Wednesday, 18 February 2015

We dont 'hate' the English

The independence movement and particularly the  Scottish National Party involvement at the forefront of what is in reality a much broader church, is often portrayed as essentially anti-English. This is consistently reflected in many mainstream media reports, particularly and most clearly perhaps, those which are London based or right of centre. This anti-English sentiment doesn't reflect my opinions or those of the vast majority of pro-independence voters that I have come across, though I dare say it does exist somewhere within the indy spectrum. {after all there are always a few nutters around the fringes of anything political} Perpetuating that myth is wrong, disingenuous and manipulative. Yet its popularity is maintained by corporate newspaper media, to ensure that public opinion is kept focussed on its inherently false assumption, to undermine the higher aims of independence and demean it by tribalising its arguments as a way of protecting vested interests. There is also potentially an institutional bias within the BBC which significantly failed to maintain a balanced and objective position across the referendum debate.

The vast majority of people I've come across have, like me, huge issues with how the current two-party-dominated UK politics fails to represent Scottish views no matter how we vote. Instead it acts as a barrier to moving towards the fairer, more balanced and representative society that they feel Scotland wants to be. In my opinion the fact that Westminster is increasingly removed from normal life via career politicians, an elitist establishment unable or unwilling to resist unhealthy ties with corporate power and which slavishly promotes the inequality of neo-liberal capitalism is one key issue. The other is how far the establishment will go to preserve itself. Westminster is in England and that's as far as my antipathy for anything English goes. {Increasingly, the establishment is becoming even more corporate - and global.}

 While we in Scotland cannot influence the whole because of our small size, the only realistic possibility left to achieve these aims is through the restoration of Scotland as an independent state. I'd love to be able to do it by convincing the whole that we need to rebalance our priorities, re-evaluate our goals and change our political system but all the evidence shows that the politically dominant, much wealthier concentration of population based mainly in London and the South East of England is slowly becoming ever more divergent from any understanding of, identifying with or having the ability or willingness to meet the needs of the rest of the UK outside that limited geographical sphere.

That sounds unfair. I know there are voices that chime with mine all across the UK but our political system, particularly with its 'first past the post' election system often prevents our voices being heard. When their mainstream party wins voters find that all those pre-election promises that stimulated them to vote suddenly melt away. We're told we don't understand the reality of politics; how difficult it is to get things done; that concessions have to be made While this may to true to a degree how convenient that the promises dismissed always seem to be those that if delivered would protect, redistribute, improve. This is the establishment at work. This is self-preservation and perpetuation of the status-quo. This is the reality I'd like to see change. You may think I'm niaive to believe that anything would be different even with independence. I would say that there is more of a chance for realistic and sustainable change in a smaller economic unit. Especially one with the level of political engagement and education that exists in Scotland today. And, I would have to add - in a Scotland free to move away from the increasingly polarised right wing politics of the UK and its restrictive hegemony.

There is an enormous mistrust and dissatisfaction of UK politics in Scotland. That's hardly different from large swathes of the UK. We have repeatedly voted labour MP's to Westminster to represent Scotland only to find that as part of a UK party they have to toe a 'national' line which can be diametrically opposed to the wishes of those who elected them. It is the great dilemma when voting for Westminster. Are they Scotland's representatives in Parliament or are they representing party first and Scotland second, third, fourth or at all?. For decades the electorate have been neglected by Westminster politics. This is at the heart of Labour's difficulties today.

There is a great mistrust of the political ruling class in working class society here. We have seen the destruction of Scotland's heavy industries, the decline of capital investment, the stigmatising of Scotland as a 'benefit junky' reliant yet ungrateful for hand-outs from a benign and parental UK. Most of all we have seen the huge benefit of oil wealth, predominately from 'Scottish' waters, squandered over decades with little or no long term planning. The jaded view may well be that this is in fact far from without any planning. There has long been the often stated view that Scottish Nationalism holds a grudge at its heart and is a mean spirited and dark force simply determined to bring about the United Kingdom for reasons of pure and misguided spite.

There is justification for the establishment to hold that view, but it's not justified because of any narrow minded intent or deceitful misrepresentation by The SNP. Quite the opposite. Westminster has lied and denied to Scotland the opportunity to have an open and honest debate. Lied and denied? Absolutely.

Watch this and perhaps your view of British Government as benign may change.

I'll put the porage on while you're watching.


  1. Hari OM
    That was riveting viewing!

    It has struck me forcibly since returning to UK how very ingrained the 'empire' thinking model remains on the Westminster psyche and this was highlighted in the video; just as with all the colonial 'regions', Scotland (and Wales of course) are viewed as being there to serve only the 'heart'... - in another 30 years is it that the referendum and the oncoming election will be remembered as swords in the side of the leviathan of Westminster...?

  2. It's striking too that so much of the same attitude pervades current politics. Nothing has changed except the overlay of language and nuance. I found it interesting about how police and security resources along with notionally 'impartial' civil service roles were directed at the 'threat'. It highlights why some in the indy side were paranoid of involvement which, certainly in the case of civil service has subsequently been proven to be true. What else lurked beneath the surface of our ostensibly 'Scotland only' referendum. It makes me shudder to think.


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