by Colin Campbell
A VILE attack on the Queen and Prince Philip was printed in the independence-supporting National, as nasty a piece of invective as you’ll find anywhere.
Age and the fact that the Duke of Edinburgh is recovering from serious illness is no barrier to some in the nationalist movement.
This had nothing to do with aspirational plans to build a prosperous, caring, sharing new nation. It was pandering to those whose reasons for separation are confined to intense bile and bitterness.
How do you try and make a name for yourself among the more extreme nationalist element these days?
You have to be noisy, belligerent, intolerant and abusive for a start.
You must hate Britain and all it stands for.
You must express a dislike of England and a dislike for English people.
You must despise the Tories and everyone who votes for them and repeat this often, loudly and clearly.
And last but certainly not least you must include the royal family in your rancid and bitter outlook on life. And nothing and no one should be off limits, not even the Queen.
In the latter category, Steven Paton, a “columnist”, wrote the words, and National editor Callum Baird, printed them.
Of the Queen, Paton said: “The extent of the Royals’ wealth remains unknown, in part due to the Queen successfully pressing the UK Parliament into concealing her family’s immense fortune.
“In 2011 the head of state also tried to divert money earmarked for low-income schools instead into covering the cost of heating Buckingham Palace.”
This was the ugliest possible interpretation of a request by royal aides for an energy-saving grant for buildings owned by the Queen. The implication that she herself wanted to raid a fund for low income children is contemptible.
And, amid other coarse remarks, Paton said of the Duke of Edinburgh: “Philip’s history is in my opinion a catalogue of sexist, racist and ignorant statements made to people without the power to tell him where to shove it – and this is the man we’ll soon be expected to bow our heads in sadness for.”
This “columnist” was no doubt referring to the fact that Prince Philip, aged 99, has been seriously ill and only left hospital this week after a lengthy spell of recovery.
That’s just a nasty taste of what this character had to say about the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh.
Is this vile trash worth bringing up here?
On balance I think it is, because it’s an example of the mindset of some elements within the nationalist movement, and the fact that in an independent Scotland any current pretence at wanting to retain links with the Monarchy would be swept away by fanatics and zealots.
The National is part of the Herald Group. The distinguished and long-serving editor of the then Glasgow Herald, Arnold Kemp, for many years produced a superb and highly respected newspaper which had a broadly-based readership of well over 100,000.
Now the group’s “flagship” Herald sells little more than a tenth of that. No wonder.
Nationalists extremists may welcome this kind of invective against the Queen and her ailing husband, but I’ve no doubt many decent supporters of the SNP and independence would find it as gross and unacceptable as other normal, balanced people would.
However, it’s a grim reality that the nationalist movement attracts people who are eager to voice such repugnant views about the 94-year-old Monarch who has served this country so well for nearly 70 years, and her husband who has stood alongside her throughout. And it’s an even grimmer reflection on the nationalist movement that they are given a public platform where they are able to express them.