Well 2017 is shaping up to be pretty crappy, isn’t it. And there was us thinking that 2016 was the worst year ever. We’ve not even had a whole month of 2017 yet and already it’s so bad that it’s enough to make you long for the good old days of 2016 when it was only celebrities who had to worry about their survival prospects. Or at least the worthwhile ones, Katie Hopkins and Piers Morgan are both in robust health and the Jedward twins are annoyingly alive and well and still haven’t been voted off Celebrity Big Brother. It’s just their career that died. But where 2016 was the year when celebrities worried if they’d make it to the end of the year, 2017 is the year when we’re all worrying whether our civil liberties, our public services, or our economy will survive until Dec 31.
Thanks to Theresa May’s nauseating cosying up to the man whose ego is inversely proportional to the size of his tiny little hands, we now know that Britain voted to take back control from Europe so it could be handed on a plate to Donald Trump. I’m struggling to think of a time I’ve been more embarrassed to bear a British passport, and I’ve seen Nicholas Witchell’s syrupy waffle about the royal wedding. I’ve seen catsuited Galloway praising dictators. I’ve seen Tony Blair and his tombstone teeth hoping that the gleam of his grin will distract us from the sight of dead children in Baghdad.
Britain has taken back control so that we can be a free country. We’re free from the bureaucrats of Brussels now, free to have the NHS colonised by American healthcare corporations, free to abolish maternity and paternity leave, free to reduce the annual holiday entitlement to zero, free to work unlimited hours in jobs that pay peanuts if we can find a job at all. Free to become the pariah of Europe. Free to be the laughing stock as we drape ourselves in a Union fleg that substitutes for dignity. Free to climb so far up the rectum of the Donald that his tiny little fingers can’t dislodge us.
And here in Scotland we’re the freest of all, free to be electorally irrelevant, free to be taken out the EU even though we voted to stay in it twice, free to be ignored and sidelined, free not to be consulted. We’re free to be powerless, free to hoist our Caledonian backsides in the air and be royally shafted. We’re free to be unable to do anything about it. Free to be told what to do, free to have our country Trump-trashed. And as long as we remain a part of this so-called United Kingdom, there’s nothing we can do but revel in our weakness and glorify our paralysis. Isn’t it wonderful to be so free. Scotland in the UK is so free it doesn’t even need the illusion of control.
Britain tells us that we’re free, but the truth is we’re trapped in a state that has slipped its moorings and relies on xenophobia and fear as a substitute for a moral compass. This is a ship of state that’s sailing on an ocean of hatred while the grey storm clouds of greed are gathering. The sound of a distant gale is growing, blowing in from the west. Scotland is being towed along behind the sinking British ship of state, bounced about in its wake, keel hauled like a pirate’s captive. The only freedom we’ve got left is the freedom to do as we are told by the people who unleashed the storm and who are sailing us into disaster as the waves grow ever higher. They’re the people who tell us they can walk on water as the sea closes in around their necks. And we’re given no choice but to obey the ocean necklaced people whom we know will toss us overboard first in order to save themselves.
Even when they toss us to the corporate sharks they’ll be telling us that they’re doing it for our own good, that we’re too poor and too small and we need them. We need them so they can devour us, so we can bask in their contempt and derision. 300 years of a Union that’s left us too weak and useless to stand on our own feet.
There’s a difference between being poor and being impoverished. Scotland is a rich country, but it’s a rich country that’s been impoverished by a UK that sucks the wealth and talent out into the maws of London, and then having taken the best from Scotland it tells us that Scotland is too poor to survive.
It doesn’t have to be like this. It’s not too late. Scotland can cut the ropes that bind us and chart our own course to a quiet and calm haven. We’re the land of many islands that can shelter us from the storm, the country of mountains to protect us from the rising waters. We’re a resourceful people in a land full of resources. They’re resources we could be using to build a home for ourselves, to protect the people and create a better future, a place to bring up the kids in safety and security, a place where the elderly can be cared for, a place with a roof that will keep out the rain and windows with a view of the world, and a door that allows our friends to visit. Instead we allow Westminster to use them to tie a noose around our neck and drag us down with them into the grasping little hands of Trump.
We can choose to do what’s in the best interests of all the people of Scotland. Or we can have choices made for us that benefit the rich and the powerful, choices that Scotland doesn’t make and that don’t work in our best interests but in the interests of those who’re leading us into the beady greedy eye of a Trumpicane. We can choose the shelter, or we can choose the storm.
Audio version of this blog post, courtesy of Sarah Mackie @lumi_1984 https://soundcloud.com/occamshaver/wee-ginger-dug-27th-jan-2017
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