British Labour Deputy Leader, Angela Rayner’s remarks about Scotland as reported in The National (Scottish independence ‘not very nice’ and means ‘perpetual’ Tory rule) raise some highly relevant and very significant issues. It is unfortunate that she herself seems quite oblivious to this relevance and significance. I see nothing to suggest that she has given the matter of Scotland’s constitutional status more than a moment’s thought. Her comments seem unconsidered to the point of appearing flippant. Perhaps this shouldn’t be surprising. After all, she is merely reflecting the attitude of most if not all British politicians.
Let us not be as shallow as Ms Rayner. Let’s examine the points she raises. Let’s do the thinking she apparently didn’t consider a worthwhile effort. As ever, I have questions.
Isn’t “perpetual Tory rule” the reality of the British state? Was it not the reality even in the days when Scotland sent British Labour MPs to Westminster in the kind of numbers we now return SNP candidates? When was the last time voters in Scotland had any meaningful influence in a UK general election?
Why would we vote for British Labour when on the most important issue facing Scotland, they are indistinguishable from the Tories? Why would we vote for a party that has no more respect for the democratically expressed will of Scotland’s people than any of the British parties?
By what reasoning does Scotland come to have a responsibility to ‘rescue’ England’s electors from the consequences of their own democratic choices? How much is Scotland expected to sacrifice in order to do this?
The fact is that the fundamental purpose of the Union was from its inception to ensure that Scotland has no meaningful influence in the British state. That purpose hasn’t changed. UK governments are chosen by the voters of England-as-Britain. Actually, by a relatively tiny proportion of those voters. Votes cast in Scotland only count if they are matched by a similar number of votes in England. The EU referendum made this abundantly clear. But Angela Rayner seems not to have learned the lesson. The only Scottish votes that have ever even registered on the British political system are votes for the SNP. The lesson that voters in Scotland have learned is that if they want to be noticed then they should never vote for any of the British parties. Even those who bemoan the ineffectuality of those SNP MPs would have to concede that at least we can tell they’re there. When we sent British Labour MPs, they seemed to just disappear ─ merging into the mass of British MPs in the British parliament.
The British state is a Tory state. It may be possibly to vote the Tories out of office, but it is not possible to vote them out of power. The British establishment is Tory. England-as-Britain is Tory. This doesn’t change with the election of a British Labour government. The trend since the middle of the last century has been relentlessly towards an effective one-party state. As the Tory’s grip on power has grown more secure, so the party itself has moved further to the right. The term ‘Tory’ doesn’t only refer to a political party. It refers to the dominant political culture in England-as-Britain ─ and therefore the culture imposed on the whole of the UK.
Electing a British Labour government does nothing to alter or even challenge this dominant culture because British Labour is only electable as a government to the extent that it accords with that culture. Only by being ‘Toryish’ can British Labour be elected in England-as-Britian. The election of a majority of British Labour MPs ─ if that is even imaginable now ─ does not signal change. It signals only a further triumph for the dominant political culture.
British Labour’s main purpose within this dominant Tory political culture is to absorb the votes that might otherwise go to parties which threaten that culture. Or parties that are perceived by the British ruling elites to pose a potential threat to the dominant Tory political culture. Look at Sir Keir Starmer! He is the British Labour Leader Tory voters would have chosen! Look at what happened to Jeremy Corbyn because he is anathema to Tory voters! The Tories have it totally sewn up!
Whatever else may be said of the SNP, it has been the only fly in the Tory ointment in recent decades. Not because the party is particularly left wing. Because the SNP is not part of the British political system. It has not been assimilated into the Tory British state to anything like the extent that British Labour has. With the possible exception of Pete Wishart.
Angela Rayner would have us give that up. The only thing that stands between us and the eradication of Scotland’s political distinctiveness is the SNP. Given the party’s performance over the last few years that is hardly a comforting thought. But if we lose what we have then we are left with nothing. And no way back. That is what Angela Rayner and her ilk are asking of Scotland. They are asking (demanding?) that we forfeit our sovereignty and our identity as a nation and our aspiration to be better. And for what? Not to defeat the Tories. Not to bring about meaningful change. Solely for the interests of a party which is effectively no different from the Tories we want to get rid of.
The only way to break the grip of the Tories is to break the British state. If British Labour was a truly radical party, that is what it would be seeking to do. If the Scottish National Party was doing what we elected it to do, breaking the British state would be its mission.
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20 thoughts on “The future is grim! The future is Tory!”
Rayner’s remarks simply betray the sense of entitlement of an English unionist politician. It is YOUR job Ms Rayner, to get Labour elected to westminster, not the responsibility of the voters of Scotland, just get on with it.
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Hmmm! What other political parties can we think of that expect others to do their work for them? Isn’t that precisely what ALBA was demanding in the 2021 Holyrood election? And hasn’t the SNP spent the last eight years assuring us that the British parties and the British government were doing their work for them?
There’s a lot of it about.
