Rejoicing and resentment

John Swinney

John Swinney: Deputy First Minister of Scotland and the Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Constitution and Economy

While John Swinney deserves all the plaudits he’s getting  from those who appreciate his achievement in defending Scotland against  the predatory efforts of the British Treasury, we should be a little  cautious. There is no question that he did a superb job. We expect no  less. To a possibly dangerous extent, we take for granted the fact that  we have a government dedicated serving the interests of Scotland’s  people. And a team that does so with often remarkable tenacity and  competence.

But it is possible to interpret the  concessions screwed out of the British state in a less triumphalist way.  We can see the climb-down as an indication of how absolutely determined  the British establishment is that the latest round of constitutional  tinkering should go ahead. And we’d have to be terminally naive to  suppose that this is because they wish Scotland well and hope that this  Scotland Bill will address the priorities and satisfy the aspirations of  Scotland’s people.

The UK Government is eager to  implement this legislation solely because it is hoped that it will  create untold fiscal problems for the Scottish Government, and  devastating political problems for the SNP.

And not  everybody is congratulating John Swinney on a job well done in defence  of Scotland’s interests. The endlessly bitter British nationalists  certainly aren’t. The mouthpieces of the British state in the nominally  Scottish media responded to the news of Swinney’s success with  characteristically rancid sniping. And the same arrogant dishonesty that  won them such deserved disdain in the course of first referendum  campaign.

The caustic carping from such as Kenny  Farquharson and Alex Massie merely confirms their well-established  contempt for Scotland. “Oh dear. The Vow is being delivered. Awkward.”,  gloats one of them on Twitter – unable to pass up the opportunity to lie  about what the Scotland Bill actually means. “The Whining Shall Never  End”, carps the other – actually capitalising the words as if he  supposes he’s delivering some portentous truth. It matters not at all  which said what, because they are equally hateful.

The  sulphurous glee of these two loyal servants of the British establishment  at the prospect of significant harm to Scotland’s economy, and their  drooling anticipation of an easy opportunity to blame this on the SNP,  is tempered only somewhat by their resentment of Swinney’s success in  preventing at least some of the more immediate damage.

It  pleases the likes of Farquharson and Massie – and they are merely  representative of a greater malignancy in our midst – to suppose  themselves the elite arm of the British nationalist propaganda machine,  carrying the battle against democratic dissent from the old order and  the old ways to the heart of Scottish society by way of the unionist  media. In reality, what they do is offer us a glimpse of the true and  utterly repellent nature of a British nationalist ideology bent on  preserving the structures of power, privilege and patronage which define  the British state at any cost to the people of Scotland – or the rest  of these islands.

Scotland’s rightful constitutional  status must be restored, not merely on account of the positive things  that we aspire to for our nation and people, but because of the  dismal fate we must save them from.


About Peter A Bell

Thinker. Listener. Talker. Reader. Writer. None of my attitudes are immutable. None of my conclusions are final. None of my opinions are humble.
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3 Responses to Rejoicing and resentment

  1. I think Swinney and Sturgeon should be congratulated on not only a show of unity throughout those deliberations but the steely resolve they both displayed as they stood firm on their platform of what they wanted to achieve.

    As for the so-called Scottish Media, well the less-said about them the better.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A number of SNP supporters are bad tempered that Swinney didn’t tell Hands etc to take a long walk off a short pier. Despite us not receiving the powers we want, Swinney and Sturgeon were obviously keen to have any crumbs of powers coming our way. I suspect there is a reason for this.

    The SNP has a long-term integrated trategy worked out to deal with the less well off, the gap between rich and poor both in finance and attainment, equality and everything else Scotland faces, as well as growing the economy and increasing population.

    And while many powers still reside with Westminster, I suspect Swinney and his team have been able to compile a formula that enables a start to be made on this strategy. This may be by altering tax bands when this becomes possible, though I suspect there will be more to it than just tinkering with a percentage here and there – something more radical. Having fought for real power for decades the SNP is not about to go down the tinkering path trodden by generations of Westminster chancellors. This is their opportunity, not to replicate Westminster, but to start building the Scotland they want. So I’m sure we can expect some interesting announcements in the coming months.


    • scottovoce says:

      In a sense, it is a win/win for the SNP administration. They will be able to take full credit for any improvements that can be achieved – enhanced by the fact that this is being done against a backdrop of imposed austerity – while always being in a position to say how much more could be done with independence, or even the powers that were promised.

      This was the fatal flaw in the British establishment’s strategy. It was all or nothing. It had to cause massive problems for Scotland, or it could be turned against them. The risk was always that Swinney would find a way to dodge the worst of the traps whilst grabbing some of the bait.


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