Comparing like with unlike

On Saturday night, I had the misfortune to watch the press review on Sky News. One of the guests was a Brexit supporting writer, a woman whose name escapes me, which is a pity because it means that it will be harder to avoid her nonsense in future. It was the usual ill informed guff about Scotland. She averred, with the arrogant certainty that her ignorance is a virtue which only a British nationalist possesses, that support for independence in Scotland has stalled. And then she waffled on about how she didn’t understand why Scotland wanted to swap its place in the UK for membership of the EU, because to her mind that’s not really independence.

The truth is, if you don’t understand the difference between Scotland as a part of the UK and an independent Scotland that’s a member of the EU, then you really should refrain from commenting on either. Because all you’re doing is exposing your ignorance. But confident ignorance is the British nationalist’s stock in trade, and we’re going to hear a lot more of it as Scotland moves towards independence.

The first important difference is that Scotland is not a member of the UK. It is a part of the UK. The Brexit process has exposed the truth, there are no constitutional safeguards or provisions within the UK to protect Scotland from the malign effects of English nationalism. That’s why we’re getting Brexit, even though Scotland has voted against it by a very large margin. We’re not just getting Brexit, we’re getting a more hardline version of it than even Jacob Rees Mogg thought possible just three years ago. Scotland’s sole official representation within the British Government is the Scotland Office, yet ever since devolution, and indeed before it, the role of the Scotland Office has not been to represent Scotland within the British Government, it has been to represent the British Government in Scotland.

The EU has member states. Each of those member states takes a turn at the European presidency. Each of those member states sends its head of government to important EU summits. Each of those member states has a veto on certain aspects of EU policy. There is a formal mechanism of representation for each member state at the very highest levels of the EU.

You can see the distinction between being a member of the EU and being a part of the UK by contrasting the way in which the EU responded to the concerns of Ireland during the Brexit negotiations, and the way in which the UK responded to the concerns of Scotland during those same negotiations. The EU hasn’t only accommodated the Irish position, they have reinforced it and made it very clear that other member states stand in solidarity with Ireland. The British Government has at every turn ignored, sidelined, and treated with contempt any suggestions from the Scottish Government. Theresa May didn’t even bother to respond to the Scottish Parliament’s proposals for a compromise Brexit that met with some of Scotland’s most important concerns. Brexit has proven that there is one country in the British isles which is an equal and valued partner in a family of nations, and that nation is Ireland within the EU.

That’s only the beginning of the differences. If Brexiters had been told that the UK required the permission of the EU before it was allowed to hold a referendum, Jacob would perhaps have been justified in his claims that the UK was a vassal state. Yet that’s precisely what the British Government is imposing on Scotland. More than that, one of the Tory leadership contenders has stated that under no circumstances would he permit another independence referendum. Jeremy Hunt doesn’t believe in Scottish democracy. Can you imagine the outcry from the Brexit supporting press and British nationalists if a senior figure in the EU had stated that under no circumstances would the EU permit the UK a referendum on its EU membership? But that’s a constraint that the UK is happy to put on Scotland.

The EU doesn’t insist that one of its members states host nuclear weapons so that another can enjoy a seat on the UN Security Council and pretend to itself that it’s still a global power. The EU doesn’t make us go to war. The EU doesn’t decide the entire foreign policy for all of its members. The UK does all of that and more. Opponents of independence like to imagine that being a part of the UK allows Scotland to punch above its weight – for some reason they like their metaphors violent – the reality is that as a part of the UK Scotland is invisible abroad. People in Spanish speaking countries talk about Inglaterra and inglés as synonyms for the UK.

The EU doesn’t set the vast majority of our taxes and determine the level of social security. The UK does, and the UK is hell bent on reducing taxes for the wealthy and for big businesses and making the poor and the low paid carry the can for the financial irresponsibility of the banks. Poverty in the UK is a consequence of the decisions of British governments, not the EU.

The EU doesn’t ensure that our old age pensions are amongst the lowest in the developed world. The UK does that, and then it tries to frighten pensioners by lying to them that in the event of independence they won’t get a pension at all.

The EU doesn’t concentrate development and infrastructure in the UK on London and the South East of England. It’s British governments which do that. The ignoring of the parts of the UK outwith London and the South East by successive British governments have led to the UK having some of the poorest regions in northern Europe. The EU on the other hand, provides funding to marginalised and impoverished regions. That funding will be lost when the UK leaves the EU.

Brexit is driven by the fantasy that Britain is still an empire, that it is still a global player on the world stage on a par with a superpower in a world where only a superpower can truly be independent of other countries. It’s a delusion. It’s a cruel delusion because it’s the poor, the low paid, and the disabled in the UK who will pay the price of it, not the wealthy backers of Brexit like Nigel Farage or Boris Johnson.

