Clusterf**k

Sorry! Been missing for a few days. Thought I’d keep my head down (while all around lost theirs). Best I think to let the dust settle. But don’t think I haven’t been in command behind the scenes. Oh dear me, no. I’ve been monitoring events in stereo. Anyhow I reckoned it was time to emerge as the world went to pot so I addressed the family this morning to ensure stability. They seemed reassured although the wee one did ask: Daddy, are you alright…?

The technical term for what is happening in Britain today is clusterfuck. Error piles on misjudgement. Mistake on mishap. Mistiming hits unforeseen circumstance. Ignorance collides with inaction and before you know it we’re at Defcon One.

This is the country and this the government that told us to avoid uncertainty at all costs. When we sought self-government their tactic was to warn of Armageddon and say any change amounted to uncertainty, for how can you be sure of the consequences.

Look at us now.

Is the Prime Minister in power? He’s in Downing Street but then so is the cat. The currency has bombed, stocks crashed, banks prepare to move staff out, future access to trading markets faces restriction, the credit rating wobbles yet the man whose job it is to stand guard is AWOL for three days. The insurgent Brexiteers look as stunned as the rest of us. Neither they nor the government they want to replace have a plan. Not even an A4 with bullet points. Nor a Note page on an iphone. Not a fucking scooby. Rebels without a clue, the lot of them, so used to being taken seriously by an unchallenging media that they believe their own publicity. Boris is brilliant. Michael is a genius. Until they’re not. Until they are exposed as blustering blowhards disconnected from the populace, pandered to by camera crews and fawning, uncritical hacks who are themselves all actors in the Westminster Playhouse.

Some of us tried to put the point that there was little certain about a corrupt and splintered Union except its inevitable decline. But what you know always counts for more than airy expectation. The default position of the UK as a country being run by an elite and for an elite meant the relentless rise of London continued at the expense of the vast swathe of Britain. A representative system that suits the two big and sometimes interchangeable parties distorts the basic democratic framework. Labour’s endless search for meaning – and now organisational integrity – still proves fruitless. The media is overwhelmingly right wing and xenophobic, routinely misleading people with messages that incite hatred.

And in the middle of it all is Cameron, as smooth and plausible as Blair and as morally vacuous, a chancer whose demeanour and ‘communications skills’ carry him through. But not this time. The endless trimming and compromising with an intolerant English hard right first corroded the UK’s relationship with moderate conservatives in Brussels, taking his MEPs out of the EPP grouping, then pushed him into anti immigration policies he couldn’t fulfil and finally to offering a referendum he might have won had he the wit to prepare for it and time it properly. His paint-peeling idiocy has made his country a laughing stock, a hapless bystander and a by-word for racism across the continent, never mind the loss of jobs, income and security to follow. Cameron is now historically a failure, a straw man desperately recounting his successes ahead of an ignominious departure. When we think of what might have been with a Yes vote – whatever problems were thrown at us – the contrast with today’s inglorious collapse is painful.

And yet there springs the hope. Britain has truly changed. What the Americans like to think of as eccentric but essentially sensible Britain was turned to rubble last Friday morning. The Britain whose post-imperial connections and calm authority impressed the Germans and French was flushed down the diplomatic toilet. Instead of the soaring strings of Elgar the world hears Dueling Banjos. The UK that has been an integral part of Europe all, or most of our adult lives, has evaporated. While the politicians ploughed it for votes and created an intolerant atmosphere they missed the fact that voters were using Europe and immigration as a trigger a wider unrest. Where once the protest votes would go to Labour against a Tory government, now they went to UKIP to better vent their fury. Labour’s disconnect from its core, not nationalism, led to its demise in Scotland. What is to stop it happening in England? On a related point, Corbyn’s campaign was shockingly bad and may well have made the difference in losing our EU membership. If it’s true he deliberately didn’t support his own party’s efforts fully, he deserves to fall in the on-going coup.

