Safer. Are you feeling safer? More secure. Are you feeling more secure? Those were the key promises of the Better Together campaign in 2014. Why risk independence when you can continue to enjoy the safety and security of the UK, they told us. It was their key selling point, the single point that more than any other persuaded the switherers to vote against independence. All that uncertainty. All those unknowns. All that doom, gloom and McArmageddon that opponents of independence forecast, all of it could be avoided by the simple expedient of a no vote, and then Scots could continue as a part of the UK, a part of the EU, and no one would have to worry.
Only now we’re confronted with a greater insecurity than anyone forecast with independence. We are less safe than we have ever been. Not even Alistair Darling warned that independence might mean the reintroduction of rationing, of food shortages and the necessity of police intervention in order to maintain civil order and security and safety at ports and airports. Yet that is precisely where we are now as a result of Theresa May’s calamitous handling of Brexit. A Brexit which, moreover, Scotland voted against by a considerably larger margin than it voted against independence. A Brexit which Scotland has had no role in shaping or determining. A Brexit which is being imposed upon us by the right wing ideologues of the Conservative party.
Faced with the potential of serious disruption to supply chains and the very real possibility of food and medicine shortages, the British government has now appointed a minister for food security. Conservative MP David Rutley was given the brief as a part of the Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) earlier this month. His responsibilities will include ameliorating the effects of a no-deal Brexit or a hard Brexit on the supply chain networks, and planning for the all too real possibility of food and medicine shortages. He’s the minister for ration books and for recipe books that make half an egg, one ounce of butter and a packet of wallpaper paste into a hearty meal.
This week, Police Scotland confirmed that they have been making contingency plans to deal with massive queues at ports, and to cope with the potential of civil unrest in the event of food shortages. Chief Constable Iain Livingstone has confirmed that he is seeking assurances from the UK Treasury that it will reimburse the force for the extra costs it will incur as a result of the additional duties it will have to cope with as a result of the Tories’ crazy mad Brexit. Although he didn’t actually say “crazy mad Brexit”.
There are those who voted against independence or voted for Brexit because they harked back to some fantasy glory ideal of a Great Britain that was last seen during WW2, but even they probably weren’t counting on the reintroduction of rationing. The Conservatives have been criticised for their Dad’s Army approach to the Brexit negotiations, but this is shockingly literal, and not in a laughable way. The stupid boys of the Conservative party really are telling us “Don’t panic!” So how’s that WW2 nostalgia working out for those who voted for Brexit?
We’ve gone from punching above our weight and bestriding the world stage as a partner in the most perfect union of nations in the multiverse to assurances that there will be enough food. That’s how far short of reality the delusions of British nationalism have fallen. Do you really need any more confirmation that you were lied to in 2014 by the proponents of the UK? Just how much of a gap do you need between what you were promised and what you were actually delivered before you recognise that the people of this country have a right to vote on the performances of our political masters?
The diehards of British nationalism insist that this is what Scotland voted for. But it isn’t. Scotland did not vote for rationing. Scotland did not vote to be ripped out of Europe. Scotland did not vote for the destruction of our public services by far right xenophobes in the Conservative party. Scotland did not vote to be powerless and marginalised. That is not what we were promised in 2014. Respect the result of the referendum? Sure. Just as soon as those who won that referendum respect the promises and commitments that they made to the people of Scotland in order to win it. The people who need to respect election results are not those who lost those votes, it’s those who won them. And what Scotland has witnessed from Westminster since 2014 has been the opposite of respect. It has been contempt, disdain, and scorn.
So you’ll have had your security and safety as a part of the UK, Scotland. It will depend on how many potatoes you can grow in your back garden, if you are lucky enough to have a back garden. Dig for victory. Dig the political grave of the British state. You can’t feed yourself and your family with WW2 sloganeering about pluckiness and grit.
Keep calm and carry on? Bugger that. I’m Scottish and I was lied to. I have no intention of keeping calm, and I’ll carry on until this country can escape from those mendacious fools whose red white and blue nationalism-that’s-not-nationalist-at-all has brought us all to the brink of ruin and turned us into the laughing stock of Europe. The only reason we’re not the laughing stock of the entire world is because of Donald Trump.
The UK is a state of delusion. It’s a state of self-deception. It’s a state of confusion, a state of disgrace. Brexit was always a fantasy. The idea that the UK punches above its weight was always a fantasy. The notion of Scotland as a partner in a Union was always a fantasy. The reason we’re in this mess now is because the British state still hasn’t come to terms with the reality of itself as a medium sized European country which must form partnerships in order to survive and thrive. The fantastists of British nationalism still dream of standing alone on the White Cliffs of Dover and shouting defiance at the world, and then they can go home to their potato peel pie and their drawn on nylons.
They can go by themselves, Scotland won’t be joining them. Scotland will be rejoining the real world. And until we do so, we’re not keeping calm. We’re angry. We’re carrying on until we escape.
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