The dictionary defines vilification as: “To attack the reputation of (a person or thing) with strong or abusive criticism.” To my mind this is exactly what we have been seeing in the press over the last week or more.
We had Steve Bell’s racist slur cartoon in the Guardian, suggesting that all Scots are incestuous. I won’t bother showing it here. There was much derision at the Scottish outrage with “It’s just a cartoon” being the most common refrain. Yes it was a cartoon, but one carefully calculated to denigrate the Scots.
We also had Alan Massie give us a “Rivers of Blood” monologue in the Daily Heil (English Edition only). To quote him, “To borrow the Roman poet Virgil’s phrase (but intending none of the racist malice Enoch Powell so famously lent it), I don’t say the rivers Thames and Mersey will literally foam with blood – but they might well do so metaphorically.” He may not have intended the racist malice, but the whole piece leans towards it. It stokes anti Scottish hatred just because we may decide to vote for a party which he, and the rest of the Imperial Masters, does not approve of.
Then we had The Sun (English edition) giving our First Minister the Miley Cyrus makeover, portraying her on a wrecking ball wearing nought but a skimpy tartan bikini. The sexism is breathtaking. The picture harks back to the golden age of The Sun. I am reminded of when they covered the Hillsborough Disaster.
We also had the Tory mock-up of Ed Miliband in the breast pocket of Alex Salmond. At least this one had a point other that to stoke hatred of the Scots. I could go on, that lot is from one week after all. So what’s it all about?
FEAR, that’s what it’s all about. Setting the SNP up as the big bogeyman. Trying to to achieve a number of points:
- Scaring the voters away from voting Labour on the off-chance that they may end up in some form of coalition with the SNP in the event of a hung parliament.
- Manoeuvering the English electorate into accepting the reasons for EVEL.
- Make the Scots appear to be a bunch of ungrateful oiks who are worthy only of derision, ergo their democratically elected representatives (who will be either SNP or Labour) will be unfit for high office.
- Working up some English nationalist fervour (shhh, we’re not allowed to call it that) in an effort to counter the rise of UKIP.
The problem with these strategies is that they will inevitably create a backlash against the Scots. We had all the sweet cooing noises during the independence referendum, but now we’re getting the hot tongue and cold shoulder. I fear that it won’t be long before we see signs like these: