FAIR isn’t about ‘cancel culture’ but injecting hate into the mainstream. https://www.splcenter.org/news/2020/09/03/attack-fair-isnt-about-cancel-culture-injecting-hate-mainstream Representatives of the extreme Christian right have also called the SPLC ‘The Woke Plague’s Patient Zero.’26https://stream.org/the-woke-plagues-patient-zero-the-southern-poverty-law-center/
Trump and his cronies in the Republican Party play to these trends in the US. Josh Hawley, the Republican senator for Missouri who played a frontline role in supporting the attack on the Capitol in January 2021, regularly accuses a wide range of opponents of being ‘woke’ and Ted Cruz, on the right wing of the Republican Party and a 2016 Republican Presidential candidate, has recently (May 2021) been mocked for attacking a pro-LGBTQ advert for the US army as ‘woke’.
An interesting bridge between the US and UK right concerns arch loudmouth, ex tabloid journalist and clickbait tv celebrity, Piers Morgan. Morgan has made his name by being an accomplished self-publicist and, in his own words, a ‘rampant egomaniac.’ He attacked the ‘Women’s March on Washington’ following Trump’s inauguration and often led the racist attacks on Meghan, Duchess of Sussex. In March 2021, he stormed off the set of Good Morning Britain after being challenged on his treatment of the Duchess. He could dish it out better than he could take it. What was his next move? To give his first tv interview to Tucker Carlson, of Fox Nation, rabid right-wing mouthpiece of US TV, who is frequently accused of racism and sexism. In that interview, they indulged in an explicitly anti ‘woke’ mutual back up session.27Carlson asked: ‘So if most people in Britain — and I think you speak for America, too — see what’s going on here, they see that it’s a scam, they see that wokeness is really an effort by the people who are already in charge to gain more power and wealth for themselves — it so clearly is that — why is everyone putting up with it?’ Morgan replied that it was ‘terrifying’ that ‘people feel so cowed by the fear of the woke mob that they can’t express an honestly held opinion without being immediately branded a racist.’ Tucker Carlson Today 5th April 2021, Fox Nation. The deliberate manipulation and mendacity of both should be obvious.
In Britain, the focal point for attacks on the Black Lives Matter movement became the toppling of the statue of slaver Edward Colston and its dumping into Bristol harbour on the 7th of June 2020.28The removal or recontextualising of Colston’s widespread celebration in the Bristol area had been a subject of extended discussion with the city authorities for decades.
Well before then, the right-wing media had been erecting its onslaught on Black Lives Matter and other progressive and left-wing movements. Favoured rhetoric from this period included calling progressives, including the BLM, ‘cultural Marxists’, purveyors of divisive ‘identity politics’, supporters of ‘critical race theory’, proponents of ‘ideology’ and, most heinous of all, the new insult ‘woke’.
From 2017 ‘woke’ and ‘wokeness’ began to be hurled at any and every left or progressive group as a means of undermining them. As Aja Romano puts it, ‘woke’ became, in its pejorative use by conservatives a ‘. . . single-word summation of leftist political ideology, centred on social justice politics and critical race theory.’29Romano, A. Op. cit.
The linguist and social critic John McWhorter argues that ‘woke’ served, ‘. . . in essence, a function that those of a certain age will recall the phrase “politically correct” once did.’30McWhorter, J. (2016) Black Lives Matter is ‘woke’ to old problems – but still sleeping on solutions. The Washington Post, August 9th 2016. https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2016/08/09/black-lives-matter-and-the-limits-of-being-woke/
The same forces who whined about the ‘Nanny State’, who mocked workers’ rights in ‘elf and safety’, extended their repertoire through ‘political correctness’ and ‘ideology’ to ‘identity politics’ and, especially to ‘wokeness’.
How does this relate to the struggle for Independence in Scotland?
Political movements for independence in Scotland have been in existence ever since the formal establishment of the country of Scotland in 843 CE.31Arguably they go back even further to when the incipient nation fought off invaders from Anglo-Saxon regions, Viking territories and even the Romans. Wars of independence had to be fought in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries in response to successful incursions by Edward 1 of England. Following the success of those and give or take some subsequent but less dramatic threats, from 1314 through to 1707, Scotland operated for the most part as an established and functioning, albeit feudal, independent nation.
