The threat is great! The time is short!

If Boris Johnson is to visit Scotland shortly after his expected coronation as British Prime Minister, we may anticipate that the “keynote speech” he intends to deliver will contain little in the way of charm and much that is offensive. He might be in Scotland; but he will be addressing an audience mainly in England. An audience of British Nationalists drooling at the prospect of their champion putting those uppity Jocks firmly in their lowly place.

It would be a mistake to think of Johnson as stupid. The man’s intellect may comprise little more than low cunning and an instinctive grasp of base populism, but what more does one need in order to succeed in British politics? Nobody can sensibly claim that these ‘attributes’ have not served him well. Together with the bumbling eccentricity that is all practised affectation, these apparently meagre capacities have helped Johnson rise to the upper strata of the British political elite and allowed him to survive a catalogue of gaffes, catastrophes and misdeeds any one of which would have been sufficient to end most political careers.

Johnson may be more sport of nature than force of nature, but he is not acting alone. Behind the malignant clown-child, deep in the shadows, stand unseen forces content to access power using ‘characters’ such as Johnson as proxies – or tools.

Even as he stumbles into the role of British Prime Minister by way of a series of blunders and pratfalls, Johnson will be aware – or will have been made aware – that his tenure may be short. He knows that he may face an early challenge. He will think of his visit to Scotland as an outing in a coming election campaign. It will be vital that he impress the voters who are crucial to his success in that election – whenever it comes. And Johnson knows that this demands a highly emotional appeal to hard-core ‘One Nation’ British Nationalism calling on every ounce of his instinct for base populism.

We may reasonably expect that Johnson’s ‘Scottish speech’ will signal a start to demolishing devolution and the dismantling of Scotland’s democratic institutions. It is a matter of speculation how far he will go in the early days of his reign. But we must assume he will go all the way. Because what he doesn’t do in the first few days and weeks he will certainly do in the following days and weeks.

It will all be made to sound very reasonable.There will be much talk of ‘unity’ and ‘economic necessity’. What is being done TO Scotland will be portrayed as being done FOR Scotland. The things being removed are, not the essential infrastructure of a functioning democracy, but ‘obstacles’ which cannot be allowed to ‘stand in the way of progress’. This will not be a return to less enlightened times, but the ‘opening of a new chapter’ in Scotland’s ‘proud history’ as part of a Britain about to be made great again be destroying anything that cannot be made purely British.

Much of what is said will be shrouded in obscurantist language. Only later will it be realised that the bit about ‘exploring new economic opportunities’ meant an immediate lifting of the moratorium on fracking. Only afterwards will it become evident that the stuff about ‘making the NHS more efficient’ is a euphemism for absorbing all the UK’s health services into a ‘UK-wide common framework’ the better to offer it up to the hyenas of corporate America.

There will be few references to the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish Government. All the talk will be of the UK Government in Scotland and all the great things that it will be doing for Scotland. There will be no mention of the fact that this unelected and unaccountable shadow administration is to be funded entirely by money that is rightfully Scotland’s.

If Johnson’s speech is not the coup itself, it will be the start of the coup. It will be the start of a process of restoring direct rule from London on a scale and to an extent that Scotland has never before experienced. It will be the birth of a ‘New Union’, strengthened at the cost of democracy. A ‘New Union’ unilaterally defined by and for the ruling elites of the British state. A ‘New Union’ in which Scotland truly is extinguished; our nation’s identity snuffed as it is smothered in a new ‘indivisible and indissoluble’ state.

In his speech, Jonson may well acknowledge the possibility that ‘troublemakers’ might try to derail or hinder his ‘Great Britain Project’. Measures to ‘deal with’ political dissent may be announced, or merely hinted at. Threatened.

We know that all of this will come to pass because we know how imperative it is that the British state keep hold of Scotland. And we know that it cannot be assured of maintaining that hold unless ‘radical’ steps are taken to neutralise the threat from Scotland’s independence movement. Incapable of learning the lessons of history, the British political elite continues to believe it has the power to face down democratic dissent, or suppress it.

