An accidental nation?

Andrew Tickell appears to have embraced the consensus of the cognoscenti which holds that Scotland is about to become an independent nation again not because of our capacity to rise but on account of the Unionists’ propensity for serial cocking-up. Scotland’s independence is on the verge of being restored not due to a surge in awareness of and reaction against the inherent injustice of the Union, but because the Brits have lately made a particular hash of things. We will shortly walk out of the UK not as determined reformers righting a historic wrong but as disgruntled customers fed up with bad service. No triumph for us. Just failure for the British political elite. One and a bit cheers for us!

Some will maintain that it doesn’t matter. That they’ll take independence whatever way it comes. And I’m not about to reject it just because the final act is played with pathos rather than joy. But aren’t nations to some extent at least defined by the mix of history and myth that is the story of their origin? How many nations celebrate the anniversary of their gained or restored independence by giving thanks for the ineptitude of those who had denied them that independence. How many nations memorialise their former colonial masters – cruel or clownish – rather than the heroes of the independence struggle.

What manner of nation will Scotland be if our independence is not something that we have taken but something which has fallen into our lap as the Brits tripped over their own exceptionalism?

How real is this Unionist crumbling in any case? It seems to me that I’ve been reading accounts of the British state’s imminent collapse almost daily for longer than I can pinpoint. It’s always just around the next scandal. Just beyond the next debacle. Immediately following the next fiasco. But never quite happening. The thing about stumbling from crisis to crisis is that if you do it long enough you can get quite good at it. Stumbling becomes your ‘style’. The system and the infrastructure adapt and adjust – placing cushions here; providing crutches there – so that you never quite hit the floor and never suffer any fatal injury.

Things that once would have brought down governments don’t even count as scandals any more. Established power has grown callouses over its weak spots. It is no longer vulnerable to ‘normal’ countervailing power. It is immune to the consequences of its own folly.

What is the process? This is the question. The challenge for those who look at the shambolic state of Borissia and see the cocoon from which will emerge the butterfly of independence is to map the metamorphosis. Describe the process. Identify and then join the points on a journey taking us from where we are to where we wish to be. I see no such process. No such process ‘exists in nature’, so to speak. On the basis of available evidence, if we are waiting for independence to be the only thing left after the British state has crumbled to dust then we could be waiting a very long time. The limits of the British political elite’s capacity to survive its own idiocy have yet to be tested.

It is the nature of the British state that its crumbling does not presage its collapse. Today’s apparently terminal crumbling entails only tomorrow’s apparently terminal crumbling. Always decline. Never demise.

That process has to be made. We have to make it. The British state – at its core and in its conceit of itself an unreformed imperialist power – does not have an off-the-shelf process by which it can be divested of its annexed territories. Why would it? There is no point at which Britannia becomes so weakened as to inadvertently loosen her jealous grasp on Scotland. It won’t just happen. It just won’t happen.

Scotland’s sovereignty is not to be discovered rooting around in the rubble of British imperial pretensions. It is to be found in the hearts and minds of Scotland’s people.

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9 thoughts on “An accidental nation?

  1. Totally agree, we can’t continue with this residual category notion of independence as the condition in which we will find ourselves after the Union has eroded due to unsustainable internal contradictions. CV19 wholly occupies the attention of the First Minister and her ” war cabinet” but there are plenty of others in the party who could be using this period of lockdown to formulate strategies and tactics for forming an independent Scotland . What better time to be discussing what that Scotland might look like ? What kind of constitution do we want to have ? All this should be under discussion at grass roots level , with the participation of those elected members who are not actively involved in managing the campaign against the pandemic .

    The trouble with residues is that they’re likely to turn out to be a dross of unintended consequences.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Peter I am one of these people who will accept independence for Scotland no matter which way we get it , but what really ANGERS me is ALL the independence bloggers and members DEMANDING NS do something to get us out of this FETID RANCID union by any means , and yet she ignores everyone , her 3 year brexshit debacle , her sect 30 blind alley , her 4 nation failed covid approach , her FAILURE to mention any positives for independence , they IMO indicate someone who has either lost their direction or they are comfortable with the status quo , if either of these positions continue bloggers and members will be betrayed

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Did Nicola Sturgeon vote No in 2014 ?

      Nope, SCOTS DID THAT

      The SNP got us the opportunity to leave the rancid union treaty.

      WE as Scots, fucked it up, as only Scots can.

      We are lucky to even be in a position to complain about the SNP/NS about not going fast enough.

      But hey ho huh…ESSENPEE BAD.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes Scots did fuck it up in 2014 (or was it fucked up for them) so we should all just sit back and wait on Nicola to decide when is the best time to go for indy , meanwhile we are all being subjected to the biggest clusterfuck and shambles of a govt in my living memory and I’m 69 , people are dying through inhumane policies visited on our citizens by these amoral scum but let’s be patient Nicola knows best . We are being railroaded out of the EU despite Scots people voting 62% to remain and Nicola and blowhard Blackford telling the world that we will not accept it , but no hurry Nicola knows best
        Nicola has plenty time to formulate reviled and hated policies which are alienating the very voters that are needed to get the SNP back in to power in the SG , but don’t worry Nicola knows best for timing and what people need for fulfilling lives
        Forgive me if I don’t share your unconditional optimism in Nicola’s sainthood but we (Scotland) have been down this road of lies and promises before from a shower of liars and con artists named Liebour


  3. I’m not sure defining the “process” is either necessary or predictable. There is the old adage that no meticulous plan survives beyond the firing of the first shot. So any “process” defined for achieving independence is likely to veer wildly off course pretty early on, though still ending up at the desired destination. It appears to me that most European countries that have achieved independence in recent decades have done so more or less spontaneously with little, if any, meticulous planning beforehand.

    Perhaps we do not so much need a plan, but rather a trigger. Peter’s UDI could be that trigger. Or it may be “one shambles/lie too many” is the trigger that leads to a UDI. Either way, we are unlikely to be able to predict the twists and turns that follow. There is no road map in unknown territory.


    1. MBP, you are right about European countries gaining Independence – it normally happens during the chaos of the collapse of the larger entity. Peter is being irrelevant when he criticises you for not distinguishing between a plan and a process.

      Another reason for the Section 30 being a gold standard is that indy gained via that route is not predicated on collapse of the larger entity, although indy could come about with neither a collapse of the UK nor a Section 30.

      What I would not want to happen is for the collapse to happen [and when they do, it can be over days rather than years] and for Scots to be saying that we really need to go indy, but there is no one in Westminster to sign a Section 30.


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