There was a fascinating development in gender politics this week. We discovered that it’s still mansplaining when a man contradicts a woman even when the woman in question happens to be factually incorrect. This will come as a huge relief to the descendants of Emily Wilding Davidson who now know that their famous suffragette ancestor did not throw herself under King Edward VII’s horse during the Epson Derby in vain. No, she succeeded in establishing the principle that Kay Burley is always right about everything, even when she’s wrong. And most especially, Kay Burley is always right when she’s metrosplaining to a recalcitrant Scottish person, and she’s especially always right when she’s wagging her finger at the time.
The incident in question occurred a couple of days ago when Sky News decided to take a wee break from the constant parade of swivel eyed Brexists, vox pops from Leave voting areas, and apologists for the Tory party in order to do a box ticking exercise and actually interview the SNP’s Westminster leader Ian Blackford for a change. However Ian had the temerity to contradict Kay when she insisted that an independent Scotland would be forced to join the Euro. Kay was simply repeating the greatest hits of 2014 and was surprised and offended that someone who has been immersed in the arguments about Scottish independence might actually know more than she did. So she immediately reached for the nearest rhetorical weapon to hand, which was to claim victimhood status.
That’s another of Better Together’s greatest hits from 2014 by the way. Help, help, the British state and its creatures are being bullied by a granny from Dunfermline with an internet connection and an ink jet printer she got from her daughter. As British rule loosens, we’re going to be hearing a lot more about how it’s the opponents of independence with all their newspapers, TV stations, 24 hour news channels, government departments, business funded think tanks, and suspiciously well appointed grassroots organisations that spring out of nowhere who are the real victims here. They’re being silenced. Like a foghorn is being silenced when it’s amplified.
Since it was a man who contradicted Kay, she took refuge in the sexist card in order to become the victim. If it had been a woman who contradicted her she’d just have found some other spurious reason to make out that she was being oppressed by the nasty SNP. That’s how British nationalism works.
I’m not going to go over, yet again, the argument that Scotland will not be forced into adopting the euro. This is one of those myths so beloved of opponents of independence that they are constitutionally incapable of giving it up no matter how often it has been bludgeoned over the head, had its blood drained off and made into black pudding, then the battered remains are buried in landfill which is then converted into a retirement park for pensioned off British imperialists. There are those who apparently believe that, uniquely amongst the nations of the world, Scotland is incapable of having any sort of currrency at all.
It suffices to point you in the direction of Wings Over Scotland’s most recent demolition of the anti-independence fairy story. https://wingsoverscotland.com/when-fact-checks-fail/ and to point out that joining the euro isn’t like conscription. It’s not like you wake up one morning and discover that you’re in the army now and a sadistic sergeant major is yelling at you to get your hair cut, go on a cross country run in the rain, and ensure that your government borrowing rates are within the guidelines of the Eurozone. Joining the euro is a process, not an event. It’s a process which all EU member states without a specific opt-out are obliged to sign up to, but that process consists of many discrete steps, each of which is up to the discretion of the member state to take as and when it suits them. Crucially, there is no mechanism within the EU for compelling member states to take these steps according to a timetable imposed upon them by the EU.
It’s a bit like saying that if you purchase a particular health product which comes with free gym membership then you’ll be forced to spend all your evenings on a treadmill feeling inadequate next to a preening muscle guy who’s overdone the steroids. Sure, you have signed up to gym membership, but that doesn’t mean you’re forced to use it. It’s the same with the euro.
What was really interesting about the interview however, was that just as the British state and its political institutions are imploding, Sky News thought that the most important question to put to an SNP representative wasn’t even a question, it was the incorrect statement that an independent Scotland would be forced to join the Euro and what are you going to do about that eh eh. Eh! Because all things European are bad these days. It’s a wee taster of the flavour of the campaign that lies ahead. Britain might be rubbish, but the great argument of British nationalism is that an independent Scotland would be rubbisher. And if you contradict them then you’re a nasty vile person who’s victimising them. If that’s the best that they’ve got, the UK is already over.
Meanwhile back in Westminster, the British state continues its decline into paralysis, confusion, and irrelevance. The EU has now taken control of the Brexit time table, since EU leaders have been as unimpressed by Theresa May’s lecturing and hectoring as everyone else. She was repeatedly asked by skeptical EU leaders what she planned to do if her deal didn’t get through. There was no answer. She has no answer. The EU knows as well as the rest of us that she has lost control of her party, lost control of her cabinet, and her petulant speech on Wednesday night blaming everyone else for the mess only served to alienate those MPs whose support she needs. It was a spectacular display of just how unsuited she is to leadership and how much out of her depth she is. Theresa May remains, nominally, the leader of the United Kingdom. Although this raises a question that philosophers in the future will wrestle over, can a bin fire can have a leader?
So next week we face yet more meaningful votes that will probably turn out not to be that meaningful after all. On Friday the DUP came out strongly against supporting Theresa May’s deal the next time she drags it before the Commons like a cat with a dead mouse that it’s exceptionally proud of. That means that the Rees Mogg fan boys and girls of the European Research Group will be most unlikely to support it either. Theresa May’s deal is dead, and so is the United Kingdom.
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