One of the dangers in this time of great jeopardy for Scotland is that a timid Scottish Government might seek some compromise in the hope of fending off the worst of what has been described here. Experience and political pragmatism tell us that any such approach will actually be taken by the British as consent for and acceptance of the worst of what has been described here.

As great a threat is the complacency which dismisses all of these threats even as each becomes the reality. Or the idiotic politicking which constantly promises that it will be the next abuse that provokes an appropriate response.

Scotland can afford neither complacency nor compromise. As hard as Johnson and the forces behind him come at us, we must be prepared to go at them even harder. The threat is great. The time is short. The Scottish Government must act boldly, decisively and quickly to protect Scotland.

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Against Scotland

It is difficult to react with shock or outrage when a British Nationalist politician misrepresents the facts as Liz Truss did. These people lie so incessantly we are all, I’m sure, quite inured to their audacious mendacity. Which is unfortunate. We should never lose the capacity to be angered by such brazen dishonesty. We should never cease to be indignant that British politicians treat us as fools. We should always speak out against those who abuse the power of high office.

But there is one advantage of being unconcerned about the malicious lies. Not being distracted, we may notice things that would surely pass us by were we preoccupied with fuming about the latest gobbet of British Nationalist propaganda to dribble down the chin of some Westminster politician. See, for example, this remark from Derek Mackay.

I wonder why the UK Tory Treasury Minister would be choosing now as her timing to make such a ridiculously false case against Scotland.

The last two words are striking. It is, at the very least, decidedly uncommon for a senior member of the Scottish Government to so explicitly acknowledge the anti-Scottish nature of British propaganda. It is surely time this became part of the narrative of the independence campaign.

Heretofore, there has been an unwritten rule in the Yes movement that we should ‘play nice’. That we should eschew emotive terminology. That we should avoid calling out the treachery of the British parties in Scotland, lately culminating in a ‘pledge of loyalty’ to Boris Johnson. Even when the British establishment was actively trying to discourage inward investment in Scotland, the obsession with being ‘positive’ meant SNP politicians only spoke of this in terms best described as ‘mealy-mouthed’.

This has to change. British politicians lie to us all the time. It is incumbent on the Scottish Government and the Yes movement to be, not just honest with the people of Scotland, but forthright enough to state unequivocally that those British politicians are “against Scotland”. We must drive home the message that British Nationalism is an anti-Scottish ideology.

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Your daily disappointment

Pete Wishart demands that the British state play nice. Tommy Sheppard pleads for more powers. Angus MacNeil and Chris McEleny plan for the failure of whatever ‘Plan A’ is. The common thread running through all of these is reliance on the goodwill of the British political elite.

When will the SNP wake up to the fact that there is no goodwill? What does it take for Pete Wishart to realise that the British state is never going to play nice? Has Tommy Sheppard really not figured out yet that devolution is dead? Do Angus MacNeil and Chris McEleny seriously imagine that the British establishment is going to stand idly by while the SNP runs through an entire alphabet of plans?

There are few enough certainties in politics that we would be wise to anchor our thinking in the ones that we have. One such certainty is that Scotland’s independence cannot be restored whilst adhering to the laws, rules and procedures which have been put in place to protect and preserve the Union. Another is that there is no route to independence which does not pass though a point where there is direct and acrimonious confrontation with the British state.

These truths are self-evident. As self-evident as the fact that real power is never given, only taken, Or the fact that the people of Scotland are sovereign. Or the fact that the Union serves to deny the people of Scotland full and effective exercise of the sovereignty that is ours by absolute right.

The British political elite will never admit these truths. And it’s beginning to look like SNP politicians will never recognise these certainties.

Pete Wishart seems intent on making the existing bureaucratic set-up work more efficiently. Tommy Sheppard seems eager to improve devolution. Angus MacNeil and Chris McEleny have a plan.

