The United Kingdom that Scotland was promised it could be a leading part of doesn’t exist. It’s as fictitious as the ghost in an episode of Scooby Doo, an artificial phantasm invented in order to distract from the real goings on. Most of you reading this will be as shocked by this relevation as you would be on discovering that it was the creepy janitor wot done it. And in fact it was the creepy janitors of Westminster wot done it in this children’s cartoon that they’re pleased to call the government and parliament of the United Kingdom.
The big selling point of the Better Together campaign during the 2014 indyref was stability and security. They asked repeatedly and pleadingly, only with far less cuteness than the pleading eyes of a fluffy puppy because there is no universe in which Gordie Broon could be mistaken for cute, why give up the stability and security of the broad shoulders of pooling and sharing Britain for the uncertainties of a tiny little Scotland that’s still in kiddy sizes. You’re safe in the UK, you know what you’re getting, why give that up for all the uncertainty of independence when the SNP can’t even tell you how much a first class stamp is going to cost in 2020?
In the UK you’ll not only be sure and certain, but you can lead! And some even trotted out the tired old divorce metaphor and told us that we’d be like the wife who had threatened to leave but had changed her mind so now we’d be able to call the shots. We’d be in a strong position to get everything we wanted. And just look at all the pretty baubles that were on offer. Shiny shiny. There’s superdoubleplusdevomaxiest, more superpowers than the entire canon of DC comics, jobs galore, oil booms, investment, pensions you can trust, ensuring the NHS would be well funded and in public hands, a triple A credit rating, securing our EU membership, and they’d even throw in a blanket and some beads and mirrors. It was a veritable Generation Game conveyor belt of Unionist goodies, and they even threw in a cuddly toy in the shape of Fluffy Mundell. Good game, good game.
Two years down the line we know what we’re getting. We’re getting bugger all. The jobs that we were warned would be lost if we voted Yes have been lost or are threatened anyway. All we’ve actually managed to get is the stuffed toy, but even the stuffed toy is really the beardy voice of the Tory cabinet in Scotland and not the voice of Scotland in the Tory cabinet. The only Scottish voice that’s welcome in a Westminster Tory cabinet is a voice that is wheesht. Everything else that Scotland was promised has gone the way of Davie Cameron’s career, which fell off the end of the conveyor belt into the bottomless pit of Westminster’s unkept promises and lost opportunities.
Why risk the stability and safety of the big boys and girls of Westminster, with their experience and their nous and their contacts and their understanding of the world, and trade it for a little government in a little country which doesn’t even have a proper news programme. And then the Brexit axe fell and we saw that Scotland was meant to rely on the broad shoulders of a headless chicken. No one in the British establishment had a clue what to do. The Tories went into collective meltdown and Labour turned in on itself. We saw that all they care about is their own careers.
Remember the face of Bawjaws Johnson the morning after the Brexit vote. There he stood, like a teenager who’d been caught behind the bikesheds with his troosers round his ankles and his right hand fully occupied. That’s the face of the British establishment in a crisis. That’s what Scotland is supposed to be better off with.
We know what we’re not getting. We don’t know what we’re going to get except that it’s unlikely to be either good or anything that we’d have freely chosen. We’re not getting the security of our EU membership, but we don’t know when the Brexit button is going to be pushed or what will happen when it is. Although it’s a safe bet that it’s not going to be pretty, because if Brexit really was going to usher in the sunny uplands of a bright and confident UK bursting full of economic opportunities, job creation and international cooperation, conditions that would ensure the reelection of any government that brought it about, you might imagine that they’d be in a hurry to get the process started.
What’s going to happen to the grants and subsidies that Scotland received from the EU? Will the UK government make up the difference? No one knows for sure. Which means that they probably won’t. Meanwhile our renewables industry faces an uncertain future along with the rest of Scotland. If we stay in the UK our only option will be to put out the begging bowl and hope that Westminster tosses a few coppers our way. But we already know that they’re only interested in tossing themselves.
Two years since the promises were made, and within two years they’ve all turned to dust. The only government in the UK that actually has a plan is the Scottish Government. Westminster isn’t going to secure Scotland’s place in Europe, it’s not going to secure Scottish jobs, it’s not going to secure Scotland’s economy. Scotland will have to do all these things for itself. We stand at a juncture in history, we can choose between the uncertainty and instability of a UK that doesn’t know where it’s going, that doesn’t know what it stands for, which is turning its face against the world, or we can choose an outward looking Scotland in which we build security and stability for ourselves. Today the Scottish First Minister is in Germany seeking to build alliances and forging contacts with other EU nations as a first step to securing Scotland’s future in Europe. From Westminster there is only a self-serving silence.
That’s the choice that’s facing Scotland in this summer of uncertainty. We can continue to rely on the broad shoulder’s of the headless chicken of Westminster where planning and foresight are alien concepts, or we can create a future for ourselves with our own hard work, our own vision and our skill, talents and intelligence. Never has the phrase “it’s a no brainer” been more appropriate. A new Scotland will be born from the advice of a thousand Scottish maws, “If ye want something done, dae it yersel.” Let’s dae it oorsel.
Audio version of this blog article, courtesy of @lumi_1984 https://soundcloud.com/occamshaver/the-broad-shoulders-of-a-headless-chicken-wgd-9th-august-2016
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This will be the last blog post until August 24 as my significant other is visiting from the USA and we’re going away together for a wee holiday.
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