So the country we thought we knew and to which No voters owed their allegiance is now a closed volume put back on the library shelf of history. It is for them an existential question. Do you still want to be part of the new UK rejecting EU membership and all the civilising influence that brings to be run remotely by a government of ultras and kippers, Britain’s answer to the French FN and Austria’s Freedom Party?

It isn’t just about the practicalities which themselves are worrying enough. Your country is an identity. It has to fit you and feel comfortable. Identity politics was derided, along with much else in the indyref, but that’s just denial. Your sense of self and place are as important as the air you breathe. I suspect many are discovering that post-Brexit and realise they now don’t belong where they thought they did. And, for the umpteenth time, identity is only exclusive if you make it so. Being proudly Danish or Norwegian doesn’t mean you shun Swedes and Germans.

For those who can no longer come to terms with what they believed was their country, alternatives beckon. In Scotland there is one ready-made, on the stocks and operating successfully which even offers on-going friendly relations with the hijacked British state.

I see some are already making the move over, some stating they were hard-line Unionist. It’s impressive stuff but, try as I might, I can’t imagine what would entice me to move the other way. If it were me who had to drop my commitment to independence, could I? What could make that happen? I suppose, and no offence here, if SNP policy was for an Islamic state with sharia law, or just any religious state run by mullahs, bishops or moderators, I’d renege. Or if Jackie Baillie had to be First Minister…

What I’m getting at is that this is a huge ask for anyone. If you’re wrestling with it, good luck. Do what you honestly think is best. If you do turn Yes, there’s no requirement other than your goodwill and your vote. You don’t have to join the SNP (I don’t) although I see 2000 did over the weekend. It will take some getting used to but it’s a well-trod path nowadays. There are many thousands before you and more to come after. And you’ll find other returning Scots tramping beside you.

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather

19 thoughts on “Clusterf**k

  1. Derek regarding the no voters moving to yes.

    It’s a much easier way to move when presented with a hardline , right wing, English nationalism. To move to the civic Scotland indi movement. We would have to move from civic open society to narrow bigoted English nationalism. It’s maybe not such a great leap for soft pro-EU no voters to come over to our side.

    Not to mention the calm reassurance of the First Minister. She has proven herself to be an international diplomat in all of this WM lunacy.

    • Good post. When dealing with No voters changing sides, don’t give them ‘I told you so’ approach, shake their hand and welcome them on board. Give them honey, not vinegar, as the old saying goes.

  2. Just watching STV, Good Morning show, where a Texan wumman woke up after an operation with an English accent. Poor wumman. A fate worse than death.

  3. And to think that the SNP’s 600 page white paper was criticised for not having enough detail…

    At this instance, I’m reminded of the old Tallyrand quote, when he was asked what he did during the French Revolution: “I survived,” came the reply…

    And that’s what we here in Scotland need to do – plan, but keep our powder dry, and get the timing right. We don’t know what deal Britain will get with the EU. Hell, we don’t even know if the EU will survive.

    Scotland was hung out to dry by Barroso in 2014, so let’s plan our moves carefully when we’re dealing with the EU.

    Luckily, Scotland has a leadership that is not only unified, but seems to be the only party not running around like a headless chicken.

  4. “The technical term for what is happening in Britain today is clusterfuck. Error piles on misjudgement. Mistake on mishap. Mistiming hits unforeseen circumstance. Ignorance collides with inaction and before you know it we’re at Defcon One.

    Fine Scots word for that too, Boorach

  5. ” the credit rating wobbles yet the man whose job it is to stand guard is AWOL for three days.”

    He called today a bump on the road.

    The bump was the corpse of Westminster democracy

  6. Actually – it was twitter that shocked me. People openly switching to ‘Yes’, their horror was palpable. I can no damn them, the dice rolled for this #indyref2 are WAY better, double six in effect.