The other common thread here is the total lack of any sense of urgency and, as far as one can tell, no awareness at all of the things that are troubling Yes campaigners. I will not presume to say most, but certainly many in the Yes movement are concerned, not that the present arrangements aren’t working as well as they might, but that those arrangements are about to be swept away completely by a system which sidelines Scotland’s elected representatives altogether.

Many of us are concerned, not about the difficulty of getting more devolved powers, but about the ease with which powers can be stripped away.

Many of us are worried, not about whether we can win a pro-independence majority in the next Holyrood election in 2021, but whether there will even be a Scottish Parliament six months from now.

While SNP politicians seem to be settling in for the long haul, many of us in the Yes movement see a real and imminent threat to Scotland’s democratic institutions and the essential public services that depend on our our ability to maintain and develop a distinctive political culture We genuinely and justifiably fear for our nation.

We look to the SNP for bold, decisive action to save Scotland from the menace of ‘One Nation’ British Nationalism. We look to the SNP for political leadership. And we are constantly disappointed.

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The country formerly known as Scotland

I sincerely hope that the First Minister is not taken in by this talk of a “rebranding exercise”. I trust she is aware that this is merely a precursor to, and preparation for, major constitutional reform which will be conducted over the heads of Scotland’s elected representatives and without the consent of Scotland’s people.

Prior to the 2014 independence referendum, people were warned that a No vote would be regarded by the British state as a licence to do what they want with Scotland. What they want is to lock Scotland into a political union on their own terms. A unilateral redefining of Scotland’s constitutional status without any consultation and in total contempt of democratic principles.

This had hardly got underway when the EU referendum came along and shifted the political ground. But Brexit did not deter or hamper the project to lock Scotland into a unilaterally redefined Union. On the contrary, it provides the ideal opportunity. Which people were also warned about prior to the vote in 2016.

To put it briefly and in the simplest of terms – the UK was constitutionally redefined by joining the EU (as it became). It stands to reason that the UK will again undergo constitutional redefinition on leaving the EU. The British political elite has ensured that Scotland, together with the other devolved parliaments, has been all but entirely excluded from the Brexit process. Therefore, the British political elite is ideally placed to dictate the form of the redefinition which the UK will undergo.

Brexit is the British state’s chance to close and barricade the democratic route to restoring Scotland’s rightful constitutional status. This was going to happen anyway. But Brexit makes it easier to ensure that democratic niceties don’t interfere with the process of tightening England-as-Britain’s grip on Scotland and reinforcing the structures of power, privilege and patronage which constitute the British state.

This isn’t something that is going to happen. It is something which is happening right now. The “rebranding exercise” is part of it. The ‘UK Government in Scotland’ is part of it. The ‘UK-wide common frameworks’ are part of it. The ‘EU power grab’ was part of it. The ghastly ‘unionjackery’ defacing our foodstuffs is part of it. Mundell’s new castle in Edinburgh is part of it.

And still people refuse to see!

The anti-democratic British Nationalist ‘One Nation’ project is behind schedule – by about a year. The Article 50 extension granted by the EU gave us a year’s grace. A year in which we could have acted to save Scotland. A year which has been wantonly squandered.

I genuinely despair for our country. The ‘One Nation’ project is gathering pace. The Scottish Parliament is in recess. The Scottish Government seems paralysed. SNP politicians talk as if delay is a consequence-free option. The Yes movement is marching but, for want of political leadership and an actual campaign strategy, it is going nowhere.

Brexit will soon be upon us. The jaws of the ‘One Nation’ project will close. Holyrood, no more! Dignity, fairness and respect, no more! Democracy, no more! Hope, no more!

But doubtless Nicola Sturgeon will “slam” the UK Government in a Tweet.

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The disintegrating Union

Delyth Jewell may be overstating things somewhat when he describes Mark Drakeford’s statement as marking a “monumental day in the history of the Welsh nation“. First Minister Drakeford has done no more than state the obvious when he says,

If you believe the UK is a voluntary association of four nations you have to face the possibility that some component parts of the UK may no longer choose to be part of it.

