Why the Unionists Can’t Get Over this Bridge

by Jeggit

Queensferry Crossing, the newest addition to Scotland’s engineering landscape, sure has the unionist commentariat’s bloomers in a twist. Reading over my “BritNats” Twitter list from the moment it was opened I have seen a clear trend among Scotland’s online unionists towards dismissing this outstanding national accomplishment and sneering at those who see in it a cause for pride and celebration. People obsessed with the too wee, too poor, and too stupid mythology of British nationalism regarding Scottish independence have been infuriated by a bridge.

Of course they’ll use it. It will get them from A to B, but something about Queensferry Crossing has really gotten under their skin. Apparently it can’t be a Scottish achievement if the materials were sourced in China. This must come as a shock to the British tea industry as tea plantations a pretty scarce in Surrey. We can’t even claim this for Scotland because the workers who built it came from all over these islands, from Europe, and further afield. On this logic, then, can we declassify the London Underground as “British” if we find a single non Englander working on it?

Late on Wednesday night the Conservative journalist Stephen Daisley lost the run of himself. Unable to contain his frustration and wrath any longer with dirty little oiks in Scotland beaming with pride over a bridge, he went on a Twitter rant. It is worth looking at what he said, because it’s telling and because it gives the game away on why exactly he is so annoyed.

People put “near mythical significance” in many things. Just look at Daisley’s fascination with Thatcher, Theresa May, and Israel’s right-wing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Regardless of all the reasons to loath these truly loathsome characters, to Daisley and people like him they are mythical super heroes of neoliberalism and a modern colonial-settler mentality. He idolises these gods of war, and yet showing some delight in a bridge is somehow contemptable.

“It’s a bridge,” he says. “It has no bearing on the national character.” Would he say the same of Tower Bridge or London Bridge? Do these symbols of Britain’s power, wealth, and prestige have no bearing on England’s national character? What about the Golden Gate Bridge, the Rialto in Venice, or the Akashi Kaikyō Bridge? Do these have absolutely no bearing on the national character of the countries that built them? We can be pretty darn sure the people of England, the United States, Italy, and Japan disagree with Daisley on this point. Bridges everywhere have everything to do with national character and national pride. They are structural symbols of the aspirations of their builders, except in Scotland of course. We just mindlessly do things for the hell of it.

But that this is related to something “national” gets Daisley and Scotland’s unionists triggered. Why else would he talk about a “pedigree?” What pedigree would that be? Well it “isn’t terribly… anständig.” Aha! A German connection! It isn’t nice to express nationhood in bridges because the Nazis did it. That logic would have us banning road building, uniform wearing, moustaches, haircuts, dog loving, and just about everything – otherwise ordinary – the Germans ever did during the Nazi era. That’s just preposterous, and says a little too much about Daisley for my liking.

Then, he screeches on, the builders were all bloody foreigners and the steel came from China! He managed to tweet this nonsense apparently without seeing the irony of his appeal to naked blood and soil nationalism to rob Scotland of a sense of achievement. What sort of balloon is this man? With the exception of perhaps North Korea, everything everywhere is built by the people with the skills from all around the world. That, Mr Daisley, is what we call normal in a grown-up and welcoming society.

With the exception of perhaps North Korea, everything everywhere is built by people with the skills from all around the world. That, Mr Daisley, is what we call normal in a grown-up and welcoming society.

This China thing is really obnoxious. In a single word – “China” – he manages three things: He gives a nod to his British nationalist racist supporters, insinuates its inferior quality, and attempts to deny Scotland and the Scottish government the credit. Steel is steel – be that Scottish or Chinese – and maybe we could have used Scottish steel had the Conservatives not shut down Ravenscraig; the only steelworks in Scotland capable of producing the quality and quantity of steel needed for the project. Oh, but he doesn’t mention that – just like he doesn’t mention Scotland.

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Someone should inform the Bank of England that bridges have “no bearing on the national character.”

Nowhere in his puerile little brain fart does he mention Scotland. He can’t even bring himself to say the word, and yet we are to believe he too is proud of Scotland. He is my backside.

“It’s great that we have a new bridge?” Who is “we?” Yes, Scotland has a new bridge – built with Scottish money by the Scottish government to Scottish designs and specifications; following what best reflects the values and character of this little nation we call Scotland. Daisley seems to have trouble even getting this name from his loaf to his tweets.

The problem is, regardless of what the unionists are gnashing their teeth about, that bridges are symbols of national glory. Countries that do not envisage a future for themselves, that have no interest in showcasing themselves to the world, do not build bridges. They don’t invest in those things that are of value to the people and industry of the country. And they certainly do not go to the trouble of putting bridges and buildings on the reverse side of their banknotes – a favourite form of “soft nationalism” in Britain. Daisley isn’t annoyed over a bridge. He’s right, it is only a bridge. His problem is that Scottish bridges, built with Scottish money and by a Scottish government, might give these filthy Scots notions.


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The Butterfly Rebellion
Jason Michael
Ayrshire, Scotland

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