Wednesday, 24 July 2019

The Scottish establishment is wrong about Brexit and Boris



There is a conventional wisdom in Scotland about politics that everyone agrees on. It doesn’t much matter which party the Scottish establishment support, they still hold the same assumptions. The problem is that this same Scottish establishment has been wrong about everything ever since they came up with the idea that the Scottish Parliament would kill off the SNP.

Those who write for Scottish newspapers and the people who are interviewed on television are nearly all Remainers. They think that it’s a good thing if public spending in Scotland increases. While they may agree or disagree with Scottish independence, they do so in such a way that they form a consensus with Scottish nationalism. None of them think that the UK is “one nation indivisible” like the USA, Germany, France, Japan and nearly every other nation state on earth. Their biggest concern is not to inflame Scottish nationalism and so they think the solution to every political question in Scotland is to appease the SNP.


 The Scottish establishment thinks of the UK as if it were a three-hundred-year-old EU. Scotland is a member of the UK just like the France is a member of the EU. It is for this reason that they came up with the “Better Together” strategy that nearly cost us our country. Putting forward the advantages of Remaining while emphasising the costs of leaving, is not going to win in the long run. Independence movements throughout history have been willing to go through wars to achieve their goal. A few months of economic difficulty even a few years of economic decline would be worth it to any self-respecting SNP supporter.

So long as the Scottish establishment thinks of Scotland as a country like France that happens to be in a union with the other parts of the UK, then they have already conceded the argument. If you think that Scotland is a country like France, why wouldn’t you want Scotland to be independent like France? Why should Scotland be in that rare class of countries that are not independent? Is it because we are somehow second rate?

The problem with the “pro UK” Scottish establishment is that they watch too much rugby. They love to have their days at Murrayfield belting out Flower of Scotland while not quite meaning what they sing. But they only encouraged those who did mean it.

The SNP play the patriotic card. It’s a very strong card indeed. The thin gruel of appeasement and subsidy won’t win in the end, nor does it deserve to. The Better Together argument could equally have been used by the USSR to discourage Latvia from leaving. After all they had a shared currency and no doubt leaving the Soviet Union was disruptive.

But as the Scottish establishment shares the SNP’s assumptions about Scotland and the UK, it really doesn’t have a respectable intellectual argument left to use. All that is left is to concede the argument gradually. It’s the post-war declinist consensus that was overthrown in 1979 only to be resurrected by the pessimism of Philip Hammond and the wet mush and muddle of Theresa May.

We begin with the Scottish Parliament as some sort of Hadrian’s wall to keep back the Scottish nationalist hordes, only to find that a few years later they own it and use it to do the very thing it was built to prevent.

Why would anyone listen to Gordon Brown about anything? He was wrong about devolution. He thinks that if we just give the Scottish Parliament a few more powers the SNP will lose their support. This is like thinking if only we had given the Germans a few more bits of Czechoslovakia we would have prevented war in 1939.

The only way to defeat the SNP is to change the assumptions of the argument. With the assumptions that are shared by nearly everyone who writes and talks about Scottish politics, the SNP win in the end.

They all think that Remaining was the key to keeping the UK intact. We mustn’t inflame Scottish opinion. We mustn’t make the SNP angry.
But the Remainer Scottish establishment can’t think through the logic of Brexit. The reason is that Remain used a “Better Together” argument and was defeated by a patriotic sovereignty argument. It’s because the Scottish establishment feel nearly no patriotism for the UK whatsoever that they can’t understand this. Almost no one feels any patriotism for the EU. This meant that the Remain argument only had a little bit on the supposed advantages of an organization that is little loved in Britain and a lot on how it would be disastrous if Britain dared to leave.

Remainers kept telling Brits that we couldn’t possibly manage outside the EU, that every disaster possible would follow. But the only patriotic response to this is that we’ve been through worse and will no doubt manage again. “We’ll show them” was the correct answer to the Remain campaign, which is why we did show them.

It is just this patriotic argument about Britain that we have needed to defeat Scottish nationalism.

Apparently, Boris Johnson will inflame Scottish opinion so much that we are all going to vote for the SNP. I strongly suspect Ruth Davidson thinks this. Gordon Brown thinks this. Alex Massie thinks this. But I wonder if Nicola Sturgeon thinks this.

The SNP desperately wants the UK to remain in the EU. As I have argued repeatedly for years, leaving the EU is the best way for the UK to become truly united as indeed we were prior to our joining. Scots were as patriotic about Britain as anyone else when we faced great challenges together. The UK is a great country with a great history and a great future. We need no other story to defeat secessionists, just as the USA needed no other story.

Boris Johnson is patriotic. He is also a fine communicator. He is by far the best writer in Parliament and incomparable as a public speaker. His optimism and can-do attitude may just be what is needed to get us out of the EU completely and then make a success of it. There is a great story to tell about the adventure that might just be beginning. We could leave the EU behind and become a beacon of free-trade and democracy and once more an example of hope for the peoples of Europe who, for the most part, are unwilling to be united under French and German rule.

