Sunday, 19 September 2021

Indyref; or, ‘tis seven years since


I used to write something on the anniversary of the independence referendum as a sort of parody of Scott’s “Waverley; or, ‘tis sixty years since”. Indyref; or, ‘tis seven years since. The idea was to compare grieving Jacobites toasting their lost cause and their king oer the water with the Scottish nationalists celebrating the fact that they got 45 (actually 44.7) and their desire to embrace an 18th century rebellion that was about restoring the Stuarts to the throne of the United Kingdom. It merely showed how similar Scots are to other Brits who also celebrate defeats (The Charge of the Light Brigade, Dunkirk etc) more than victories. Losing romantically is what makes us British.

A seventh anniversary has become a tiresome thing however. It is not long enough to signal a change of heart. The point of Scott’s looking back over sixty years was that he could reflect on a Scottish society changed beyond all recognition precisely because of the defeat of the Jacobites. The Scottish Enlightenment brought with it, great minds, intellect, reason and prosperity because we had rejected the Stuart’s divine right of kings, feudalism and Catholicism. Culloden ended the one-hundred-year British civil war with it the final triumph of Parliament and the Protestant work ethic. It was this that created modern Britain and with it modern Scotland.



Sixty years later Scott’s readers could look back romantically on “The 45” precisely because they were content that Scotland and England had formed the Kingdom of Great Britain and that this had given them a constitutional monarch rather than absolutism. Scotland had become industrious, thrifty and hardworking. Jacobitism was such a thing of the past that we could celebrate its heroism and glorify its defeat. No one wanted it to come back again.

When the various peoples of Europe discovered their nationalism in 19th century there was no equivalent in Scotland. Scottish heroes like Bruce and Wallace were celebrated because Scottish history was seen as leading step by step towards our having a united monarchy in 1603 and then a single country called Great Britain in 1707. Bruce was no more a symbol of Scottish nationalism or a desire for secession than Clovis the First is today a symbol of Frankish nationalism or the desire for the independence of northern Gaul.

Scottish nationalism was dead issue in Scotland until approximately 2007. There had been some opportunists prior to that who flirted with fascism in the 1930s and selfishness in the 1970s, but they were no threat to the United Kingdom. Scottish voters did not vote on constitutional lines. Most voters deserted the Conservative Party in the 1980s but it was because they disagreed with their policies rather than because they viewed the Tories as English.

The beginning of nationalism came with Labour. The complaint was that it was unfair to have a Conservative Government in Westminster when Scotland voted Labour. Of course, it is no more unfair if a part of Scotland votes Conservative, but gets a Labour Government in Scotland. It wasn’t the SNP that created Scottish nationalism, it was the whole Scottish establishment and media who began to carve up each General Election into how Scotland voted and the Government that Scotland had imposed on it.

No one in the United States thinks this way, nor does France or Germany. But the anti-Tory grievance in Scotland was gradually transformed into the idea that we were not part of a United Kingdom that had to accept the will of the majority, but a country in our own right that should get a parliament that exactly reflects how we voted.

This change of mindset that began in the 1980s and 1990s was completely different from how we viewed ourselves before. No one complained that Scotland didn’t get what it voted for in elections prior to that, because no one particularly investigated. When we voted to stay in the EC in 1975 no one cared that the Western Isles said No.

It is the viewing of yourself as separate that fuels separatism. This wasn’t created by the SNP but rather by those Scots who could not bear the fact that Labour kept losing elections though they won in Scotland (now they win in neither). In any other country in the world if such an attitude were allowed to form in one of its parts, a desire for separatism would follow.

Even today some people who claim to support the UK still insist on viewing everything through the lens of nationalism. They insist on treating Scotland as separate. They think that it is somehow helpful to treat the UK as a loose grouping of four countries rather than a single nation state.

If we continue to view Scotland as separate, then this justifies the Scottish Parliament being able to vote for an independence referendum whenever it wishes. No part of any other nation state in the world has this right. But in Britain we feel we must concede it because of the nationalism Labour created that did not exist when I was a child. It means that the UK is continually threated. We can form AUKUS and defend the Pacific against the Chinese, but we cannot even defend ourselves and one more SNP electoral victory is more of a threat to AUKUS than any number of Chinese missiles. We far more need a pact to defeat the SNP and a defence budget to be spent on it.

