Is Jim Gallagher a Professor of Stubborn Denial? He certainly seems to be distinguished in the field of turning a blind eye to the glaringly obvious. The evidence of a divergence of political cultures between Scotland and England is incontestable. It is there, not just in the EU referendum vote, but in pretty much every vote by Scotland’s electorate and every decision of the Scottish Parliament. It’s not just Trident or austerity. It’s more fundamental than that. It’s the fact that the people of Scotland increasingly shun the British political parties to elect SNP administrations.
It is the fact that, while people across the UK “think the system doesn’t work for them”, Scotland is working towards breaking free of that system while England has yet to get past the stage of flailing, purposeless protest. It is not that people in Scotland think differently from people in England. It’s not that people in Scotland have significantly different attitudes and values. It’s that we act differently. And that our democratic institutions and processes are marginally better at translating our attitudes and values into public policy.
It’s not that Scotland is “better” than England. It’s just that we are at a different stage in the evolution of our politics. We could discuss at length the factors which have facilitated this. what we cannot sensibly do is deny that Scotland has a distinctive political culture. Our politics is developing in a different way. Very different forces are at play.
How is it possible for anyone to disregard the overwhelming evidence of this distinctive political culture in Scotland? It’s easy when you view everything through the distorting lens of a rigid British nationalist ideology. Such a perspective readily allows denial of the obvious. Being wedded to the dogma of “One Nation” British nationalism, means exactly what it implies. No acknowledgment of difference is possible. Everything must be interpreted so as not to conflict with the belief that there is such a thing as a British nation. Thus, the fact that Scotland voted by 24 points to Remain in the EU while England voted by 6 points to Leave becomes, not a clear statement of political difference, but a homogeneous “cry of distress”. The 30 point difference is casually discounted because it doesn’t fit the British nationalist narrative.
This ideological fog doesn’t only cloud Jim Gallagher’s thinking in relation to the distinctiveness of Scotland’s political culture. It’s effects are evident also in the deluded notion that the UK is going to be in a position to make demands of the EU after Brexit. And in the condescending advice to Nicola Sturgeon that she “cannot just ignore the advantages Scotland gets from the UK”. which is truly bizarre coming from someone who was so closely associated with Project Fear and its threats of economic sanctions against Scotland had we voted Yes in the first independence referendum.
Outside the perverted perspective of the British nationalist ideologue, the Scottish Government has always been at pains to acknowledge the MUTUAL benefits of cooperation between Scotland and England. Alex Salmond famously spoke of the “six unions”, and the desirability of maintaining those that work. Just as Jim Gallagher’s British nationalist blinkers prevent him seeing the distinctiveness of Scotland’s political culture, so they will not allow him to see that it was the British state which threatened to destroy, in a fit of jealous pique, the MUTUAL advantages which the Scottish government was eager to preserve after independence.
British nationalism is blind. British nationalism is irrational. It ill befits any academic to be associated with such a pitifully shallow ideology.Views: 2563
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