Sometimes I envy the fantasists I so often criticise. I occasionally wish I could enjoy the Panglossian perspective of the Sturgeon/SNP loyalists who see the protracted dithering and supine inaction of the SNP/Scottish Government in the face of an accelerating British Nationalist onslaught as part of Nicola’s Great Secret Plan to “win” Scotland’s independence. I confess to moments of jealousy when I encounter folk who genuinely believe the ‘never closer to independence’ pish peddled by Alyn Smith and other smirking fools. I wish I could see Alba Party through whatever magical lens it is that allows people to suppose they’ve found the answer. I can fully appreciate the comfort to be found in thinking Alex Salmond some kind of latter-day William Wallace. If faith was not a powerful narcotic then far fewer people would succumb to its allure.
I am a little envious of those who find their ease in fantasy politics. They are spared the tide of hopelessness that washes over anybody who is cursed with a measure of cynicism and/or prey to the pessimism which inevitably afflicts those not shielddespaed from reality by the armour of delusion. Betimes, the anguish of despair felt by those who take their politics straight without the sweetening of sentimentality can be almost physically painful. Every day and wherever we encounter jarring reminders of Scotland’s predicament and the parlous state of the forces which we rely on to rescue our nation. It would be pleasant to enjoy a day free of the grief of powerless frustration. But there’s no respite.
I had one of those moments yesterday when my already low mood took a sudden precipitous plunge. All it took was a headline in the staunchly British Nationalist Telegraph.
What provoked this descent into despair was knowing that what this gleefully gloating headline referred to was warned of ten years ago as among the inevitable consequence of a No vote in the 2014 referendum. It was clear from the outset that if the people of Scotland handed the British political elite a licence to do with Scotland whatever best serves the interests of the British state then they would use that licence to its fullest extent. It was obvious that they would seek to undermine the Scottish Government and delegitimise the Scottish Parliament. The power afforded England-as-Britain by the Union – particularly the stranglehold of Scotland’s finances – would be used to implement a final solution to the Scottish problem. Some of us saw it coming. But not, evidently, the people who matter.
The response from the SNP+SGP/Scottish Government has been predictably feeble. Pathetic protest that only serves to emphasise the lack of meaningful action. This headline from The National illustrates the point nicely.
Well, duh! That’s precisely what it’s supposed to do! That is the intention! That and worse!
Responding to the British Chancellor of the British Exchequer’s British Budget and Spending Review, Finance Secretary Kate Forbes said,
It means that money Scotland would have previously received under the seven year EU Structural Fund programmes to spend according to its own needs will now be distributed annually according to a UK Government agenda. This approach potentially leaves Scotland worse off, raises value for money concerns and undermines devolution.
Well, duh! Apologies for repeating myself. And for the hackneyed yoof-speak. But how else should one react to this combination of stating the obvious and understating the implications. It’s almost as if the SNP hierarchy considers the British state to be committed to devolution. As if the undermining of the devolution settlement was incidental to the main thrust of Sunak’s budget. As if the damage to devolution was an unintended effect that the British government was unaware of and had to be warned about.
What Kate Forbes says is all true. But all she does is describe in a rather low-key fashion a process that has been ongoing since at least 2011 and to some extent from 2007. Both significant dates in terms of the British waking up to the fact that in the Scottish Parliament they had created a monster capable of freeing Scotland from the shackles of the Union. That could not be allowed to happen. Steps would have to be taken to ensure that it didn’t happen. The ‘precious’ Union had to be preserved at any cost.
For those of us who recognised this ten years ago and more the only surprise is that it has taken so long. I know I anticipated that the British state would act more swiftly than it has to disarm and neutralise Scotland’s independence campaign. But they’ve been given that time. They’ve been put under no pressure. For the last seven years the SNP/Scottish Government has been what we might call the Blackford approach described in a previous article.
Nobody could ever accuse Mr Blackford of having a limited range. On the contrary. He can do all of three speeches. The one with the dire warning about what the British government is about to do before they do it. The one loudly objecting to what the British government is doing while it’s doing it. And the one angrily protesting against what the British government has done after it has done it. Then it’s places again for a repeat performance. Ad nauseam!Can we roll credits now?
Because the SNP/Scottish Government has done and is doing nothing to stop or even hinder the British as they dismantle Scotland’s democracy and obliterate our identity as a nation the British can take a leisurely approach to the process of locking Scotland into a new constitutional arrangement imposed unilaterally and without consultation or consent. Events have conspired to aid them. But the total absence of any meaningful resistance from Scotland’s elected representatives means Boris Johnson’s regime has been able to proceed in its own bungling way without hindrance. We are now entering the end game. The indications are unmistakable. The predicted doom may be late in arriving. But that’ll be of little comfort when the deed is done and Scotland’s cause is thwarted.
Will I then be afforded the paltry satisfaction of Pyrrhic Schadenfreude as the fantasist realise their error and punish those whose failures and failings have cost Scotland so dearly? Will I have that, at least, as some form of compensation for the years of growing despair and spells of agonising despondency? Not likely! It is highly improbable that those who have squandered the momentum Scotland’s cause had in the wake of the 2014 referendum will acknowledge their culpability. And the main fantasist factions in the Yes movement who let it all go to shit will be too busy blaming each other to visit any penalty on the politicians who playing doormat to British Nationalist boots as they trample over our unfortunate nation.
I wish I was stupid! Oh, how I wish I was too stupid to realise what is happening!
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