I hope that eventually someone writes Indyref: or ‘tis, sixty years since. That person would be looking back on an odd spasm in British history where it briefly looked as if the whole course of turning a Celtic speaking island into an English-speaking country was overturned because some Scots disliked Tories. But we are not going to get there because Scotland runs a deficit and lacks an economic plan for secession. We are not going to get there because the SNP can’t run an ambulance service. We are only going to get there by a change in our mindset.

Sixty years after the Jacobite rebellion no one in Scotland wanted it to be repeated because they could see the benefits of the Scottish Enlightenment, reason and prosperity. Our task is to make the United Kingdom so prosperous, free and efficient that no one too would think to leave. We must think of ourselves as one people and cease thinking that we live in four separate nations. Only in this way will we defeat separatism.

Tuesday, 14 September 2021

Scotland is poorer because of Sturgeon not Brexit

 

Nicola Sturgeon thinks the wicked Tories came up with a cunning plan to stop Scotland becoming independent. They invented Brexit, which was designed to make Scotland poorer and more dependent on the UK. Having done their worst to make Scotland poorer these despicable Tories now dare to say we can’t afford separation.

Sturgeon tries to present herself as the down to earth grown up who runs Scotland with her reasonableness. But anyone who engages with Scottish nationalists realises quickly that there are rather more cranks and conspiracy theorists than at a convention for those who refuse to believe that the Moon landings took place because JFK was not shot and the footage was faked by the CIA. Does she really believe this stuff?



The Conservative Government did not want Brexit. It campaigned against it. The whole British establishment argued against Leave, but the voters didn’t listen. It is true that people like me argued for Brexit as it would make Scottish independence harder to achieve, but this argument was dismissed at the time. The opposite was held to be true by Remainers that Brexit would make Scottish independence more likely. It is only now years after the event when it has become apparent how difficult Brexit makes Scottish independence, that even Sturgeon has come round to this thinking. But it is not for the reasons she suggests.

We voted to leave the EU in 2016. We actually left in January 2020. The transition period ended in December 2020. So, we have had a little over 8 months completely outside of the EU and the transition. How does Sturgeon know that Brexit has made Scotland poorer? The UK growth rate in the second quarter of 2021 was 22%.

The ten-year growth rate of the UK economy is like a flat line until we reach 2020. The vote to leave the EU doesn’t even cause a blip. It’s only when we reach 2020 that there is an enormous dip greater than anything seen in decades. But this had nothing whatsoever to do with leaving the EU.

Whatever David Cameron and George Osborne dreamed up to convince us to vote Remain, it was as nothing compared to the pandemic. Whether we had voted to Leave or Remain we would have had the most enormous economic downturn, because we were all forced to stay at home. Leaving the EU looks like a rounding error compared to us being unable to go to work.

What effect will leaving the EU have on the UK economy in the long term? It’s far too early to tell. The economic argument for staying or leaving is reasonably balanced.

Being a member of the EU gave us access to the EU’s single market. But there was a catch. We had to pay a membership fee and we could not trade freely with anyone the EU did not have a trade deal with. Instead, we had to pay the Common External Tariff. We also had to agree to whatever rules and regulations the EU imposed on our economy.

Being outside the EU means we can in theory trade freely with everyone outside the EU, plus as a consequence of the deal we made with the EU we can still trade more or less freely with EU member states. We no longer pay the EU a fee, nor do we have to pay the Common External Tarriff and we no longer have to follow EU rules though we can do so if we wish.

The balance is between complete free trade with the EU versus the possibility of trading freely with the rest of the world. The EU is geographically nearer to us and it will take time for us to develop free trade deals with the rest of the world. But in the long run there is no reason to suppose that Brexit will make either the UK or Scotland poorer.

Theoretically the UK could become a freer, less regulated economy with more free trade deals than the EU. This would make us more prosperous. Whether it happens is a matter for Government and business.

Sturgeon complains that Brexit has led to a decline in EU migration, which Scotland needs. But net migration has increased sharply to the UK since 2019. Moreover, there is free movement within the UK and Sturgeon could set out to welcome some of the 60 million British citizens who live outside Scotland. For some strange reason she is reluctant to do so.

