Nicola Sturgeon has made a statement giving the Scottish government’s response to the Brexit process. It’s a statement which reflects, only in far more diplomatic language, the response of most of Scotland to the megamidden into which the Conservative party has dumped the entire UK. And that response to the UK government was along the lines of, “You can screw yourselves if you want, you bunch of serial selfish numpties, but you’re not going to screw Scotland too.”
Since the country was dragged into this eurogalactofuck by a Conservative party which was only interested in using Britain’s EU membership as a proxy war for its own internal disputes, Britain has been led by politicians with all the clarity of vision of an actor in a Specsavers advert, but without the same hilarious consequences. Brexit means Brexit, is Theresa May’s favourite mantra, but that’s as useful as saying balloon means balloon or wibble means wibble as far as it gives us any better understanding of what’s in store for us all.
What we do know is that while her words are meaningless, May has appointed the most right wing cabinet in recent history, and some of us are old enough to remember Margaret Thatcher. So whatever Brexit means Brexit actually means in the real world, it’s not going to be good for the unemployed, the poor, the low paid, the disabled, or our public services. It’s looking very much as though Brexit means more privatisation, austerity, militarisation, climate change denial, and xenophobia.
Nicola pointedly reminded a UK government which continually goes on about respecting the result of the 2014 referendum that the democratic will of the Scottish people must be respected. You can’t on the one hand insist that the Scottish people have spoken in 2014 and then ignore what the Scottish people said in 2016. The truth is that the UK that Scotland voted to remain a part of in 2014 is a UK that doesn’t exist and never existed outside the imagination of Better Together’s spin doctors.
Scotland was promised a UK where its voice would count. We were promised a UK where shipyard and tax office jobs would be protected. We were promised a UK which would deliver the strongest possible devolution. We were promised a UK that was a part of the EU. What we got was a UK which took action to restrict the voting rights of Scottish MPs, a UK where shipyard and tax office jobs were lost, a UK which delivered a weak devolution settlement that the Scotland Secretary openly boasted was a trap for the Scottish government, and a UK that’s leaving the European Union and taking Scotland with it even though Scotland voted to remain. I’ve said it before but it’s worth constant repetition – the Unionist parties do not get to demand that the result of the 2014 referendum is respected if they do not respect the promises that they made in order to win it.
Demanding that the democratic will of the Scottish people be respected was the first finger that Nicola Sturgeon gave to Westminster. She also gave them four more. Protecting Scottish economic interests, freedom of movement, and access to the European single market. Protecting Scottish social interests, the employment and human rights that we enjoy within the EU. Protecting Scottish solidarity, our ability to work cooperatively with our European friends to combat the serious problems facing the continent and the wider world like climate change and terrorism. And protecting Scotland’s ability to have an influence in European decision making.
It’s up to the Unionist parties to demonstrate now how they can protect all five areas of Scottish interest while Scotland remains in the UK. It was the Tories who got us into this mess, and if the Tories expect us to wallow in the Brexit mud with them, then they’re going to have to demonstrate concrete plans which will allow Scotland’s interests to be protected. This is their mess, but they’ve shown not the slightest inclination to start cleaning it up, instead they’ve used it as an opportunity to mount an internal right wing coup within the party. Bugger the rest of us. We’re just expected to do what we’re told.
If Labour expects Scotland to trot along obediently then it needs to stop its infighting and start fighting the Tories and demonstrating that a better Scotland is possible within the UK, but there’s as much chance of that happening as there is of Owen Smith saying that he’s a big fan of Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership abilities. And as for the Lib Dems, they need to explain why it is that they consider the 2014 referendum result to be set in stone, but they’re desperate for another EU referendum as soon as possible. But then we all know that if you look up Lib Dem in a dictionary of politics it’s defined as “lying hypocrite”.
Nicola Sturgeon and Scotland are not asking for anything new. We’re only asking for what the Conservatives and the other Unionist parties promised to deliver in 2014. We were promised economic stability, we were promised the certainty of EU membership, we were promised security and the broad supporting shoulders of the UK. Yet those shoulders are carrying us off into an uncertain and insecure future, outside of the EU, towards some right wing Tory tax haven without workers rights where state surveillance substitutes for personal security. That is not what Scotland voted for in 2014. If the Unionist parties can’t respect their own promises, then all bets are off as far as another independence referendum is concerned.
And next time, we’ll be ready, we’ll be willing, and we’ll be organised. We’re going to win the next independence referendum on a platform of respect for the democratic will of the people of Scotland, for a Scotland that shapes and decides its own future, a Scotland that is not dragged along unwillingly into a privatised nightmare of rightwing austerity in the wake of Conservative leadership ambitions but which forges a path as an equal partner with our friends and allies. That’s not a threat, that’s a promise.
Audio link to this blog article, courtesy of @lumi_1984 https://soundcloud.com/occamshaver/not-a-threat-but-a-promise-wee-ginger-dug-25th-july-2016
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