In 1707, a ‘parcel of rogues’ sold the nation to England in exchange for some debt relief and access to lucrative maritime business which England had been blockading. Jacobites were fighting a rear-guard action against this move from 1689 and the usurpation of the Stuart throne by William of Orange – all against the backdrop of the Protestant Reformation that laid the groundwork for the change of monarchy. Throughout the late seventeenth century and the first half of the eighteenth century, the struggle to recover independence took the form of Jacobite rebellions, concluding with the slaughter field of Culloden and the subsequent brutal suppression of all resistance and even of symbols of indigenous culture.
There were periodic calls for Home Rule for Scotland during the nineteenth century and a Home Rule bill tabled in 1913 was overtaken by the First World War. Serious struggles for independence began in the nineteen thirties followed by an increased interest in home rule in the nineteen-sixties. The Scottish National Party (SNP) was established in 1934 but it wasn’t until the nineteen sixties that it began to make real headway.
In 1967 Winnie Ewing, by winning the Hamilton byelection, became the second SNP MP elected to the UK House of Commons and the first of a hopeful new era during which Scotland began to see more possibilities in terms of gaining Independence.32Robert McIntyre won a Motherwell byelection and served as MP for three months in 1945. Finding oil in the North Sea contributed to a new level of Scottish optimism in the nineteen-sixties. It is also the case that the general atmosphere of political optimism and youthful revolutionary fervour of the sixties served to invigorate Scotland’s desire for self determination in line with other radical movements around the world.
Alex Salmond and his cohort of bright young radical campaigners led the struggle for Independence through the last quarter of the twentieth century to the re-establishment of the Scottish parliament in 1999 and then to the first Independence referendum of 2014 during which support for Independence rose from an average of approx. 25% in the years preceding the independence referendum to 45% at the referendum. The referendum was lost and Salmond resigned from leadership of the Scottish National Party which was taken up by his deputy, Nicola Sturgeon.
In the aftermath of the referendum support for Independence grew and the SNP went very quickly from a party of approx. 20k to 125k members – which made it by far the biggest per capita political party in the UK and the actual second biggest party in the UK after Labour.
The SNP is a broad-church party encompassing the range of views from right to left but, on balance, leans more to the left. By its very nature as a party fighting for Scots Independence from the UK, it is viewed by UK conservatives and unionists as a threat to the established order. Nicola Sturgeon has propelled it forward by a mix of consolidating and building further support for Independence, managing what can be managed of the devolved Scots economy well and instituting progressive welfare, social and economic policies. In 2021, it stands ready to command a second Independence referendum when the Covid 19 virus is sufficiently under control and at a time of Scotland’s choosing.
The SNP and the broader Independence movement were always the subject of derision in the UK mainstream press, that is, when it could be bothered to pay attention to anything going on in Scotland at all. Now that Independence is no longer a minority cause the anti-Independence tactics and rhetoric have changed.
No-one is or should be surprised that Conservatives and Unionists at both Westminster and the Scottish Parliament engage in unionist propaganda against impending independence. The list of shoddy tactics includes the notorious ‘vow’ fronted by Gordon Brown, belatedly slapping Union Jacks on everything, roping the royals into strategic pro-union visits to Scotland, attacking devolution and the Scottish Parliament and insisting civil servants stop referring to Scotland as a country. The stakes around the second independence referendum are much higher and we can expect anti-Scottish and anti-independence rhetoric and power plays to continue and proliferate. Independence supporters know this and know also that they need to prepare for this.
But a more insidious development over the last few years has been a cohort of mostly angry, older, white men who purport to be Independence supporters but who focus their anger on the SNP and especially, Nicola Sturgeon.
A focal point for this trend has been the blog site of Stuart Campbell under the heading Wings Over Scotland. There are other bloggers who operate with similar agendas such as Barrhead Boy, Peter A. Bell, Grousebeater, Craig Murray, Iain Lawson, Jason Michael McCann and most recently, Robert Brown, though none has the following of WOS.34These sites are also often pushing the agendas of Alex Salmond and to a lesser extent his supporter Joanna Cherry, in their leadership ambitions within or outwith the SNP. While those narratives are important, they are not the immediate focus of this piece. It is also the case that several of these men have had run ins with the law, some in relation to issues like harassment, and this may have assisted in their identifying with Alex Salmond’s situation in 2018-20. In Spring/Summer 2021, some of these have started to fall out with one another in explosive and rabid exchanges.
While it is standard for a large progressive movement to have sects, tendencies, internal ructions, spats and dissension, there is one feature of this blogging trend that could do with a good airing. It relates to the discussion of ideology and reactionary rhetoric highlighted earlier.
