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Response to T_i_B (Reply #68)

Wed May 11, 2016, 04:48 PM

70. However ...

having decided to bow gracefully or disgracefully out here, the next thing I stumble across online is the Guardian's Libby Brooks (by no means in the pocket of the SNP) discussing the latest buzzword cooked up by paid-by-the-word hacks to describe what they (would like to) see in Scotland: "Ulsterization". Which has some relation to what I think you were saying about sectarianism.

It's a rhetorical move that's been roundly criticized even in the Glasgow Herald, the paper that chose to print David Torrance's article that kicked this dead end of a "debate" off. Over to Libby (do check out the, er, lively discussion in the comments):

Talking about Scotland's 'Ulsterisation' is jaw-droppingly disrespectful

With two era-defining referendums and a pair of tsunami-like elections in under three years, Scotland has had to make its peace with political hyperbole. But the language that we use to describe this dramatically dynamic time in the country’s history – and that of the union - is important, and must bear scrutiny.

One particular phrase has been knocking around for months and, since last Thursday’s election, sparked debate among more mainstream commentators: the Ulsterisation of Scottish politics.

...

Certainly, it’s fair to say that politics in Scotland is divided along binary lines to a far greater extent than anywhere else in mainland Britain. Although, according to my colleague Ben Quinn, the politics of immigration is doing a pretty good job of producing similar splits, especially in the south of England.

But the use of “Ulsterisation’” of course brings with it far uglier resonances. And while Scottish politics is – yes, on occasion – bitterly divided, Scottish society and culture is simply nothing like Northern Ireland was in the past or is post-conflict. And, at the risk of meeting an irresponsible assertion with an inflammatory response, there plainly can be no equivalence between a distressing altercation on Twitter and getting kneecapped.

While sectarianism has by no means disappeared from Scotland’s streets or football matches, it no longer has the hold that it once did on public life; and it is laughable to suggest that these atavistic divisions are comparable and have somehow been supplanted by disagreements over the best way to progress land reform.

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/may/11/talking-about-scotlands-ulsterisation-is-jaw-droppingly-disrespectful?CMP=share_btn_tw

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