Socialist Unity: Cesspit of the Left

Those familiar with the state of the UK left will be familiar with the Socialist Unity blog, the cesspit which has taken over from the UKLN email list as the place for old white men to put the world to rights.  It must be the most misnamed blog in the blogsphere.  There has never been any unity, and the socialism proposed is paperthin.  Their defence of George Galloway and his creepy, creepy remarks on rape, together with a tonne of commentators piling in to defend the right of men to penetrate sleeping women make me despair of the English Left.

In Scotland, we had Sheridan.  Left wing politics cannot ever be the same again.  The English Left never really groked the Sheridan situation.  There were pockets of support, but they were isolated.  Mixed in with the vitriol that accompanied our decision to prioritise women over the left wing saviour and master of charisma was a seeming confusion that we could ever have considered doing anything else.   The witches backed by the prudes had enabled the sluts to bring the Anti-Poll Tax hero down.  And down Tommy fell, from winning an award from the Scottish Politican of the Year in 2001, to being lambasted at the Edinburgh Festival for the comedic figure from a sea-side postcard in 2012.  And in that decade, Scottish radical politics changed.  Where there are no gods, no masters and precious few heroes, a new type of organising must be found, one which respects the voices of all.

Which brings me back nicely to Socialist Unity.

I was warned not to venture in there.  I was warned.  But that warning only served as lefty feminist equivalent of “don’t go into the cellar” in horror movies.  You know it is a really bad idea, but some evil force out there compels you to do it anyway.  That big sign saying “here be monsters” gets ignored and on you charge into the deep dark ugliness.

It started off with this thread: In Defence of George Galloway, by John Wight – the one who usually trundles out to defend the indefensible.  So far, so on form.  But then there were the comments.  Oh the comments!  We had Galloway sychophants, rape apologism, rape minimisation, “genuine rape” arguments, “conviction or it didn’t happen” arguments in spades.  And then one poor innocent poster piped up with “Are some of us blokes missing something”?

Erm….yeah.   There are some pretty big elephants in the room here.  Namely that Assange is a rapist, and Galloway thinks that he is not a rapist because Galloway thinks that rape is acceptable behaviour, if a little bad mannered.  But it is easier for an elephant to pass under the eyes of socialist unity commentators than it is for old, straight, cissexual, white Western men to contemplate that other old straight cissexual white Western men might be slightly off on their gender politics.  And so the enquirant was put straight.

A very large proportion of women have at one time or another found themselves in situations where they were having sex that they preferred not to have.  It is something that lots of women, not surprisingly feel very strongly about.  It is a very sensitive question that a male politician in the public eye needs to handle with the utmost delicacy.

And so on we go…now into the territory of accusations of imperialism and islamophobia attracting such “black propaganda” for Galloway.  One poster went so far as to say that like Galloway, he did not see rape in what Assange was accused of.  When pointed out that this was a creepy statement implying that it was behaviour in which he himself might indulge, responded with the classic rapist/bush/knife scenario, but described the rape of “brazen groupies” as less serious than fishing without a permit.  When pointed out that this statement marked him out as a potential rapist – someone who thought that raping someone was acceptable behaviour, he responded with an even creepier statement of

You couldn’t possibly know this, and if you think that you can know that then you are dangerous.

At which point a mod stepped in.  Good you might think.  Probably about time, given that someone on their site is basically stating that rape is acceptable behaviour, and that when someone has called someone out on stating that rape is acceptable behaviour they are considered “dangerous”.  Presumably the same kind of “dangerous” as the “brazen groupies” that got raped by Assange and didnt keep their mouths shut about it.  But no – the mod’s primary concern was that readers might not have confidence in the poster who noted that someone’s views made them very vulnerable to being a rapist.  Laying down the law

Right, listen…please tone it down.  I don’t want this thread turned into a hunt for potential rapists. Please end that line of argument, thank you.

 

And on the discussion went, on and on.  About Islamophobes, zionists and pro-imperialists, about the ins and outs of international law, about possible motivations for Yaquoob and Hutson withdrawing support from Galloway, cleverly dodging the rapidly growing elephant of his creepy rape apologism.

Over on the other channel, the hilariously titled Time for the Left to Stand Up for Galloway, things were no better.  As rape apologism piled on rape apologism, with comments aimed at those challenging becoming more and more offensive.  But eventually an elephant this big, and this well fed couldn’t just be ignored, it really couldn’t.

