The Conservatives, and indeed the British establishment in general, are clearly at a loss for ideas when it comes to frustrating the growing demand in Scotland and Wales for independence and calls in Northern Ireland for a referendum on Irish reunification. That’s the only possible explanation for why they’ve ramped the hysterical unionism up to Desp-Con- 5. That’s how desperate the Conservatives have become. Over the weekend it came to light that the British Government’s big idea to frustrate Scottish independence is to instruct British government staff and UK diplomats to stop referring to the four nations of the UK and instead to refer to the UK as a single country. According to a report in the Sunday Times the idea came out of a meeting chaired by Boris Johnson which was looking at ways of strengthening links between Scotland, England, Wales, and Northern Ireland.
This is the kind of out-of-the-box thinking that gets you to the pinnacle of the British state. If no one ever mentions that Scotland exists then it can never become independent. This is the genius that an expensive Eton education gets you. It’s the political equivalent of sticking your head under the duvet when you hear a strange noise downstairs in the middle of the night and hoping that it might just go away. It’s like telling the EU and the rest of the world Scotland? Eh? What’s that? Sorry, you’ve got the wrong post-imperial construct mate. Nothing to see here except a single nation state.
It’s all a very far cry from the grandiose claims of the Better Together campaign back in 2014 when it told Scotland that being a part of the UK allowed Scotland to “punch above its weight” and achieve a global prominence that would otherwise be beyond us. Of course it was always a nonsense, being a part of the UK doesn’t make Scotland more prominent on the world stage, it makes Scotland invisible.
Anyone with a basic familiarity with another country knows that people abroad habitually refer to the UK as England and its inhabitants as English. In Spain, a person from the UK is usually referred to as inglés. In a recent news report on Sky news about the effect of the covid pandemic on tourism in the north of France, the reporter interviewed local business people who told her in French that they had relied upon tourists that the English language subtitles told us were British, but the word coming out of their mouths was clearly anglais. Now we discover that this isn’t simply a lack of awareness on the part of people in other countries, it’s also official British government policy. Perhaps they are hoping that people in Scotland will simply forget that Scotland is an ancient nation whose parliamentary union with England created the UK. It seems to be the closest thing that they have to a plan to bolster the UK and prevent independence.
There’s certainly nothing coming out of Downing Street that comes close to a plan for reforming the structures and institutions of the UK, despite the fact that it’s widespread alienation from those structures and policies in Scotland, and the other nations of the UK, which is driving support for independence. There isn’t going to be any such plan either, because that would mean surrendering the one thing that the Conservatives prize more than business opportunities for their friends and donors, and that’s the absolute and unchallenged power of the Conservative occupant of Downing Street.
Instead of meaningful reform what we get is denialism – the so-called muscular unionism which seeks to plaster union flags on everything and to assert that there’s a single British nation and implicitly deny the special status of Scotland within the Union which was the bedrock of traditional unionism. Or what we get are cosmetic exercises such as the plan for Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge to spend more time in Scotland telling us how much they love us. Because having an extremely wealthy and over-pampered pair of aristocrats patronising them is exactly what the average Scottish punter feels is missing from their life.
We learned this weekend that following their meeting with Gordie Broon, who must have told them that the “precious union” ™ was well and truly gubbed even with his latest attempt at Broontervening, the closest thing that the Royal family have got to normal humans Will-n-Kate are being “deployed” to save the union, as though they were combatants being sent on a military campaign to subdue the restless natives in a remote corner of the Empire. Which is exactly how Downing Street and the Royal Household see it.
What we can expect to see being deployed in this campaign include a wardrobe of extremely expensive designer frocks, a considerable quantity of kiltage, and several thousand megatons of radioactive BBC weapons grade sycophancy. They’re trashing the convention (which admittedly was only ever a pretence) that the royal family don’t meddle in democratic politics in the hope that they can prevent Scotland from voting to extricate itself from Brexit. I don’t seem to recall them going around the UK in 2016 on a pro-European charm offensive. Their silence then was deafening.
According to the Sunday Times the royals are taking action because they believe that the politicians are losing Scotland and the Windsors think that the union is theirs. It’s another tone deaf London and Anglo-centric view on how Scotland can be “managed”. Apparently what is needed in order to save the union and prevent Scottish independence is giving some posho unionists with titles and Highland estates more opportunities to dress up like Harry Lauder. Not so much “Stop Your Tickling Jock” as “Stop Your demands for an adult conversation about British constitutional politics Jock. ”
Most independence supporters see independence as the best route for long term improvements to Scotland’s democracy, economy, climate, and socialequality. This ploy is the antithesis to all of those things. It’s the very definition of elitist and out of touch. It would be harder to find a better way for the British state to show that it’ not listening and it doesn’t care.
NEW MODERATION POLICY
In the wake of recent events I am determined that this site will not become a home for bigots and conspiracy theorists. They will not be welcome here. Moderation is the most stressful part of running a blog, but this site is going to continue to make the positive case for independence. With this in mind as of today a new moderation policy is in force.
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