Regardless of which rat emerges victorious from the sack of the Tory leadership fight, the next British government will be the most brutally anti-Scottish administration since the military occupation of Scotland after Culloden. They may not come swinging swords and cudgels, but their purpose will be the same as it was then ─ to eradicate Scotland.
For many years I have been warning that the Greater England project would be revived. It has never really been in abeyance. But for perhaps the last two centuries its methods have been relatively subtle – at least by comparison with what went before. Subtle or sleekit? Take your pick. This isn’t the place for a detailed analysis of the methods by which England has sought to subsume Scotland into itself. But central to the effort was creating the idea of ‘Great Britain’. England became England-as-Britain. Those irksome Jocks would never be part of England. But they might be lured into an entity going by a different name ─ an entity which didn’t carry the weight of England’s history with regard to Scotland. If we refused to be English, perhaps we could be made British.
This had nothing to do with any enmity between the people of the two nations. Left to our own devices, we’d muddle along fine with each other. People are much the same wherever you go. We all want pretty much the same things. We all have similar preoccupations. The masses in any two countries have more in common with each other than they do with the social, political and economic elites of their homeland. It is those elites who rouse popular enmities so as to enlist the masses in their own pursuit of wealth and power. Most of the time most of the people of England went about their lives quite unaware of the ‘Greater England’ project ─ now proceeding as the ‘Great Britain’ project. Had they been aware they would surely have objected. Because making everybody British is as much a denial of England’s national identity as it is an obliteration of Scotland’s distinctiveness. Because this contrived British identity draws mainly on England’s national identity the deprivation is less marked. But it’s enough that a number of people in England would object were they more aware.
The auld animosity between Scotland and England has nothing to do with any conflict of interest between the masses of each nation. It is entirely a product of the avarice and ambition of the few in each nation. At root, it is about territory and resources and advantage in the contest with the elites of other nations also driven by avarice and ambition. Scotland is valuable territory for both material and geopolitical reasons. England has always coveted this territory and feared that it might come under the sway of rival elites. What England wants, England annexes. Scotland is an annexed territory. But the English elites along with their Scottish counterparts with a shared interest were not satisfied with this arrangement. They needed to secure Scotland. They needed to own Scotland. Scotland was understandably reluctant to be owned. The elites’ solution to the Scotland problem was to create a pseudo-national identity that overlayed the entire archipelago. Success has been mixed.
Devolution was seen as a means of countering growing awareness of the erosion of national identity in those annexed territories where Britishness hadn’t taken as well as the British had hoped. The experiment has backfired badly ─ arguably, in Scotland most of all. When the British political parties which were thought to be a safe pair of hands clumsily lost control of the Scottish Parliament ─ to the Scottish National Party, of all things!
This was a wake-up call for the British establishment. Rather than a way of placating those who had long sought to end the Union and restore Scotland’s independence, devolution had enabled the national movement. The Union, which had formalised the annexation of Scotland, was in jeopardy. The Scottish Parliament was starting to be seen as a threat by the British elites. If 2007 was a wake-up call for the British, 2011 was a hefty jolt from a cattle prod.
I don’t think I need to go into what happened in the decade up to the present time. Most of my readers will, I’m sure, be just as aware as myself of the Yes campaign, the referendum and the years of inaction since. The British elites now regard Scotland as a threat to their ambitions and pretensions such as they haven’t faced in many decades. To gauge how threatened they feel and how they intend to respond one need only listen to the increasingly vitriolic anti-Scottish rhetoric as the remaining two rats in Tory leadership/British Prime Minister sack fight for status, power and possibly their political lives.
This is the 21st century. Rather than coming swinging swords and cudgels, the British have the powers afforded them by the Union and their formidable propaganda machine. These are the weapons which are about to be deployed with the aim of neutralising the Scottish Parliament, crippling the Scottish Government and bringing Scotland to heel. The Tory leadership battle is a preview of what we can expect in the campaign for the next UK general election sometime in the next couple of years. All the British political parties will be vying to be seen as the ones to implement a ‘final solution’ to the Scotland problem. The ground has been prepared for what basically amounts to a coup in which the Scottish Parliament and Scottish Government are supplanted by a British administration. The democratic institutions we elected will be sidelined in favour of a British political elite we emphatically rejected. Such is British ‘demockracy’.
The British are coming! Are we prepared for the coming onslaught? Are we ready to defend our democratic institutions? Are we equipped and organised for the kind of campaign the British are intent on unleashing? Is our government ready? Are the Scottish (not British) political parties ready? Is the Yes movement ready?
I don’t know about anybody else, but those questions make me decidedly uncomfortable.
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