No, an homage to catatonia

Brian Wilson, former radical socialist turned nuclear energy enthusiast, has decided to launch a new attack on the SNP and Scottish independence for being the root cause of all that is evil.  It’s not like he does anything else, so no one was that surprised.

In an article for the Hootsmon entitled No homage to Catalonia, Brian took issue with the SNP for not showing enough solidarity with Catalonia.  Not like the Labour movement which was a proud ally of the Republican cause during Spain’s civil war.

It’s a sign of just how far the Scottish Labour party has fallen, here was Brian arguing the case for the heirs of Franco.  That’s some seriously depressing irony, and just too tragic to make a smartarsed remark about.  Brian thinks Mariano Rajoy was quite right to gang up with Davie Cameron and thon Belgian guy, the one with the bowtie in lieu of a personality, to tell Scots and Catalans that they’ll be out on their ears if they vote to govern themselves.

He starts off poorly, with some bad history.  While Scotland and England were uniting peacefully, he tells us, assorted monarchs were knocking lumps out of each other to get their paws on a piece of Catalonia.  Scotland on the other hand enjoyed peace, thanks to the glorious Union, as long as you don’t count those Jacobite Wars which were going on at the same time.

Brian’s point, however poorly illustrated, was to make out that in Europe you positively trip over ancient grievances, and it’s only the fragile structure of the current configuration of states that prevents us from coming over all atavistic.  Existing states good nationalism, potential states bad nationalism.  And it helps to remind us that the Scottish independence campaign is likewise about “ancient grievances”, and not some current grievances about the way the UK is run which it shows no willingness to address.

The spectre of war stalks Brian’s imagination.  If Scotland votes for independence, we’ll open the doors to independence demands from everyone from Catalonia to some German Nazi survivalist in a log cabin in the Alps.  The world will be plunged into chaos, and it will all be the fault of Scottish people for deciding we’re not too wee too poor or too stupid after all.  We’ll be the standard bearers for the sort of post apocalyptic world that Mel Gibson was famous for before he did that other movie.  But with Johann Lamont instead of Tina Turner, which is a lot scarier.

The possibility that other modern European nations might be just like the Scots, and be perfectly capable of sorting out their own constitutional arrangements without resorting to violence or the benefit of external assistance seems to have escaped him.  But as Brian well knows, Project Fear’s largest donation comes from a non-Scottish Conservative businessman who lives in England, so it’s easy to see why he might have missed that point.

He goes on to ask a most curious question.  “When [the SNP] talk of ‘a seat at the top table’, they must surely have some idea of how large they think that fabled piece of furniture should become?”

OK, I was being polite.  When I said curious question, I really meant “gobsmackingly asinine question”.  It’s a question which is so stupid it transcends stupidity, enters the realms of profundity and then comes right back to stupid again.  It’s stupid cubed.

For starters there’s the wee issue that Brian doesn’t seem to have grasped the “self” part of “self-determination”.  It’s hardly for Scotland or the SNP to decide which other ethnic, cultural, or linguistic group is or is not a nation worthy of independence.  It’s unionists who do that sort of thing.  Mariano Rajoy and his government do it every time they inform the Catalans that they aren’t allowed to hold a referendum.  Brian and his pals do it every time they invent some spurious reason why Scotland cannot possibly be a successful independent state.

Just how big does Brian think that any international organisation the UK belongs to is going to become?  Perhaps the UN has an upper limit on the maximum number of states that are allowed to exist simultaneously.  You’d think they would have let us know.  Or perhaps new countries go into a sort of international green room, wine and nibbles will be provided until it’s their turn to go on stage.  Or it could be that if there are too many countries some of the older ones pop out of existence.  I’m sure I saw an episode of Dr Who about something like that.  But we won’t get Dr Who in an independent Scotland so we’ll never have to worry about it anyway.

It’s more likely that Brian is trying too hard to think up another question that is impossible for the SNP, or indeed anyone else, to give an answer to.  This will allow him to proclaim smugly that the SNP don’t have any answers.  Let’s just call off this whole independence thing then.

But this unknowable can be laid firmly at the door of the SNP in Brian’s world, and it is in fact the basis of his entire argument.  That nice Mr Rajoy is just being sensible and statesmanlike in working with Davie and wossisname, it will come to me eventually, to prevent people doing radical and dangerous things like voting to have governments they can exercise some degree of control over.

And yet again there’s nothing from Brian about any positive reason for Scotland to remain subject to governments we didn’t vote for.  No vision of hope, no prospect of anything better together.  Vote no, it’s an homage to catatonia.

And a very special thank you to Mary for the Kirriemuir Gingerbread.  I was scoffing a bit as I typed.

0 thoughts on “No, an homage to catatonia

  1. Anyone who knew Brian as a radical left wing journalist in the 1970s would have trouble recognising the ermine clad apparatchik of today. A running dog of the capitalist imperialists as he might have described himself if he was here today.

    But he isn’t.

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