We have to keep reminding ourselves that hard-line unionists in Scotland are not only content to bend over for this kind of contemptuous treatment from British politicians themselves, they also insist that the rest of us should be just as ready to be dealt with so disdainfully. Their acceptance of the superiority of the British state is so complete that there is no humiliation they will not perceive as no more than our due.
Most of us, I’m sure, strongly suspect that Chief Treasury Secretary Greg Hands is refusing to give our democratically elected representatives access to documents associated with negotiating the Fiscal Framework because this would expose the UK Government’s attempts to cheat Scotland of billions of pounds. There is always good reason for such suspicion. The British establishment is no friend to Scotland.
But, even if the withholding of these papers is explained by nothing more devious than the British state’s habitual obsession with secrecy, the casual disrespect shown to our parliament has to be deeply offensive.
Unless you are a British nationalist.
Because, as a British nationalist, you do not consider Scotland’s democratic institutions to be worthy of respect. At best, you consider them inferior and a presumptuous imposition upon the established order.
At worst, as a unionist ideologue, you consider Scotland’s parliament and government a menace to the very fabric of the British state. A threat to the structures of power, privilege and patronage which you hold to be almost divinely ordained.
We should not be under any illusions about the true nature of British nationalism. We should never suppose that those who subscribe to the ideology of British exceptionalism can ever have any genuine concern for – or even understanding of – the aspirations and priorities of the people of Scotland. Or, for that matter, any of the people of these islands. Their only allegiance is to the ruling elites of the British state. We should never doubt the viciousness with which the British establishment will defend that which it claims to own.
The disrespect shown to our politicians by Greg Hands may be the least of it.