Eventually Andy Newman cracked, speaking publically about some dirty open secrets of the left.  The editor of Socialist Worker who couldn’t be trusted around young female comrades, the forceful silencing of women sexually assaulted by senior comrades, and the unconsensual incest that a leading industrial militant indulged in.  Stories told in small gatherings, or shared personally but publically swept under the carpet, just like the rapes committed by full timers in the Workers Revolutionary Party and the Socialist Workers Party.

So when I pointed out that the reasons that these things happened over, and over AND OVER again – because women who raised sexual assaults, and the narratives that sustained them were silenced, I was banned from the site.  I was banned from the site because I stated that someone who thought that rape was acceptable behaviour was a potential rapist.  I was shut off from the site because it “shut him down”.  I wasn’t allowed to contribute because it made a potential rapist feel like he “couldn’t contribute”.

I don’t know how I feel about getting banned from the cesspit of the left.  There is a bit of me that is quite happy to let them roll around in their own stinking shite, but on the other hand, I’m well aware of the pollution that it generates well beyond its boundaries.  Pollution that generally ends up infecting the bodies of female comrades.

Just one last thing.

Marko, if you read this blogpost, please read this one too.  Although 98.8% of rapists get away with it, you might one day find yourself in the unlucky 1.2% who don’t.  Because with the crap that you spouted on that thread, if you are not already a rapist, there is a really high probability of you becoming one.  You need to learn what is and what is not rape now and definately before you have any more sexual encounters.  And that goes for quite a number of commentators on those posts.  Galloway could do with reading this too.

For just like another commentator, one of the very few women who contributed stated.

I realise the reason you lot want to believe George Galloway isn’t a rape apologist is that you all believe the same ignorant shitty rape apology beliefs.  I can’t help wonder how close many of you have come to that line and who has crossed over it because you think it isn’t there.

EXACTLY!

 

 

Leave a comment below, or join the discussion on the or join the discussion on the Second Council House of Virgo facebook page. .
39 comments
Helen
Helen

@V Phillips ....So thats why many of us don't bother reporting it......Rape is about power.....and those in a postion of power can get away with it ...the only witness is often the victim...so cross exam takes place but laws have been implemented to prevent dreogatory questions......in theory.....yes your guard can be down if you have had a few drinks....but I am sure many men have known when  they may have taken advantage....rape happens in all circumstances evan within a relationship......but very difficult to prove......apart from the victims statement .....but how many women (lets not forget men can be raped too this is harder in some ways for  them.......who comes forward on a false allegation of rape the minority who feel agrieved  may be .....but you have to have a will of iron to go through the court process......maybe  there is some of the male populous who need education on this......speak to any victim and she will you tell you the inpact sometimes for years  and then come back  and tell us what you don't ..undrestand.......!!

sackcloth and ashes
sackcloth and ashes

Mhairi, I saw the UnityMitford thread, and would have commented on your side, but Cardinal Newman has banned me. You make excellent points here, but I strongly disagree with this: 'The presumption of innocence is what puts women in a permanent legal state of consent. They are assumed by default to have consented in the absence of the prosecution proving that they did not' The presumption of innocence is an important part of the legal process, whatever the offense. In a court of law, it is up to the prosecution to prove the defendant's guilt, but this is not the same as presuming that the victim (or victims) have to prove that an offense has taken place. Chauvinistic individuals (like the Assange apologists) may choose to interpret this otherwise, and to smear the two women in this case, but it should still be taken as a point of principle that Assange's own guilt needs to be demonstrated in a court of law. And I say this as someone who hates his guts, and who thinks that someone who collaborated with the Belarussian KGB to stitch up real dissidents should not be any sort of hero as far as real leftists are concerned.

Jim Denham
Jim Denham

I have re-blogged this at Shiraz Socialist, but made it clear that we do not agree with your statement that "Assange is a rapist". He may or may not be, but he is entitled to due process and the presumption of innocence. Incidently, Newman and his team of junior Stalinists at Socialist Unity don't just ban people they disagree with and delete comments - they make it impossible for some of us to even visit the site and look at their shite!

