Yet again, some dreadful nonsense from Iain Macwhirter.
There’s the woefully naive and deluded idea that the British state does not resort to violent coercion as an instrument of policy. Jealous Britannia’s imperial robes are stained with the blood of millions. There is barely a corner of the world which hasn’t felt the stamp of the British state’s militaristic heel. The days of empire may be long past. But the bloody consequences of imperialist meddling and bullying echo down the decades. British rule may have ended. But the divisions engineered to facilitate that rule still remain.
And the arrogant, imperious exceptionalism of the British ruling elite is undiminished. Indeed, it is finding a vigorous and ever more extreme expression in a revived British nationalist ideology. The notion that the British state might shrink from emulating Madrid’s fascistic repression in Catalunya would be amusingly quaint, were it not for the serious implications for Scotland.
Then there’s the at least equally misguided assertion that the Yes campaign agreed the constitutional issue had been resolved by the 2014 vote. Once more we find Iain Macwhirter recounting the view of Scotland’s politics as seen through the distorting lens of the British media. Nobody in the independence movement “agreed” any such thing. And no adequately informed commentator would ever have supposed that they had.
The drivel about a ‘once in a generation’ vote was always part of the British nationalist narrative – and nothing more. No advocate of independence could possibly allow that the people’s right of self-determination might be limited or constrained on the whim of a mere politician. Even a politician of Alex Salmond’s stature. Everybody in the Yes movement knew perfectly well that Salmond had expressed a personal opinion. Only the British state’s propaganda machine maintained that he had made this limitation part of the Edinburgh Agreement post hoc and by personal fiat.
There was always going to be another referendum. Always! It could not be otherwise. The matter could not possibly be settled by a No vote won on a totally false prospectus.
Which brings us to Iain Macwhirter’s third fallacy. His assertion that the Brexit referendum “unexpectedly reopened” the issue of independence is complete drivel. The issue was not closed. Demand for a new vote on independence started almost immediately in the wake of the 2014 referendum. This demand had been building for more than a year before the EU referendum. The outcome of that referendum could not possibly have been the cause of something that preceded it by many months.
Bad as the whole fiasco is, Brexit is not the reason for having a new independence referendum. Those reasons are as old as the detested Union. Brexit is merely the context in which the campaign to bring Scotland’s government home is proceeding. At most, it can be said to have made this cause more urgent.
As increasing numbers of people are realising, a Yes vote must be secured before the British government has a chance to impose a new constitutional arrangement on Scotland. An arrangement which, if it does not reimpose direct rule, will certainly put Scotland in a position akin to that of Caltalunya. An arrangement which will only aggravate constitutional conflict; intensify demands that Scotland’s right of self-determination be respected; and, notwithstanding Mr Macwhirter’s assurances, lead to repression by the British state of Scotland’s democracy indistinguishable from what is happening in Catalunya right now.
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