This affair nicely illustrates the double-standards which are a product of the imbalance of power. enshrined in The Union On the one hand, we are supposed to accept the idea of the UK as a single political entity. We are supposed to appreciate the claimed benefits of the Union. We will be told that being part of the Union is beneficial in times of crisis because, for example, it gives us better access to personal protective equipment (PPE).
But, like pretty much everything else associated with the Union, this is a lie. As is being demonstrated, there is no advantage to being part of the Union. In fact, there is a distinct disadvantage in that organisations which make their procurement arrangements on the basis of the claimed equal partnership of the Union will find themselves in difficulties when those “broad shoulders” shrug them off.
While we’re on the subject of procurement, you may say that this is just how the market works. And you’d be right. This is how the market works. The market in PPE can be distorted by economically and/or politically powerful agents. At present, it is being distorted in favour of England’s care sector. The British government is using its relatively greater political and economic power AGAINST Scotland. What price that ‘precious’ Union now?
There are theoretical benefits to political union. The EU, at its best, demonstrates many of those benefits. The EU works where the UK fails because of the difference in what we might call ‘founding principles’. Very broadly speaking, the EU serves to ensure that benefits are better distributed by using the power of pooled sovereignty to counter the market forces which have no concept of long-term cost, and no awareness of human cost.
The Union between Scotland and England never had such a benign purpose and it has no benign purpose today. From its inception, the Union was intended to establish in perpetuity Scotland’s disadvantage relative to England. It’s purpose is to ensure that benefits are NOT equitably distributed. It functions to guarantee that, where there is market competition between England and Scotland, England has the relative power to distort the markets in England’s favour. Precisely as is happening now.
If the Scottish Government is not doing what you may say is its job ie securing supplies of PPE, then this could be due to incompetence. Although the evidence suggests otherwise. The evidence is that SNP administrations have been generally quite competent. The voters certainly seem to think so. Scottish Government ineptitude MIGHT be a factor SOME of the time. The asymmetry of the Union IS a factor ALL of the time.
British Nationalists will unthinkingly blame the Scottish Government for its failure to counter the British state’s interference in the markets to benefit England. But this is not a rational conclusion. The rational conclusion is that the Scottish Government is unable to act as we would want and expect it to because the Union ensures that it can never have the power to do so.
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