Nationalism is such a regressive, backward political philosophy. There's nothing wrong with thinking people within a "nation" should have rights to govern themselves. There's nothing wrong with believing in nurturing and maintaining "national" traditions. These are worthy ideals. But nationalism often, if not always, brings those philosophies and mixes them up with a sense of "us against them", of a "fight" with some external other.
You need look no further than the Scottish National Party to see high ideals and low brow prejudices sitting side by side. The SNP espouses progressive economic and social policies alongside it's calls for independence. These calls draw not upon sensible economics nor upon a desire to free themselves from some despotic British dictatorship (our Prime Minister, after all, is currently a Scot!). No, they draw upon a deep racist spirit held within the hearts of quite a few SNP voters against their "ancient foes", the English.
You might laugh at that, but it is undeniably true. Speak to a few Scottish people and eventually you will find a couple whose hatred for the English is so strong it is quite disturbing.
Any party whose base is thus constructed is not one any sane, reasonable person should support.
It's no different down south. The English nationalists again attempt to wrap themselves up with the usual reasonable policies. But underneath you find their true feelings.
There is a dark soul at the centre of nationalist movements, one that speaks to humanity's primal instincts to hide from change, to fight "the other" and to defend their territory for no other reason than because it's their territory.
We surely must aspire to more than this, to solving our problems, to moving forward and changing. Our world is messed up, lives wasted slaving for corporate masters, true freedom remains ever elusive. We cannot face these issues without forgetting old rivalries, working together and overcoming our irrational minds.
Vote not for people who speak to the past, but to those who speak to the future.
If you feel benevolent and particularly generous, this writer always appreciates things bought for him from his wishlist