One by one his followers have been put behind bars. And for long, long stretches.

Years ago Gavin McInnes founded America’s far-right Proud Boys militia as a “joke”.

Now the shock-jock is watching those he inspired – but no longer leads – go to jail for trying to overthrow US democracy by storming the Capitol on January 6, 2021.

Mr McInnes, despite faking his own arrest on a live video podcast, remains at liberty. Though banned from many digital platforms, he continues to puke a toxic cocktail of daft lad humour and fascism on to the internet.

This matters. And not just in America but here too. That is because Mr McInnes, though born in London and raised in Canada, is of Scottish extraction.

He uses the land of his parents to push his radical right chauvinistic agenda. This – distressingly – includes promoting the hoary old racist trope that Scots, like Africans, were taken to the Americas as slaves.

It is far from just Mr McInnes who broadcasts this poisonous myth. White supremacists have long sought to downplay chattel slavery by equating it with the indentured servitude of Europeans, not least the Scots and Irish.

Mr McInnes really likes to big up his Scottish roots … and supposed national victimhood.

“If Scots did grievance culture the way everybody else does, we’d get our own month,” he said a few years back. “Yes, we were slaves.”

This claim is disingenuous and dishonest. Some Scots were indeed among whites who served time labouring for a master in the new world. And this indentured servitude was often involuntary, dangerous and cruel. But it was not real slavery, not by any means.

I am about to repeat some very basic school-level history, history I think – I hope – most of us know.

The enslaved of the New World were Africans, not Europeans, they were black, not white. And they were treated, in law, as property, not people. They and their offspring were considered chattels in perpetuity.

Again, apologies if this sounds like I am labouring a bleeding obvious point but Atlantic and American slavery was racialised. We know this, right? Well, maybe.

The supremacists’ “white slave myth” keeps oozing, like a slow-moving sewage spill, in to UK social media. It has reared its ugly head across X, the former Twitter, over the last week or two.

How come? Because, deeply disappointingly, some fringier Scottish independence supporters are echoing the propaganda of America’s white nationalists.

Earlier this month an activist called Sara Salyers on X asserted that “thousands” of Jacobites had been sold as “slaves” in the Caribbean after the failure of the 1745 rebellion.

Some very online Scots seized on what for them was an intoxicating claim of “genocide”. Ms Salyers’ post - and an accompanying fake document - was viewed hundreds of thousands of times.

A fair few independence supporters argued that this was an example of the Scottish history that had been denied to them at school.

Nah, sorry, the reason we are not taught about thousands of Jacobites sent as “slaves” to the Americas is that it did not happen. Scots were perpetrators of the grave historic crime of slavery, not its victims.

Historians mobilised to counter Salyers’ viral post. One of them was Murray Pittock of Glasgow University, an authority on the period.

After Culloden, hundreds – not thousands – of Jacobites really were transported to the West Indies in appalling conditions and sold at the quayside for £5 in turn for seven years of forced labour. But these, explained Prof Pittock, were not slaves.

“They retained rights of personhood,” he said. “And they were not subjected to the extreme punishments such as torture, castration or death normally visited on slaves if they escaped from their master.”

Salyers doubled down. Scots suffered slavery, she insisted, albeit this was “lesser” than that of Africans. Linking to a government website on Modern Slavery, she added: “The distinction between servitude and slavery (in all its forms of which chattel slavery is just one) is free will. Always.”

I suspect some of her audience will imagine this a fair point: after all, many of us can be very – too – loose in the way we use the s-word. This was also the case, Prof Pittock pointed out, back in the 18th century.

But is a person, even a captive, who labours against their volition really automatically a slave? Of course not. Remember the school-level history above: slaves are owned, not merely coerced.

Let’s take the Proud Boys. If Mr McInnes’s jailed followers end up on a chain gang, will anybody think they are slaves? No, because they are not property, they are people, prisoners.

Prof Pittock compares the fate of Jacobites forced in to indentured servitude with criminals transported to Australia rather than to Africans trafficked to the Americas as chattels.

Exiled 18th century rebels, he added, “are sometimes called ‘slaves’ today either to draw attention to their suffering or because there is a reluctance to accept the black experience in the Americas as unique and a desire to find analogous white victims.

“There is no evidence that the descendants of Jacobite transports suffered enslavement, segregation, overt racism or institutional discrimination.”

I would be more blunt than Prof Pittock. Nationalists in Scotland and the United States both lie about white slaves, but for different reasons.

The Scots, I think, are trying to bolster a narrative of victimhood. They end up shamefully reinforcing attempts by America’s far right to deny the racialised reality of slavery.

But there is better news. Mainstream independence supporters, including SNP leaders, have been at the forefront of helping Scots come to terms with our role in slavery.

This – along with all sorts of other progressive policies – has not gone down well with the extreme right in the United States. Mr McInnes, for example, late last year declared Scotland to be “the most woke country in the world”. Good. We should be trying to disappoint our Proud Boy, not mimic his hate.