There were 715,000 migrants to the UK in 2020. How many more does Sturgeon need to fill jobs in Scotland. It would take approximately 7 years for this number of migrants to double the Scottish population, so if Sturgeon is feeling deprived all she has to do is attract them to Scotland or is it that she only wants Europeans?

The truth is that Brexit has not made Scotland poorer. Sturgeon is merely using it because she hopes Remainers in Scotland are still angry about the UK leaving even though Scotland voted to stay.

But unfortunately, this argument can also be applied to a Scottish independence referendum. Why should the Borders or Shetland be dragged out of the UK against it’s will? If Sturgeon would not allow a part of Scotland to have a vote on separation, why should the British Government allow a part of the UK such a vote? If it democratic to disallow a vote in the Borders even if 99% of voters wanted to stay, then it can hardly matter how many vote for the SNP. There is nothing undemocratic about saying No. Sturgeon would do likewise in Scotland.   

The real cause of Scotland’s running a deficit over 20% is that Sturgeon’s Government spends more than it earns. It would be perfectly possible for the SNP Government to live within its means, but this would involve budgeting rather than merely relying on the UK Treasury to send us free money every year.

Sturgeon’s popularity is in part because she gives Scots ever increasing public spending and free things that English people have to pay for. The Scottish electorate thinks that living within your means is something for those wicked Tories. So, if Sturgeon tried to cut spending, she’d be rapidly called a yellow Tory. But it is this and this alone that makes Scotland unable to afford independence. It is this also that makes us poorer economically.

The UK is safe so long as Sturgeon keeps splurging and wasting public money on ships that won’t sail and airports no one wants. The only danger is if Scottish nationalists grow up, accept that we spend more than we earn and resolve to do something about it. But that is as likely as finding JFK alive and well on the Moon.

Sunday, 12 September 2021

Turning back the dinghies

 

It is surprisingly difficult to get to the UK legally. Even a tourist visa requires you to fill in lots of forms and demonstrate that you have enough money to visit here without there being a risk of you staying. To obtain the right to live and work here and especially to obtain a British passport is harder still. You have to pass various tests, pay thousands of pounds and after many years you get your passport. The alternative to all of these legal methods is to get in a rubber dinghy sail here and walk up the beach.

Britain has a policy of making immigration difficult in order to limit it. The legal route for immigrants could hardly be stricter and more expensive if we tried. But it only limits those who wish to come here legally. It does nothing to stop those who don’t.



There is a legitimate debate about immigration. Some people believe we should allow anyone who wishes to come to Britain to do so. We are all human beings. Why should there be borders at all?

We could say that no one requires a visa to come to Britain and we could issue passports to anyone who arrives and says they want one. We could do more than this. We could actively search for people all around the world who wish to come here and send planes to bring them.

The other side of the debate argues that we should take no asylum seekers, do everything we can to stop those who try to arrive here illegally and send back everyone who breaks the rules.  

What would be the result of unlimited immigration? It would radically alter the demographics of Britain. For instance, after the Second World War Polish people migrated into territory where Germans had been living for many centuries. The Germans were forced to leave. Afterwards what had been Germany became Poland. It ceased to be a German speaking place and became Polish speaking. The German culture that had existed there for centuries came to an end. This is an example of unlimited immigration.

Changes in demographics can also happen over a longer period. The Celtic population of Britain that existed before the Romans was gradually replaced with an Anglo-Saxon population with the Celts pushed westwards. Celtic Britain ceased to exist. The Celtic language and culture became a minority.

Britain like most other countries has always had demographic change. The Celts after all were immigrants too and replaced those who made Stonehenge and Scara Brae. But that is not to say that the Celts ought to have rejoiced in being supplanted or delighted in becoming a minority.

Since 1945 we have been experiencing one of the greatest demographic changes in our history. While previous waves of migration were from across the North Sea, now people from all over the world have been coming here in large numbers. Many of these people have made great contributions to our society. They are our friends and neighbours and fellow countrymen. It is foolish to oppose all immigration, not least because each of us has an immigrant in our family tree.

But still we must recognise that Britain has moved from being a monocultural country where 99% of the population were from families who had been here for at least a thousand years to a multicultural country where in some cities the majority have parents born abroad. We must be honest about this and the direction in which we are heading, otherwise we cannot debate the issue at all.

