And when an independence referendum comes – as it will – it will no longer be a choice between independence and the status quo, but between independence and a Tory regime which is intent on crippling Holyrood.Nicola Sturgeon: Independence is our only protection from power grab
I had pretty much decided not to write any more this week. I really dislike repeating myself. And there is nothing new to be said about the situation. It is very wearying trying all the time to come up with new ways of saying the same things. It is intensely frustrating to be explaining the same things over and over to no evident effect. To be constantly focused on the stupid things politicians say and the things they say because they think the people are stupid will tend to induce anger which must be kept in check – mostly. It is profoundly depressing to see so many lessons unlearned and genuinely distressing to watch as the same mistakes are committed over and over again. Is it any wonder I often feel disinclined to say anything at all knowing it is all wasted effort.
But here I am! And there she is! Nicola Sturgeon provoking me again. Me and everybody else who is capable of seeing behind the rhetoric and beyond the horizons of the moment’s political expediency. I have questions? I have questions prompted by the above quote and even more questions concerning the mindset that informs the words.
The first question that came to mind on reading those words was, when were we ever faced with “a choice between independence and the status quo”? What status quo? The status quo as it was a year ago? A month ago? A week ago? Yesterday!? Nothing is standing still. Nothing except the cause of restoring Scotland’s independence. The ground is constantly shifting under our feet as one British earthquake after another shakes up everything that should be at least reliable, if not constant.
It’s not just policies any more. Although goodness knows we have been well and truly pounded by the policies of successive British governments wielding the power afforded them by the Union. What is being broken apart is the very basis on which political authority is legitimised and exercised in Scotland. What is being dismantled is nothing less than the constitutional underpinnings of Scotland’s democracy. What is being constructed from the remains is a new constitutional arrangement that legitimises and imposes direct, autocratic rule by the British state, allowing the British political elite to ‘legally’ override Scotland’s democratic institutions and the will of the Scottish people.
What we are witnessing is the finalisation of Scotland’s annexation by England-as-Britain and the completion of the old ‘Greater England’ project in its new and even uglier guise of ‘One Nation’ British Nationalism.
And none of it is new. None of it is just happening now. All of it is part of a process that has been ongoing since even before the Union was imposed on Scotland. A process that was given new momentum by the rise of the SNP and the increased democratic dissent emanating from the British state’s peripheral territories. Nothing that is happening now was unforeseeable or unforeseen. All of it was predictable and predicted.
The British establishment has been “intent on crippling Holyrood” since 2007. With greater urgency added in 2011. In fact, the British establishment never intended that the reconvened Scottish Parliament should be anything other than crippled. It was hobbled and shackled from the start. For the British, devolution was never an alternative to Westminster rule but a means of preserving the Union which imposes the sovereignty of their parliament over the sovereignty of Scotland’s people. For Scotland, devolution was never an alternative to independence but a means to the end of restoring Scotland’s rightful constitutional status. Something to be tolerated rather than celebrated. A burden to be grudgingly borne rather than vigorously defended. An alien contrivance to be discarded at the earliest opportunity.
The choice facing us never was and is not now “between independence and a Tory regime which is intent on crippling Holyrood”. The choice is between the Scotland we aspire to and a British state we would rightly dread if only our political leaders would properly identify it. That has always been the choice. It is the very core of the constitutional issue and the one thing that remains constant – until it is no longer a choice.
Let there be no mistake about this! The British political elite aims to remove that choice. That choice hangs like Wallace’s battle sword over their ‘precious’ Union and their delusional idea of what ‘Great Britain’ is and their grotesque fantasies about what it might become. Eliminating that choice has become an imperative. Preserving the Union has always been an imperative for the British ruling elites just as ending it has always been an imperative for Scotland and its people. This is not just a political issue. (Hence “Tory” is irrelevant.) It is not even just a constitutional issue. (Although that is the ground upon which the issue must be contested.) It is an existential issue. (When the issue is decided, only one will remain – Scotland or a new British state into which Scotland has been totally subsumed.
I read Nicola Sturgeon’s words and yet again I am overwhelmed by the impression that she just doesn’t get it. That her understanding of the constitutional issue is markedly different from mine. And fallacious. She seems to understand it more as a matter of policy than as a constitutional issue. She certainly gives no impression of comprehending that it is an existential issue. Her ‘strategy’ appears to be to issue angry warnings about what the British government is about to do; furious objections while they’re doing it; and angry protests after it’s done. And that is all. If you’ve ever watched Ian Blackford perform in the House of Commons then you have seen the SNP’s ‘strategy’ in its entirety.
Given this evident failure to grasp the true nature of Scotland’s predicament and six years of paralysing inertia while the ‘strategy’ described above grinds away mechanically and to absolutely no effect other than the mix of ennui and annoyance induce by Blackford’s over-rehearsed outrage, what should I make of Nicola Sturgeon’s assurance that a referendum will come? Especially in light of the fact that this assurance is almost as familiar as Ian Blackford’s three speeches – the one he makes when Boris is threatening to fuck Scotland; the one he makes while Boris is fucking Scotland; and the one he makes as Boris lies back with a cigarette and Scotland limps off to the shower.
Why would I take that assurance seriously? What could Nicola Sturgeon do or say to make me take it seriously? What are the chances she’ll do or say anything to make me take her assurances seriously when she isn’t even aware that they are no longer being taken seriously by a growing number of people?
Why am I even writing this?