NickD
NickD

I read the comments at SU last night, getting more and more incredulous as I went on. There is, to be fair to Andy Newman, because he bought this up, a debate to be had about issues around consent, trust and power in relationships. Whether, in any context, it is acceptable for a sexual partner to initiate sex with someone who is sleeping (man or woman). We should also be talking about those contexts in which saying "yes" might actually mean "no": contexts that might not amount to legal rape, but in which an abuse of power has nonetheless taken place that might be equivalent to it. No-one really seems to have mentioned this, but it's important. What is crystal clear is that Galloway's obnoxious trivialisation of the issue of consent, and suggestion that consent can be assumed if sexual relations have already been established between parties on the night in question, helps to legitimize rape culture and boosts a culture of impunity for rapists in which women feel they can't, or shouldn't come forward after an assault. As far as I know, what he dismissively asserts to be a normal part of the "sex game" would legally be defined as rape in this country, regardless of the conditions that Assange's alleged victim is said to have set. He must also know that it is said that conditions were explicitly placed on consent, and that Assange is also said to have restrained the woman with his arms, when he argued that even if the leaked narrative of events is verified it would be acceptable. Unequivocally, Galloway has given the thumbs up to rape. "Marko's" violently misogynist dismissal of the women as "brazen hussies" - and the fact that by and large he was allowed to get away with it, to the extent that he felt confident enough to repeat the slur half a dozen times, was breathtaking - and beyond repugnant - on a supposedly socialist forum.

Reddebrek
Reddebrek

I used to frequent SU quite regularly a few years back. Looking back it was pretty rotten even then, I believe Socialist Unity was less about Unity and more a reference to the DDR (Newman has an obsession with it). From as far back as I can remember he and Jon Wight at least have used the sight as platform to have ago at other left groups they don't like. But at least I don't recall seeing actual rape apologism except from right wing trolls. Though they were bigging up Galloway from the start so Its not surprising they've taken the line they did. Its funny reading those comments and comparing them to some earlier threads when rape was an alleged crime of some other character. I am however surprised you got banned, did you use swear words? (A perfect excuse for an angry Mod) I got into a very lengthy argument with Newman personally over his obvious attempts to work out his frustrations with Anarchism by insulting the CNT militia, the guys who died fighting Fascism, whereas Newman runs a site shill for China and Iran. It continued till the spambot blocked me from posting. Newman was slimy and obnoxious and prone to personal insults but he didn't resort to a ban. You must really have gotten under their skin, perhaps the best result that can be achieved given the regulars that have stuck around.

John Dalzell
John Dalzell

Why are we surprised the left's message has been sup[pressed for years.

Jim Monaghan
Jim Monaghan

most online left discussion groups are poisonous, SU is one of the worst in terms of those who comment, even more than the content in the articles. During the Sheridan trial I used to post in there in my own name and was subjected to some vile abuse from anonymous posters, the worst being when an SSP member started to ask questions about my disabled son's benefits which was followed by anonymous complaint to the benefits agency leading to him having a very stressful fight to save his DLA. Like Joanne, I dodnt belive it has been helpful to attempt to try Assange or the women who have alleged crimes by him, thoruigh the blogosphere. A Scottish Left website states that Assange is guilty of rape, while others state that he isn't. There is contradiction between believing that the USA have targetted Assange and standing up for the women involved to have their allegations followed up and heard in a court, the Left, as usual, have decided to take one side or another when doing so does not help the women who have been alleged victims.

admin
admin

Good lord, you know its bad when even Harry's Place finds Socialist Unity beneath them. Misogynists meet imperialists, imperialists let me introduce you to the misogynists. You too should get on well.

Richard Estes
Richard Estes

as bad as the US can be in many respects, Galloway and his defenders would have bought tickets to political oblivion with their comments, unless, of course, they were Bible Belt Republicans Newman's remarks about the sordid past of some SWP members expose it as a predatory organization, or, at least one where the predators were allowed to roam freely

DocMartyn
DocMartyn

Popping over from HP, having been following both SU posts and your reactions. I was been banned from SU for showing the Soviet plans for the invasion of West Germany, which AN stated never existed given that the Soviets never had any plans to invade. The odd thing is that the whole women's rights, gay rights and anti-racism campaigns of the last 30 years have had a massive impact; however it has been mostly on the right. Conservatives like clear rules/laws and tend to obey them, those of a more rebellious nature tend to be of the left. I have two children, 14 and 16, and theirs is a special generation, for them anti-sexism, anti-racism and anti-homophobia is all they have known. What I think you should worry about is that AH and the majority of the posters on SU who behaved so badly are mainstream members of the Labour Party.

