For instance if he’d said “The Labour Party is one of the great uniting institutions of 20th century Britain and our mission at the start was to bring people together and build with them a more equitable society and a just economy” instead of “The Labour Party is one of the great uniting institutions of 20th century Britain and our mission from the start has been to bring people together and build with them a more equitable society and a just economy”, and made it clear that any such commitment was of the past, then I’d find it hard to disagree. But political parties have a habit of trying to pretend that they’re still about the principles and aims which led to their establishment, even when they’ve moved on to be mere vehicles for ambitious career politicians, so perhaps we can forgive him that one.
However, when he gets to “... nationalism, in Scotland as elsewhere, is all about the selfish gene”, I have to completely part company with him. It’s a sweeping and unsubstantiated assertion of a sort which enables him to proceed to demolish the straw man which he has created without ever admitting that he created it in the first place.
I don’t doubt that there are some nationalists who take a very narrow and selfish view – what he describes as am I’m alright Jack philosophy. I’ve seen some dismissing some issues as ‘not our concern’ or ‘that’s England’s problem’. Asserting the view of a few to be the view of all is too big a jump, however convenient it may be to his argument.
There are not a few unionists who hold what I’d regard as selfish views in that context as well – wasn’t it a Labour Prime Minister who talked about “British jobs for British workers” for instance? And aren’t all of the UK parties also queuing up to condemn economic migrants – effectively saying that they’re ‘someone else’s problem’.
He also condemns ‘nationalism based on blood and soil’. That's another straw man which is all too easy to demolish – but it isn’t what most nationalists are arguing for.
Destroying arguments that no-one is making is easy, but it isn’t really debate.