One of the reasons for Britain being successful as a multicultural country is that we have been able to limit migration. This means that those who arrive here have the chance to integrate and mix with everyone else. This would be less likely to happen if migration were unlimited as this would enable linguistic communities to develop who felt no need to learn English rather as the Anglo-Saxons felt no need to learn Celtic. But even limited migration will gradually very radically alter the demographics of Britain.

From the perspective of those living in 1945 the year 2045 a mere hundred years later would present a vision of Britain that many would find shocking and indeed quite unbelievable. They would find it difficult to understand how a Britain that could prevent the Germans invading in 1940 could fail to prevent people arriving here illegally in rubber dinghies. They would walk certain streets and wonder if they were in Britain at all. They would ask if Britain had been invaded by a foreign power.

But is there a way to limit migration still further and is it something we ought to try to do?

Some countries in Europe have very little immigration. Japan, Korea and Taiwan likewise remain overwhelmingly the same as they were in 1945. Poland lost 17% of its population in World War Two, Belarus lost 25%. The United Kingdom by contrast lost 0.94%. But while neither Poland nor Belarus thought it necessary to replace these losses with people from abroad, Britain argued that we required mass immigration to replace our losses.

Football fans in Poland and Hungary rudely boo England players taking the knee and demonstrate racist antipathy to these players, but I think what they are really saying is that we don’t want our country to become like yours even if that means we win fewer football matches.

There are very few non-Poles in Poland and most of these are from neighbouring countries. Polish is a notoriously difficult language. If you move there, you won’t find documents translated into your language. You won’t get much in the way of benefits and anyway the Polish Government does its very best to prevent Poland’s demographics changing.

It would be far easier for those in dinghies coming to Britain to just get on a train to Warsaw, but they are not interested. Britain is attractive partly because we speak English, but perhaps more importantly because there are communities from all over the world waiting to welcome newcomers and help them to get started. We are far less racist than the average Pole and far more friendly to migrants. Much of what ordinary Poles say to each other about immigration would be socially unacceptable here.

It matters little if a few thousand people arrive in dinghies. It matters little if twenty or thirty thousand arrive from Afghanistan. There is a good case for helping them. There is a humanitarian case that can be made for each individual that comes here, simply because he is a human being.

But cumulatively each of these things that matter little matter a lot. For while places like Poland remain as they were we change beyond all recognition from what we were even a short time ago. Some people welcome this. Perhaps they are right to do so. It looks as if the whole of western Europe is going to become much more multicultural in the coming decades just like the United States.

There is a whole ideology dedicated to preventing us from even expressing concern about how Britain has changed and will change still further. It has become the unforgivable sin to object and so the change will continue and indeed accelerate. We can no more stop it than we can stop the dinghies.

To seriously stop or even much limit migration would require a mindset that exists in some countries but does not exist in ours. It would require us to no longer be reliant on workers from abroad but instead have a birth-rate like we did in 1945. Turning back the dinghies is like trying to turn back the tide.

 

Friday, 10 September 2021

Shame on Sturgeon for betraying women

 

Until relatively recently the UK Government was planning similar changes to the Gender Recognition Act that are now being proposed by the SNP. But after listening to the concerns of women it decided to reverse course. At present it is necessary to obtain a medical diagnosis and to wait at least two years before being allowed to legally change gender. That situation will remain in England and Wales, but not for us in Scotland. The SNP proposes to allow anyone to self-declare their gender before a notary or justice of the peace and for the process to take around six months.

Nicola Sturgeon of course wants Scotland to be different. This is the main reason why we have to wear masks while people in England don’t. It enables her to put up posters in airports with someone in a kilt telling passengers that in Scotland you have to wear a mask. But it’s not just that. The SNP have embraced woke with genuine fervour and are now seriously out of step with what most Scots of all political persuasions believe about gender.



I have long argued that the distinction between sex and gender is invented and reflects nothing real in nature. It is absurd to suppose that a bull has a different gender to its sex. But to suppose that people have a distinction that is not present in the animal kingdom is to suppose that we have a radically different biology to animals and somehow evolved a distinction between gender and sex that they lack. At what point did that occur and if it occurred millions of years ago why have we only recently discovered its existence?

