Sometimes you can progress just by standing still. Sometimes you can win by doing nothing much at all. Sometimes you win by holding firm to your beliefs and allowing your opponents to destroy themselves. The writer Aldous Huxley, author of Brave New World, once said that people have an infinite capacity for taking things for granted. That’s also true of the Westminster parliament’s attitude to Scotland. Arrogance is taking what a nation offers for granted, wisdom lies in taking what a nation offers with gratitude. There is no gratitude from the Westminster system, only the arrogance of entitlement. Their arrogance is destroying them.
Even more than because those of us who believe in independence succeed in promoting the case for independence, Scotland will achieve independence because the case for remaining a part of the UK has been destroyed by those who believe in the UK. Each of those who say that they love Scotland’s place within the UK and who are entrusted with protecting it has killed the thing they love. If you love something, you must nuture it, cherish it. You must give it an opportunity to breathe, to stretch out. Love means granting space, giving respect. Love means saying sorry. Scotland doesn’t get love from our Westminster rulers, instead we’re treated like a chained captive in a basement playing out the role of the submissive in fifty shades of red white and blue.
It’s human nature to take things for granted when there is no threat of losing them. During the 2014 referendum, in those last few weeks when Westminster’s politicians descended into full blown panic with the realisation that Scotland was actually serious, that Scotland just might really vote for independence, for a short and glorious time Scotland was not taken for granted by Westminster. We were told how much we were loved, how necessary we were. We were promised that we were equal partners in a family of nations, a vital part of the most perfect union ever created.
What cut and wounded so deeply wasn’t so much the betrayal of the promise that Scotland’s parliament would be granted more powers, entrenched powers, promised that no changes could be made to the devolution settlement without its express consent. What really hurt the cause of British nationalism in Scotland was the betrayal of the promise that this country would be listened to, that it was an active partner in deciding its own destiny. What really hurt was the realisation that the second that there was no longer any immediate threat of Scottish independence, Westminster returned to its arrogant and high handed business as usual. Out with the protestations of love and affection, and back to the contempt and disdain. So much for all the fine promises, the devolution settlement has been reduced to the shitty shreds of May. That’s not what we voted for in 2014. That’s not what we voted for in 1997.
Which means that Scotland is left asking itself, the question that will be forefront and centre in the next independence referendum, what sort of union is it where the smaller nation can only get listened to by threatening to leave. What sort of union is it when the smaller nation has no means at all of holding the joint parliament to account for commitments and promises that are made to it. What place does Scotland have in a United Kingdom which neither consults with nor takes into account the concerns and needs of Scotland. And the answer is, it’s no union at all. Scotland’s place is the same as that of Lincolnshire County Council.
A union isn’t an event. A union is a long and complex dance, a giving and taking, a balancing and rebalancing. A successful union poises itself between the expectations of those who participate in it. A successful union liberates its partners. If you want a union to last you must never abuse it. A successful union is a safe place, where those who participate in it are able to be heard and able to influence.
But that’s not what Scotland experiences in this so-called union. A good union is like a good marriage, and in a good marriage what’s important isn’t how you deal with the things you have in common, with the things you agree on. What’s important is how you deal with the things that are different between you, with the things you disagree on. As part of the UK Scotland is dictated to, it is given instructions. It is limited and constrained, unable to shape the course of events.
The union is dead, it was killed by British nationalists. The only way that the arrogant colonial governors in Westminster will learn the worth and value of Scotland is when they no longer possess it. The union is ending, not because of the entreaties of those of us who strive for independence, but because of the arrogance and presumption of those who call themselves unionists.
Scotland won’t become independent because of those of us who are committed to independence. It will be because those in Scotland who didn’t feel strongly about it will look upon the so-called union and realise that there’s nothing in it, that it’s a hollow promise, that it’s based upon a lie.
This coming independence referendum will be a very different proposition from the previous one. In 2014 we had to argue the case for independence, but the case for the union was taken for granted. Next time round that won’t be so. The case for the union, the security and stability that it promised, the status quo, the guarantee that things would remain the same, that’s been destroyed by Brexit and the insane contradictions of this Conservative government. There is no safety and stability in the UK any more. There is only the choice between two uncertain futures, one which Scotland is powerless to influence, or one which Scotland gets to determine.
The choice facing Scotland now is the choice between being a country, being a nation, being a sovereign state which makes its own decisions, or being a glorified county council in a unitary Greater Brexitshire which prioritises the politics of the Boris Johnsons and Jacob Rees Moggs of this world. There are no other options. Choose a voice, or choose being silenced and left with the shitty shreds of May. The union is already dead. The only question left is whether Scotland wants to continue to be shackled to its corpse.
I won’t be blogging this coming week as I have another commitment that I can’t get out of. Sadly it doesn’t involve traipsing off to furren pairts. Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible.
Mapa Gàidhlig na h-Alba / Gaelic Map of Scotland
The Gaelic map of Scotland is now available, the cost is £15 plus £7 P&P within the UK. Please note P&P outwith the UK is more expensive. P&P to Europe is £10, P&P to the rest of the world is £15. If you require multiple copies of the map, you only need pay once for P&P, up to 3 copies of the map which is the maximum that can fit in one postal tube.
You can purchase a copy of the map by Paypal by clicking the donate button at the end of this page and entering the requisite amount. Please also include the address to which the map should be posted. If you prefer another payment method, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for alternatives.
The Wee Ginger Dug has got a new domain name, thanks to Indy Poster Boy, Colin Dunn @Zarkwan. http://www.indyposterboy.scot/ You can now access this blog simply by typing www.weegingerdug.scot into the address bar of your browser, the old address continues to function, the new one redirects to the blog. The advantage of the new address is that it’s a lot easier to remember if you want to include a link to the blog in leaflets, posters, or simply to tell a friend about it. Many thanks to Colin.
Wee Ginger Donations & Speaking engagements
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