Scotland Office has ‘something to hide’ over Donald Trump meeting
The above report in The National caught my eye. Unsurprisingly. That is, after all, what headline is meant to do. On occasion, they go to extraordinary lengths to get the audience’s attention. The more sensational the headline, the more likely it is that the reader will be induced to read further. Or, at least, that’s the theory. Google ‘people read headline only’ and you’ll find any number of studies showing that around 70%-80% of people do just that. They see the news almost entirely through the distorting lens of often ludicrously sensationalised headlines. They also share items solely on the basis of content so that it can then be seen by other people – 80% of whom will only read the lurid headline before once again passing it on. The end result is that 80% of people perceive that the world in extremes. That must have an effect. And probably not a beneficial one in terms of the psychological well-being of the individual or society as a whole.
There was a time when The National’s headline would have been considered sensational, if not sensationalist. Today, it barely raises an eyebrow. There was time when the insinuation of piscine capers at what was then known as the Scottish Office would have been considered shocking. Suggest the same of today’s Scotland Office and, even accompanied by a picture of David “Baron Snackbeard” Mundell and Donald “Tweetmeister” Trump, the headline will hardly earn a glance. We have become inured to such things. Which probably isn’t healthy either.
There’s a potentially stressful tension there between the shock, horror, outrage etc. prompted by sensationalised headlines and the cynicism, apathy and alienation that come about as a defence against excessive emotional stimulation. Neither extreme state is sustainable. The callouses that develop to protect the psyche from the weapons-grade titillation of the headlines are constantly being worn away by the incessant barrage of rolling news. Volcanic arousal flips to catatonic ennui and back in a way that must surely do some harm.
I did read beyond the headline. I generally do. I’m one of the 2 or 3 percent of humanity that does. As far as the present POTUS and his gang is concerned I assume shifty shenanigans in all things and at all times. Making a pair with Boris Johnson and his regime. I take in my stride reports of dubious dealings and devious conniving on the part of British politicians. And rarely more so than when this involves the Scotland Office as the filling in a Donald and Boris sandwich. I wanted to know more.
What little we know about the meetings between then Governor General Mundell and some of the President’s men is suspicious because we know so little about those meetings. We’re told that they discussed “a number of issues … reflecting the close cultural and economic ties between Scotland and the USA”. But we also have a statement from the Scotland Office which strongly implies that the meeting were about “the UK’s international relations and its interests abroad, about the UK’s economic interests and about the formulation or development of UK Government policy”. So which is it? Scotland or the UK? It can’t be both. The interests of Scotland and England-as-Britain rarely coincide these days. If they ever did to any greater extent.
You’d think the name Scotland Office would be a clue. But more can be gleaned from the name ‘UK Government in Scotland’. Housed in some splendour within new premises in Edinburgh called, with unabashed imperialist presumption, ‘Queen Elizabeth House’ this British government agency claims to represent Scottish interests within the UK government and the UK government in Scotland. We all know, I’m sure which half of that statement comes even close to being true.
Whatever was discussed at these clandestine meetings, we have less than no reason to suppose that Scotland’s interest were more than words printed in a glossy brochure. Just down the road there’s a Parliament that the people of Scotland elect and the offices of the Government that we also elect. If Scotland’s interests were being discussed why did those discussions not take place between our elected representatives and the representatives of the US Government? Why should our nation’s interests be entrusted to people whose loyalties are – in no particular order – to the British state, a British political party and personal ambitions for a career within the ranks of the British political elite?
The immediate answer must be that we shouldn’t. We wouldn’t even if their motives were worthy and their intentions benign. No matter how saintly the individuals concerned, we wouldn’t want Scotland’s interests in the care of anyone whose loyalty is not to this nation. No nation would. No nation would tolerate such a thing. Suggest to the people of any other country that their nation should host a venue where matters of significant national interest could be discussed and decided upon by people who are not accountable to their parliament and, moreover, who demonstrably hold their nation in total contempt, and they’ll think you quite mad. And justifiably so.
Yet this is precisely the situation that Scotland is in. Whether it be in Queen Elizabeth House (Fort Britannia) or Downing Street, Scotland’s affairs are substantially in the hands of people we have no reason to trust. People who have not only failed to earn our trust but who have given us every cause to regard them with extreme suspicion. People who are now quite open about the malign intentions towards our nation.
Should we trust British politicians? Of course we bloody shouldn’t! It would be totally irrational to do so. And that includes the ones squatting in the Scottish Parliament. Next question: That being the case, why do we continue to tolerate people we cannot sensibly trust having power over Scotland’s affairs?