I wouldn’t normally give the oxygen of publicity to anything published by the extremoyoons of the laughably misnamed A Force For Good. They’re the tiny wee group of far right zoomers who stand at independence rallies and shout abuse at indy supporters while thon guy with the manky shirt preaches with a megaphone. They make Ukip seem like open armed welcomers of all things Islamic.
You can get a good idea of the contents of their website if you imagine a bus full of wasps which is on fire and has been driven into a nursery school attached to a children’s hospital. Only without the zenlike calm which that mental image implies. My attention was drawn recently to an article which makes even the batshit zoomery which is the baseline state for this grupiscule seem like a sedate outing in scientific reasonableness. The claim that the union is really 5000 years old.
The basis of this claim is that Neil Oliver said so on the BBC, so it must be holy writ. More exactly the extremoyoons are getting confused between cultural areas and political unions. Back in the Neolithic, a megalith culture spread across the British Isles, seemingly having its centre in Orkney. What A Force For Good don’t mention is that this culture also spread beyond the British Isles to France. Later on in the Iron Age, the British Isles were a part of a common Celtic culture and language area that stretched across Europe from Ireland and Scotland to the Balkans and Turkey. Funnily enough A Force For Good are not arguing that this means we need to remain a political union with the EU. I wonder why.
Culture areas are not political unions. They don’t even provide evidence that all the areas which participated in the culture area belong people speaking the same language or possessing the same ethnic identity. One of the most clearly defined culture areas in aboriginal North America was in the Pacific North West. All the inhabitants of this area participated in a unique culture distinguished by totem poles, the potlatch ceremony, religious beliefs centring on a raven god, and had similar maritime based economies. They were all closely linked by ties of trade and exchange. However the area was also home to dozens of different languages, and dozens of different tribal groups which fought and warred constantly with one another. There’s no reason to believe that the British Isles during the neolithic era were any different.
What this illustrates is that opponents of independence base many of their claims in romanticised myths. Yet that’s precisely what they accuse independence supporters of. Myth-making is the foundation stone of anti-independence arguments. The biggest myth of all perhaps, and one that is deeply beloved of British nationalists, is the myth that Scotland is financially dependent upon the UK.
The real nature of this so-called financial dependence has been revealed by the McCrone Report, which has just been published by The National newspaper. The report has been available online for a while, but this is the first time that it’s been published in print in a Scottish newspaper. Until now, the Scottish press have preferred to pretend that the McCrone Report didn’t happen. That’s because the report reveals that this isn’t a union of equal partners, it’s a hostage situation. The purpose of this supposed union is to keep Scotland poor and dependent. It’s to ensure that Scotland remains a reservoir of natural resources and skilled labour for the rest of the UK.
The Herald, you know that ahem ‘neutral’ newspaper, responded by publishing a short statement by Gavin McCrone himself. The report’s author says that the report was never hushed up, as it was a confidential report for ministers which was never intended to be published in the first place. I don’t know about you, but that sounds pretty much like the definition of hushed up to me. Whether the report was hushed up, or was always intended to be confidential is semantic nitpicking and makes no material difference. Information about the true state of the Scottish economy which could have had a substantial impact on the debate about independence was still kept a secret from the people of Scotland by the British establishment. Yet again, supporters of the British state have to resort to sophistry.
However the point here is that those government ministers for whom the report was intended continued to tell Scotland that it was a subsidy junkie which couldn’t afford independence, and continued to minimise the economic potential of the oil to Scotland, and still minimise the contribution that Scotland has made to the UK’s finances, despite knowing that over the course of the past 45 years Scotland has been a net subsidiser of the UK. That’s the point. The issue here is not what Mr McCrone thought was supposed to happen with his report, the issue is what successive British governments did with the information that it contained. They kept it from the people of Scotland who pay their wages in order to ensure that the people of Scotland kept paying their wages.
Neither is the issue that we should be trying to move away from the exploitation of fossil fuels because of the environment and climate change. Of course we should. Nor is the issue that circumstances have changed and therefore the report is a less relevant assessment of Scotland’s economic potential today than it was when it was written. Well duh. Of course. Way to go to point out the obvious there guys. Absolutely no one is arguing that the McCrone Report remains an up to date assessment of Scotland’s economic potential in 2019. That is not and was never the point.
The point is that Westminster flushed Scotland’s wealth down the toilet of the City of London, and they are now telling us that we’re too poor to leave them. They’ve impoverished Scotland, yet insist that we need to trust them with our finances and economy. It’s like having a partner who spends your inheritance on drink and gambling, who brings you to financial ruin while he drives about in an expensive car which he won’t let you have the keys to, and then he tells you that because he’s spent all your money that you’re too poor to leave him.
The point is one of trust, or rather the lack of it. If the British government is prepared to lie to us to the extent revealed by the McCrone Report, if it is prepared to keep the truth from us in order to prevent the people of Scotland making an informed decision about their future, then it’s legitimate to ask what other information the British government is withholding from us right now. We have a government in Westminster which patently does not trust the people of Scotland, as evidenced by the fact that it has been proven to keep vital and relevant information from us about the economic potential of Scotland. Therefore the question raised by the McCrone Report is why should the people of Scotland trust the British government? Why should we believe a government which has repeatedly lied to us and which has been proven to lie. What proof do we have that they have changed? The answer to that last question is none.
Unions imply equality, trust, and good faith. There is precious little of that in Westminster’s dealings with Scotland. The real point is that this is a so-called union that is based upon lies, myths, and deception, and as such it is no union at all. In that respect the myth-makers of Westminster have more in common with the zooming extremists of A Force For Good than they’d care to admit. When what Westminster tells us doesn’t add up, it’s time for Scotland to subtract itself.
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