All our eggs in one Brexit

scotland_euIn a recent article I had some strong words to say about the notion that ‘Brexit is the key’ to Scotland’s independence. I continue to be alarmed at the number of potentially influential voices within the Yes movement who are prepared to stake everything on Brexit. An already substantial, and arguably increasing, part of the discourse around the constitutional question has moved away from the core issue of the Union to focus on the impact of Brexit. Many seem to have abandoned, to some degree at least, the effort to make the case for independence on its inherent merits – or against the Union on its fatal defects – choosing to rely instead on a perverse, and almost certainly forlorn, hope that Brexit will affect people’s lives so dramatically and so detrimentally that they will immediately demand the ‘solution’ of independence.

That Brexit will be detrimental to most people is hardly in doubt. What is, at the very least, questionable is whether the impact will be dramatic enough to have the effect hoped for by those who would have us pin all our hopes on it.

As I pointed out in that earlier article, it is not the reality of Brexit which matters, but the perception.

And who controls the apparatus by which public perception is manipulated? The British state, of course! Even if it were true that “Brexit is the key!”, that key is entirely in the hands of a British state with a massive propaganda machine at its disposal.

I was prompted to revisit this thought on reading that, in a survey conducted by Deltapoll for the Guardian, no less than 60% of respondents agreed with the statement.

I no longer care how or when we leave the EU,
I just want it all over and done with.

The opinion piece by Rafael Behr in which this poll is mentioned argues that voters have already switched off. Behr concludes,

It is possible that all of the ideological and technical squabbling, the factional bickering that has consumed politics since the referendum, will turn out to have been only the preamble. And what it will all come down to in the end is a contest between two gut propositions that have very little to do with the EU. For leave: just get on with it. For remain: please just make it stop.

Now! I know that this was a UK-wide survey and that it may not accurately reflect the mood in Scotland. But it serves to illustrate and reinforce the point that popular attitudes to Brexit have more to do with how it is perceived than with any actual effect. How it is perceived by the general public may be very different from the way it is appreciated by the likes of Gordon MacIntyre-Kemp. And this is especially true if, as we may reasonably assume will be the case, those popular perceptions are manipulated by British media in such a way as to suit the purposes of the British establishment.

Let us not forget that Brexit itself is largely – some would claim entirely – the product of a decades-long campaign of disinformation, distortion and dishonesty conducted by large sections of the British press determined to destroy the entire European project.

It is reasonable, therefore, to expect that the British media will do what it can to encourage the attitude of apathy and ennui identified by the Deltapoll survey and summarised so succinctly by Rafael Behr. And it is not unreasonable to anticipate that this effort by the British media to encourage disengagement will have some effect in Scotland. Especially as it also serves the British Nationalist cause and so is bound to be promoted by the BBC.

That effect need not be large to be catastrophic for the independence campaign. The British state need only defer some of the impact of Brexit for a few months; and/or disguise the reality with help from the media, and the moment is gone. The impetus is lost. The opportunity is squandered.

Putting all our independence campaign eggs in one Brexit basket is an enormously risky strategy. Gonnae no dae that!

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6 thoughts on “All our eggs in one Brexit

  1. A ship you are a passenger on is heading for the rocks. Your crew tell the captain that there is a way to steer around them. The captain says he represents the majority and your voice doesn’t matter.

    He tells you a course was chosen by the majority and rules are rules. We must head for the rocks regardless of the outcome.

    Your band of crew are too small to take over the ship. So you either head for the rocks with the majority or you take a vote with your followers to man the lifeboats. One man in your crew tells you don’t be so hasty let’s see what happens and then vote!

    In this scenario only an absolute fool would not take a lifeboat. It’s exactly the same with Brexit. Expecting people to suffer before you give them an option to escape is both pointless and cruel.

    Sturgeon is a fool if she thinks letting Scotland go down with the UK will lead to independence.

    It won’t it will lead to the end of Scotland altogether.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. @Big Jock

      I know we are arguing at the edges and there are analogies a plenty to sum up Brexit and Scotland. However, for YES to win it can not label all no voters as “fools”.

      Westminster has spent centuries manipulating Scotland and NO’s are victims (as well as the next generation of perpetrators). Just as with victims of Battered woman syndrome, to get the victims to leave is not easy.

      In the vein of Peter’s post:
      – The current Brexit will be so horrendous, it will give us independence =
      – The battered wife being told – but the next beating will be so horrific she will leave after it
      When the perpetrator has already inflicted such a level of PTSD, that threat is meaningless and after the fact the cycle continues. Honeymoon, tension, beating, Honeymoon….

      YES will never get all the NOs…there are too many unreconstructed unionists and those who profit from the Union but YES’s task is to bring the others over. Brexit is only a symptom of the broken Union. If Scotland stays, dangers such as Brexit do not end with this generation but is part of your inheritance to your children and their children.

      YES needs a language able to cut unionism to the core at the same time as offering support and showing the way out to those on the edge. This is one of the best things about the AUOB marches that look like a community on a Sunday stroll. It looks so normal and welcoming. It gives those on the edge something…a way forward.


  2. Peter I am not sure what Nicola Sturgeons thinking is. It appears she is prevaricating rather than being decisive.

    Most commentators are suggesting there will be no Indy Ref 2 announcement this autumn. Not just the usual Herald etc. The National and Wings and other pro indi outlets. The fact that we are heading for late September suggests it’s too late now.

    I think we are looking at a post March 19 announcement now. That does worry me.


  3. Well said, Peter. My view also.

    Brexit could well yet be a fudged agreement that Gove and Co will support for the time being, then renege as soon as convenient for them. By then it will of course be all too late for everyone else. Scotland will have been sold down the Swanee, and all its people will do is wallow in the powerlessness that will be constantly thrown in their faces by a gleeful media. Belief in a better future under our own control will plummet and the opportunity will truly be lost for a generation.

    When was the last time that people rallied to the SNP? When they had their walkout of WM. People could believe that something was happening. That our representatives had indeed some fire in their bellies.

    I’m beginning to worry that now we are seeing signs of that going into reverse, and that some commentators have now started to play this soporific tune to soften us up for a backtrack of well-established SNP policy. Or a serious attempt is underway to change policy at the upcoming conference. In the deafening silence of any alternative view with the exception of your good self, I find these siren calls to depend on circumstances to do most of the heavy lifting of winning a majority for “yes” deeply demoralising.

    Liked by 1 person

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