The Union is dissolving faster than Arctic ice. Disintegration is unstoppable, England adrift a certainty. Only Boris’ bluster makes it appear whole and intact. If pigs could vote, the prime minister carrying the slop bucket would get elected every time, no matter how much pig slaughtering he did on the side. England voted for Boris the liar because he promised little, promising little avoids disappointment. The question for Scotland is, what can we do to help give this grossly unequal Union a decent burial without paying for the funeral costs?
The percentage of votes for the Tory’s UK vote was 43%, less than the SNP’s yet Boris and his sycophants claim it gives them a mandate for everything including a free visit to Disneyland. The percentage of voters wanting a second referendum to decide Brexit is 53%. On that basis, we can look forward to unrest in England and Wales over the EU and proportional representation. By no means can Boris look forward to a trouble free governance of the Disunited Kingdom.
First the good news
Sinn Fein made significant gains in Northern Ireland. The province now has more republican and nationalist members of parliament than unionists, the general election having seen off two of the corrupt DUP’s Hogwarts alumni, Nigel Dodds on of them. His defeat puts to an end more bungs from the Tories. South Belfast was also lost to the SDLP.
Arlene Foster, who refuses to say where missing millions of public money are stuffed under her watch, or more likely, mattress. A crook by any standard, who Mafia-style offered protection to the Tory party for an annual bung, thinks the province still wants to remain British. Unfortunately, England doesn’t want the Northern Irish. Foster is mortally wounded, she reckons without the backlash of Remain voters (Belfast is a majority Remain city), and the certainty Boris lied about a border with no inspections.
The advent of a United Ireland grows nearer – though not yet inevitable – every Catholic priest defrocked for sexual abuse and every convent child grave discovered relaxes Protestant fears of rule from the Vatican.
And now the bad news
Boris’ far-right Tory administration has secured a landslide majority more than enough to kick around three nations, a province and the 98% Remain protectorate of Gibraltar. Etonian’s are bound to rule and bound to rule badly. The history of Britain’s prime ministers and their chosen ambassadors and negotiators informs us the least able were educated at Eton.
SNP faithful who think Boris will give Scotland back to its people at the request of Scotland’s First Minister is a good demonstration of mass hypnosis. We lost leverage and acute timing months ago by SNP loitering with the intent to beat Brexit.
An ominous passage in the Conservative manifesto gives us plenty of warning: “We will need to look at the broader aspects of our constitution: the relationship between the government, parliament and the courts; the functioning of the royal prerogative; the role of the House of Lords; and access to justice for ordinary people”. The ‘access to justice for ordinary people’ is a tagged on piece of condescension. It makes the rest of the statement seem palatable.
The threat isn’t a bluff
We are faced by a government that does not respect the protocol or traditions of the supposed mother of all parliaments. Neither does it respect the decisions of the UK Supreme Court. Judges are treated as lepers and betrayers, charges echoed by the gutter press and not contradicted by the government. Both Boris and slithy Gove say they will block a request to test the will of Scotland’s population. They are not democrats.
By all legal precedent they cannot do that for there is no law giving a UK administration the right to block Scotland’s democratic progress. They also suggest they will remove some of Scotland’s annual funds – from tax taken from Scotland and returned in minute part under the vague Barnett formula. They plan to send it direct to Tory councils in Scotland. This is a classic fascist tactic, seen again in Boris’ rush to invest in the North of England for voting Tory for the first time in generations. A fascist state rewards unquestioning loyalty by excluding those who think for themselves.
There is talk Boris will offer some sort of devolution settlement in return for a signed assurance independence won’t be reinstated in a 100 years. This idea is almost certainly a ruse put about by Dominic Cummings, Boris’ underboss. Nicola Sturgeon has stated she will look at anything remotely akin to the (discredited) DevoMax – a mechanism nobody has managed to pin down to a list of certainties. What constitutes DevoMax? Where does DevoMax stop and not become independence in all but sealing wax?
Alas, DevoMax is in line with the SNP’s counter-productive strategy – if I can grace it with that description – of gradualism. It’s a mystery how they justify this outlook having argued forever only self-governance protects our rights. As the White Paper proved, you can retain many links with your neighbour without compromising your sovereignty.
How does Scotland retaliate in the face of an antagonistic, tyrannical regime?
Scotland first minister, arguable its last, intends to request a Section 30 Order endorsed by Boris’ cabinet. She has been putting off the day for a long time. It will be scoffed at and dismissed out of hand. Boris will be cheered by authoritarian Englanders for his tough stance. Now is the time to get angry and get even.
Sending 48 MPs to a parliament dominated by 365 Tory MPs with a majority of 78 is a bunch of masochist asking to be flayed alive. Against those numbers the SNP is effectively a visiting party of school pupils.
