Well that’s it then. Remember during the 2014 independence referendum when JK Rowling said that if Scotland voted No we’d be in the position of the spouse who had threatened divorce but who had then agreed to stay, so we’d be in an incredibly strong position and have all our concerns and desires carefully listened to and taken into account? Well how’s that working out then? It was a complete fantasy, but coming as it did from a fantasy writer that shouldn’t be a great surprise.
The people who voted No in 2014 have been taken for mugs. England’s Tories have made it perfectly clear that they care deeply about the European Union, but they don’t give a shit about Scotland. It’s not that Scotland is low down on their list of priorities, it doesn’t even figure at all. Despite what the Better Together campaign told No voters in 2014, Britain doesn’t love you. It doesn’t care for you. It doesn’t value you as an equal partner in this family of nations. You’re just a useful tool to help maintain the power of Westminster. And Westminster doesn’t give a toss about you, just like it doesn’t give a toss about those of us who voted Yes.
Theresa May’s speech today makes it perfectly clear that not only is she not giving any consideration to the concerns and desires of Scotland, she doesn’t even know or care what they are. This Westminster government is not giving serious consideration to the proposals of the Scottish government, they filed them in the bin, unread. And after doing that she said that she wants the country to come together. She wants the UK to come together after she’s proposed to implement the most extreme right wing version of Brexit imaginable. She’s taken the concerns of the 48% who voted to remain in the EU and she’s trashed them. She’s put a bomb under the Irish peace process and will sacrifice Northern Ireland to the gods of neoconservatism. She’s told Scotland to get back into the shortbread tin. She doesn’t want unity. She doesn’t want collaboration and cooperation between the nations of the UK. She wants blind obedience. She wants submission. She wants to strangle us in red white and blue bunting.
This Tory government is leading the UK into a catastrophic Brexit that risks enormous damage to the British economy, with the consequent loss of jobs, financial security, and diminished life chances and opportunities for the vast majority of us who, unlike Theresa, aren’t married to multimillionaire investment fund managers. A special deal for Scotland isn’t going to happen. All May wants from Scotland is that we put up and shut up. Well she can think again because we will not be silenced.
The future for the UK is a Brexit that’s as hard as the heart of the Tory MP who once complained that homeless people were littering the street outside the opera. The country will be turned into a tax haven, social protection, workers’ rights, social security and the NHS will all be trashed and burned. We’re staring at a low wage low tax economy, where a minority enrich themselves and the majority struggle in poverty. What May told us today is the very worst form of Brexit imaginable. A heartless Brexit. A Brexit without compassion. A Brexit without care, consideration, or common humanity. All of our futures are now hostage to a Tory party that is now indistinguishable from Ukip.
They’ve had seven months to come up with this. Seven months during which they were supposed to be developing a plan to negotiate with the rest of the EU, instead they’ve been working on a way of selling an extreme right Brexit to the British media. Their negotiating strategy is to tell the EU that they’ll cut taxes, cut benefits, cut social care provision and ditch regulations on business if they don’t get access to the single market while still restricting immigration. It’s like Cleavon Little in Blazing Saddles putting a gun to his own head, because the only people who will suffer from this strategy will be the working classes of Britain. The rich, as ever, will be just fine. The Tories’ great plan for the future of this blessed Union is to turn it into a ruthless racist rightwing bunting bedecked theme park for tax avoiders. Oligarchs R Us.
There’s now no doubt that the only way Scotland can avoid this fate is by holding a second independence referendum and voting for independence. Labour in Scotland is still opposed. Despite being presented with the absolute worst case scenario possible for Brexit, despite it being as clear as the look of scorn on May’s face that Scotland’s wishes are dismissed and traduced, Kezia Dugdale still thinks it’s not an excuse for another referendum. It does make you wonder what Kezia would consider a reason for another referendum, because right now it looks like there are limbo dancers who are less supine than Kezia. She’s still pitching her idea that Scotland within the UK could control its own immigration policy, despite the Tories ruling it out, despite her own party leader ruling it out. No wonder her party has become an irrelevance. They won’t stand up for Scotland. They won’t stand up for the working classes. They don’t even have the dignity to stand up for themselves. Labour in Scotland is what happens when the Tories have screwed you so hard that you’ve got a sore throat.
Labour in Scotland’s leadership might have abandoned all hope. They might have surrendered to a destructive hard Brexit. They might be complicit in the damage that the Tories are created, but they rest of us won’t be. We will not be silenced. We will not be ignored. Our voice will be heard.
There will be another independence referendum and this time the stakes have never been higher. Scotland either wins its independence or we die a death of a thousand Tory cuts, broken and bleeding as our society is destroyed, our futures trashed, our opportunities lost. We can be ignored, sidelined, patronised, insulted and abused, or we can look to a future that the people of Scotland determine and shape for ourselves. Let’s get organised. Let’s get going. Let’s get loud. The UK is over, and it was the Unionists themselves who destroyed it. Independence is coming.
Audio version of this blog post, courtesy of Sarah Mackie @lumi_1984 https://soundcloud.com/occamshaver/wee-ginger-dug-17th-jan-2017
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