An abusive relationship

We already know all we need to know about Brexit. Scotland voted against it. There is no Brexit ‘deal’ which negates that vote. There is no Brexit ‘deal’ which is not an insult to Scotland. There is no Brexit ‘deal’ which can possibly compensate Scotland for the harm done by Brexit. There is no Brexit ‘deal’ which fixes the fatally flawed Union.

When somebody is threatening to push you off a high building you don’t have to wait until you land to know it isn’t going to end well. For most people, the threat of being pushed would be enough reason to put some distance between themselves and the person making the threat. Most people would read the signs. Most people would take the hint.

The Union has often been likened to an abusive relationship. The ‘wait and see’ argument is reminiscent of the way victims of bullying commonly react. They try to appease their tormentor. They tell themselves that it might turn out all right. That the bully may not be such an odious individual after all. They deceive themselves about the reality of the situation so as to rationalise inaction.

The whole of the Better Together/Project Fear campaign was just one long, dire argument against standing up to the bully. The entire anti-independence case, during the first referendum campaign and since, distils down to the argument that, however bad the bullying is, it’ll be worse if you try to stop it. However bad the relationship is, it’ll be worse if you try to leave.

The bully’s greatest victory isn’t making you afraid of them, it’s making you afraid of yourself. Making you afraid of your own capacity for control. The bully strips their victim of their defences by making them afraid to use them. Just as they strip their victim of dignity by making them afraid to assert it. The bully makes the victim complicit in their own victimhood.

We know what pandering to the British state with a No vote got us. Only more and worse abuse. Have we not learned that lesson? Are we to appease the British state over Brexit as well? Are we really going to wait and see in the hope that this time it really will be different?

Are we, against all evidence to the contrary, going to tell ourselves that the British state actually does have our interests at heart. It’s not so bad. All that other stuff was just in the heat of the moment. OK! They lied to us.They threatened us. They broke every promise. But they’ve changed. This time, we can trust them. They’re not going to use Brexit to keep us locked into the Union. It’s not like an abusive partner cutting us off from family and friends.

Let’s just wait and see. Maybe that next blow won’t come. Maybe, if we’re quiet and obedient, we won’t get shouted at. Maybe if we just accept whatever we’re given we won’t lose whatever we’ve got. Maybe if we give up what we’ve got, what we’re given might be not so bad.

Aye! That’ll work.


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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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One Response to An abusive relationship

  1. cameronmgb says:

    I agree, but am also excruciatingly aware of Nicola’s need to be able, when #Scotref comes, to be able to say with hand on heart “we tried everything”.

    Liked by 1 person

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