APOLOGISTS for British nationalism – the nationalism whose defining conceit is that it is not nationalist at all – can only maintain their delusion by propagating the fiction that support for independence is xenophobic, racist, parochial and backward-looking.

These are all sins which are characteristic of the right-wing British nationalism espoused by the post-Brexit Conservative party.

The delusions of British nationalism are also maintained by an insistence that British nationalists are the real victims in modern society – poor terrified snowflakes who are constantly attacked and assailed by vicious supporters of Scottish independence, or anti-racism campaigners seeking a just acknowledgement of Britain's colonialist past and the role of prominent British historical figures in the horrors of the slave trade.

Neil Oliver, who sadly is still a thing, used his recent slot on GeeBeebies television to embark on an eight-minute-long self-pitying diatribe in which he falsely claimed that campaigners are seeking to take down a statue of David Livingstone in Glasgow due to his supposed connections to the slave trade.

Oliver has previously referred to the possibility of a second independence referendum as a "cancerous presence" in Scottish public life and has suggested that Scottish independence could represent a threat to his human rights as it may put his British citizenship and British identity at risk.

This is, of course, deluded, attention-seeking nonsense. The government of an independent Scotland would have no powers whatsoever to remove British citizenship from citizens of an independent Scottish state, even if it was so inclined to do so, and no pro-independence party has ever suggested that an independent Scottish Government should seek to strip British citizenship from Scots who currently possess it. No government has the power to determine the citizenship rules for another independent state. The decision about who counts as a British citizen is a matter for the British Government and will remain so following Scottish independence. An independent Scotland could no more take Neil Oliver's British citizenship from him than it could strip US residents of Scotland of their American citizenship. Assuming the British Government does not change its citizenship laws following Scottish independence, all Scottish residents who are currently British citizens will remain British citizens, as will their children yet to be born – they will just have the right to Scottish citizenship as well.

If Oliver is concerned about his British citizenship post Scottish independence, he needs to take it up with the British Government, because that's the only body which could potentially take it from him. But that doesn't suit his "victimised by vile Scottish nationalists" narrative.

Meanwhile, in another example of the delusional thinking of British nationalism and its apologists, erstwhile Conservative leadership candidate Rory "I'm a Scot dontcha know" Stewart thinks that it is "insane" to think of the Borders and Cumbria as being in different countries.

Mind you, this is a man who thinks that being Scottish is basically just a "fun way to irritate the English", so perhaps he's not as great a judge of Scottish culture and identity as he imagines himself to be. But then, he's an old Etonian, so naturally his estimation of himself is greatly at variance with the sad reality.

You might think that Rory – who is so Scottish that his dad used to wear tartan trousers – would have realised that the clue was in the name "Borders", which does tend to suggest the existence of, you know, a border. That is what we call one of those lines on a map which delineates where one country ends and another begins. If there was no border then the Borders would not be called the Borders. It would be called Northnorthumbria or Cumbria's northern bit or something.

Rory thinks that the parts of Scotland close to the Border he doesn't think exists have far too much in common and so can't possibly be different countries. People on both sides of that, ahem, border, speak the same language, listen to the same music and shop in the same supermarkets. However, you could say exactly the same about the greater part of France's border – there's that B-word again – with Belgium, Switzerland's borders with all its neighbours, or Germany's border with Austria. You could also say the same thing about most of the Netherlands's border with Germany, where although the official and standard languages differ, the same local dialects are spoken on both sides of the border. The same is also true for the border between Norway and Sweden. According to Rory – who is Scottish, you know – it must be insane to call any of these different countries, different countries. But we were not blessed with an Eton education, so what would we know?

This piece is an extract from today’s REAL Scottish Politics newsletter, which is emailed out at 7pm every weekday with a round-up of the day's top stories and exclusive analysis from the Wee Ginger Dug.

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