I believe that the concept of gender dysphoria has in part resulted from people being told that it is possible to change gender. Prior to that it was simply not an option that occurred to anyone. We had to accept who we were. But I recognise that there are trans people who disagree with me and who genuinely wish to change gender.

Even those of us who do not think it is possible for a man to become a woman must recognise that gender dysphoria is real. But the correct response to someone believing something that is false ought not to be to tell him that it is true. This is to treat someone who believes he is Napoleon as if he really did win the Battle of Austerlitz.

But a trans person ought to be free to believe that men can become women so long as this freedom does not impinge on other people. I ought to be free to disagree on the same condition.

There are a variety of ways in which changing your gender identity might affect other people. We use gender to identify strangers. It is fundamental to our descriptions.  We have certain spaces such as changing rooms, groups and societies which are reserved for women. Certain jobs may only be available to women. There are certain rights that women have and the law may apply differently to women and to men. This means that who is considered by law to be a man or a woman has consequences for all of us. It affects other people.

I may disagree that it is possible to change gender, but I accept that it is a response to gender dysphoria that a free society should allow. But at least the requirement for a medical diagnosis meant that the person who wished to change gender had to seriously consider the issue and had to convince a doctor that the desire was genuine and of long standing. This process would make it less likely that people who legally change gender would be opportunists. It provided a safeguard.

The SNP would remove every safeguard. Now anyone without any diagnosis can simply declare that they have changed gender and after a few months become that gender. The difficulty though is this. According to the mantra: Trans women are women. There is considered to be no valid distinction between biological women and trans women. But this means that trans women must logically have all of the rights and privileges of biological females. It is here where the freedom of one group comes into conflict with another.

The SNP promises that it will listen to the concerns of women and that the rights and protections of women enjoyed at present will be protected. But how? The only way to do so is to apply these rights to biological females and to deny them to trans women who are biologically male. We could for instance say that women’s changing rooms are reserved for women who are female. Women who are male must go elsewhere. But if we were to do this it would make the legal change of gender redundant. There would be two classes of women. One which is male and one which is female. It amounts to what we have now. But if we are to keep that distinction, why bother changing gender in the first place? This would also fatally undermine the idea that trans women are really women. There would be a class of biological women who got to use the women’s changing room and trans women who gained none of the rights they had hoped for by changing gender.

This is the dilemma for the SNP. Either they protect the rights of the biologically female by excluding the biologically male or they allow the biologically male into women only spaces. The whole process of allowing self-declaration becomes pointless if you exclude biologically male women from women only spaces and refuse to give them women only rights. For this reason, the SNP trans agenda will force it to allow people with male anatomy into places which up to now have been exclusively used by people with female anatomy.

This means that your daughter may end up in a tent in a guide camp with a girl with male anatomy. This girl will physically be able to rape her and will have the strength to do it. All he has to do is self-declare that he is she. It means that a woman’s prison will allow women with male anatomy who have been convicted of rape to share a cell with a young mother. It means that a lesbian will be deemed to be transphobic if she objects to being the lover of a woman with male anatomy. It means that if a man marries a woman, he has never slept with he would have no grounds for divorce or even objection if he woke up with two plugs and no socket.

I think the vast majority of the Scottish public thinks that we are born boys and girls and that this cannot change. That there is no choice involved. While we wish to be tolerant of trans people and to treat them with compassion and respect, we don’t want our whole world turned upside down. We don’t wish to forced to believe things that we consider to be bizarre.

Nicola Sturgeon said “Shame on you” when Murdo Fraser mentioned the concerns that women have. It shows that women will not be listened to by her government. But when the inevitable consequences of allowing male anatomy into female only spaces becomes apparent, let us at least hope that Scots wake up and say to Sturgeon shame on you for betraying women.

Wednesday, 8 September 2021

A new wicked Tory Poll Tax?

 

The SNP has responded to the rise in National Insurance by calling it a poll tax on Scottish workers. The complaint is that the tax rise will be used to fund health and social care in England, which will mean Scottish tax payers paying for something they won’t use and for which they already pay in Scotland. This the SNP thinks amounts to poor Scots being charged twice.

There is something peculiarly grubby about this complaint. Scotland at the moment is running an enormous deficit, entirely funded by Treasury money. We received billions during the pandemic to fund furlough and to help struggling businesses. If English taxpayers took the attitude that we are not going to fund services in Scotland that we don’t use, then Scotland would have to either cut the services or attempt to pay for them by increases in taxation. The SNP argument is that it’s OK for England to pay for services that only Scots use, but it’s not OK for Scots to pay for services that only English people use.



