During the independence referendum campaign, the Yes side was pressed on every tiny detail of what would come to pass in an independent Scotland. What would be the price of a first class stamp? How many council houses were going to be built? Will there be a posthumous album from Fran and Anna – will Jock not stop whistling after all? Even an answer to these questions would only provoke further questioning on a greater level of detail. Ah yes, well the independence movement might very well give a commitment to build X number of council houses in the first five years of an independence Scotland, but they still can’t tell us what the furnishings are going to be like and whether that nice glass topped table and blue fascia fronted storage unit from IKEA will still be in stock. The uncertainty! Where are people going to put that new CD from Fran and Anna that the SNP still can’t tell us is going to be released? The Unionist press was full of outraged reports that the SNP expect people to accept independence without these questions being answered.
While the massed ranks of Alicsamministas were being forced to dig around in Coatbridge to discover the lost bootleg Fran and Anna tapes, the Better Together campaign wasn’t being asked for any detail at all on its claims for what would happen if Scotland voted No. During the last week of the campaign when the British establishment was in full on panic mode because there had been a poll showing independence was ahead, the infamous Vow was published. Deliberated worded in a vague manner, it could have meant just about anything. Despite this, the Better Together campaign was not pressed on detail. Instead it was allowed to puff up its content free Vow so it could be presented as all things to all people. We all know how that turned out. It turned out that the Vow only meant all things to the Unionist parties. It meant bugger all to Scotland.
And now here we are in the aftermath of another referendum, and there’s still no certainty about anything at all. It’s only Scottish independence supporters who need to provide answers, if you’re a member of the British establishment we’re expected to trust you. We’re expected to trust a governing class which has a centuries long history of lies and deceit. They don’t call it Perfidious Albion for nothing.
We went into the EU referendum without any details of what Brexit was going to mean. Months later after the Brexit vote we still don’t have any details of what it’s going to mean. Are British goods and services going to have free access to the single market? No one knows. Are EU citizens living in this country and UK citizens living in EU countries going to be allowed to remain? They’re being held hostage to the fortunes of an uncaring Tory party. Will we still enjoy freedom of movement throughout the EU? No one can say. The only certainty that we do have is that the promise that the Brexit campaign made to invest in the NHS wasn’t actually a promise after all. It was more of a fond hope, a fond hope that isn’t going to come to pass. The official position of the UK government months after the EU vote is a pathetic confused mess where cabinent ministers are free to express their own opinions because the UK government has no opinion of its own. These are the broad shoulders of the UK. Broad shoulders, but no brain. Broad shoulders, but no understanding or compassion or care. So that’s broad in the sense of coarse and thick then.
The Tory government can’t tell us what their plans are, and now are attempting to tell us that the fact they don’t know is really a strategy. They’re telling us that they’re keeping it secret so Britain don’t reveal its hand in negotiations. And if you believe that I’ve got a Vow for you. Can you imagine how the Unionist parties and the friends in the press would have reacted if the Scottish government refused to reveal any plans for independence, claiming that it was vital to keep the details secret so as not to reveal Scotland’s hand in negotiations? Ruth Davidson would park her tank on the lawn outside Holyrood. Mind you she does that anyway.
The Tories are still holding out for an a la carte Brexit even though the EU has told Britain that it’s a take it or leave it deal. If Britain wants free access for British goods and services to the European market, then it’s got to accept free movement of people. That’s a concept that’s simple enough even for the most obstinate Tory to grasp, but they still persist in their arrogant fantasy that Britain is special and normal rules don’t apply.
And now Nigel Farage is reduced to complaining in the EU Parliament that the EU has appointed negotiators that Nigel doesn’t like. The only negotiators who are acceptable to the Brexiteers are the Brexiteers themselves. Because Britain is special. Britain is great. Britain is a unique a la carte menu in the cafeteria of life. And Johnny Foreigner just jolly well ought to do what Britain tells him. Large parts of the British right never wanted to be a full and committed part of Europe anyway, they just wanted a substitute for Empire and are in a huff because the rest of Europe isn’t rolling over and cooperating.
That attitude is precisely why there are so many people in the rest of Europe who’re really quite happy to see the UK leave the EU. ¡Ya nunca! they’re shouting as Britain goes out the exit door. That’s Spanish for good riddance. They’re not in the mood to do the UK any favours. Britain’s been a difficult pain in the arse in the EU for decades, they’ll be delighted to be rid of it. Britain’s going to get no favours from the EU, the special little snowflake will melt in the heat of EU negotiations. But a Scotland that has voted to remain a part of Europe and that votes for independence, that’s a Scotland that’s going to encounter an ocean of goodwill from the rest of the EU.
Audio version of this blog article, courtesy of Sarah Mackie @lumi_984 https://soundcloud.com/occamshaver/wee-ginger-dug-14th-sept-2016
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