  7. Stephen McElroy

    Excellent synopsis of the groundswell of bemusement and disaffection that now hems in the brexiteers – I still feel in my waters that government (English, that is) are looking for a 3rd way

  8. Y’know you could have left it at just the title and that would’ve required no further explanation. 🙂

  9. Gavin.C.Barrie

    Erecting Drive-in Movies venues to show last night’s Question Time Special may help Unionists amongst us to review their allegiance to the UK.

  10. Cameron. Worst prime minister ever. Worse than Brown.

    Sad.

  11. Gavin.C.Barrie

    @ Janet – I doubt whether it would be possible to be a good prime minister faced with the Establishment and the UK’s neocon/ banking services/ money laundering/offshore banking economy. Pretty helpless situation I reckon. Responsibility without authority.

    Consider the despair expressed, by the English austerity suffering public over the banking and stock market. reactions to Brexit. I found it astonishing. And their reassuring to themselves that Germany will still want to sell BMWs and Mercedes to the UK!

  12. The Brexiters are adamant they will find masses of new markets, outwith the EU, for British (English?) products, yet they insist German car manufacturers will still have to sell their products to England – presumably as there are no other markets for them. Something doesn’t stack up in that kind of thinking. But then nothing much stacked up in the rest of their arguments either.

    Now we all have to wait patiently and see what shopping lists they get round to drawing up when they feel like it, what goodies they want to take from the shelves of the EU as they exit. Maybe the EU will become bored with the damage the Brexit vote has on other economies, and will close the shop, leaving little Englanders standing on the pavement empty handed.

    Thank goodness for Nicola and her team, thank goodness they had their plan worked out, and thank goodness they put it swiftly into play.

  13. Derek, I wonder how much of the English sentiment is simple anti-Germanism. Britain “beat them”, supposedly (hint: it was Russia and the US), at war, gave away the nation’s silver in the immediate aftermath, wasted its Marshall Aid (more than Germany received), then… I was going to say ‘slid’ but it’s more like careened into decline and totally lost the peace. Oh yeah, we beat them so well in 1914-18 that we lost the generation needed to go forward.

    I heard Johnson’s first act as PM will be a referendum, “Should everything be better, Yes/No?”

    If as seems very possible, it’s to call a general election, I want to see the SNP field candidates as far south as Severn-Wash, on a platform to reverse the referendum decision. The Lib Dems have done nothing in 40 years, and it’s fresh in voter’s minds that they squandered their one chance.

    Even if it achieved nothing, it’d give the Yes movement something other than reproaching each other whilst sitting about waiting for events.

    The upside platform is to organise Scotland’s independence from both sides, with a settlement that’s equitable and positive for both sides. Elected MP’s to serve their terms and be free to choose to continue in English constituencies according to their own conscience. It’d be nice to start out with a friendly neighbour, after all.

    • The SNP is not going to stand in England. It is too populous, even the North has more people than Scotland. We would be swamped and the SNP would have to lose the S.

      If people in England want SNP style policies they will have to build or change a party to do it. The SNP suggest people in England vote Green instead. Only 1million did. The corbynites in Labour tried too but the blairites will take the party down to irrelevance than let them have it. As the self harm going on in Labour shows.

      • There will be pressure to hold a quick election – and it being quick leaves little time to handle surprises. Right now, the party-political possibilities are wide open. There could be major splits/regrouping in either Labour or the Tories.

        If the Tory party remains “united”, that means they’ll have only a third of sitting MP’s committed to Brexit. It’ll be hard for candidates to fight against an opponent who they agree with on the major issue. Will they campaign on the basis of fulfilling the referendum mandate they hate? Will they campaign on parliament reversing it? They’re screwed. Labour’s stayed away from disaster by giving working-class voters their head. Can they campaign, as the current party, on a strong “Remain after all” platform?

        The greens just don’t have mainstream appeal.

        In this landscape, there is huge opportunity. “Remain after all” is *such* an easy sell. And haven’t we been waiting long enough for the English to get their act together?

Leave a Reply