There is a certain sort of Scot who the SNP is appealing to here. There are really some Scottish nationalists who think that Scotland pays more into the UK budget than we take out. It’s hard to see how these people can understand that Scotland is running a deficit if that were so. But no doubt they deny that we do. It is the same mentality that argued that it was Scotland’s oil and that we shouldn’t be sending one drop of it to England, but should keep it all for ourselves. The problem is that the fiscal transfers are going the other way now and have been doing so for decades.

The idea that an increase in National Insurance amounts to a poll tax will appeal to those aging demonstrators from the 1990s. But we were also paying National Insurance during the Thatcher years and no one thought to call it a poll tax then, nor indeed did the SNP until it was increased. But an increase in something does not change its nature. If a slightly higher National Insurance is a poll tax now, it must have been a poll tax all along, which is odd because not everyone pays it, and not everyone pays the same. It begins to look rather unlike a poll tax at all. Still, it stirs memories.

The objection that Scots will pay taxes for something that only benefits English people is anyway false. The way taxation works is that money raised across the UK including money raised by National Insurance is divided according to the Barnett Formula so that it funds Scotland. What this means is that Scotland will get back rather more from the increase in National Insurance than we pay in. Far from Scots being asked to pay twice for something we don’t use, we will pay once, but get more for our money than the English do. The SNP of course know this, but they can’t quite help complaining about funding old English people.

The money raised by this tax increase is to be used for health and social care. The SNP has also been complaining that this is telling the Scottish Government what to do with money sent by the Treasury. Health and social care are devolved issues. But the SNP Government already pays a certain amount on health and social care. It will now receive some more that must be used for these purposes. This will free up some of the money that is at present used for health and social care, which the SNP can spend on what it likes such as planning for an independence referendum, redecorating its headquarters or building ferries. So, there will no constraint whatsoever on what the SNP can do. It’s all just another fake grievance.

The SNP of course would like to create a Scotland that never sent any money whatsoever to England. This does not mean that they have anything against England or English people, it’s just they can’t stand there being tiny English flags on Big Ben and do everything they can to stop English plague victims spreading their filth into the pristine streets of Glasgow. But unfortunately for the SNP’s latest independence plan there is the fundamental problem that it is not us that is subsidising England, but rather England that is subsidising us.

It is completely normal in any country that fiscal transfers are made so that taxes raised in wealthier parts are used to help poorer parts. It is the same principle that means a wealthier person pays more tax than a poorer person. Likewise, we don’t complain that my taxes are used to fund healthcare even though I am never ill. So too, I might pay for social care that I never use because I don’t need it.

Within Scotland the SNP accepts the principle of paying for things we don’t use. Everyone pays in taxes to maintain the Skye bridge. There is no longer a toll such that only Skye road users pay it. What the SNP objects to is not the principle of me paying taxes for things other Scots use, it only objects to paying for things that English people use. It is for this reason that it wants to separate Scotland from the UK, so that never again would Scottish taxes pay for the welfare of English people. This is what Scottish nationalism does. It turns a fellow countryman into a foreigner to whom I have no obligation to share and with whom I have no solidarity. This is why the SNP complains about Scottish taxes going to fund English social care.

But the lowness of the SNP complaint is that while it doesn’t want Scottish money going to help English people, it is happy for English money to help Scottish people. If Treasury money were cut, the SNP would be the first to complain. This means the SNP thinks English people have an obligation to Scots that is not reciprocated. It is why the SNP thinks it can just walk away without gratitude, without thanks and without paying our debts. There is something morally contemptible about this mentality.

 

 

Saturday, 4 September 2021

The Sturgeon doth protest too much

 

A Conservative MSP got into trouble this week for suggesting that Nicola Sturgeon might be anti-English. Sturgeon was pointing out that everyone who lived in Scotland was at home here, to which Tess White replied “except the English”. For this White was forced to apologise or else be suspended from Holyrood. Woe betide anyone who suggests Popes are Catholic or that bears defecate in the woods.

