You might think that a constituent part of a union was deserving of respect by virtue of being a constituent part of a union, and that no further qualifications would be necessary. You might think that, but if you do you’re clearly not a member of Scotland’s Unionist party leadership. This week the Furst Meenister Nicola Sturgeon stated that MSPs must have a vote on whether Brexit is triggered, and that she’s going to ensure that the elected representatives of the Scottish people have their say.
This is outrageous, apparently. At least according to the usual suspects. It’s a waste of time and money. It’s wrong for Scotland to want a say on our Prime Minister’s wizzard wheeze of a plan to get the entire world, or at least the European bits of it, to roll over and concede everything that Britain wants. With Brexit there will be pixey dust. There will be trade deals with global powerhouses like Togo. There will be ginger beer, and high tea, and lashings of innovative jam. We’re going to have our spacecakes and eat them. And we’re first in the queue to be shafted by the rabidly protectionist Trump. How dare a glorified parish cooncil demand a say on the latest chapter of the Great British Fantasy Tale. The British people voted for buttercups and sunbeams, and that’s what Theresa is going to give them.
Let’s be clear here. Theresa May’s Brexit plan bears much the same relationship to the real world as Donald Trump’s press secretary. It is a farrago of nonsense clung onto by fools who delude themselves that Britain has all the cards to play and that the EU is desperate to give Britain everything that it wants, so that it can wander off into a sunny uplit land of free trade and zero regulation while still having unfettered access to all those parts of the EU that it sees as beneficial. It rests upon the assumption that other EU members will be perfectly content to grant the UK a deal that allows Britain to keep most of the advantages of EU membership, but with none of the disadvantages. It’s a plan that will dissolve into five year old girly tears like a Nazi’s gob meeting a protester’s fist the moment it encounters the EU negotiators.
It’s only right that the Scottish parliament gets a say on May’s dreamscape. It’s not like May is giving Scotland any say. Her idea of listening to Scotland is to stick her fingers in her ears and sing Rule Britannia. If Scotland wants to air an opinion we can only do so ourselves. It’s either that or rely on Fluffy Mundell to stand up for Scotland in the cabinet, but hedgehogs on the A9 are more successful in standing up to passing lorries than Fluffy is at standing up for Scottish interests. But then he doesn’t think that standing up for Scotland is his job. He thinks his job is standing up for the UK cabinet in Scotland, like a hedgehog preaching the benefits of becoming roadkill. Fluffy doesn’t respect Scotland, his boss doesn’t respect Scotland, but in the face of their arrogant intransigence Scotland can show them some self-respect.
May doesn’t think she needs to bother about what Scotland wants, she doesn’t care about protecting Scotland’s interests, because she’s managed to convince herself that talk of a second independence referendum is a bluff. She’s mistaken. Before the last independence referendum the received wisdom of the Unionist media was that Alex Salmond was bluffing, that he didn’t really want a referendum. It’s the same self-deluding story this time. The Unionist establishment is so much in love with itself that it can’t bring itself to believe that anyone would really want independence from it. It must be a bluff in order to leverage something out of them, and because it’s a bluff they can safely ignore it. Then they discover too late that it wasn’t a bluff after all. You’d think they’d have learned their lesson by now.
Labour is bugger all help in pushing the distinctiveness of Scotland’s perspective. That’s not unsurpising however, since the perspective of Labour is the view you get when you’re stuck down the bottom of a sewer and you’re swimming against the tide. The Lib Dems aren’t much use either. The so-called Europeanists of the Lib Dems are more consumed by their hatred of the SNP than they are by any opposition to Brexit. Just like the Tories they tell us that Scotland shouldn’t become independent because then we’d be a small powerless country that was all alone. But that’s what we already are within the UK. If Scotland was independent it would be able to make alliances on its own account.
We’re heading into the unknown, led by people who have no care or concern for what’s best for Scotland but who complain constantly about the ‘threat’ of a second referendum. They think that democracy is a threat. They think that it’s dangerous for the people of Scotland to have a say. They’re right. It is dangerous. It’s dangerous for them.
On Tuesday the UK Supreme Court is due to give its ruling on whether the government is legally obliged to gain parliamentary approval before it can trigger Article 50 and start the Brexit process. It may or may not decide that the devolved administrations must also be consulted. If it rules that they do, there will be a constitutional crisis as the Conservatives and Ukip scream that England’s will is being ignored. If the court rules that they don’t there will be a constitutional crisis as Scotland protests that Westminster’s promise to enshrine the Sewell Convention and ensure the permanency of the Scottish parliament has no legal validity after all, and it was just empty words. We’ll find out soon enough. And we’ll find out soon enough which shade of crisis we’re in for. The only certainty left in this decreasingly united kingdom is that we’re in a crisis and will remain so as long as we stay a part of this dysfunctional union. If they won’t respect us, we’ll show them that we respect ourselves.
Audio version of this blog post, courtesy of Sarah Mackie @lumi_1984 https://soundcloud.com/occamshaver/wee-ginger-dug-23rd-jan-2017
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