To be a Unionist

David Mundell

To be a Unionist in Scotland, one must be prepared to accept humiliation, not as an insult to be stoically borne or desperately rationalised, but as a natural part of ones condition as a subject of the British state.

To be a Unionist in Scotland, one must be so persuaded of the superiority of the British ruling elite that ones own inferiority is worn with the same ease as ones own skin.

To be a Unionist in Scotland, one must consent to the denial by the British state of democratic rights which in all other circumstances would be considered inalienable.

To be a Unionist in Scotland, one must stand ready to sacrifice the needs, priorities and aspirations of ones country to the imperative of preserving the structures of power, privilege and patronage which define the British state.

To be a Nationalist in Scotland, you need only maintain that Scotland, its people, its land, its culture and its democratic institutions are worthy of being treated with the respect generally regarded as the due of any nation.

To be a Nationalist in Scotland, you need only believe that good government is never further removed from the governed than is consistent with its function. And that decisions about Scotland’s future must be made by the people of Scotland.

To be a Nationalist in Scotland, you need only insist that the people of Scotland are sovereign. And that they must never be denied the full and effective exercise of their sovereignty.


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How mad are BritNats?

ni_terror1Andrew Lilico has done no more than explicitly express a sentiment that has always been a significant element of Brexiteer/British Nationalist ideology. A reckless disregard for the Good Friday Agreement has long been evident. But is it right to assume this to mean that they would be content to ‘lose’ Northern Ireland? There is an alternative implication that is rather more troubling. Namely, that they are assuming the British state has the capacity to deal with the consequences of a breakdown in the arrangements which have brought welcome but fragile peace to the occupied counties.

Given the all too evident belligerence of these British Nationalists, can we confidently discount the possibility that they envisage a ‘military solution’ to any resumption of violence? We know how dangerously deluded these people are. The Brexit fiasco has revealed how ‘ideologically committed’ they are to the idea of British exceptionalism. There is little effort made to conceal their fantasies of a return to a ‘glorious’ imperial past. Does this betoken a willingness to relinquish what they regard as British territory? Or does it, rather, suggest a determination to maintain Britannia’s jealous grasp of her possessions at any cost?

And, if British Nationalists are thinking in terms of securing Northern Ireland for the British state by force of arms, what might this imply for their attitude towards and intentions for Scotland?


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Another symptom of Union sickness

Scottish BBC viewers send £100m licence fee ‘subsidy’ to London HQ

bbc_north_britainIt’s all very well for the BBC to claim that they’re doing better. It may even be true – at least insofar as it’s possible to tell from their artfully juggled figures. But this still leaves the question of why the situation arose in the first place and why it is taking so long to get it sorted. And here we come back, yet again, to the nature of Scotland’s constitutional arrangements.

The fundamental problem is that Scotland’s interests cannot be adequately represented within the Union. Inevitably so, given that the Union’s purpose was always to ensure Scotland’s subordinate status within ‘Greater England’ – or the British state, as we now know it.

It is no surprise at all to find that Scotland is disadvantaged in terms of public service broadcasting provision as this is precisely what the Union is meant to do. Not specifically, of course. But as an unavoidable consequence of a constitutional settlement which is purposefully contrived to deny the people of Scotland full and effective exercise of their sovereignty. If we were able to vote for what we wanted; and if we actually got something approximating what we voted for, it is simply not credible that a situation would have arisen in which we so massively subsidise a public service broadcaster which serves the people of Scotland so poorly. A functioning democracy does not produce such grotesque anomalies.

The most glaring of these anomalies is Brexit. The fact that Scotland is being dragged out of the EU against the democratically expressed will of its people proves beyond question that the UK is systemically incapable of representing Scotland’s interests. What the situation with the BBC does is remind us that this is, not a one-off failure in an otherwise satisfactory constitutional arrangement, but an inherent function of the Union.