Gordon Brown et al will pretend to be intelligent about Boris. They will tell us that we need to make more concessions to the SNP and that the EU is crucial if the UK will be kept intact. But Brown has been wrong about everything for decades as has the whole Scottish establishment. When Nicola Sturgeon says next that Boris will make Scottish independence more likely, it’s worth remembering that she wouldn’t be saying it if she thought it were true.
   

31 comments:

  1. Accepting the body of the above text as premises, that last sentence non sequitur.

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  3. Clearly the fundamentalist wing of the unionist cabal are at the "Patriotic" phase of acceptance of change....

    If you need to write Patriotic so many times in a blog post, you may have lost the arument some time back.

    The idea that Johnson is not a poster boy for independence in Scotland passes zero scrutiny. The man is a PR liability, he is everything the majority of Scot's hate but hey Effie thinks Sturgeon is lying when she says Johnson helps independence.

    You only need to ask Labour supporters in Scotland, where now 3 out of 10 Labour Party members support independence. Imagine how that translates into the electorate.

    Even the Colonel cannot stand Johnson having banned him from coming to the Tory conference. Are you saying Ruthie was wrong too Effie ?

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  4. Scotland are mostly remainers....who knew, its like they had a vote recently and 2 out of 3 people voted Remain.

    Effie:- You are wrong, accept the better judgement of the English and Welsh electorate.

    Scotland: Look at the job losses and projected collapse of GDP etc It looks bad and we like the EU.

    Effie: Accept what London says or you are not patriotic to the UK.

    Scotland:......

    Effie: You should abandon all your national sport to prove you are patriotic

    Scotland:.......


    Even for you comparing nationalists to Nazi Germany appeasment is quite a nasty touch. You'll find Effie that despite your views on national sport , the vast majority(80+%) see themselves as Scottish first and foremost. Its around 68% who see themselves as Scottish only.

    What you are in reality offering is we all just move to support England or just trash all national sport and become the UK for everything ? If its the latter I'm sure the Brexiteers will be quite surprised to see that taking back control meant losing their national team. It's like you are trying to turn the UK into what you all said the EU had become a monster for...Have you really thought this through ?

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  5. Mr. Boris Johnson shares with Mr
    Tony Blair the gift of believing sincerely whatever may be coming out of his mouth at the time. A relative of mine working in the Prison Service had a good number of such individuals under his care. The ability to take in oneself is the major premise of taking in others. It is an essential gift for any confidence trickster, and abundantly apparent in the zig-zagging career of Mr. Boris Johnson. This, coupled with his inability to discern the boundary between private life and public, and his indifferent (to put it at its most charitable) record in public office, will make his term as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom extremely problematic for that polity.

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  6. You don't appease Danes by paying Dane-geld. The Scottish Parliament was a huge mistake for Scotland, but a win for England as it destroyed Scottish Labour, and thus their power in Parliament.

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  7. Mr. Johnson's myriad twists and turns, behind the affectation of bluster and buffoonery, have one consistent theme; how can the present juncture advance the cause of Boris Johnson? He is, in the words of John Osborne's Colonel Reel, a Patriot for Me.

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  8. I started off being appalled by this article .... but it grew on me. Effie's desire for Scotland to lose its 1200 year old identity to become a mere region of a "one nation UK" (effectively, given the prevailing dynamic, Greater England) like Cumbria, Northumberland or East Anglia should be put to the test.

    This is the choice to be put before the people of Scotland;

    WHAT SHOULD SCOTLAND'S FUTURE BE?
    a. A sovereign independent country (x)
    b. Complete subsumation into the English state ( )

    I suspect that, faced with the loss of all indicators of Scottish national identity, the vote for independence would be crushing. But then, I don't think giving Scots a say in the matter is what Effie envisages. I reckon she envisages it all being done by diktat from a Tory government in Westminster that Scotland did not vote for.

    Unionism is clearly an existential risk to Scotland and the Scots. Effie's article should be disseminated to every voter in Scotland to get this point out to them.

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  9. Mea culpa: Colonel Redl.

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  10. Effie, you are spot on as usual. Boris is the best leader we have had for generations. The way your article has stirred up the usual cess pit of ignorant Nats proves you are right. After 3 years of torture, it looks as if we will get our country, Great Britain, back, and she with the smelly nickers put back in her box.

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    1. Time will tell Mr Anon, 98 days.....

      Put your name up so we can come back to you or so you can collect your plaudits.

      Boris will be a disaster. His own party will now make sure of that.

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    2. The irony of some one posting "your article has stirred up the usual cess pit of ignorant Nats" and then posting "she with the smelly nickers put back in her box" is striking. The poster no doubt doesn't see themself as an abusive unionist troll but the evidence is clear.

