There’s nothing to do but wait while our fates are decided by the leaders of the small European countries that British nationalists in Scotland always scoffed at and told us that Scotland would become. Whether the UK can have an extension to Article 50 in order to avoid a chaotic and damaging Brexit will be decided by the 27 members of the EU who haven’t shot themselves in the foot and tied themselves to a lump of concrete before leaping into the sea while shouting that Britannia rules the waves. Latvia and Estonia, the former British ruled Cyprus, Malta, and Ireland, all of them have an equal say along with Germany, Spain, France, and Italy. Countries far smaller than Scotland, with a mere fraction of Scotland’s resources and economic potential, they all have far more power than Theresa May, never mind Scotland. The UK itself has no say. This is what taking back control has turned into. This is the strength and stability of the UK that Scotland was told it couldn’t survive without.
Those countries small and large hold our futures in their hands, the future of the entire UK. If Scotland had chosen independence in 2014, Nicola Sturgeon would be one of those to whom Theresa May would be begging as a supplicant. Instead she’s waiting, powerless and voiceless like the rest of Scotland. No one in the British government is interested in Scotland’s opinion. So we wait. Silenced and impotent. Hushed up and hobbled. That’s the British way.
The British way was on full display during Prime Minister’s Questions in the Commons. Jeremy Corbyn ignored the Brexit elephant in the room. He didn’t think to ask the Prime Minister why it is that she’s now pleading with the EU for things that she insisted just a few short weeks ago were utterly unacceptable. But Jeremy doesn’t want to engage with Brexit, because then it might mean he’d have to get off that fence whose posts are so firmly rammed up his backside. So instead he asked some questions about subjects that Theresa May had no intention of answering. It was an exercise in futility while the UK sank below the waves of the Brexit storm.
When the SNP’s Ian Blackford asked her a question about the Brexit elephant, Theresa May harrumphed that Scottish independence means taking Scotland out of the EU. She’s trapped in a 2014 timewarp. Scotland is already being taken out of the EU, by Theresa May. If ever you wanted to see shamelessness in action, you only have to watch Theresa May during PMQs. The only question about PMQs is has Theresa ever answered a question.
Today is the day that scientists announced the first ever photograph of a black hole. Strictly speaking it’s not a photograph of the black hole itself, as no light escapes from a black hole’s immense gravitational pull, so there’s nothing to take a photograph of. It’s a photo of the black hole’s accretion disk, the matter and energy swirling around the galactic plughole. The photo itself is a picture of the crown of light which was able to escape being crushed into nothingness instead of being swallowed up, crushed, and deprived of its individuality, and which made its own path out into the universe. Now there’s a metaphor for an independent Scotland for you.
It’s a remarkable achievement, taking a photograph of an object in the Messier 87 galaxy which is 54 million light years away. Light and electromagnetic waves take 54 million years to travel between the Messier 87 galaxy and Earth, so a television signal setting out from Earth today will be swallowed up by that black hole 54 million years in our future, at which time the UK will still be arguing about Brexit, consumed by a Conservative black hole of its own. As energy and matter crosses the event horizon of a black hole, it is crushed into nothingness as time dilates making a second seem like an eternity. We’ve all learned what that feels like.
54 light years works out at 324 trillion miles, which coincidentally is also the distance between Theresa May and a grasp of reality. She’s gone back to Brussels to ask them to give her an extension until the end of June, so that her party can avoid getting slaughtered in the European elections. This is exactly the same as what she asked them for the last time, but she was refused. She doesn’t have anything new to tell them this time. She has no different offer to make. She has no plan, no route map. She’s relying on her charm and charisma to persuade EU leaders to give her what she wants. That’s how screwed we all are.
Many people across the UK feel humiliated, belittled, embarrassed, and infantilised as the UK is forced to beg the EU for more time, and the British government is utterly powerless to influence the course of events. They realise that they have no choice, they have no latitude of movement, they are at the mercy of others, the victims of events and not the agents of change. Now they know what it feels like to be Scottish. The way that the UK is powerless today in Brussels is exactly how Scotland is treated all the time by Westminster. The difference is that the EU leaders in Brussels are actually listening and possess a modicum of care about the fate of the UK.
Many people voted for Brexit because they were motivated by the fear that Brussels might treat the UK the way that Westminster treats Scotland. That’s the British model for dealing with constituent nations. It bullies, it threatens, it scaremongers, it commands. The British political system cannot comprehend any other way of doing politics. Westminster is like a small toddler which hasn’t learned the concept of sharing. The difference is that the toddler will eventually grow up, Westminster keeps sliding ever further into senescence and the nostalgic dwam of a lost empire. Now all of the UK knows what it feels like to be Scottish. It doesn’t feel good does it, being treated like a child.
So we wait. Powerless. Apprehensive. The clock ticks as our fate is being decided behind a closed door and we’re not invited into the adults’ conversation. That’s today. That’s every day. Scottish independence is the desire for Scotland to grow up. We have a voice. We have things to say. But within the UK every day is sitting outside the conference room for Scotland.
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