To J.K. Rowling, I apologise



This article is essentially an apology to J.K. Rowling, for the behaviour of a few small-minded, intolerable morons. Without their views and apparent idiocy both the debate surrounding the independence referendum and Scottish society would certainly be a better one.

In her much needed and eloquently written defence of a No vote in the forthcoming independence referendum, J.K Rowling uses terminology from her best-selling Harry Potter series. The author refers to a lunatic fringe of Yes supporters – whom operate mostly behind the anonymity of social media – and describes their ideals of ethnic nationalism “a little Death-Eaterish”.

This is most certainly an accurate description, as their presence online, a space usually reserved for the best kind of grassroots campaigning in support of a Yes vote, most certainly does drain the enthusiasm and happiness out of a keenly argued, intellectual debate about Scotland’s future and how we can hopefully improve it regardless of the decisions made on the 18th of September.

Their company is unwanted by the vast majority of Yes voters I have encountered either in person or online for two reasons: their views are morally redundant both within and outside of the context of the independence debate; and their brand of technological vigilantism is hurtfully unrepresentative of the official and unofficial Yes campaigns.

The fact that the “London-centric media that can be careless and dismissive in its treatment of Scotland”  – to which Rowling also refers in her epistle – is only too eager to display this rogue minority of Yes voters as the face of the campaign is another issue for another article. Indeed one journalist described these troglodytes as “blood and soil nationalists”. The said journalist was hopefully unaware that blood and soil nationalism was Nazi Germany’s pet name for the land laws which prevented Jews from owning, working or ‘poisoning’ German soil or blood.

Another quote from a Scottish author has been used in defence of the accusations put at the Yes campaigns doorstep regarding the ethnic nationalism of the bullies targeting – most prominently, but definitely not exclusively – J.K. Rowling; namely William McIlvanney’s declaration that Scotland is proudly a “mongrel nation”. This strikes a far louder chord with the Yes campaign I am familiar with; the Yes campaign of Radical Independence and National Collective, of Green Yes and Women for Independence, Africans for Yes, Academics for Yes and Generation Yes. Collectively, these organisations represent the mongrel nature of the Yes campaign, and one which contradicts the ethnic nationalism of a noisy minority.

To borrow my own choice of Harry Potter terminology, this collection of Yes campaigners represent almost all groups within Scotland’s mudblood society, a society which, excepting an unwelcome and unwelcoming few, accepts all with one condition: that they have the best intentions for all. Scotland has been described as having embedded in its national consciousness a “fierce egalitarian streak.” This trait is the same one which helped JK Rowling when she was a single mother writing fantasy books in an Edinburgh cafe. This is the trait that explains why the vast majority of our society cared not whether she was “born in the West Country and grew up in the Welsh border” with a mix of Scottish, English, French and Flemish ancestry. This is also the characteristic inherent in most individuals in our society, and especially in the grassroots Yes campaign, which champions the drive for a debate centred on civil nationalism – a case vividly argued for by National Collective’s Mairi McFadyen in her open letter to J.K. Rowling.

It is this civil nationalism that has prompted me to intend to vote Yes. The message it stresses is as simple as it is profound, democratic, and – sadly – all too rare: In an independent Scotland everyone will be given a chance – a fair chance. 

Words by Daniel Reuben Comiskey 

Photo by Daniel Ogren


2 responses to “To J.K. Rowling, I apologise

  1. I cant help but find it funny that all so called “Yes” voters, cant wait to get out of Scotland and spend their money in foreign countries every chance they get. Wake up, it isn’t going to happen.
    And you can tell your dad I said it, he knows it too.


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