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  11. A note to the Editrix:
    Anon's disgusting last sentence puts him beyond the boundaries of civilized discourse. I earnestly entreat you, in the name of plain decency, to remove this foul jibe and block its author.

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    1. It would seem that Effie is still at lunch. Let us hope that this gobbet of puerile filth will have been wiped away before teatime.

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    2. I cannot conceal my disappointment. In the past, Effie has readily removed contributions comme bon lui semble. I had always seen North British Unionism as an erroneous but perfectly legitimate viewpoint, with Effie's contributions representing the more genteel end of the NB spectrum. She managed, for example, to express dislike for the Gaelic and those who speak it without use of the T-word or reference to bodily fluids. It would now seem however, that language of a kind that would shame an ill-bred adolescent is acceptable on this forum. NB Unionism is clearly transmutating from a viewpoint into a state of mind - and that a very disturbing one.

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  12. Fascinating and very intelligent article.so right on many points.like attacking a boris supporter two days into his premiership. A waste of time as the only thing changing at the moment is doubters in boris as having a rethink and supporting. Establishing the key points of the union is potent.what scotland offers and contributes to the union a very clever approach.attacking over spending,big government,the conundrum of scotland joining the euro have no traction.

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    1. The above rather incoherent post smacks of being a "bot". Looks like the unionist establishment are going he'll for leather to flood cyberspace with faux Johnson propaganda. A bit incompetently though ;)

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  13. Ahead of the curve again, Effie. I was very against Johnson, but after his first PMQs, I have warmed to him. He may be just the man we need at this time

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    1. Wow!!! That was a quick conversion. Are you Ruth Davidson by any chance?

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    2. It was quite quick. But watching him chew up and spit out the SNP showed his merit.
      No, I'm not Ruth Davidson, just that we're both adaptable when things change. That's human and intelligent.

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    3. No Anon, that's unprincipled and hypocritical.

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    4. So stick with your mistakes. Evolution will sort it, not me

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    5. Unfortunately we're currently stuck with your's. Hopefully not for too much longer;)

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    6. You misunderstand.

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  14. Unionism in the UK is in as much trouble as it could be at this point, its fundamentalist followers can sense it the same as the rest of us. There are varying levels of support for the breakup of the UK in each of the 4 constituent countries. Even in England now the noise is rising.

    It is apowerful force when you are under its spell and so you get powerful emotions when its under threat and moreso when its from all sides.

    Its the unionist and brexit side who have continously threatened civil disorder. It's the same people who rampaged through Glasgow post the referendum result. Thats exactly what i expect, they will dismatle it themselves as the Tories have doen to date. Wreck the place economically and it will just disintigrate.

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    1. Unionism is indeed in trouble - and so, as a consequence, are the rest of us. Unionism for generations had no need for any articulate justification, since it representated overwhelming force. Its leading exponents these days still cherish the illusion that they still have that force. While such may yet obtain the other side of the Channel, in the world beyond Britain is yet another middle-ranking power that needs to keep its wits about it. As a consequence, the inherent instability of this England-writ-large polity is now gathering force. Many Unionists - a majority, I suspect - are unable to grasp what is happening. Frustrated and disappointed, they are in an increasingly dangerous mood. While some of the gallant keyboard warriors will probably never go further than anonymous toilet talk, George Square on that heart-breaking may have been a foretaste of what we may expect. I pray that I may be wrong.

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  15. Effie, you really need to put this prospectus to the Tories. Ruth Davidson desperately needs the advice you can offer. The wishy-washy appeasement doesn't work. Please, do get involved - we always need more activists.

    We need a lot less "we are proud Scots, but" and a lot more "there's no such thing as Scotland, it's just all Britain".

    We should have Tory banners in every field leading up to the next election saying "No more Scotland" or "Scotland isn't real". Hell, I'd be over the moon with "Brexit - not your bloody decision to make."

    We'd take the fight to the Nats, unambiguously. No more humbug. Let the Scots know who is in charge, and what we actually think of them.

    I think sensible Scots would flock behind it. They're a craven people at heart, and they just need to wake up and realise that they only imagine themselves to be Scottish, and that with a little less R-rolling - and those ghastly choking sounds they make when pronouncing their word for a lake - they too could be British.

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    1. You are an idiot. Period! We really need a man (a straight man) at the helm of Scottish Tory politics. Davidson is a complete embarrassment to Scotland. What has happened to our nation once renowned for our military capability? Led by Lesbians and second rate jumped up toon councillors, I and many others cringe at this. Time for change.

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  16. The antidote to Scottish Nationalism is British Nationalism.

    I know which one I choose and which Nationalism makes the most sense. Why would I vote for Scottish Nationalism when they seek to dilute Scottishness and Britishness and hand the same rights to newcomers that my family have worked generations to earn? That isn't nationalism. At least the aims of British Nationalism are consistent with it being a Nationalism, even if it ultimately falls short of those aims.

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