Let’s get one thing straight. I have no objection to critical discussion of policies and leadership styles of the SNP or anyone else. When I was first alerted to the Wings over Scotland blog site during the first Independence referendum campaign, I thought it was a useful pro-Independence resource and I visited it periodically. I also read many of Peter A. Bell’s blogs and although I found his style too abrasive for my tastes, I recognised an accomplished writer and someone who displayed a passion for Independence.
But let’s focus on the Wings Over Scotland blog for a moment. In recent years it reserved its most outspoken attacks for the SNP, Nicola Sturgeon, other SNP MSPs and MPs (with a handful of exceptions), Scottish Green MSPs, Scottish Green Independence supporters, young Independence supporters, disabled Independence supporters, BAME Independence supporters, Trans Independence supporters, Intersectional feminist Independence supporters and gay and/or feminist Independence activists who identify as Trans allies.35A subset of this trend is the extent to which WOS male supporters became latter day ‘feminists’ because that allowed them to make a case against trans supporters. People who showed no interest in feminism and who regularly made misogynist attacks on Nicola Sturgeon and other feminists, purported to be outspoken defenders of women because it allowed them to be outspoken in their attack on so called ‘woke’ trans activists. They also lectured long standing feminists who happened also to be allies of the trans cause, or, for other reasons were critical of outdated biological determinism, that their, the recent male converts to ‘feminism’, version of ‘feminism’ trumped the women’s. That is a whole and extremely important other discussion that I will address in a separate essay.
In doing so, it regularly invoked the good old ‘woke’ slur. In a blog from the end of January 2021, entitled ‘The Death Wish’ the main body of the blog refers to the SNP’s ‘hyper-intolerant woke wing’, refers to an SNP activist as ‘an ultra-woke transactivist’ and in the same paragraph refers to another as a ‘super-woke transactivist’ and in an update edit added a few hours later refers to SNP commentators as ‘wokies’.36Campbell, Stuart (2021) The Death Wish. https://wingsoverscotland.com/the-death-wish/ This is in a blog consisting of less than 900 words including the updated edit (the rest of the blog is made up of material copied from elsewhere). There are numerous other gratuitous insults hurled at SNP members, activists, candidates and elected representatives including ‘Twitler youth’ and attacks on how people look and how they identify.
The blog in question is a rant about an SNP National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting, the confidential proceedings of which had been leaked to WOS. WOS supporters had imagined that they had staged a successful coup and succeeded in a sufficient degree of entryism onto the NEC that votes would go their way – when they realised they hadn’t, they lost the plot. The tone throughout is histrionic and – and this is significant – resembles, more than anything else, the tone of the outraged tabloid newspapers such as the Daily Mail, The Express and The Sun when they go on one of their pet crusades. And keep in mind whose interests they serve.
Not to be outdone, the supporters and commentators of the Wings Over Scotland blog, follow up with, in the region of, 400 comments (many are multiple comments by repeat commentors) which differ little in style from the blog itself. Many use the ‘woke’ word in a variety of forms. Almost all are vigorously anti-SNP, many are misogynist – for example they just launch into attacks on ‘she’ – a clear reference to Nicola Sturgeon and call openly for her removal and some just go for out and out misogynistic attacks such as ‘self-serving bitch’ or ‘toxic wee bitch’. It is rabid, venal stuff – and, importantly, not aimed at all at the enemies of Independence such as the Conservatives or other unionist parties but at the SNP.
There is something quite juvenile about this – the over-excited glee with which predominantly bad-tempered older men are being aggressively rude and sometimes misogynist and racist about minorities reeks of naughty adolescents. They trip over themselves to be the one who comes out with the cockiest epithet and seemingly cannot help themselves from getting carried away by their own petulance.
But the other groups that this trend also emulates are the white supremacist groups of the (mostly) Southern US. At one point in the blog where it complains about SNP positive action to support BAME and disabled potential candidates, it complains with evident bitterness about what it sees as the unfairness against anyone who has the ‘. . . rotten bad luck to be white and healthy.’ True colours on show there.
I have looked in detail at this particular blog.37It just happened to coincide with when I first started thinking about writing this article. But it is entirely representative of other blogs on the site. All of them falling over themselves in apoplexy and most of them making liberal use of the ‘woke’ trope.