The problem lies in that opening conditional phrase. If British Nationalists believed that the UK was a “voluntary association” they wouldn’t be British Nationalists. They are British Nationalists because they maintain that, even if the UK ever was a voluntary association, it is not that now. British Nationalist ideology holds that the three smaller nations are subsumed into ‘One Nation’.

In dealing with these issues I tend to refer specifically Scotland. Not because I regard Scotland as more important, but simply because the historical backgrounds are different in each case and it would be impossible to deal with all adequately in a short article.

The Union between Scotland and England was always the Greater England project. The intention and purpose of the Union was, from its inception, to suppress and eventually eradicate Scottish identity and replace it with English identity. That project failed. Scottish identity proved too stubborn. So the focus moved to creating a new common identity for England and Scotland. We would all be British. The Greater England project became the Great Britain project.

But Britain, Great or otherwise, was never a nation. It was an invention contrived by – or on behalf of – the political, economic and social elites which combine as established power. It was, and remains, a system designed for the preservation and continuation of established power. Britain is not a nation. It is a ‘brand name’ applied to the structures of power, privilege and patronage which serve the few at whatever cost to the many.

British interests were, in the early days of the Great Britain project just as throughout the Greater England project, England’s interests. To a considerable extent, they still are. But only because and to the extent that England’s interests coincide with those of the British ruling elites. The Union, like the British state that it created, does not necessarily serve the interests of the people of England. Scotland’s interests are not now, nor were they ever, a consideration.

The aim of Union was to take Scotland out of the equation – economically, politically, constitutionally and culturally. Scotland was to be extinguished in order that established power might better prevail.

The Great Britain project was rather more successful than the Greater England project. The manufactured British identity took hold aided by the rewards of imperialist expansion, rousing military jingoism and tantalising aristocratic pomp. The seeds of the ‘One Nation’ cult were sown.

But, successful as the Great Britain project had been, Scottish identity was not eradicated. The idea of Scotland as a nation persisted. As the status of the British state declined along with the profits of colonial exploitation, the fragile cohesiveness based on notions of British exceptionalism diminished. Scotland began to tentatively reassert its identity. The British state resorted to trying to buy us off with trinkets such as the Scottish Office and devolution. But to no avail.

And so we come to the present day. Scotland has found its voice and that voice is challenging the established power of the British state as never before. All efforts at eradicating Scotland’s identity having failed, the British political elite is now resorting to a crude and increasingly aggressive form of anti-democratic ‘One Nation’ British Nationalism which threatens to do by political coercion what could not be achieved by political cunning. We are now being told that Scotland will be subsumed into an increasingly alien British state regardless of the wishes of Scotland’s people.

The Union was always doomed to fail. The asymmetry of power and denial of Scottish popular sovereignty could not possibly survive alongside the kind of political engagement and democratic participation which has developed in Scotland over recent years. One would have to give way to the other. The British political elite is determined that preservation of the Union must take precedence over respect for democratic principles.

For Scotland, the choice is clear. Either we #DissolveTheUnion, or the Union destroys our democracy. For the other “component parts of the UK” – including England – the choice is similar. Either they insist that the UK is a “voluntary association” which they can choose not to be part of, or the British political elite will ensure that it is an involuntary one which they may never leave; and in which their interests will be all the more readily subordinated by the new constitutional status imposed on them.

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This means war!

British Nationalism is an anti-democratic ideology. In what George Kerevan has christened the ‘Hunt Doctrine’, Jeremy Hunt expresses the anti-democratic nature of ‘One Nation’ British Nationalism more explicitly than most. Or more explicitly than has been common until lately. Because even the most casual observer of Scottish politics cannot fail to have noticed that British Nationalist rhetoric has been ramping up of late. Mere opposition to a new referendum at this time has turned into insistence that the people of should Scotland never be allowed to exercise their democratic right of self determination. Recently, we have witnessed the unedifying spectacle of British Nationalist outrage at the prospect of independence being discussed in a Citizens’ Assembly; surely the epitome of a democratic forum.