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To hell with being polite!

chris_mcelenyIt is gratifying to find any senior figure in the SNP expressing a sense of urgency and determination about action to resolve Scotland’s constitutional issue. Chris McEleny is a widely respected figure in the party. His is a powerful voice within the Yes community. When he says that the independence movement is “crying out for determined leadership”, those who aspire – or pretend – to such leadership would be well advised to listen.

In Chris’s call to action we see evidence of the new mindset which will surely be required if Scotland’s rightful constitutional status is to be restored in time to save our nation from the ongoing insult to our democracy represented by the Union – as most egregiously exemplified by Brexit – and from the further depredations threatened by a British political elite in fervent thrall to an extreme ‘One Nation’ British Nationalist ideology.

But Chris may not go far enough. For all his apparent readiness to reject the possibility of achieving independence while adhering to rules devised by the British establishment for the purpose of preserving the Union, he doesn’t seem quite able to completely resist the asserted authority which has been inculcated in the people of Scotland over centuries. I mean him no disrespect when I say that he continues to exhibit symptoms of the ‘Scottish Cringe’.

We see this in the suggestion that Scotland must establish, to Westminster’s satisfaction, its right to hold a constitutional referendum. That we must show just cause in order to qualify for the exercise of our democratic right. In this instance, the fact of being dragged out of the EU against the will of Scotland’s people. To fully embrace the requisite mindset, we must rid ourselves of such notions.

If we are to “look like we mean what we say” then we must evince total confidence in our absolute and inalienable right to self-determination. We must not show the slightest hint of being prepared to compromise that right. We must, in all things and at all times, act and speak as a nation fully entitled to freely choose the form of government which best suits our needs.

This means that we must also have full authority to decide the manner in which we make this choice. We cannot sensibly suppose that a process by which we might exercise our right of self-determination can possibly arise within the context of a political union contrived and developed as a constitutional device by which to deny us the full and proper exercise of our sovereignty. We must determine and control the process such as to exclude all possibility of intervention or interference from a British state intent upon preventing it proceeding to a truly democratic conclusion.

I question whether Chris’s proposal achieves this. Using a UK general election as a proxy referendum means we depend on the British government calling that referendum. And doing so in timely fashion. Making the next Holyrood election a vote on independence means waiting until 2021 – by which time, who knows what damage the British political elite will have wrought on Scotland. Who knows if we will even have a functional Scottish Parliament by then?

Chris is unquestionably right about one thing. We have “ever so politely played the game” by the British state’s rules. It has been amply demonstrated that doing so is detrimental, not only to our cause, but to our democracy. I strongly suspect that, if the cause of restoring Scotland’s independence is to succeed, we may have to abandon politeness altogether.


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This is our fight

“The Tories think they can do whatever they want to Scotland and get away with it.”Deidre Brock MP

filthy_handsAnd why wouldn’t they think this? Why wouldn’t the British establishment blithely suppose they can do whatever they want to Scotland and get away with it? After all, this is precisely what we, as a nation, told them in 2014. That’s what a No vote meant. It’s effect was to give the British political elite licence to dispose of Scotland as they wished. To deal with us as they might find expedient.

And, for all Ms Brock’s splendid assurances that “the SNP is determined not to let them”, what has actually been prevented? What measures have been blocked? From EVEL to Brexit and the ‘power-grab’, the British state has proceeded unfettered in its abuse of Scotland’s interests and contempt for our democratic will. All objections have been ignored. All protests have been brushed aside. All demands have been ineffectual.

This is not to doubt that the SNP are Scotland’s champions. Nobody else is carrying our demands and protests and objections into the heart of the British political system. Nobody else is in a position to do so. The SNP is the de facto political arm of Scotland’s independence movement. We rely on them.

But what is actually being achieved? And, if not enough is being achieved, what needs to change?

There’s no point in blaming the SNP. They may not get everything right, and we can always wish that they would do more. But they cannot do it alone. We must take responsibility. We must play our part. It was we, the people of Scotland, who consented to being treated as we are by the British state. It was we who granted that licence to the British political elite. In 2014, we held in our hands the power to determine our nation’s future. We chose to hand that power to a bunch of corrupt and incompetent politicians in London. We did that! It’s up to us to put it right. It’s up to us to rectify our mistake.

