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.