Shed the myths, Lesley!

I winced at the casual promulgation of the ‘recruiting sergeant’ and ‘crumbling Union’ myths in Lesley Riddoch’s column. But I am resigned to the fact that the appeal of these myths is such that even an intelligent and informed commentator like Lesley Riddoch has difficulty resisting them. If she was at all inclined to take a bit of well-intentioned advice I’d urge Lesley to make the effort. Resisting those myths is worth it.

Strip away the myths and what do you see? You see that there is no measurable ‘recruiting sergeant’ effect. We have gone through a period since the 2014 referendum when those supposed ‘recruiting sergeants’ for Scotland’s cause have been working very hard indeed. Quite remarkably hard, in fact. And what has been the product of this diligence? Nothing! Polling evidence tells us that not a single soul has been recruited to the Yes cause.

Neither is there any evidence that the Union is “crumbling”. If indeed it is disintegrating it is doing so at a pace too slow to be observable. Yes! The British government is a gruesome charnelhouse of decencies and principles. But it has been so at varying degrees of intensity for as long as I can remember. No collapse has ensued. Let’s face it, the Union has survived for more than three centuries despite the serial scandals, ingrained incompetence and deep-rooted corruption of successive British governments and the deleterious impact of all of this on what the British state regards as its periphery. There is absolutely no reason to believe that the rot has reached some critical point. You may contend that the rot is far worse than it has ever been. But you would not be the first to do so. There has probably never been a time – certainly in the last 50 years – when there wasn’t somebody in Scotland proclaiming the imminent demise of the Union. You will note that this hasn’t happened.

It’s very much like the EU. Barely a week passes with someone asserting that the EU is on the verge of ‘failing’. That has been going on for as long as the EU and its predecessors have existed. Even in the real world the EU enlarged and ties were strengthened.

I repeat, there is no ‘recruiting sergeant’ effect and the Union is not crumbling. Even if it were, the Union itself manufactures its own buttresses. Crumbling bits are easily shored up. The outcome of this shoring-up is the impenetrable legal and constitutional framework which protects and preserves the Union.

The Union is not crumbling. Its demise will not be brought about by a slow process of erosion or devious undermining. The Union will only be ended by a single massive blow followed by a period of determined, unwavering resistance. The Union will not crumble. If it is not brought down like a condemned building it will persist with all its attendant injustice.

It would be to the great benefit of Scotland’s cause if more people were to shed the myths and accept this reality. Especially opinion-formers such as Lesley Riddoch.

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3 thoughts on “Shed the myths, Lesley!

  1. Spot on. Rome was crumbling from within, but not in any way discernible to the naked eye, and nor was it a speedy process. Just like the UK. It is happening, but it is at a glacial pace and we will be part of a Greater England before it actually happens. It took the ‘barbarians’ at the gates to finish the Roman empire. Slow, gradual severing of ties within, an almighty wallop from without.

    Liked by 3 people

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