I had realized that Scotland was ruled by a gang of daft leftists, but Christoper Johnson, a non-Catholic who has taken up the cudgels so frequently for the Church that I have named him Defender of the Faith, brings home to us just how all encompassing it has become:
Charging Highlanders wearing kilts and waving Claymores? Bagpipes? Tossing the caber at the Highland Games? Really good whisky? For those of you who have similar thoughts, Brendan O’Neill takes great pleasure in introducing modern, real Scotland:
Well, if that’s how you see Scotland, you urgently need to update your mind’s image bank. For far from being a land of freedom-yearning Bravehearts, Scotland in the 21st century is a hotbed of the new authoritarianism. It’s the most nannying of Europe’s nanny states. It’s a country that imprisons people for singing songs, instructs people to stop smoking in their own homes, and which dreams of making salad-eating compulsory. Seriously. Scotland the Brave has become Scotland the Brave New World.
Jailed for singing songs? Surely O’Neill must be joking. Unfortunately, he’s not.
Last month, a 24-year-old fan of Rangers, the largely Protestant soccer team, was banged up for four months for singing ”The Billy Boys,” an old anti-Catholic ditty that Rangers fans have been singing for years, mainly to annoy fans of Celtic, the largely Catholic soccer team. He was belting it out as he walked along a street to a game. He was arrested, found guilty of songcrimes—something even Orwell failed to foresee—and sent down.
Seems its now illegal in Scotland to make opposing sports fans feel bad in any way.
It’s all thanks to the Offensive Behaviour at Football Act, which, yes, is as scary as it sounds. Introduced in 2012 by the Scottish National Party, the largest party in Scotland the Brave New World and author of most of its new nanny-state laws, the Act sums up everything that is rotten in the head of this sceptred isle. Taking a wild, wide-ranging scattergun approach, it outlaws at soccer matches “behaviour of any kind,” including, “in particular, things said or otherwise communicated,” that is “motivated (wholly or partly) by hatred” or which is “threatening” or which a “reasonable person would be likely to consider offensive.”
Catholic Celtic or Hibernian fans might want to leave their rosaries at home.
Even blessing yourself at a soccer game in Scotland could lead to arrest. Catholic fans have been warned that if they “bless themselves aggressively” at games, it could be “construed as something that is offensive,” presumably to non-Catholic fans, and the police might pick them up. You don’t have to look to some Middle Eastern tinpot tyranny if you want to see the state punishing public expressions of Christian faith—it’s happening in Scotland.
I sure am relieved that they don’t have a law like that here in St. Louis or the City Police would have to commandeer every bus in the metro area every time the Chicago Cubs came to town. But what else can the haggis-for-brains Scottish National Party get its panties in a bunch about? Well, there’s obviously smoking.
Not content with policing what soccer fans sing and say, the SNP also polices Scots’ smoking, boozing, and eating habits. It was the first country in the U.K. to ban smoking in public. Last month it announced that it will ban smoking in cars with kids. It is currently pushing through a ban on smoking in parks. And it has its eyes on smokers’ homes: if a public-sector employee, like a doctor or social worker, visits your home, he or she has the right to say that you should “not smoke when they are providing [their] service.” This, of course, is the ultimate goal of the global jihad against nicotine: to move from making bars, cars, and parks smokefree to making our homes smokefree.
Scotland has set itself the Orwellian-sounding goal of making the whole nation, every bit of it, smokefree by 2034. What will happen to any smoker still lurking in Scotland after the glorious dawn of the 2,034th year? It’s probably best not to ask.
Scotland is also plotting to put a sin tax on booze. The SNP blubs about the fact that “alcohol is now 60 per cent more affordable in the U.K. than it was in 1980″—that’s a bad thing?—and so it is pushing through the Alcohol Minimum Pricing Act, which will impose a state-decreed price on all liquid pleasures. It is trying to push the Act through, I should say: it’s being held up by a legal challenge from the Scotch Whisky Association which, understandably, doesn’t want the state telling it how much it should sell its wares for. I would say “God bless those whisky makers,” but I’m not sure how much you’re allowed to say “God” or “bless” in relation to Scotland these days.
Now that’s just wrong. Oh and then there’s what Scots eat.
Scotland’s great and good also watch what the little people eat. Last month, BMA Scotland, an association of doctors, declared war on Scotland’s “culture of excess” and said ads for junk food and booze should be banned. The SNP wants to go further: it’s agitating for an EU-wide ban on junk-food ads, clearly keen that all the peoples of Europe, and not just poor Scots, feel the stab of its Mary Poppins extremism.
There is even—get this—a discussion in Scotland about making salad bars mandatory at restaurants. Yes, there exist actual officials who would like to force businesses to serve you vegetables, even if they don’t want to and you don’t want to eat them. Concerned that “Scots are 30 years away from reaching the World Health Organization target of five portions of fruit and vegetables a day”—apparently the average Scot only eats 3.5 portions a day—there is talk of “beefing up [get it??] the number of greens by introducing mandatory salad bars.”
Can’t leave out how they raise their children (this one is truly frightening).
And then there’s the authoritarian icing on the cake, if Scotland will forgive such an obesity-encouraging metaphor: the SNP’s Children and Young People Act. This Act plans to assign a Named Person, a state-decreed guardian, to every baby born in Scotland, in order to watch him or her from birth to the age of 18.
Due to come into force in August 2016, the Named Person initiative is truly dystopian. Once, it was only abandoned or orphaned children who became charges of the state; now, all Scottish children will effectively be wards of the state under a new, vast system of, in essence, shadow parenting. In an expression of alarming distrust in parents, and utter contempt for the idea of familial sovereignty and privacy, the state in Scotland wants to attach an official to every kid and to keep tabs on said kid’s physical and moral wellbeing.
Hopefully, the Scots will, at some point, rise up and rebel against all this crap. But until they do, I’m going to start referring to my dad’s European ancestors as Ulstermen. Because Country-I’m Thoroughly-Embarrased-By-And-Would-Really-Rather-Not-Be-Associated-With-Right-Now-Irish is far too long and wouldn’t fit on any forms.