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Spot on, sir!
There must be something about that cheap booze in the HoC bar. It’s so intoxicating that when our SNP MPs get a taste for it, they forget all about why we sent them there in the first place and they never want to leave.
(It may also have something to do with the inflation-proofed £84K pa plus expenses and perks.)
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Spot on, Peter. However, instead of perpetual Toryism being the default position, isn’t it rather the establishmentarianism of the UK that dominates, regardless of party? No party that is part of that establishment can possibly break ranks, and the SNP is just the latest to become ensnared in its tentacles. Most human beings are open to corruption in some way, and it is the very few who refuse to sell their soul Dr Faustus/Faust style.
I think, too, that, although ALBA may well be trying to capitalise on both the SNP and the YES movement, Alex Salmond has been indefatigable in promoting independence, often at great cost to him personally, as some people will never let him forget the recent past. Do you honestly believe that the SNP would even be doing what it is doing at the Supreme Court if it did not feel threatened by ALBA, and, more to the point, Alex Salmond?
The SNP cannot be saved, Peter, if only because the people who have infiltrated it and now squat in its higher echelons, and at every level, are, by their very nature, parasitical ‘wokie-dokies’. They will not let go until the host is dead, then, God help us, they will move on to another party/movement/grouping to destroy it, too, if we let them. That is the hard/far left’s nature: it is oblivious to anyone else’s rights and needs. It quite deliberately chose the SNP because it believed it could be subverted – and it was right.
Say what you like about the Unionist parties, but they see the danger and try to contain it, in England, even as they pay lip service to this deluded insanity for fear of the vicious ‘trans’ activists destroying lives; they also have seen the potential there for destroying the SNP, or rather, allowing it to destroy itself and ‘save’ the Union.
For too long, we have withheld the boxing gloves. Now, we need to put on the knuckle dusters and defeat those who have been the real cause of our mess. The British State has made hay with these people, I have no doubt, but we invited them in, and, sadly, they have become inseparable from the SNP. Either we bring them down, and the SNP with them, try to replace it with something else, or we do nothing, and disappear from history. Personally, I think reform of the SNP is now impossible, if it ever were possible after 2015.
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“The term ‘Tory’ doesn’t only refer to a political party. It refers to the dominant political culture in England-as-Britain ─ and therefore the culture imposed on the whole of the UK.”
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Scotland shouldn’t be Independent because it’ll leave Manchester and England to the mercy of the Tory’s, how she was laughed out of Edinburgh is beyond me, how conceited a redtory can get.
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OT. From the National:
“ A spokesperson for the UK Government said: “People across Scotland want both their governments to be working together on the issues that matter to them and their families, not talking about another independence referendum.
“We have today submitted our written case to the Supreme Court, in accordance with its timetable.
“On the question of legislative competence, the UK Government’s clear view remains that …
… that since we are asserting that People across Scotland want something or other, that will need to be tested in a referendum to see whether we’re right or whether we’re wrong. So we agree – there IS a need for a referendum, we withdraw our objection.
If only the UK Government did logic. But they SHOULD be quoted in Court as above.
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Reblogged this on Ramblings of a now 60+ Female.
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My academic colleagues on the continent considered England an ‘Anglo-Saxon culture’ emphasizing the individual and private profit (Thatcher’s ‘there’s no such thing as society’ etc); whereas continental nations are regarded as holding to ‘Latin culture’ emphasizing the community and the public good. Scotland’s ‘natural’ cultural orientation seems more toward the latter, e.g. Claim of Right, cowman guid etc. Which perhaps explains why “independence is a fight for a national culture” (Frantz Fanon).
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It’s a fight for survival now! The perfect storm is approaching. It’s do or die!
We have previous for that.
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You still see people debating how the franchise for elections in Scotland, and specifically the referendum, should be changed. But they fail to take account of 1). any timetable for changes, and 2). any party interest in doing so (e.g. SNP / Greens). So here are quotes from official sources:
“In December 2017, the Scottish Government indicated its decision to take forward reform of devolved aspects of electoral law by launching a consultation on electoral reforms for Scottish Local Government and Scottish Parliament elections.”
and note that to launch a consultation, work would have been done before that not only by politicians, but by the civil service. For the sake of argument, that takes it back to September 2017 at the latest.
“The Scottish Elections (Franchise and Representation) Bill became an Act on 01 April 2020
Introduced (20 June 2019)”
So it took nearly 3 years from setting up a consulation to having the assented Act.. So if suddenly now the SNP decided to change the franchise for some insane reason to stop sections of the People of Scotland who live and work here, from voting, and started that in September 2022, it wouldn’t become an Act until April 2025.
Hello you franchise debaters, that’s 2 years after the proposed Indy Ref 2
In addition of course, the Referendums Act 2020 would have to be changed at least to refer to the new franchise Act rather than the old one, and receive Royal Assent, and quite possibly, the actual short referendum bill with dates.
So any debate about Franchise in connection with Indy Ref 2, is hot air.