Apologists for the site often refer to the ‘forensic journalism’ that it deploys and the ‘honesty’ with which it pummels home its messages. I would concede that it is reasonably proficient in digging up detail – but that, in itself, does not make it good journalism. As regards ‘honesty’, it wears its undoubted biases on its sleeves, it picks and chooses its ‘evidence’ to suit its current causes, it exaggerates half-truths, it spins as fast as Downing Street in terms of the slant that it puts on things and it goes in for widespread shaming and intimidation of anyone it objects to. And, as noted above, it pumps out extensive crass insults to entertain its posse.
But my greatest concern regarding this trend is that it seems to have found itself echoing and imitating the right-wing rhetoric of the Conservative party and its media support systems in the press and broadcasting.38There are Broadcasting rules that mean that TV can’t get away with quite the degree of insult that parades across the pages of the printed press. However, overgrown lads like Piers Morgan and Jeremy Clarkson regularly buy into this kind of retrogressive rhetoric and occasionally fall foul of the rules. As shown above, these are also from the same basic cloth as exemplified in the American right and Trump supporters.
At the end of the blog in the update edit, the author tells us that ‘The ideologically unclean must be purged!’ It is not completely clear who is being referred to here and, when I first read it, I thought it meant that the author was demanding that the ‘ideologically unclean’ members of the SNP needed to be purged so that WOS supporters could have their way – this, after all, is what they are saying a great deal of the time. But I had read it too quickly. Taken in tandem with the paragraph it is fairly clear that what is meant is a complaint that the author thinks that SNP commentators are demanding that WOS supporters are ‘The ideologically unclean [who] must be purged!’
This fits the concocted rhetoric about ‘ideology’ employed through Jordan Peterson’s bent, politicised definition, MSM’s obsession with politically correct ‘ideology’, Kemi Badenoch’s ill-informed Tory rant and other Conservative commentators who take issue with ‘ideology’ while themselves purveying ‘ideologies’.
Why have these ‘Independence’ supporters ended up aligned with the Conservative right?
It may be that Stuart Campbell gets his political steer from discussions down his local boozer with his Daily Mail reading Somerset neighbours.
Or it could be that his is just one among many older, white male voices who when the chips are down see the writing on the wall and would rather chuck their lot in with the Conservatives than give up the crumbs from their table that make them slightly better off than most women, minority ethnic people, the disabled and other discriminated against groups.
It could just be an identification with the angry right-wing populists who want to hold back progressive politics – for example, some of these older men may have envisaged a pure white Independent Scotland run by Scottish lads in line with their 1950s style fantasies and now they are discovering that the progressive Independent Scotland that is more likely is one that is rainbow-coloured, multi-cultural and significantly run by women – heaven forfend.
Or it might just be a lot of ignorance and an inability to recognise who they have been getting into bed with – rabid right-wing Tories and white supremacists.
Of course, given the threat to the Union that Independence is, it is quite likely that at least some of the anti-SNP and anti-Nicola Sturgeon rhetoric among the commentators is produced by unionist trolls. Given the massive attacks on the SNP among WOS commentators and the number claiming to either give up on ‘the dream’ of Independence or to have had it with the SNP or even threatening to vote Tory, that is at least likely and certainly would not surprise anyone cognisant with the sneaky tactics of the Westminster establishment and its operatives at Thames House and GCHQ.
On May 12 2021, following the results of the Scottish Parliamentary elections held on May 6, in which Stuart Campbell’s favoured Alba party failed to make any headway, gaining only 1.7% of votes, he published a farewell blog.39Campbell, Stuart (2021) The Ship Song. https://wingsoverscotland.com/the-ship-song/ It is a sour grapes whine and a capitulation in which he repeats many of the insinuations and insults that he honed over the later years of his blog. He has left things open to return if he chooses. He holds on to donated funds reckoned to be in the hundreds of thousands and time will tell what he does with those. His fan club will no doubt miss him.
There is a clear right-wing political thread of rhetoric that links the attack on the so-called ‘nanny state’ in the nineteen-sixties, through ‘elf and safety’, ‘political correctness’, ‘identity politics’ and ‘ideology’ to the attacks on the so-called ‘woke’ and ‘woke-ism’ today. While there is nothing particularly startling about the fact that the right will seek to attack the left, it is noticeable that these cultural and ideological (yes, ideological) attacks are emerging with greater frequency as capitalism falters. It is no accident that ‘nanny state’ emerged in the 1960s when liberation movements were particularly active, and it is no accident that anti-woke rhetoric emerges as right-wingers become exasperated that movements like Black Lives Matter gather momentum.
However, what is deeply concerning in the context of the Scottish Independence movement, is that folk who purport to be in favour of Scottish liberation simultaneously find themselves siding with the rhetoric of the Conservative right and their US counterparts.
