Well, everyone says it happens to them at some time: they get insulted for wearing a pro-indy badge. Walking to the dentist across the park this afternoon I was approached by a mild-looking middle-aged man walking his dog, who stopped me as if to speak, said “That’s a shame,” and left the remark hanging.
“What’s a shame?” I asked, baffled. Here was a complete stranger, stopping me to offer an opinion about nothing that I could identify. Weird.
“That you’re a nationalist,” he spat out, and turned his back and walked swiftly on.
So there I was, completely set up and verbally mugged. With hindsight, the first answer I thought of, to give him a quick and nasty smack around the head, was of course not the right one, and in any case I was too late for it. The right answer would have been to tell him, in terms, that if he wanted to engage in dialogue there was no point in walking away, and if he didn’t want to engage in dialogue then he should shut his arsehole face – but of course I was too late for that as well. Only much later did it occur to me that I could have run after him, detained him, and told him at that point to either talk or shut his arsehole face, so by then it was too late for that too. Net result: a feel-good victory for the unionist thug.
Still, at least it’s only a feel-good victory – it’s not a victory in the unionist argument or the eventual vote. On the contrary, of course – if this is the level of discussion, then we’ve already won the argument, and by a long margin. But it continues to baffle me why anti-independence supporters are so blindly attached to a union of countries where the advantage is (to say the least) questionable, and what the source is of this deep well of resentment that makes them lose their heads whenever the hint of a threat to it surfaces. What exactly do they hate, and why?
If we knew the answer to that question, then we could move into dialogue. And we need dialogue, because these people are going to be part of our new country, and we need them onside.