Of course, the British state and its colonial administration have no intention of altering the application of an irregular local government franchise for a national referendum or Holyrood elections. It is clearly in their interest to use an irregular franchise based on residence in order to secure a ‘No’ vote, as well as a higher unionist vote at elections.
What did you expect, a UN C-24 sanctioned franchise inclusive of ‘secondary criteria’ removing some of the recent settler vote and prioritising the rights of indigenous Scots to self-determination?
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“Of course, the British state and its colonial administration …”
Please don’t try to include me with your wacko “colonial administration” nonsense. If you want to do that, make it as a posting on its own, not in reply to my factual posting.
It’s DEVOLVED and you spit in the face of 74.3% of us who voted YES to devolution in 1999 – as does the current Tory Government in Westminster and its scions.
You are perfectly entitled to believe that the Scottish Government is not a colonial administration. I probably would too if I retained a colonial mindset. Though I might still wonder why a people should seek to remove a governing administration that is answerable to another country and replace it with their own independent government/state.
The Scottish Government welcomes immigration for a range of reasons, including
“Migration can help alleviate some of the challenges associated with Scotland’s demographic change. Without migration Scotland’s population would be in decline with deaths exceeding births. Migrants who come to Scotland tend to be well educated and highly skilled, help raise productivity and contribute to government revenue.”
“People who move between Scotland and the rest of the UK tend to be relatively young, with relatively high education levels. Inward flows from elsewhere in the UK have two peaks: those aged 18-20, many of which are likely to be students, and those in their late 20s and early 30s. Outward flows follow a similar pattern – however, the peak at ages 18-20 is lower, reflecting that fewer young people in Scotland move to the rest of the UK to study.”
You, however, far from welcoming them would seek to deprive them of their vote even though they live and work here, as you regard them as “settlers”, and that “indigenous Scots” should be the only people who can vote on all our futures.
You regard the Scottish Government as “Colonial administrators” because they welcome immigration for the above very clear reasons – they are good for the economy, and will be paying our pensions (which in around 2030 without young working people immigrating, puts us in a worse position than the rest of the UK because the ratio of pensioners to wage earners falls below that of the rUK in spite of our lower life expectancies).
You accuse anyone who disagrees with you of having a “colonial mindset”, which is an attempt to ridicule our inclusive views on immigration and the voting franchise, and rejection of blood and soil nationalism in favour of welcoming people to Scotland, both to visit and to study, live and work here. And indeed, raise a family.
I totally reject and always will, your blood and soil nationalism, your desire to rob people who live and work in Scotland of their vote purely because instead of welcoming them into our society, you regard them as “settlers”, and even colonisers.
I’ve done with you, and if you had not replied to my postings in your vain attempt to pursue your blood and soil nationalism, I would have left you well alone anyway as I’ve seen your postings over the years and despised them.
Colonialism is primarily about economic plunder as well as political and cultural exploitation of a people (Albert Memmi), and rather less its third dimension, i.e. ‘settler occupation’ which may or may not occur. For some reason you appear to dwell only on the latter. Don’t you have anything to say on the former?
There is no ethnic component to Scotland’s civic nationalism. Nor should there be. Which is not to say that qualification for a residency-based franchise couldn’t be tightened up. But the tighter it is the more it has to be policed. It would be unlikely this policing might be non-intrusive.
Trying to exclude ‘settlers’ from the franchise would, I suspect, cost us as much as we might gain. Perhaps more. I’m just not convinced it’s worthwhile. Especially as we know that a proportion of these incomers are persuadable. If we add to that the ones who can be induced to see the Union differently, we might be glad of those votes. Also, although I’m aware of no evidence for this, I suspect those ‘settlers’ may have a greater than average tendency to be non-voters. Some will see it a none of their business. Some simply won’t understand the issues or have any interest in them.
Well Peter, civic nationalism is defined as people from other countries holding a sense of belonging to the country they now live in, i.e. their host nation. This would also imply that these people would desire to acquire the citizenship of that host nation, i.e. they would all be ‘Yes’ voters. We know that this is not the case in Scotland, because most people from other countries voted ‘No’ and blocked Scottish citizenship, even for Scots. Maybe think about this for a minute. It might also be noticed here that the definition of civic nationalism has little if anything to do with the indigenous people.
Moreover, as colonialism involves oppression of the indigenous (i.e. ethnic) native population, also debasing their culture and language, this means that an independence movement depends on the solidarity of the oppressed ethnic group. Ethnicity is therefore central to the desire for independence, and indeed is one of the key recognised features that defines ‘a people’, along with their unique culture, language, history, heritage, common suffering, and the will to be a nation.
As MacDiarmid (and Fanon) said, our understanding of independence remains rudimentary.
I never stop thinking about such matters.
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Please also don’t include me in your xenophobic “settler” nonsense, and your blood and soil “indigenous Scots”. I have no time at all for the Siol nan Gaidheal extremism you espouse.