Now we have the British Foreign Secretary and prospective British Prime Minister telling us that there is no expression of Scotland’s democratic will sufficient to outweigh the authority of the British government. Elsewhere, I have referred to this as ‘sovereignty of the executive‘; the dangerous idea that legitimate political authority derives, not from the people or even the monarch, but from those who wield power.

In reality, the Hunt Doctrine is no more than a restatement of the Union, which has always served as a constitutional device by which the superiority of England-as-Britain is maintained by denying the people of Scotland full and effective exercise of the sovereignty which is their absolute democratic right. This was particularly evident in the way Scotland’s Remain vote in the EU referendum was summarily and contemptuously dismissed by the British state. And in the way that Scotland’s democratically elected government was prohibited from having any role in Brexit negotiations; while being accused of ‘failing to cooperate’ with those negotiations and even of ‘undermining’ the UK’s position.

But it is important to remember that the way Scotland has been treated in the context of Brexit is exceptional only in the brazenness of the British state’s disdain for Scotland and for democracy. The Union has always been anti-democratic. After all, it predates what we now consider to be democracy. Unionists will claim that the Union has adapted to democracy, citing devolution as the most telling example of how it has changed. But none of the changes implemented over the years has altered the fundamental premise and purpose of the Union – that Scotland’s resources should evermore be at the disposal of England-as-Britain; that the needs, priorities and aspirations of Scotland’s people should at all times be subordinate to the desires, preferences and ambitions of the British state. Devolution was only permitted on condition that it did not compromise the Union.

Scotland’s cause – the fight to restore constitutional normality – will not progress until there is a general realisation that the problem is, not Brexit or the Tories and certainly not the people of England, but the Union.

That cause cannot progress unless we first assert and defend our right of self-determination. A ‘positive campaign for independence’ simply isn’t enough. The Hunt Doctrine makes it clear that the British political elite will resort to any means in order to preserve their ‘precious’ Union. When Hunt declares that he will never allow a new independence referendum, this is more than just the Jock-bashing which has been such a prominent feature of the Tory leadership contest. Of course, there’s macho posturing involved. But the willy Hunt is waving is the Union. He speaks for British Nationalism.

The people of Scotland must respond appropriately to the Hunt Doctrine and the threat of ‘One Nation’ British Nationalism. And we must do so while our democratic institutions are still intact. Make no mistake! The British state has the power to suspend or even abolish the Scottish Parliament. And they will use that power in defence of their ‘precious’ Union. Democratic principles be damned! They are to be tolerated only so long as they don’t jeopardise the structures of power, privilege and patronage which constitute the British state.

When you hear Theresa May warn her successor that Scotland’s First Minister cannot be trusted and Jeremy Hunt talking about how the Scottish Government is uncooperative, what you are hearing is the British establishment preparing the grounds for action against the Scottish Parliament. The threat to Scotland’s democracy is real and imminent.

George Kerevan states it well,

Jeremy Hunt’s constitutional innovations represent a declaration of war on Scottish sovereignty and established right to self-determination. Out of such arrogance, revolutions are born.

Hunt declared war on our sovereignty … here are ways we could respond

One thing that neither Jeremy Hunt nor any other British Nationalist explains is how they hope to contend with the tide of democratic dissent that will be unleashed should they succeed in their mission to close the democratic route to independence. They genuinely seem to suppose that the independence movement will evaporate at their command. We have to make it abundantly clear that we will not sit idly by while anti-democratic British Nationalists deny our right of self-determination and destroy our democratic institutions. The Yes movement must prepare for a campaign of mass protest and civil disobedience.

The target of this campaign must be the Union. We are no longer campaigning for independence, but against the constitutional anomaly which underpins the anti-democratic British Nationalism expressed in the Hunt Doctrine. We are no longer asking for powers to be handed to us. We are demanding the restoration of powers being withheld from us by the British state.

