THERE’S a new theme amongst Unionist commentators. You can’t simultaneously go on decrying Scotland as a one-party state while celebrating the supposed victory of the “Vote Ruth Davidson Don’t Mention the Tories Oh Look a Photo-Op on a Buffalo Party”, and so a different narrative to diminish and demean Scotland’s independence supporters is required.

Something with a hint of menace, and preferably carrying the implication that Scottish people are not in fact genetically programmed to make their own decisions after all, because as mere northern barbarians we require the good services of the British state to save us from ourselves.

Thankfully, as reliably as a Lib Dem lost deposit, a new slur has come along just in time. Scotland isn’t a one-party state any more because Ruthie is the new champion of Union. It’s worse than a one-party state. Scottish politics has now suffered full-on Ulsterisation instead. You can tell that from the lamentable fact that if you poke your eyes out with a rusty knitting needle Nicola Sturgeon looks exactly like Gerry Adams, and Yes supporters preach a reactionary religious sectarianism and parade up and down high streets wearing bowler hats and sashes. Oh, wait.

The term, Unionist commentators faux-innocently claim, refers to the fact that Scottish politics now revolve around the constitutional question. You know, like it hasn’t been doing that for the past five years or more. The question of independence or Union is the only show in town. No really, that’s all there is to it.

We’re as honest as a Ruth Davidson photo op guv. It’s an entirely neutral observation, we’re just trying to be helpful. And if you believe that you probably also believe that Reporting Scotland really does present a fair, unbiased and totally representative picture of Scottish news and current affairs and it’s perfectly normal for self-governing nations not to have their own public service broadcast channel. Oh look, there’s a wee cute kitten, and now for the fitba.

The term Ulsterisation carries nasty overtones of an armed struggle, of sectarianism, of violence and death, discrimination and abuse. That’s deliberate. It also carries with it implications that the positions of Unionists and independentistas are entrenched and generational and presumably also that the Unionist majority is set in stone.

It is certainly not. Scottish Unionism is nowhere near as entrenched or as inherited as its Northern Irish equivalent. Scottish Unionism is weak, fragile, and highly conditional. It’s due to the weakness of their own position that Scottish Unionist commentators are forced to make facile comparisons with Northern Ireland in an attempt to bolster their own waning support. It only illustrates their own intellectual and moral bankruptcy. Scottish Unionism is dying. It has been brain-dead for quite a while now, as the recent claim of Ulsterisation of Scottish politics proves. The only Troubles in Scotland are the troubles of a discredited Unionist commentariat.

UNIONISM and independence are not sectarian positions in Scotland. The use of the term Ulsterisation is an attempt to suggest that there is a sectarian component to Scottish politics, that we vote from a religious or emotive belief instead of a considered view that a country is best governed by people who actually live in it.

There is a sectarian taint to Scottish politics, but it is entirely confined to a small number on the more lunatic and screaming fringes of Unionism. Sectarianism in Scottish politics is a problem for Unionists, not for nationalists, although you’ll wait in vain for any Unionist commentator to admit that.

Their use of the term Ulsterisation merely reminds Scotland of the ugly outer edges of Unionism, that Scotland has a small number of Unionists who were born British, who live British, who vote British, and who by God will die British. Which only goes to show that some people have got no ambition or imagination at all.

There are other countries that our not so clever-clever Unionists could have chosen for their comparison. Northern Ireland is not the only other place on this planet where politics revolve around a constitutional question. A far more accurate comparison would have been to say that Scottish politics are now characterised by Catalanisation. That’s another European country where politics revolves entirely around the question of independence or union, and does so with sun, sand, and sangria, not sectarianism, segregation and cries of no surrender.

They could have said that Scottish politics were now displaying Quebeckisation. This is also an accurate comparison as the Quebecois national dish is poutine, made of chips, cheese curd and gravy, and both Scots and Quebecois people are far more likely to have a debate about the future of their country over a plate of chips and a beer than they are to throw a petrol bomb while singing songs about Fenian blood.

But then Catalonia and Quebec are foreign nations, and Unionists don’t do foreign. That means lifting your eyes beyond the confines of the British state and realising that there’s a whole big world out there full of possibilities that are not constrained by Westminster.

Besides, those comparisons lack the necessary overtones of atavistic violence and menace that Unionist commentators just love to impute to Scottish nationalism despite all the objective evidence showing that the real reactionary and violent atavism lies with the more extreme factions of Unionism.

Although the only people in Scotland to have been charged with politically-motivated violence, abuse, or harassment have been Unionists whose victims have been independence supporters, the Unionist media is determined to preserve its narrative that there is a violent and racist undercurrent to the demand for Scottish self-determination.

Unionists guilty of violence and abuse are individuals acting on their own, they’re just aberrations that tell us nothing about Unionism and how very dare you imply that mainstream Unionists have anything to do with them. However, independence supporters guilty of far less serious offences are symptomatic of the independence movement as a whole and Nicola Sturgeon must condemn them.

The Ulsterisation jibe is the latest Unionist manifestation of media attempts to demonise the independence campaign. It tells people to get back into their box because opening it might lead to violence and sectarian strife. It adds nothing to the understanding of where Scotland is or where it is going. All it does is to show that those commentators who use it disqualify themselves from having any meaningful contribution to the debate about Northern Ireland, or the debate about Scotland.