IT is a well-known fact, at least among anti-independence campaigners and journalists, that everything about Scotland is rubbish. They are hell-bent on establishing that we are mired in misery and misfortune and always will be, in order that they can have the self-righteous satisfaction of saying, “see, I told you we were rubbish”. This is what passes for a positive case for the Union.

If you were to take these wails and woe seriously, you must live in a constant state of amazement that we have a functioning society at all, that you can indeed walk out of your home of a morning to allow the dug to crap and you are not immediately attacked by hordes of MadMcMax types determined to strip you of your last teacake. What you can’t do, however, is open up one of Scotland’s many anti-independence newspapers without being confronted with yet another anguished article listing all the myriad things that you need to be ashamed of if you’re Scottish.

So in order that readers of Scotland’s only pro-independence newspaper don’t feel left out of the accusation hurling, it’s about time we had a list of things to be ashamed of if you’re a British nationalist in Scotland – and by British nationalist I mean someone who supports Scotland’s continuing to remain a part of the UK. You don’t get a free pass from nationalism just because you oppose independence.

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Actually, listing all the sins of British nationalism in Scotland would result in a book taking up several volumes, so we’ll content ourselves with some of the lowlights. Just three examples of things that British nationalists in Scotland ought to be thoroughly ashamed of.

Sectarianism. Despite numerous attempts by opponents of independence to portray this as a Scottish phenomenon and a reason why Scotland can’t possibly be trusted to govern itself, sectarianism is at its core a disease of British nationalism and a symptom of the historical divide and rule tactics of the British state. The root cause of sectarianism in Scotland is the attempt to define Scottishness as subordinate to Britishness, and to assert that if you are not British then you can’t be Scottish either.

Orange flute bands don’t march in support of independence. Sectarianism is absent from the Scottish independence movement, but it is present in abundance among its opponents. That doesn’t mean that everyone who opposes independence is a sectarian bigot, but if you are a practising sectarian bigot, it’s highly likely you’ll be waving the red, white and blue. It’s high time that British nationalists in Scotland owned up to the bigotry which is present in their ranks and the more responsible among them took responsibility for rooting it out. Sectarianism is a sickness of Britishness in Scotland, not of Scottishness. It’s high time that opponents of independence did something about it instead of wringing their hands and pretending that it’s about the fitba.

The cringe. Nothing has blighted the Scottish psyche like the cringe. For generations, Scottish people have been taught, most commonly by North Britons, that we are somehow laughable, inferior, that the way we speak is uneducated slang, that nothing about our culture is worthy of respect. The cringe teaches us that if it’s Scottish, it’s probably rubbish, it’s certainly risible, and it’s definitely to be ashamed of. It’s the motivation that lies behind all those newspaper articles telling Scotland how rubbish it is.

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The ground zero of the cringe is language. Before 1707, Scots of all social classes spoke Scots or Gaelic. There was no stigma. It was the language of the aristocracy, of judges and lawyers. After 1707, the Scottish middle and upper classes realised that in North Britain they needed a command of Standard English in order to advance socially, and the long process of stigmatisation and discrimination against Scots speech began. Scottish people learned to become ashamed of how they spoke, and were taught that Scottish languages were not fit for civilised expression. Language is central to a culture. If you are taught that your language isn’t really a language, that it’s merely uneducated and ungrammatical slang, then everything expressed in that language is likewise uneducated, ungrammatical and inferior.

Teaching a child that it is inferior is a form of emotional abuse. Teaching a country that its culture is inferior combines emotional abuse with racism. Scottish people who believed in the cult of British nationalism did that to us, and we still live with the psychic effects.

Political disempowerment. Many people in Scotland, particularly working-class people, live with a sense of fatalism and cynicism. We are born cynical, and only get more cynical with age. That’s a product of political disempowerment. If you’re Scottish, you imbibe with your mother’s milk the message that it doesn’t matter what Scotland wants, needs or chooses, we get what England votes for. Brexit has writ that lesson large.

If your vote doesn’t count, why bother with voting at all? We see the result of that in the shamefully low turnout in elections in working-class districts in Scotland. British nationalism disempowers Scotland, and produces generations of people who have learned that nothing they say or do makes any difference at all to improve their situations, so they self-medicate on alcohol and drugs.

Independence will not cure Scotland’s problematic relationship with drugs and alcohol, but it will help to empower people, and that in turn can help them to heal themselves. British nationalism has nothing to offer, because it benefits from the disengagement and fatalism. Disengagement means that the status quo isn’t challenged. It means that British rule is safe.

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It’s not a coincidence that one of the key tactics of the Better Together campaign in 2014 was to attempt to prevent people from engaging with the debate by refusing to turn up to grassroots and town hall events, and by demonising supporters of independence. Shamefully, British nationalism in Scotland doesn’t want the democratisation of politics.

Those of us who support independence might be more inclined to be sympathetic to all those articles in the anti-independence press lecturing us on what Scotland should be ashamed of if they were combined with a modicum of awareness about what Britain has done to Scotland that British nationalists should be ashamed of. So far, there’s no sign of that coming. I suspect it will be a very long wait.