It’s been a full weekend. We’ve had threats of war with Spain. We’ve had Theresa May’s government cutting benefits payments to bereaved families. Life expectancy in the UK is falling for the first time since the last world war. We’ve had the UK turn into the laughing stock of the world, as a report in a Dutch newspaper put it, Brexit is founded on lies and racism. There are supposedly serious commentators waxing lyrical about blue passports and reintroducing imperial measurements. It doesn’t matter what colour a British passport is, pretty soon we won’t be able to go anywhere with it without being ridiculed. The UK has sunk so low that even the citizens of Trump America are able to look down on us with feelings of pity. Things are so bad now that we really wish that Theresa May would stop doing her day job.
The UK has turned into a nasty little right wing fiefdom. We’re set to have Tories in power for the foreseeable future. UK Labour is far more interested in its internal disputes to bother being an opposition. We are living in a country which glorifies the military and talks of war and picks fights with the whole world. Britain has only got one friend left in the international arena and he’s certifiably batshit insane. The only people who hold us up as a shining example are your actual racists and neo-fascists like Marine Le Pen and that Dutch guy with the hairdo that makes Trump seem like he’s well coiffeured. Our establishment talks of changing our passports back to British blue, because we don’t need red passports any more now that our faces are red enough. The UK, the big riddy of Europe.
Michael Howard said that he sees no harm in reminding the Spanish what sort of people “we” are. That’s a “we” that doesn’t include Scotland. That’s a “we” that doesn’t include 48% of people in the UK. It’s a “we” that bows down before dictators and seeks to sell them arms. It’s a “we” that threatens and bullies when things don’t go its way, even though it’s a wannabe bully with wet knickers and a snottery nose that couldn’t negotiate its way out of a swing park even if it had a map. It’s a “we” that kowtows to big business and offers tax breaks to the rich while it throws its own citizens on the scrapheap. It’s a “we” that panders to racism. And most people in Scotland look upon it and say that’s a “we” that’s not me.
Yet given this utter catastrophe which has befallen the UK, a catastrophe that’s only set to get worse as Brexit bites the Britnats on the bum, what exercises the razor sharp political minds of some Labour cooncil candidates? Someone stuck pro-independence stickers on the statue of Donald Dewar at the top of Buchanan Street in Glasgow. There’s been a sticker! Never mind any of that other stuff, a statue getting a serious stickering represents a society that’s descending into anarchy. Where’s that joyous civic nationalism now eh, when a big lump of bronze isn’t safe from stickers. It’s this ability to hone in on the issues that really matter that’s ensuring that the Labour party in Scotland is at the cutting edge of politics. It’s just unfortunate for them that that cutting edge is cutting them out of power for good. When Holyrood comes back into session after its Easter break, Kezia Dugdale will appear at FMQs greeting about stickers and arguing that there’s a progressive Labour case for going to war with Spain because the last thing the country needs right now is a divisive opposition to a British invasion fleet of lilos.
The imperative for Scotland is to get out of this utter disaster that passes for a state. Britain lurches from one crisis to another, without a clue about where it’s going, blithely sailing on in the delusional state that it’s special and everyone is going to cave in and give it everything it wants. Everything that’s happened over the past few days was predicted and predictable, the only people who were unprepared for it were the British establishment and their media cheerleaders. They couldn’t look past the bunting and the Great British boosterism and see the reality of a fading little European country that the world doesn’t owe a living to.
Now that Spain has confirmed that which those of us who were paying attention had known all along, that there won’t be a veto on a Scottish EU application, the chances for Scotland to escape the clutches of the tiny minded British nationalist reactionaries have never been better. All the Unionist scare stories are falling by the wayside. Serious economists like Richard Murphy and Prof Simon Wren-Lewis have challenged the myth that Scotland is economically dependent on the UK. The Tories themselves have destroyed the argument that Scotland shouldn’t risk the uncertainties of independence when it can have the security and safety of the UK, because there is no security and safety in Brexit Britain. They’ve destroyed their favourite currency argument too. There is no stability in the UK pound any more, it’s plummeted against other currencies and seems set to plummet more. There are spinning plates on sticks that are more stable than the pound.
The choice we’re facing is the choice between showing the rest of the world that we’re not like the Michael Howards and Theresa Mays, that Scotland is a different country with different values. Values that we should have no hesitation in proclaiming are better than those espoused by a nasty narrow inward looking Britain that bases its entire public policy on a disdain for foreigners. Because if Scotland can’t be better than what the Tories have on offer, we’re as well giving up as a country and rejoicing in our status as a glorified Yorkshire, a tartan bedecked adjunct to a Little England.
The choice we’re facing is a choice to take responsibility for our own destiny, or to have that destiny determined for us by the who we ares of Michael Howard. It’s a choice between dignity or ignominy, a choice between self-respect or the humiliation of being the hangers on of racists. It’s a choice between the 16th century or the 21st. It should be an easy choice to make.
In March this wee blog that channels a stray Valencian dug received 246,950 page views and had 86,974 unique visitors. That’s a new record, and pretty damn good for a blog that has relatively few readers outside Scotland. The blog is now getting more traffic than it did even during the frantic final weeks of the independence referendum in 2014. There’s going to be many more blog posts to come before Scotland finally regains its independence. Thanks to everyone for your support.
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