The reality is that in the modern world all countries must cooperate with others and share aspects of their sovereignty. However for Scotland the difference between the UK and the EU is the difference between an animal being trapped in a small cage with no freedom of movement, and roaming in a national park. The UK is a cage, the EU is a vast park. Claiming that Scotland has less freedom of movement and freedom of choice within the EU than it does as a part of the UK is an idiotic nonsense that should be rejected with the contempt that it deserves.

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26 comments on “Comparing like with unlike

  1. Not only are you working bloody hard, you are on fire mate!

    • Tol says:

      Agree. This is WGD at his best.

      WeeGinger, YES. YES. YES! So happy to see you refine the arguments and build a the indy vocab.

      More like this

  2. panda paws says:

    “But confident ignorance is the British nationalist’s stock in trade”

    It’s not always easy to tell the difference between those who believe this nonsense and those who merely want us in Scotland to believe it.

    I desperately hope we get independence soon and I think these British nationalists are going to get the financial fright of their life when subsidised (sic) Scotland leaves.

  3. Bob Lamont says:

    “bee” ?

    • Bob Lamont says:

      Otherwise another belter… A prolific day’s work whilst Ginger held the leash and eyed imploringly.

  4. Robert Harrison says:

    You see paul its all there everything ive ever about the southerners you see how ignorant towards Scotland they are how they treat Scotland like utter garbage then claim to love Scotland so much after saying screw you and your elected snp government Scotland England rules the roost attitude with there no you will never have your section 30 order you see it all now England will always be this way they wont change they see themselves as already perfect England is basically a cowardly bully running away from all its faults thats why the eus the problem or its the snp or its the migrants the disabled etc thats the actions of a coward to afraid to look in the mirror and see who it really is.

    • weegingerdug says:

      Your generalisations aren’t helping, Robert. Not all English people are ignorant. Not all English people treat Scotland like garbage. The thing is, when you resort to anti-English racism, you lose all moral right to call out anti-Scottish racism. Please stop it.

      • Oliver Drake says:

        Thanks for this, Paul. I was born in London but have lived in Scotland for 22 or so years, but I would be worried to open my mouth in a pub in front of someone like Robert. I have, since I came here, supported independence, and it saddens me that someone could think this of all English. BTW, my son, who lives in London, called me “A born again Scotsman” the other day- I took it as a compliment!

      • Brian Fleming says:

        I didn’t see any anti-all-English-people racism in Robert’s post. I read his reference to “England” as meaning the English establishment, political and financial, i.e. the State that for centuries tried to take over Scotland and finally succeeded. The same attitudes and motivations prevail today among the elite, who give not a fig for the ordinary people of Scotland OR England. It IS possible to over-interpret another’s words in a negative way, but your reading what you read into Robert’s post shocked me, Paul. Unless you know something I don’t.

        • weegingerdug says:

          Robert has previous for posting anti-English statements which cross the line into racism. I generally delete those. I let this one through – but he needs to be warned about his posting behaviour.

          • Brian Fleming says:

            I wondered. As someone’s whose mother suffered from the anti-English sentiments of my dad’s (strongly Unionist) family, I’m sensitive to such comments. I just didn’t see any in Robert’s post. Thanks for your response to my comment.

  5. deelsdugs says:

    Indeed Robert, have a wee think. Speaking with a mate yesterday I asked how her other half viewed the situation now that he lives in Scotland – the reply – he had no idea how corrupt and biased the whole situation is until he moved to the Bonnie land – and this was over 7 years ago. He is very much for independence.

    • Bob Lamont says:

      Well exampled and cautioned, you can’t blame an entire nation for a nest of vipers in it’s midst.
      My English friends in England are no less supportive of Scottish Independence albeit with a mixture of envy and regret.
      Their reaction to being forced to benefit a minority attached at the hip to the Tory Party was anger before this Brexit disaster unfolded, now it is incandescent rage. Whereas these asset-strippers have decimated huge parts of England where popular electoral revenge is the ToryMk2/BrexitPLC/Mirage party is a masterstroke injecting a 5 year delay to actual change. For this con-trick to have worked at all is mind-boggling, but there again, Brexit…
      Scots have SNP etc and Indy2 as a permanent solution, hence the particular propaganda targeted at Scots but only ever labelled SNP-baaad from the “establishment”, straight from the divide and conquer handbook.

  6. bedelsten says:

    These WGD blogs are becoming like the No. 12 bus service from Keilty; no sooner does one turn up, it is followed another. That is not an implied criticism, your services to the blogosphere are legendary, possibly within your own lunch time, and will, perhaps, be rewarded in whatever afterlife you aspire to.

    The hissing and scratching coming from the unionist side does appear to rising in volume indicating that they have noticed that the gradually rising tide of pro-independence opinion has topped some hypothetical flood barrier. Depending on how much a mess of things the incoming prime minister makes, and he will, once the barrier is topped, the trickle may become a flood. Yes, you can smell the fear. Enjoy what summer there is, things are going to get busy.

