Every confidence trick has its mark, and every mark has to be reeled in with a story – this is the prose or the narrative of union. Over time the prose of the union has changed but the purpose has always been the same, to keep us in the game. It was once about benefiting from England’s other colonies. Yes, we benefitted alright. We got progress: The Clearances, emigration, industrialised poverty, a metropolis in London that soaked up our best and brightest. If being bled dry was our objective, we did alright out of the union.
With both a pro-independence majority in Edinburgh and an SNP majority in London, we have come to see that British democracy is calibrated in such a way as to stifle the democratic will of Scotland. The same is true for Wales and Northern Ireland. In fact, the constitution of the United Kingdom – while unwritten – makes it impossible for us to assert our will without the fundamentally undemocratic permission of the English state-dominated British government.
Now is the time to wake up and give ourselves a shake. There’s work to be done, and the bottom line is that none of that will get done unless we do it. If we want a referendum in 2018 – a year beginning in a matter of weeks – then we have to work for it. We have to create the conditions, as a movement, in which the SNP and our government are following us to where we want to go.
There is no avoiding the association of tartan and the bagpipes with battlefields spanning the whole width of the world. Scots regiments marched on and subdued Egypt, Afghanistan, and India. Scottish graves litter the fields of Flanders and the Somme. Scotland has made its mark on the world and left behind it a horrendous trail of misery, suffering, and blood.
When British unionists in Scotland talk about “all we have achieved together” they are asking us to ignore the gore on the butcher’s apron.
Robbed of our past we are limited in our understanding of how Scotland has become the property of the English state through Union, to be used to the sole benefit of the London government.
There is a discernible element conspiracist thinking behind much of the anti-EU discourse; primarily due to the baseless notion that the UK and the EU are both alike, in that they are both politico-economic unions that diminish the sovereignty of their members.
This notion of “divisive nationalists” is a staple in the repertoire of every Scottish unionist. Somehow the idea that Scotland can and perhaps should be an independent country – a state in its own right – is treated, as if by magic, to be the only politically divisive issue.