James Carroll
James Carroll

Agree totally, Mhairi. but would just point out that even in it s worst periods no one on t he ukln ever fdefendedc rape and got away with it. Galloway is representitive of a paricularly drgenerate and repilsive elememt of the scottish left that I doubt that even most of the worst of scottish laBOUR would defend today. There is no bettert illustration of the rotting corpse that is much of the english far left then the ironically named Socialist Unity blog.

Sarah AB
Sarah AB

I'm banned too - banning Rosie and me is pure bloggocks, as it were, but their whole 'tone it down love' approach to you, and then banning you but not (I assume) the truly appalling Marko - is unbelievable.

Rosie Bell
Rosie Bell

I am utterly appalled at the discussion at Soc Un. All those old tropes - the "brazen groupies" - it's not really rape just bad sex - it was as if the 1970s and new wave feminism had never happened. I admired your efforts in the comments thread. I tried to join in but I'm a persona non grata on Soc Un and was deleted immediately.

Second Council House of Virgo
Second Council House of Virgo

I dont know whats more scary - that these men just dont see what is wrong with the behaviour, or that others tolerate them.

Second Council House of Virgo
Second Council House of Virgo

I dont know whats more scary - that these men just dont see what is wrong with the behaviour, or that others tolerate them.

Kempy Kerr
Kempy Kerr

jesus christ, read the socialist unity blog until my eyes bled...that Marko gos on on about brazen groupies, he practically spits the word out. In Markos mind groupies are bad, low despicable people and celebs who have sex with them(or indeed rape them) are just a little weak...he's a fecking eegit and as usual in the left, a male outspoken, loud, fecking eegit. Im not going to go into it more because that dude does not deserve space time in my wonderful brain-send him to a gulag pronto.---All though, Mhairi, him asking you if you would film gang rape because of your todd atkins imperialist joke almost made it worthwhile! The other standout eegit I would say is red S, in response to your statement -“Approximately 98.8% of rapists face no conseqences for their actions” Good old red S, retorts "This statement shows why your views would not be regarded as reasonable by any jury. It makes it clear that you consider that 100% of people who are accused of rape, even on the most tendentious, non-existent basis with no evidence whatsoever, are guilty. That is an extremist and reactionary position." ---I fucking give up, either these numpties are purged from the left or Im joining the tories, Im serious the same old, same old, I'd rather be in a room where I know who my enemies are, instead of anywhere near these people. Why do left wing men believe when they hear the word rape, think well thats most likely a women PRETENDING she was raped in order to shame some poor man, much much more likely than a man actually raping a woman, much much more likely, men dont rape do they? Women do bitch like fuck though and change their silly little minds all the time. Im not calling myself left wing until all these eegits have been castrated and purged.

Kempy Kerr
Kempy Kerr

jesus christ, read the socialist unity blog until my eyes bled...that Marko gos on on about brazen groupies, he practically spits the word out. In Markos mind groupies are bad, low despicable people and celebs who have sex with them(or indeed rape them) are just a little weak...he's a fecking eegit and as usual in the left, a male outspoken, loud, fecking eegit. Im not going to go into it more because that dude does not deserve space time in my wonderful brain-send him to a gulag pronto.---All though, Mhairi, him asking you if you would film gang rape because of your todd atkins imperialist joke almost made it worthwhile! The other standout eegit I would say is red S, in response to your statement -“Approximately 98.8% of rapists face no conseqences for their actions” Good old red S, retorts "This statement shows why your views would not be regarded as reasonable by any jury. It makes it clear that you consider that 100% of people who are accused of rape, even on the most tendentious, non-existent basis with no evidence whatsoever, are guilty. That is an extremist and reactionary position." ---I fucking give up, either these numpties are purged from the left or Im joining the tories, Im serious the same old, same old, I'd rather be in a room where I know who my enemies are, instead of anywhere near these people. Why do left wing men believe when they hear the word rape, think well thats most likely a women PRETENDING she was raped in order to shame some poor man, much much more likely than a man actually raping a woman, much much more likely, men dont rape do they? Women do bitch like fuck though and change their silly little minds all the time. Im not calling myself left wing until all these eegits have been castrated and purged.

Mary Vanhelsing
Mary Vanhelsing

I would like to see a campaign for better consent education for boys in schools. Also for girls so they can articulate the reasons why 'that didn't feel right at all' because of course in fact it wasnt, it was rape. Just not getting assaulted in the bushes rape. Still rape though.

Mary Vanhelsing
Mary Vanhelsing

I would like to see a campaign for better consent education for boys in schools. Also for girls so they can articulate the reasons why 'that didn't feel right at all' because of course in fact it wasnt, it was rape. Just not getting assaulted in the bushes rape. Still rape though.