As some among the supporters of the WOS blogger have signed up to Alex Salmond’s Alba party it is to be hoped that they shed the pernicious right-wing rhetoric that they have been enamoured with. My own view is that Alba will be a repository for disaffected has-beens who look backward to a mythical bygone era while the broader and more contemporary SNP will seek to build a progressive Independent Scotland that looks to the future. No doubt there will be realignments and tensions across and between right and left in post-independence Scotland and the probability of new and different parties lining up to progress competing agendas. There will undoubtedly be a rump of actual Conservatives peddling their usual self-serving rhetoric. What Scotland most definitely does not need is a post-independence but supposedly pro-independence strand echoing the right-wing rhetoric of retrogressive conservatism and populist US style white supremacists.
All Under One Banner March for Scottish Independence Glasgow, 2018. Published by Socialist Worker.
1 Ọnwụnabọnze, I. A. (2020) Black Lives Matter: ‘If you are not angry, you are not paying attention’ RS21 19th June. https://www.rs21.org.uk/2020/06/19/black-lives-matter-if-you-are-not-angry-you-are-not-paying-attention/.
2 The post-enlightenment philosopher Destutt de Tracy published Eléments d’idéologie from 1801. Destutt is reputed to be of Scots heritage and descended from Scots émigré Walter Stutt. It appears as if ideology could be the study of ideas (or knowledge or forms), but that notion is more usually covered these days by epistemology. That latter term was also coined by a Scot - philosopher James Frederick Ferrier who was influenced by German idealism. There are many subsequent theories of ideology.
3 Peterson, J. B. (2018) 12 Rules for Life: An antidote to Chaos Penguin p. xiv. N.B. I am working, somewhat laboriously, on a detailed critique of this book. Let me know via email email@example.com if you would like to be notified when it is completed.
4 Ibid. See especially, pp. 215 and 315 and more weirdly, p. 210.
5 ‘It has now got to the point where some of the statements being made are so easily refutable, so verifiably and unquestionably false, that you have to presume that the people writing them know that.’ David Olusoga as reported by Aamna Mohdin in The Guardian 7th June 2021. While Olusoga’s point was made in the context of attacks on Black British history, it is arguably transferable to right wing politics in general.
6 MacLeod, I. (1965) 70 m.p.h. The Spectator 3rd December.
7 Incidentally, it was Fraser’s resignation which led to the byelection in which Winnie Ewing became the SNP MP.
8 Thatcher, M. (1995) The Path to Power Harper Collins.
9 Ibid. My emphasis.
10 Kwarteng, K., Patel, P., Raab, D., Skidmore, C., & Truss, E. (2012) Britannia Unchained Palgrave Macmillan.
11 Ramsay, A. (2018) Right-wing think tank accused of promoting tobacco and oil industry “propaganda” in schools. Open Democracy https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/dark-money-investigations/right-wing-think-tank-accused-of-promoting-tobacco-oil-indu/ .
12 At the time of her attack, she was Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury and Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Equalities in Boris Johnson’s government. Kemi Badenoch’s attack on anti-racism came at the end of a whole day of debate on Black History. Unfortunately, the many excellent anti-racist speeches which preceded Kemi Badenoch were completely overshadowed in the excited reporting of her quisling speech by the right-wing media. .
13 Again, it is ironic that Conservatives attack those they accuse of mounting a cultural war by themselves conducting a cultural war.
14 Of course, everyone supports ‘common sense’ if it is, indeed, sensible. But it tends to be used to signify ‘not clever, complicated theory’ and ‘what you can see with your own eyes’. The earth being flat is common sense but physics (which is not common sense) tells us it isn’t. Common sense has definite limitations.
15 Their other key interest is immigration.
16 The Common Sense Group (2021) Common Sense: Conservative thinking for a Post-Liberal Age. https://www.thecommonsensegroup.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Common-Sense.pdf.
17 Ibid. Preface. P. 1. Here the groups ‘Black Lives Matter, Extinction Rebellion and Kill the Bill et al. . . .’ are held up as the explicit enemy.
18 It is also important to acknowledge that the term has been latched onto by some non-black individuals and organisations in ways that constitute cultural appropriation.
19 The parallel idea of ‘consciousness raising’ that I and other feminists engaged in, in the nineteen seventies, also emerged, like ‘woke’, in the U.S. Black civil rights struggles of the nineteen-sixties.
