We joke about Scotland being told to “Eat your cereal!”. A phrase derived from one of more dire pieces of propaganda produced by Better Together/Project Fear during the first independence referendum campaign. It is wry humour. Nobody acquainted with Scotland’s political circumstances takes lightly the very real threat posed by a British establishment driven by the imperative to preserve the structures of power, privilege and patronage which define the British state.
Make no mistake, the ruling elites of the British state will stop at nothing in an effort to quell the tide of democratic dissent risen in Scotland. They want us back in our box. It has always been so. What has changed is that we now have an administration in London which, more than any other UK Government of the modern era, is prepared to trample underfoot even the most fundamental democratic principles in order to get its way.
Our right of self-determination is threatened. A democratic right guaranteed by the UN Charter is menaced by the same unsavoury alliance of forces which previously corrupted the democratic process with casual lies, vile smears, ludicrous scaremongering and patently empty promises in order to deny the sovereignty of Scotland’s people. Aided and abetted by eagerly compliant media, the British parties are frantically trying to prevent a new independence referendum. Theresa May has gone so far as to openly declare that the coming local elections should be turned into a plebiscite on whether there should be another independence vote. Hard-line unionists from all the British parties are being urged to join forces in an effort to deny Scotland’s right to determine how it is governed.
Our parliament is threatened. British nationalists have long regarded the Scottish Parliament as an anomaly. They see it as a crack in the edifice of the British state which has as its foundation the absolute sovereignty of the Crown in Parliament. And, since the SNP formed its first administration in 2007, they have viewed it as an ‘unfriendly power’.
Our distinctive political culture is threatened. The British establishment is determined to destroy a political culture which enables Scotland to maintain a public service ethos that has already been almost entirely eradicated in England. Difference is detested. Distinctiveness is abhorred. The contrast between Scotland and the rest of the UK is a growing embarrassment to ideologues who insist that there is no alternative to their socially corrosive and economically iniquitous policy agenda. Scotland must be made to conform. It must be brought into line. To whatever extent our distinctive political culture may represent a flickering flame of hope, it must be extinguished.
Scotland stands at a crossroads. Nobody is joking any more.
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