If the SNP lacks the power to be more effective in championing Scotland’s interests it’s because we haven’t provided them with that power. It can only come from us. All political power and democratic authority ultimately derives from the people. If we expect the SNP to take a stand against the forces of ‘One Nation’ British Nationalism then we must stand with them.

This is our fight. The SNP is our weapon. Let’s use it!


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Defiance! Not compliance!

scotlands_parliament“At then end of the day Westminster is still sovereign and they could impose a confirmatory referendum on us…” – Alex Neil

No it isn’t and no they couldn’t!

For me, the whole point of Scotland’s independence cause is that we reject the sovereignty of Westminster as incompatible with the sovereignty of Scotland’s people. We reject the Union as a constitutional device by which the people of Scotland are denied the full and proper exercise of their sovereignty.

I further maintain that the right of self-determination is absolute. It is vested wholly in the people of Scotland, to be exercised entirely at their discretion. That right may not be limited or constrained by any power. The British state has no veto over our right of self-determination. It is in no way and at no time conditional on the permission or approval of the British political elite.

We will not restore Scotland’s rightful constitutional status so long as we comply with rules intended to preserve the Union. A change of mindset is required. If Scotland is to be a nation again, in practice as well as principle, we must stand ready to confront the British state. To reject its authority. To defy its rules.

To restore independence, we must seize control of the process by which independence will be restored. We must approach the constitutional issue, not as supplicants petitioning a superior power for some favour, but as a people demanding that which is rightfully ours.

I demand for Scotland nothing less than that status and those powers which other nations assume to be theirs by right. Let’s bring our government home.


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Active indifference

People's_Vote_March_October_2018.jpgThere may be sound reasons for opposing a #PeoplesVote. But concerns about a “confirmatory referendum” following a Yes vote should not be one of them. In the first place, we must wonder how likely it is that, having just restored Scotland’s independence, the Scottish people would then change their minds and hand power back to the British political elite.

It is argued that the British government could make the ‘divorce settlement’ so unpalatable as to cause voters to reconsider their choice. But this assumes that the British state has the stronger hand in negotiations such as would allow it to impose a settlement. Even if this were the case, bullying tactics of this sort would surely be as likely stiffen the resolve of voters as to deter them.

And it is wrong to suppose that Scotland would be negotiating from a position of weakness. Simple logic tells us that the British state’s determination to hold on to Scotland implies we have things that they want. They’d still want – perhaps need – those things after independence and this would give Scotland something to bargain with.

Also, any ‘divorce settlement’ which was bad for Scotland would probably be harmful to the rest of the UK (rUK). This at a time when rUK is likely to be particularly vulnerable to political and economic turbulence.

We should not fear a confirmatory referendum. Even if Westminster could demand one – and chose to do so – I am confident it would only reinforce the original Yes vote.

But there is another reason why concern about a referendum to confirm a Yes vote cannot be an adequate justification for opposing a #PeoplesVote. There would have to be a second referendum anyway!

After a Yes vote, one of the first tasks for the Scottish Government will be the drafting of a written constitution. This constitution will have to be endorsed by the people of Scotland in a referendum. It should be easy to argue that this makes a confirmatory referendum redundant.

None of which is to say that I entirely agree with the SNP administration’s decision to support a #PeoplesVote. Or that I wholly approve of the manner in which this decision was taken. There should have been wider discussion of the matter within the party. Had such discussions taken place, I would have been arguing for a position of ‘active indifference’. Not supporting a #PeoplesVote – because Scotland has already voted and our voice has been ignored. Not opposing – because it would be good if rUK changed its mind and brought the whole Brexit fiasco to a halt. And because opposing a democratic vote is never a good look.

I would have advised using the issue of a #PeoplesVote as a device by which to emphasise the fact that Brexit is very much ‘England’s problem’. And to drive home the point that we have the means to ensure that it isn’t made Scotland’s problem.


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