Mary Vanhelsing
Mary Vanhelsing

This makes me think that the way forward in Scotland is a women's party separate from the traditional 'left' parties.

Mary Vanhelsing
Mary Vanhelsing

This makes me think that the way forward in Scotland is a women's party separate from the traditional 'left' parties.

admin
admin

"it is up to the prosecution to prove the defendant’s guilt, but this is not the same as presuming that the victim (or victims) have to prove that an offense has taken place." Where a consent defence is lodged, the question isnt over who did the offence, but where there was an offence. The competing narratives are - - there was no consent, this was a rape, there is a victim. OR - there was consent, this is not a rape, there is a lying bitch. I've written a bit more about it here http://www.2ndcouncilhouse.co.uk/blog/2011/08/04/65/

admin
admin

The presumption of innocence is what puts women in a permanent legal state of consent. They are assumed by default to have consented in the absence of the prosecution proving that they did not. An estimated 1 in 20 (5%) of men over 18 have raped and have an average of 6 victims each, multiple victims is the norm. What exactly are the alternatives here in the Assange case? That two seperate women have colluded to bring down the founder of an organisation that they felt passionately about just because they were feeling flouncy about his promiscuity? Or that two seperate women were enlisted as CIA/MI5/Mossad agents to entrap he who would threaten the whole basis of Western civilisation and couldnt come up with a better story between them. Or that one man, with heavy duty privilages saw an opportunity for sexual gratification knowing that those privilages combined with social narratives would keep him safe, relying on social pressure to silence his victims and it backfired in his face. PS - thanks for the reblog

admin
admin

"We should also be talking about those contexts in which saying “yes” might actually mean “no”: contexts that might not amount to legal rape, but in which an abuse of power has nonetheless taken place that might be equivalent to it. No-one really seems to have mentioned this, but it’s important. You might be interested in this post which outlines some of the ways that patriarchy pressurises women to consent to sexual activity against their actual wishes. Including through the male gaze which functions to make women see themselves as sexual objects; the legal system which puts them in a permanent legal state of consent, and rape culture which puts women in a double bind of being assumed as accessible to sexual activity simultaneously condemning them if they accept. http://www.2ndcouncilhouse.co.uk/blog/2012/02/04/rape-eyes-laws-codes/ Liza Millbank also has an excellent couple of posts on both the meaning of no (http://radtransfem.wordpress.com/2012/01/10/under-duress-agency-power-and-consent-part-one-no/) and the meaning of yes (http://radtransfem.wordpress.com/2012/01/23/under-duress-agency-power-and-consent-part-two-yes/) in the context of patriarchy.

admin
admin

Its actually quite scary. Some of the comments that were made on that thread were horrific, and made me seriously wonder about the personal behaviour of those commenting

Mick Daly
Mick Daly

All my admiration goes out to peple with socialist principles. However if you put loads of socialists in the same room it does become poisonus.

Jim Monaghan
Jim Monaghan

shit, I meant to say "there is no contradiction between..."

Jim Monaghan
Jim Monaghan

ha! I see that now, must need to untick it, I think I got here through a facebook link

Mhairi Mcalpine
Mhairi Mcalpine

you must have had the "post to facebook" box ticked.

Alec
Alec

Was there any need for that? Whatever the merits of your ATL piece - and they are there in abundance - this churlish and unprovoked response maps back to precisely the same moral torpor which is encouraging the me-no-see defence of Assange and peddling of the notion that this is an attack on someone they admire (oh, yes, if the allegations against Assange are accurate, they will be the first to call for his trial... mmm, nice cake, can I eat that?) rather than the overt defence of his actions. Namely, feminism, anti-warism and ant-imperialism are shibboleths which come in a bundle and cannot be extricated from one another. Precisely the intellectual indulgence which has led us to this un-Christian mess. ~alec

Joanne Telfer
Joanne Telfer

I agree with everything you say Mhairi except I don't think Assange should have been tried online by anyone and everyone with an opinion. This screws up the prospect of any meaningful justice.

V Phillips
V Phillips

Yo, just stumbled upon this comments thread and had to reply. "The presumption of innocence is what puts women in a permanent legal state of consent. They are assumed by default to have consented in the absence of the prosecution proving that they did not." This is bullshit. How does that follow? Someone can say they were raped, which therefore implies no consent was given and the accused rapist can still be innocent, until proven guilty. Those two points are not mutually exclusive. Just because you may not be able to prove that x raped y, doesn't mean that y wasn't raped and nor does it take away from the trauma/hurt/suffering that y has experienced. It just means that x isn't a rapist.

