Saturday 28 November 2020

The SNP would hold indyref2 during a war


Almost everything you can buy that happens to have been produced in Scotland is labelled Scottish and has a Scottish flag on it. There are things that it is perfectly reasonable to describe as Scottish such as the rather wonderful white puddings and skirlie, but no other country in Europe labels carrots as Polish or French. No other country plasters flags on things quite as much as we do.

The average Nicola Sturgeon sentence contains two mentions of Scotland and three mentions of Scottish, but it is never acknowledged that Scotland is part of the United Kingdom and indeed that when offered a choice we chose to remain in the United Kingdom by a considerable margin. Every Scottish product can equally correctly be described as British, just as every Scottish person is a British citizen. You may not like this. You may wish it were otherwise, but it nevertheless is the truth. To suppose that skirlie is Scottish, but not British is like supposing that a bottle of wine is New South Welsh, but not Australian.

No one seriously would wish to put a Union Flag on a bottle of vaccine, not least because it would serve no purpose. As a joke it is amusing to suppose that Scottish nationalists would have to acknowledge the Britishness of the vaccine before being given it, but when you go to the doctor’s surgery to get a vaccine, when have you ever even seen the packaging? You look away as someone puts a needle in your arm and that’s it.

But as usual Humza Yousaf misunderstands what flag waving nationalism is and does so in a way that is typically offensive. When a United States aircraft carrier has a United States flag, it is not expressing flag waving nationalism. To suppose that it does so is to suppose that every country in the world that flies its own flag is expressing nationalism. But this is not nationalism it is the ordinary way that any nation state expresses its identity. We only use nationalism about nation states when they are nativist or far right. We use nationalist to describe places that want to secede or else form a new whole. But the UK wants to do neither of these things. So, Mr Yousaf must think the UK is either nativist or far right. Does he think every other country in the world that flies a flag is the same? Perhaps he should tell Mr Biden that he is far right.

It is perfectly reasonable that Scotland too should express its Scottishness and include Scottish flags on products. Parts of some European countries such as Bavaria do likewise. But Bavaria acknowledges that it is part of Germany and flies the German flag too. If Bavarians ceased to fly the German flag and failed to acknowledge that they were Germans and failed to recognise that they received any help or money from Germany, it would be considered not merely weird, it would be considered to be dangerously nationalistic. Watch out for the next Beer Hall Putsch in Munich.

Scotland this year is predicted to be running a 26-28% deficit. If Nicola Sturgeon had been granted an independence referendum by Theresa May, we would perhaps be independent right now. Who would have paid for Scotland? Do Scottish nationalists suppose that suddenly Scotland would have been making a surplus just by putting a cross on a ballot paper?

This year has been tough, but how much tougher would it have been if the SNP had won in 2014 or in any of the subsequent years when they demanded a second go. But there is zero acknowledgement that we have even been helped by the British Government or indeed that there is a bullet and we dodged it.

It’s all very well to suppose that an independent Scotland could have afforded just as generous support for those who can’t go to work because of Covid and that Scottish businesses would have received just as much, but this is to ignore the reality just as much as Nicola Sturgeon ignores the reality that Scotland is a part of Britain. A new country running a 26-28% deficit would not have been able to borrow at all.  

Even if Scotland did not contribute to Trident, we would still have to pay a percentage of GDP in order to join NATO. If on the other hand, we failed to join NATO would our defence amount to blue face paint and pointed stakes? So where do the savings come from that would have made up the 26-28% deficit? What would Sturgeon’s SNP have had to cut?

In any normal country Scotland would fly its own flag while sometimes flying the Union flag. That’s how it used to be when I was growing up. We would acknowledge that we live in Scotland, but that Scotland was part of the UK. We would accept that some of our achievements were purely Scottish, but that others we did with the other parts of Britain together. We would recognise that some aspects of life were funded by Scottish taxes alone, but that others were funded jointly by the British Government.

The dishonesty of the SNP is that they receive Treasury money and indeed demand even more without ever acknowledging it.  

Scotland does not have a real deficit. The gap between what we spend and what we earn is paid off every year by the Treasury. SNP voters treat this as our due (“I’ve paid my taxes”) without acknowledging that if we had voted to leave the UK, we wouldn’t get this money, even if we had always paid our taxes. We wouldn’t get a state pension from the UK if we left but would have to rely on a Scottish Government running a deficit so large that we would have all had to live on skirlie.

It is in the interest of the everyone that as many people as possible get vaccinated as quickly as possible. Even if Scotland were independent and couldn’t afford to buy the vaccine it would have been in the interest of everyone to give it free to Scots. But let’s be absolutely clear with or without a flag on the bottle Scotland could have afforded neither to research a vaccine nor to buy it. We are only able to afford to buy Christmas presents this year because we didn’t listen to the SNP’s continual demands for independence.

Sometime next year while we are dealing with one of the worst economic crises in hundreds of years and perhaps still while Covid is infecting people, Nicola Sturgeon wants us to queue up to vote on independence. How many people would we infect while doing so?  Is it possible to imagine a worse time to start a new nation state?

If you think putting a Union Flag on a bottle of vaccine is a stupid idea, how do you describe holding an independence referendum during a pandemic? The SNP are so obsessed they would want to have indyref2 during a war.