20 There are instances of the word ‘woke’ appearing in novels in the early part of the twentieth century. Kelley is the author of the stunning anti-racist novel ‘A Different Drummer’ which was also published in 1962. I thank Aja Romano for some details here as included in their article ‘A history of wokeness’ at https://www.vox.com/culture/21437879/stay-woke-wokeness-history-origin-evolution-controversy.
21 The word ‘hip’ also falls into this category. It coincidently also means politically and culturally aware in a sense rather similar to ‘woke’. It has morphed in a variety of settings through ‘hippies’, ‘hip-hop’ and ‘hipsters’.
22 The extent to which some of this language penetrated very far is the fact that my Scots rural-based mother (1932-2017), not someone who considered herself (nor was considered by anyone else to be) hip or cool, would sometimes say ‘yeah man’ in an affected African American accent in the 1990s. A consequence of watching U.S. tv shows, certainly cultural transference and possibly cultural appropriation.
23 Erykah Badu (2008) New Amerykah Part One (4th World War) Universal Motown. The ‘woke’ element is reputedly from the pen of Georgia Anne Muldraw.
24 The Interactive map can be found here: https://www.splcenter.org/hate-map.
25 Lecia Brooks (2020) Attack by FAIR isn’t about ‘cancel culture’ but injecting hate into the mainstream. https://www.splcenter.org/news/2020/09/03/attack-fair-isnt-about-cancel-culture-injecting-hate-mainstream .
27 Carlson asked: ‘So if most people in Britain — and I think you speak for America, too — see what’s going on here, they see that it’s a scam, they see that wokeness is really an effort by the people who are already in charge to gain more power and wealth for themselves — it so clearly is that — why is everyone putting up with it?’ Morgan replied that it was ‘terrifying’ that ‘people feel so cowed by the fear of the woke mob that they can’t express an honestly held opinion without being immediately branded a racist.’ Tucker Carlson Today 5th April 2021, Fox Nation. The deliberate manipulation and mendacity of both should be obvious.
28 The removal or recontextualising of Colston’s widespread celebration in the Bristol area had been a subject of extended discussion with the city authorities for decades.
29 Romano, A. Op. cit.
30 McWhorter, J. (2016) Black Lives Matter is ‘woke’ to old problems – but still sleeping on solutions. The Washington Post, August 9th 2016. https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2016/08/09/black-lives-matter-and-the-limits-of-being-woke/.
31 Arguably they go back even further to when the incipient nation fought off invaders from Anglo-Saxon regions, Viking territories and even the Romans.
32 Robert McIntyre won a Motherwell byelection and served as MP for three months in 1945. Finding oil in the North Sea contributed to a new level of Scottish optimism in the nineteen-sixties. It is also the case that the general atmosphere of political optimism and youthful revolutionary fervour of the sixties served to invigorate Scotland’s desire for self determination in line with other radical movements around the world.
33 Is it just me or does the eagle wings logo evoke the third Reich? .
34 These sites are also often pushing the agendas of Alex Salmond and to a lesser extent his supporter Joanna Cherry, in their leadership ambitions within or outwith the SNP. While those narratives are important, they are not the immediate focus of this piece. It is also the case that several of these men have had run ins with the law, some in relation to issues like harassment, and this may have assisted in their identifying with Alex Salmond’s situation in 2018-20. In Spring/Summer 2021, some of these have started to fall out with one another in explosive and rabid exchanges.
35 A subset of this trend is the extent to which WOS male supporters became latter day ‘feminists’ because that allowed them to make a case against trans supporters. People who showed no interest in feminism and who regularly made misogynist attacks on Nicola Sturgeon and other feminists, purported to be outspoken defenders of women because it allowed them to be outspoken in their attack on so called ‘woke’ trans activists. They also lectured long standing feminists who happened also to be allies of the trans cause, or, for other reasons were critical of outdated biological determinism, that their, the recent male converts to ‘feminism’, version of ‘feminism’ trumped the women’s. That is a whole and extremely important other discussion that I will address in a separate essay.
36 Campbell, Stuart (2021) The Death Wish. https://wingsoverscotland.com/the-death-wish/.
37 It just happened to coincide with when I first started thinking about writing this article.
38 There are Broadcasting rules that mean that TV can’t get away with quite the degree of insult that parades across the pages of the printed press. However, overgrown lads like Piers Morgan and Jeremy Clarkson regularly buy into this kind of retrogressive rhetoric and occasionally fall foul of the rules.
39 Campbell, Stuart (2021) The Ship Song. https://wingsoverscotland.com/the-ship-song/.