The people of Scotland are sovereign. But that is nothing more than an empty slogan unless we are prepared to forcefully assert that sovereignty and everything that it implies. We must fight in defence of our democratic right of self-determination.

We must fight in defence of our Parliament and its rightful authority to speak for the people of Scotland.

We must fight in defence of the right to elect our own government and that government’s rightful authority to act for the people of Scotland.

We must fight in defence of a political culture which respects democratic principles rather than trampling them underfoot.

We must fight to end the Union and to thwart the anti-democratic ‘One Nation’ British Nationalist project.

We must offer no violence other than that which may be commensurate with any violence inflicted upon us. Violence is the resort of oppressive, anti-democratic forces. We must fight, not with the weapons of established power, but with the weapons of the people – mass protest, civil disobedience, withdrawal of cooperation and judicious deployment of our economic power.

We must fight to defend all that Scotland is and all that our nation might be.

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The meaning behind the words

Politicians may, from time to time, mean what they say. But they only very rarely say exactly what they mean. The form of words that they use is carefully crafted and filtered through aides, policy advisers and media relations gurus. Mostly, professional politicians don’t lie. Although the version of the facts that they offer may be so distorted and perverted by that filtering process as to be a long way from the truth, it is seldom an outright untruth such as might come back to bite them on the arse at a later date.

There are, of course, exceptions. But they are exceptions because they are not behaving professionally. They are ignoring the advice and by-passing the filtering process. This may be because they are so junior as to lack a devoted team. Or it may be because they are just plain stupid. They convince themselves that they are great orators and fully on top of their brief, then make complete fools of themselves. Commonly, however, such people are so foolishly arrogant that they don’t even realise they’re making fools of themselves. Between their own lack of self-awareness and the sycophantic reassurance from their entourage, they carry on regardless.

The British political system doesn’t penalise such individuals. On the contrary, it all too frequently rewards them with high office.

Which brings us to Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt – the final two contenders for the British Conservative Party leadership; and the title of British Prime Minister which is the free bonus prize. I shall leave it to others to judge for themselves whether each of these individuals is a fool behaving professionally, or a professional behaving foolishly.

When trying to discern the true meaning behind what politicians say, it often pays to blur out the actual words and listen instead to the general tone. Take Jeremy Hunt’s responses to journalists prior to the hustings in Perth. Look past all the rhetoric about him being “a passionate Unionist” and how he wants “a Brexit that works for the Union”. Tune out the carefully chosen phrases – “work constructively and positively”, “open mind”, “forward”, “engage fully, responsibly and generously”, “I’m a democrat”. Try to hear the mood, rather than the words. He may not be saying what he means, but what he means will come through in the way he says it.

On second thoughts, don’t totally tune out that last bit where Hunt insist that he is a democrat. It is of particular interest in light of what we find when we listen to the tone of his utterances. He might as well have said, “I’m a democrat, but…!”. Because what comes across is certainly not an unequivocal commitment to democratic principles. The words say one thing. The tone betrays something else entirely.

What Hunt is talking about is, not democracy as we would understand it – and definitely not the democracy we aspire to in Scotland – but something more akin the the managed (or guided) democracy associated with formerly explicitly totalitarian nations. In a managed democracy, elections are held and people vote but no matter who they elect the resulting administration remains effectively unchanged. Elections shuffle the politicians around, but have no effect on policy. Whatever the outcome of elections, whatever the make-up of parliament, whatever the democratic will of the people, the government continues to do what it wants.

This is a million miles from the popular sovereignty of Scotland. It is far, even, from the parliamentary sovereignty of England. This is sovereignty of the executive. This is the dangerous idea that legitimate political authority derives, not from the people or even the monarch, but from those who wield power. It is the notion that what is done is right because of who does it.

