It is a measure of just how appallingly the UK Government is behaving that politicians such as Philippe Lamberts are driven to use such parliamentary language. Only a few months ago, it would have been all but unthinkable for an MEP to call the British Prime Minister ‘clueless’ and imply that she was behaving in a manner not wholly in keeping with democratic principles. Such is the extent to which Theresa May and the Mad Brexiteers have trashed the UK’s reputation that it is now considered acceptable, if not de rigeur, for European politicians to openly insult them.
It would be gratifying to hope that being chastised in such uncompromising terms would give UK ministers and their slobbering, snarling, xenophobic cheerleaders pause for thought. Alas, that’s not how it works. British nationalist politicians are too persuaded of their innate superiority to be anything other than totally impervious to any criticism. And, rather than prompting sober reflection, Philippe Lamberts’s rebuke will serve only to confirm the prejudices of Europhobes and provoke paroxysms of indignant outrage.
Philippe Lamberts is undoubtedly correct. Theresa May is clueless, in every possible sense of that term. But his suggestion that the devolved administrations should be directly involved in Brexit negotiations is something that Nicola Sturgeon and her counterparts should treat with the utmost caution. Not that it’s going to happen, mind you. The ‘One Nation’ British nationalist ideology now driving the UK Government’s agenda precludes the devolved administrations being treated with anything other than contempt. But supposing Theresa May was disposed to allow them a token role, our First Minister would be well-advised to find herself otherwise engaged.
The only possible reason for the devolved administrations being brought into the process this late in the day would be to ensure that they were associated with an outcome which cannot be other than calamitous. Nicola Sturgeon doesn’t have to be part of the negotiations to be blamed for their failure. But, as with the Smith Commission, being involved makes it easier for the British establishment to deflect criticism after the event. Denouncing a team’s performance is inevitably more problematic if you were on the team – even if only nominally.
So, how does Nicola opt out? If this hypothetical invitation to join the UK’s Brexit negotiating team arrives, how does she decline without appearing hypocritical?
Fortunately, the rigidity of ‘One Nation’ British nationalism makes the British political elite quite predictable. The First Minister need only insist that she would be putting Scotland’s case in the Brexit negotiations, and the imagined invitation would be immediately withdrawn. After all, as far as the British state is concerned, Scotland doesn’t have a case.Views: 4360
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