Monday, 13 March 2017

Scotland again

Twitter is in smugness overload this evening - with remainers gloating that they warned a second Scottish independence referendum was a consequence of Brexit - and we dismissed them as fearmongers. The truth of the matter is that we rather hoped it wouldn't come to that but ultimately we didn't care enough to be blackmailed. Even if Scotland becoming independent was a dead cert I would still have voted to leave the EU.

Adding to the tedium is the rather predictable response that Brexiteers not wanting Scotland to be independent are hypocrites - wanting to preserve the Union while leaving the EU. Except of course the Union is a genuine demos with a common history and culture - forged in blood and war. That's a real union. Not a bureaucrat's managerial construct. The two are not remotely comparable. The nations of the Union are bound in battle and song.

We have to accept though that EU membership has weakened that union. The modus operandi of the EU was to erode national unity, not least by bribing the regions and institutions, alienating them from London, making them more loyal to Brussels. The damage is done now. Exactly why Scotland has fallen for it after the eradication of Scottish fishing, turning the East coast into heroin racked slums beats the hell out of me but that's a topic for another time.

The point though is this. It is not Brexit that has brought about a second referendum. Or at least it isn't Leave voters. Scottish independence had already jumped the shark but its corpse has been exhumed by the media and the remain inclined as a political device to make Brexit a pyrrhic victory. There is nothing they would like to see more. Such is their churlishness. Sturgeon is the ideal noisemaker to give the remain-o-sphere a launchpad for another attempt to delegitimise Brexit.

In that regard I am happy to call their bluff. If Scotland feels that trashing the Union is right for them then fine. Independence as a principle in its own right is a worthy enough reason and technical arguments aside, it's the same reason I voted for Brexit.

What Scotland should know though is that if the economics do not stack up for Brexit - and they really don't, then that goes double for Scotland. There are plenty of English who would be more than happy to cut off the umbilical and there are no Brussels bailouts to be had without a price. The EU is not going to tolerate a leftist tax and spend splurge and it will slap Scotland down in much the same way it did Greece. It will be a most hollow independence.

Between now and then though, Scotland will learn that "taking back control" is not so simple - as per the example set by Brexit. There is no taking back Scottish fishing waters - especially if Scotland intends to rejoin the EU. Moreover the quotas are now private commercial property. There is no secret hoard of North Sea oil either.

On the whole I expect Brexit will leave the UK bruised and humiliated for a time and we are going to lose a substantial amount of trade. It was avoidable but political competence is in short supply. The question Scots must ask is whether, based on the SNP track record, they are any more likely to make good of a split than the Tories have in leaving the EU. Good luck with that.

The short of it is though, Britain is leaving the EU. It was always going to leave. And Scotland's attachment to the EU is only as strong as its usefulness as a stick with which to beat England. That fever will pass. Eventually.

Scotland may piss and whine about it but culturally and economically, independent or not, it is always going to be tied to England. The sheer force of human behaviour will undermine any barriers the EU erects. That's because there is a real and lasting bond that transcends the EU and the SNP. Whatever barriers go up will only last as long as the EU - which isn't for that much longer. So it's time to let Scotland run its own experiment in democracy. We can ride it out.

Ultimately European Union is a falsehood. It is a narcissistic delusion. There is nothing about it that compares with the Union of the United Kingdom and though ossified structures may melt away into history, we will remain as one - because we are one. Scotland will find that divergence is little more than bagpipe dream and that our fates are linked - economically, socially, technically, geographically. It will remain so long after the EU has crumbled to dust. The EU has failure in its DNA.

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