The tone of Hunt’s remarks – and in this respect he is no different from any other British politician – tells us that what his commitment to democracy means is that he will generously allow Scotland all the democracy we want so long as we only use in the way that he wants. We can vote for anything we like, so long as it isn’t something with which he “profoundly disagrees”. Our democratic choices are only valid if they accord with his preferences. Our democratic will is conditional on us not opposing his will.

Scotland can be whatever it wants, so long as that is what Jeremy Hunt (the British political elite) wants. That is his idea of democracy. Such is managed democracy.

Having discerned that what Hunt really means when he talks of democracy is democracy ‘guided’ by the British state, we are entitled to enquire as to what we are being guided to. Which is where we deploy another trick of political analysis and look for the imperatives which drive the British state and the options it has in pursuing those imperatives.

Maintaining the Union is a major imperative for the British state. England-as-Britain has to keep hold of Scotland. It is not entirely a matter of economics – geopolitics and pride are significant factors – but the economic implications of Scotland dissolving the Union cannot be ignored. Nor can they be overstated. Brexit is going to be expensive. The British political elite has, through a combination of idiocy and more idiocy, painted itself into a corner where it must deliver Brexit at any cost. And the cost is going to be enormous.

It is questionable whether the UK can bear this cost. England-as-Britain almost certain would not be able to do so. The figures may not mean much, but they suffice to illustrate the point. The cost of Brexit may be £200bn. Scotland’s economy is worth roughly the same amount to the UK. England-as-Britain demands the status of successor state in the event of Scotland restoring its independence. Which means England-as-Britain takes on the entire burden of UK debt plus the additional costs of Brexit. And it takes on this burden with an economy which has shrunk relative to the former UK by around £200bn annually.

Even without Brexit, losing Scotland was going to be economically problematic for England-as-Britain. Which is why the Scottish Government included in its White Paper a number of provisions intended to ease the transition. Unpopular as many of these provisions were among independence supporters, Alex Salmond realised full well that an economically crippled England benefited Scotland not at all.

These provisions were also rejected by the British government. Not because they weren’t aware of the need for them, but because accepting that England-as-Britain would need Scotland’s cooperation post-independence didn’t fit with the narrative of the anti-independence campaign. With the exception of those who were completely taken in by British propaganda, everybody – including the British political elite – was aware that a Yes vote would have prompted several screeching U-turns on the part of the British government.

We know that, regardless of any other considerations, the British government must deliver Brexit. We know that Brexit is likely to be economically crippling to some degree. We know that, failing the kind of relationship with Scotland that British politicians seem determined to permanently destroy, the impact would be considerably greater if Scotland dissolves the Union. We know that, so long as there is an SNP Scottish Government, a Scottish Parliament, and a Yes movement the British establishment must assume that their precious Union is in jeopardy.

Do the math!

It is blindingly obvious that the British state’s imperative to preserve the Union must drive it towards the option of removing the Scottish Parliament from the equation. It has to be Holyrood because proscribing a political party is fraught with problems and the Yes movement is invulnerable on account of its very nature. Besides, removing the Scottish Parliament also removes the Scottish Government. A doubly blow to Scotland’s democracy and to our aspiration to restore constitutional normality.

Whichever British politician we listen to, and whatever form of words they use, the tone tells us very clearly that the British state’s intention is to eliminate the threat of the Union being dissolved by eradicating Scotland’s distinctive political culture and imposing their own brand of managed democracy.

Because we know what the British state’s imperatives are; because we know the circumstances in which the British political elite has placed the UK; because we know the options available to the British government – whoever is PM – and because we know the meaning behind the words when Jeremy Hunt and his ilk speak, we know with a high degree of certainty that the British government will shortly move to dismantle Scotland’s democratic institutions. We know they are going to emasculate, suspend or abolish the Scottish Parliament.

The question is whether we are prepared to let them. How determined are we to stop them? How committed are we to democracy? How resolved are we to rescue Scotland from the rolling juggernaut of ‘One Nation’ British Nationalism that threatens everything we have achieved – and everything we aspire to?

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