NickD
NickD

Yes. Horrific, and I hope a lot of people go and read those comments and get a sense of what they're up against.

admin
admin

I wrote that comment about imperialism with my tongue in my cheek, I had no idea how deep it actually run on this site – to the extent that having an ethnic name is worthy of discussion there about how I should name myself and the problems that it poses for other people spelling it. The enemy of my enemy is not always my friend. I welcome the support on upholding womens rights from HP’s commentators, but you cant fight sexism with imperialism. My ethnic name comes from a culture which was systematically decimated through colonialism. People were burnt from their houses and put on boats because the land was worth more than their lives. They cannot be seperated because control over land and bodies is what provides the means of both production and reproduction.

Helen
Helen

@V Phillips ....So thats why many of us don't bother reporting it......Rape is about power.....and those in a postion of power can get away with it ...the only witness is often the victim...so cross exam takes place but laws have been implemented to prevent dreogatory questions......in theory.....yes your guard can be down if you have had a few drinks....but I am sure many men have known when  they may have taken advantage....rape happens in all circumstances evan within a relationship......but very difficult to prove......apart from the victims statement .....but how many women (lets not forget men can be raped too this is harder in some ways for  them.......who comes forward on a false allegation of rape the minority who feel agrieved  may be .....but you have to have a will of iron to go through the court process......maybe  there is some of the male populous who need education on this......speak to any victim and she will you tell you the inpact sometimes for years  and then come back  and tell us what you don't ..undrestand.......!!    

admin
admin

Assuming that a consent defence is lodged, the presumption of innocence over guilt suggests that the woman consented. It is for the prosecution to prove that she did not. In most cases, x does not deny that penetration took place, only that it was consensual penetration. x being found innocent implies that y consented, and consequently that y was not raped. See more here http://www.2ndcouncilhouse.co.uk/blog/2011/08/04/65/

Alec
Alec

, I had no idea how deep it actually run on this site – In essence, "yaa boo, you suck"! There is absolutely nothing inherent to feminism which requires a stated position on the named foreign policy issues you define as imperialism. In fact, "imperialism" in this context derives from Leninist and Soviet propaganda which had no problems with its murderous repression and territorial expansionism; as well as the highly dodgy sexual politics being discussed. Western European "imperialism" arguably hasn't existed since 1942 or 1919 with the Fall of Singapore and ceding of German Pacific possessions to Japan respectively, maybe even earlier in 1905 and 1899 with the Russian defeat at Port Arthur and British drubbing in South Africa respectively. The enemy of my enemy is not always my friend. No-one is expecting to you support whatever you think the HP line is. The same, I am afraid, cannot be said of you with your wholly unnecessary quip about something which has barest relevance to the subject material. That feminism has been thought to be a sine qua non of whatever you believe left-wingedness is has been historical happenstance. It just so happened that the same groups espousing the former also were supporting the latter. Maybe the scales will fall from your eyes, and you'll realize that clinging onto rigid ideologies in this way has allowed sexual politics and attitudes towards rape to be set back decades but you cant fight sexism with imperialism. Presumably you consider NATO and ISAF policy in Afghanistan to be imperialism. How would you have suggested women's rights be improved there over the past decade without it? Harsh language? My ethnic name comes from a culture which was systematically decimated through colonialism. People were burnt from their houses and put on boats because the land was worth more than their lives. Oh, for goodness sake. You are using the wrong case. No Gaelic-speaking parents I know would use the vocative like this. My Albannach grandfather always was dismissive of it. This should have hinted that I am of this same "ethnic culture", and I can assure you that your presentation of events in the 18th and 19th Century is so simplistic that even John Preeble wouldn't have had time for it. For a start, until this time, there was no real idea of a distinct Gaelic culture in the Highlands. It was considered an offshoot of Irish (specifically Ulster), and distrusted by the Lowland Scots accordingly. Projecting your 21st Century attitudes back 200 years is fraught with difficulties, starting with the fact that there was no settlement of the vacated territories by the 'colonialists' (Central Belt merchants first and foremost) and that after getting on those boats, a great many participated in genuine colonialism by displacing indigenous inhabitants in North America and southern Africa and Australia. ~alec

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