Of divides and loyalties

SNP depute leader Keith Brown says the poll showed Labour could not stop the Tories in Scotland. But, in truth, British Labour in Scotland has no real interest in stopping the Tories in Scotland. Their imperatives are –

  • to punish the SNP and anybody who votes for them
  • to regain the status they consider theirs by right
  • to reassert the British parties’ control of the Scottish Parliament

The first imperative is spiteful. The second is self-serving. The third is treacherous. Petty, partisan and perfidious. We could be describing any of the British parties currently squatting in Scotland’s Parliament.

The problem for British pollsters and the British analysts who analyse their polls and the British commentators who comment on both the polls and the analysis, is that the British two-party context is no longer relevant in Scotland. Regarding Scotland’s politics through the prism of the British political system became inappropriate in 1999, when the Scottish Parliament reconvened. Increasingly so ever since. But British pundits don’t seem to have realised this yet. And the British media, for the most part, stubbornly denies that there is a distinctive Scottish politics.

British chatterers’ and British scribblers’ first instinct is to regard Labour/Left versus Tory/Right as the default divide in all ‘domestic’ politics. I’m not sure to what extent this is even true in England these days. It certainly isn’t applicable in Scotland. The defining divide in Scottish politics is constitutional. It is Nationalist versus Unionist.

Not that this excludes or ignores the many other divisions in society which are supposed to be managed by the democratic process. It’s just that the constitutional divide has come to encompass things like class and ideology. In one sense, this makes Scottish politics simpler – because, crudely speaking, everything ultimately boils down the constitutional issue. In another sense, it makes Scottish politics more complicated because the constitutional issue is an additional element which must be considered. Or should be considered.

All too often, it isn’t. Analysts and commentators coming at Scotland’s politics from within the bubble of the metropolitan cosy consensus inevitably find it difficult to take account of the fact that what they regard as ‘the Labour vote’ is at least as likely to be the ‘Tory vote’ on account of the constitutional divide. They find it difficult to take account of this only if they even realise that it is a real phenomenon.

And where these British analysts and commentators do acknowledge that the dividing line between British Labour in Scotland (BLiS) and the British Conservative and Unionist Party in Scotland (BCUPS) is somewhat blurred, they tend to talk in terms of ‘tactical voting’. It is NOT tactical voting.

When BLiS voters put their cross next to a BCUPS candidate or party – or, to a lesser extent, vice versa – they like to call it ‘tactical voting’ because this puts a sheen of rationality on a choice made solely on the basis of emotional and often fervent loyalty. Loyalty to the British state. Fealty to the British ruling elites. Devotion to the emblem of British Nationalism.

All of which can be a cause of confusion and consternation to those British pollsters and British analysts and British commentators who share these loyalties so innately and deeply that it is extremely problematic for them to conceive of their being alternative loyalties and a defining political divide between the two.

We have all heard British pundits react with incomprehension when confronted by Scotland’s independence movement. They simply can’t grasp; or can’t take seriously, the proposition that there may be significant numbers of people in their imagined British nation who owe their loyalty to something other than the British state, the British ruling elites and the Union flag.

They simply don’t get that British Labour in Scotland has no real interest in stopping the Tories because they share a loyalty that overrides mere partisan interest. They don’t fully understand that politics in Scotland is an existential battle. Either Scotland survives, or the British establishment prevails. Those are the options. That is the choice facing Scotland’s people. It is my passionate hope that most voters will choose Scotland.

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5 thoughts on “Of divides and loyalties

  1. Spot-on Peter. BLiS is the jilted ex-girlfriend of Scotland. Hell hath no fury like BLiS, and they don’t care how many bunnies they have to boil in order to teach the country a lesson. They know there is no chance of a reconciliation so they just channel their energies as hate toward the SNP.

    The sad truth is that this also applies to anyone with half an ounce of sense who still votes for them. And as long as a country is divided, the colonial powers will exploit that division in order to rule.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I will be honest here.

    I thought , maybe naively. That if Scotland voted remain and England voted leave. That Labour in Scotland would be so peed off that they would back independence. The fact that they still cling onto the self harm prospectus. Tells me that they don’t even recognise Scotland as a nation.

    Holyrood is a convenient gravy train for some of the least talented politicians in Europe. In other words, it’s easy money for Labour in Scotland. You can be a complete thicko and get a list seat representing British Labour.

    They will not change because they see no need to change. If Holyrood was lost. They would not shed a tear for the loss of democracy. They would however be devastated that they had lost their personal incomes. Mainly due to the fact that these witless morons couldn’t ever get a job outside Holyrood.

    Peter is right. These imposters are sitting in our parliament, but they don’t recognise the nation of Scotland.

    They need to be evicted permanently along with the Tories and Libs.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have said from day one of the aftermath of the 2014 vote that the NO vote was, primarily, a neo colonialist vote, far before it was an economic vote. Two main groups hold that neo colonial view (the Scottish Unionists and the rUK Unionists) with the EU residents having a very different agenda. They were far less of a threat than the first two groups. That was confirmed in 2016 when the largest part of the Leave vote was shown to be the previous NO vote. Nothing separates the three-headed hydra; they are all indivisible because they are all one. It is hard even for independists to understand that the three Unionist opposition parties in Scotland share the same DNA. Like the Colonel’s lady and Judy O’Grady, they are sisters under the skin, with the usual class barriers, as well as the political differences, having been deconstructed long since to enable them to act as one against the SNP and its allies. That is what happened in 2017, and we must be under no illusions that they will do so again, given the opportunity. We have to keep hammering home that independence is the norm; it is not an aberration or a crime. It is a moral and human right that no one has the right to block because it does not suit their agenda. That is imperialism/neo colonialism, and it is high time we acknowledged that fact. That will mean ‘abandoning the indyref in a hundred years’ ambition, and getting on with pursuing independence via the international route in order to dissolve the Union itself.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. A very coherent summary, Peter. The only detail I think is wrong concerns the voting transfers; there has been a well-established Tory vote for LibDem or moderate Labour candidates in WM constituencies where either of the latter has been the main challenger to the SNP. What is different is that lately there has been more of a shift in the opposite direction, with traditional Tory opponents becoming supporters, and for exactly the reason you identify, a desperate attempt to get the “old game” back.

    The irony is that it has rebounded against them, so in 2017 Labour lost its chance of power due to Tory gains, with traditional LibDem strongholds such as Gordon turning Tory instead of SNP! And the old game isn”t coming back anyway.


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