The point of White remark was not I imagine to suggest that Sturgeon was personally hostile to English people, but rather that the SNP has a problematic relationship with English people. The reaction to the remark shows how deeply problematic. The SNP and its supporters are universally portrayed by satire and humour as being anti-English. There are any number of examples of remarks made by SNP politicians and supporters which show a dislike of all things English. Yet pointing out that the SNP leader might be leading a party that is even the least bit Anglophobic gets you a ban unless you say you are sorry and promise never ever to say such a thing again. Really. The Sturgeon doth protest too much methinks. If this were a Danish play, we might wonder about her fidelity.



Sturgeon strikes me as not obviously anti-English. She has gone out of her way to criticise Scottish football fans for singing anti-English songs. But she does lead a party whose primary goal is to separate Scotland from England and it is reasonable to suppose that this party does not wish to separate because of love of England. After all, whenever there is a divorce, it is reasonable to assume that either the husband or the wife has ceased to love and may well now hate the person he is married to. Otherwise, why seek a divorce?

Sturgeon may be careful not to express hostility to England or English people, but I have never heard her state that she is British nor that she has any pride in the United Kingdom. I cannot recall her pointing out any great success that can be attributed to a joint British effort, nor thanks when something from the British Government benefits Scotland (e.g., vaccines). She continually seeks to blame everything bad that ever happens to Scotland on Westminster, Tories or that fact that Scotland is part of the United Kingdom. It would be reasonable to assume therefore that she dislikes things that are British and wishes the United Kingdom never existed.

But England makes up more than half of the land mass of the United Kingdom and 84% of the population. Someone who is hostile to Britain and the British and Sturgeon undoubtedly is can hardly avoid being hostile to England and the English. This might not mean that she treats individual English people badly. She may think that those living in Scotland are at home. But she still has devoted her life to breaking up the United Kingdom, the vast majority of whose population is English. If she had no objection whatsoever to English people, why does she continually complain about the Government they elect? Why indeed does she most wish to create a state where they don’t live?

The Scottish Government is keen to welcome people from overseas to Scotland because Scotland has a declining population. But it would be far easier for Sturgeon to try to encourage people from England to move here. After all, where they live is densely populated, while much of Scotland is empty. Sturgeon could give English people grants to set up a new Scottish city. It would be far easier than attracting them from further afield as there would be no need to teach them English. Why doesn’t she make this her next initiative?

The reason is that Sturgeon knows English people living in Scotland are the demographic least likely to vote SNP and for Scottish independence? Sturgeon would far prefer people from the European Union or beyond, because they are more likely to be grateful to her and her government for being allowed to live here.  But if English people are Sturgeon’s opponents both in Scotland because they don’t vote SNP and in England because they vote Tory, the idea that Sturgeon loves them though they do their best to thwart her appears unlikely.

Sturgeon wants to appear to be a nice person who is not hostile to others on the grounds of nationality. But she protests too much about this, because her desire for separation only makes sense in the context of dislike. There isn’t a country in the world that has sought independence from another because of its love.

Scottish nationalism is built on the idea that we lack a common identity with the other parts of the UK. If we are all equally British, then there is no more need for us to separate than there is for Germans or French. It is for this reason that Scottish nationalists say “I am Scottish, not British” Sturgeon must agree. The British identity that sees English people as our fellow countrymen is rejected. She might like them individually as much as a French person, but Sturgeon must think that they don’t live in the same country as she does. Its only on the grounds that England and the English are really foreign, that she can justify independence in the first place. For if we are all from the same country, there are no grounds to complain when you lose an election, anymore than there would be when one part of Scotland votes differently from another.

This is the hostility inherent in Scottish nationalism. It treats English people who see us as fellow country as if they were foreigners. It denies that we share the same country or identity. It says to the English person. I am not like you. We have nothing in common. We are not family. Just strangers.

Sturgeon may be happy to say English people are at home in Scotland. But they are not at home because they are British and she certainly doesn’t want very many more of them to arrive otherwise they might just vote against independence. But she is outraged when anyone uses the word “except” about English people. She protests too much because her whole ideology is based on hostility to Britain due to her refusal to accept that English people have the same identity as her and that we might owe them something as fellow countrymen. The rejection of our fellow countrymen is fundamental to the SNP. Without this hostility to Britain and its largest part England, the party would not exist at all.