    One of the mistakes the unionists make and, fortunately, will continue to make, is to endlessly reference a Scottish independence referendum, Scottish independence and the break up of the ‘precious’ union, thus normalising the concepts. Being told you are not getting something is a sure fire way of desiring it. Being endlessly told you don’t want something is a sure fire way of questioning what it is. Being endlessly told not to break something is just an incitement to try. Thank you.

    Normalisation of Scottish independence as a concept is also creeping into the mainstream media. In Fluffy’s article (or resignation letter) in the Grauniad, he states, ‘A difficult no-deal Brexit would not only damage our economy, it would fuel nationalist claims of a UK that is insensitive to Scotland’s needs.’ I couldn’t have put it better. Thank you.

  7. A crisp and thorough analysis. It is just a pity that it will impinge not one instant on the occupants of the good ship Empire as they sail off into the eighteenth century.

    I am reblogging this. Thanks 🙂

  8. […] via Comparing like with unlike — Wee Ginger Dug […]

  9. Michael Laing says:

    This is one of your best, Paul. You could hardly have expressed your argument more powerfully and succinctly. If only more people could and would read it!

  10. Interpolar says:

    I fully agree. The way the UK works isn‘t only bad for Scotland, it‘s bad for Wales, NI and most of England. Frankly, it‘s bad for the UK‘s neighbours too, just to a lesser degree, because they‘re independent.

    @Paul – this is a great piece. It is probably the most lucid and eloquent summary I have read that compares Scotland’ standing in the Union, and iScotland’s standing in the EU. Thank you!

  11. ArtyHetty says:

    Great article. The narrative that the Britnats are hoping so many will believe about Scotland as an independent country being stifled or imprisoned by the EU, is exactly how the Britnats treat Scotland.

    The Britnat government stifles Scotland, and blatantly keeps Scotland tethered, shackled to a ‘union’ that is really no such thing.

    Remember they said that Scotland was a ‘partner’ within the UK, they might have even used the word ‘equal’, in 2014, then Mundell last year blurted out that Scotland is a ‘part’ of the UK, ( ie not a partner, and certainly not equal) when people started to ask why Scotland has been locked out of all Brexit talks. Surprised he didn’t say North Britain rather than Scotland, because that’s what they consider Scotland to be, though some Tories and their red Tory pals would and have said it’s the same as a town ‘council’ in England, or something like that.

    I saw something about Brexit having cost each person 90p a day so far, that rises hugely when it’s all in the bag, and meanwhile Farage has been paid hundreds a day, just for tv appearances. He must be very rich, that’s what it’s all about though.

    The future looks bleak in the precious UK unless you are rich, get out of this cesspit called a ‘union’ before it’s too late Scotland.

    • Andy Anderson says:

      Brexit so far has seen £2trillion leave the U.K. this year. A 1.2%drop in gdp. Cost per week £800 million. Inward investment stopped, damaged businesses and we have not left yet. Oh and immigration problems. Going well for Indy so far.

  12. Eric the Cheeseman says:

    It’s very clear that the entire Brit establishment views Scotland with utter disdain and contempt, especially for having the tartan-necked audacity to challenge the ‘preshus’ union. But that view filters down to the ignorant and ill-informed amongst the media and PaulBurrell-type dafties… which then finds it’s way to the general public down south, who are limited to different versions of the press for biased information about Scotland. So best leave them to believe the bull.

    In order to challenge and debate with the those in Scotland who actually matter to Scottish independence i.e. live, work & study here, call Scotland their home, and have a vote, then WGD is the perfect resource for the info that will be useful for debate. Whether it’s about the EU, GERS, Spanish Veto, or how Rooth won the last election… each blog is interspersed with humour & facts, and is written in a manner that makes the arguments easy for dafties like me to comprehend, and then be able to share and use for convincing fellow dafties of the benefits of the cause.

  13. Charles McGregor says:

    Brilliantly done. Another one for printing and distributing on my patch.

  14. JSM says:

    Reblogged this on Ramblings of a 50+ Female and commented:
    Well said, Paul.

  15. Terry callachan says:

    WGD always fair always reasonable , I admire him immensely for that, intelligent too and always informed.
    I have zero faith in Westminster I see it as an English parliament which it was before the union and will be again, hopefully soon.
    I have zero trust in Westminster it is full of irresponsible people who do not value life they are prepared to go to war anywhere in the world to support the USA and to make money.
    It’s so sad that some of our own people in Scotland will follow and support westminster to further their own interests even if it is disastrous for many in Scotland.

  16. Steve says:

    UK vs EU. Borg (“We are the Borg. Your biological and technological distinctiveness will be added to our own. Resistance is futile.”) vs United federation of planets.. In language even most yoons can understand.

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