Dissent should begin with the withdrawal of our MPs from Westminster post haste. Do as the Irish do. It is clear England wants its parliament back, voters have been decisive in wanting out of Europe. Our MPs should gather here in our parliament in separate session from MSPs until such time as the two can be legally assimilated.
We can follow the Irish example of causing maximum discomfort and costly problems for English aggression. Civil disobedience can take any number of forms over and above refusing to pay the BBC licence fee: remove an equal amount of annual funding to a Tory council if that council is given a chunk of the Barnett formula from the Treasury over the heads of Holyrood. Protest at the door of England’s Scottish Office. Cut off all power, water and electricity to England. Block access to the Tory’s new tax stronghold offices build in the middle of Edinburgh. Stop all trucks coming north at the border and checks goods carried. Block off access to Rosyth docks. Refuse to participate in scientific co-operation. Boycott civil service meetings holding agenda counter to Scotland’s interests. Pass a bill taking back to the Scottish state all lands on which lay the remnants of Clearances crofts on the grounds of protecting our heritage. Make official a boycott against any company threatening to move south if a second referendum is granted. Offer to subside workers laid off. Those are just a few tactics in a strategy to gain leverage.
For those things to work, the Scottish government must endorse them. Does it have the cohones? Is Nicola Sturgeon equipped to lead a revolt? With all MPs back in Scotland she would not be a lone figurehead.
The threat of troops
Every so often a Scot will post on twitter existential anxiety over invasion by British tanks, sent to crush any uprising, the regiments instructed to do so with lethal force necessary by Boris pretending to be Winston Churchill, minus the Cuban cigar.
Let us look at this in detail. There are any number of English MPs who would not balk at using force to crush rebellion and think nothing of it. The historical record shows past attempts to pacify the Scots. The colonial mentality has no conscience.
However, the ‘tank’ syndrome arises from the 1919 rally in Glasgow’s George Square when ‘Red’ Clydesiders, as they were painted, found their peaceful protest rally broken up by agitators and police with truncheons. Winston Churchill readied a local regiment in their barracks but they were never used, nor was a single tank sent in to cause mayhem. I cannot see a British politician try that a second time.
There are over 350,000 English domiciled in Scotland, (the figure varies by 100,000) their generational families work here and in England. Boris risks tearing families apart. Some are active supporters of a free Scotland, some members of our parliament. How would the British state protect them from harm by their own troops? Ship them out in trucks under cover of darkness? The notion of invasion by tanks, troops loyal to the British state, is plain silly.
Trade would be disrupted. Corporate Britain would be up in arms. Scots sympathetic to Scotland democratic deficit working in the south would down tools, strikes take place, the Supreme Court called upon to reverse the injustice.
BBC Scotland would have to be blacked out, Scottish Television surrounded by troops, to stop them showing tanks rumbling into Gretna Green. Social sites could see themselves blocked until all was sweetness and light. Facebook and Twitter will have something to say about censorship. The Chinese government will enjoy the irony especially seeing one wee Glaswegian standing in front of a line of tanks holding nothing but a plastic shopping bag and a bottle of Iron Bru.
Boris would be loathe to send Scottish regiments against Scots, Cameron having removed them some time ago to leave Scotland unprotected. In any event, a modern aggressive, colonial state needs no troops to quell dissent. It has the press, the media and placemen and women enough in its pay to sway public opinion, to whip up the divisiveness they so often say is the result of the Great Debate. And it can rely on some sections of corporate Britain to threaten job losses by moving south. Having silenced Scotland in a black out of news, Boris chances being loathed and despised by his own people as well as Scots.
A revolution, not a war of words
England is at war with itself. It has shut off the world. Rather than a reputation as the ‘mother of parliaments’ it is seen as a society destroyed by entrenched privilege: rule by those who make the laws but are not bound by them, over those who are bound by law but not protected by it.
Boris the charlatan, bounder and womaniser has not become a statesman by dint of a majority in the House. He remains a liar and a fraud. Boris is ready to lay down his country for your wife. If Boris even contemplated a shutdown of Scotland’s democracy the number of nations that will spring to a universal trade embargo on England – the Republic of Ireland leading the way – will be legion. I can envisage president Trump showing fury, not for the loss of people’s rights, but for the loss of profit to his Scottish golf courses. The European Union which has openly welcomed Scotland as the 28th member, will pile on the contempt for fascist England.
There is a revival of local autonomy the world over, of cultures, languages, and sound, caring political values. I believe much of it is very healthy. The Tories demand conformity and Englishness – whatever that is, and our taxes, all of our earnings.
Drop the fear, drop the selfies. The time for self-congratulation is over. The SNP refuse to deal with the Tories. They have no choice now. We are in a battle to the end, but it need not be bitter for the people of Scotland. Liberty is the prize. It could be a new beginning.