Remember how they told us we couldn’t police our own borders and that immigrants and terrorists would flood in? Thrill to the memory of Better Together warning we couldn’t cope without the British Border Agency. Shiver with excitement at the thought of illegal immigrants streaming into unmanned Scottish ports and running up the beaches. And worse – some of them would make their way into England… Thank God we avoided that catastrophe, eh? Otherwise there might be hordes of illegals massing on the frontier, jumping on to lorries and risking their lives to seek a new home in the land that is so clever it makes Michelle Mone a legislator.
So many of Blair McDougall’s sensible warnings have come true. Nearly a year on not a single bank has threatened to leave Britain. Well, if you exclude HSBC, the country’s biggest bank, currently eyeing a move to Hong Kong. Oh, and Deutsche Bank is planning to do the same if the UK leaves the EU. And so are American banks who think Ireland is a better option. But, hey there’s still good old RBS whose future is secure, if you don’t count the Treasury selling it off at a loss.
And how accurate was the prediction of security within a strong economy where resources are pooled and risks shared. It’s pretty clear now that resources ARE pulled rather than pooled – to London and the south-east and that risks ARE shared by anyone on disability benefits or in-work support. Still, the government has respected their promise to deliver substantial and extensive devolution and the Scotland Bill with no amendments looks just like federalism, doesn’t it? Meantime a vacuous self-publicist is ‘elevated’ to the Second Chamber along with the shadowy figure who devised the poll tax (the dearth of elected MPs is a bit of a nuisance) while one of Labour’s finest becomes a Harry Enfield sketch bitching about national politics with two hookers while snorting coke from their bosoms as he wears their bra.
Take a bow, No voters.
And if you’re a Labour No voter who jeered at the Nats and hugged your Tory campaign pals when the chance to break free was lost, know that you’ll always have a special place in the memory of the nation – for wilfully robbing us of national dignity and progressive politics and as a bonus extra, destroyed your own party.
I think Nicola wants the rest of us to put a hand out and say Never mind –these things happen. She has to govern for all of Scotland and can only allow her frustrations to emerge in hot debate – all aimed at political opponents. Meantime the game is about waiting, waiting for the right moment to move and that sure ain’t anytime soon. I am patient because I’ve been waiting all my life and can wait longer, knowing that if it doesn’t come, I go to the grave believing. And instead of watching a dream drift off to a far horizon, today, because of Tory ineptitude I can’t just imagine independence, I can smell it. I don’t want to start a storm of controversy in the BBC Scotland newsroom but I believe a second referendum is inevitable and will come within 20 years, perhaps surprisingly quickly. The point is that when the time is right, we will know. The error is to be restless to move too soon.
But is it the right approach to pretend nobody was hurt by last year’s vote and swallow our feelings as if voting against your own country’s independence was a normal and forgivable act? Andrew Wilson, for example writes at the weekend… ‘Above all else, stay positive, respectful of opponents’ views and persuade gently rather than with disbelieving rancour…’ (Not sure exactly how this sentiment ties in with his support for his colleague and Daily Mail vituperation exponent Chris Deerin who comes across as Scotland’s very own Alan B’stard)
Still, you can see the logic of not blaming No voters for the mess we’re in now, denying our kids their deserved future and consigning another generation to a penurious lifestyle, can’t you? We win them over by offering them the hand of friendship. Trouble is, I want to strangle them. And isn’t that the truth…every time you see pipsqueak Mundell ‘speaking for the nation’ or motormouth Murray pretending he voted against when he abstained or intellectual crook Carmichael bluffing it out…don’t you want to scream at the fearties and the disparaging Britnats who voted against Scotland as their nation of choice? I bloody do.
I always distinguish between an individual as a human being and his political personality so that I can argue with the latter while respecting or liking the former. (This theory is tested sorely with Brian Wilson) But is it humanly possible or even reasonable to put this sense of betrayal to one side and carry on as if nothing had changed? Politics, like a car, needs a motor and reaction is the spark plug, so you react (to the thought perhaps of policy designed to impoverish children) and you channel that emotion into politics. How can there not be a sense of grievance when increased poverty and social division are the driving force of UK politics – a politics we could have avoided but the majority chose to embrace. Somebody should have a word with those desperate folk at Calais jumping at trucks and tell them the truth about this unprincipled country.by