This is the last article you can read this month
You can read more article this month
You can read more articles this month
Sorry your limit is up for this month
Fascist Scotland: Caledonia And The Far Right
by Gavin Bowd
In this well-written and provocative book Gavin Bowd sets out to show how "Scotland provided its own cohort of idealists, fanatics and traitors for extreme racist, nationalist and authoritarian politics."
Oswald Mosley's unsuccessful attempt to establish a footing north of the border for the British Union of Fascists and support from the Italian-Scots community for Mussolini's Italian Fascist Party are dealt with, along with pro-Franco politics in Scottish academia and alleged sympathy within the Scottish National Party for fascism and nazism. There are examples too of Scots accused of treachery during WWII and the fate of neofascist organisations in Scotland up to the present day.
It is the chapter on "the nazis and the Nats" which is no doubt the most provocative section of the book. Poems by Hugh MacDiarmid are cited as evidence of how a combination of "anti-Englishness and anti-imperialism" could lead to a "downplaying of the threat emanating from Berlin." Those more in the know about MacDiarmid and the history of the SNP are more entitled to settle such claims.
The main sources of support for fascism within Scotland, though, are shown to come from among the usual suspects - the Tory establishment, the aristocracy, big business and the military.
An example is Captain Archibald Maule Ramsey, Tory MP for South Midlothian and Peebleshire, who created the "Right Club," a clandestine squad of anti-semites and anti-communists. He was the only British MP to be interned during WWII.
Bowd's contention that "it remains wilfully naive to think that there can be 'nae nazis' north of the Cheviots" is one that few will disagree with, yet the book leaves the impression that the pudding is very definitely being over-egged.
Looking for evidence of the toxic legacy of fascism in modern Scotland, Bowd points to a remark made by singer Rod Stewart in 1970 expressing support for Enoch Powell's anti-immigration policy even though Stewart - a Londoner born and bred - isn't even Scottish.
And he cites a leaflet exhorting people to "Buy Scots goods and keep a Scots worker working" as evidence of fascist traces among Celtic nationalism.
Whether that is so is debatable, but the fact that pro-union Gordon Brown's infamous "British Jobs For British Workers" slogan doesn't get a mention may lead some to conclude that Bowd needs to widen his gaze from specifically Scottish nationalism if he is to do full justice to his subject.
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by joining the 501 club.
Just £5 a month gives you the opportunity to win one of 17 prizes, from £25 to the £501 jackpot.
By becoming a 501 Club member you are helping the Morning Star cover its printing, distribution and staff costs — help keep our paper thriving by joining!
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by become a member of the People’s Printing Press Society.
The Morning Star is a readers’ co-operative, which means you can become an owner of the paper too by buying shares in the society.
Shares are £1 each — though unlike capitalist firms, each shareholder has an equal say. Money from shares contributes directly to keep our paper thriving.
Some union branches have taken out shares of over £500 and individuals over £100.
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by donating to the Fighting Fund.
The Morning Star is unique, as a lone socialist voice in a sea of corporate media. We offer a platform for those who would otherwise never be listened to, coverage of stories that would otherwise be buried.
The rich don’t like us, and they don’t advertise with us, so we rely on you, our readers and friends. With a regular donation to our monthly Fighting Fund, we can continue to thumb our noses at the fat cats and tell truth to power.
Donate today and make a regular contribution.