There’s some truly bizarre stuff coming out of Ruth “Bullstraddler” Davidson and David “Snackbeard” Mundell these days. But we should not assume that these utterances are as totally irrational as they appear. There is method in the madness. The purpose is to delegitimise the SNP.
When Davidson says that she aspires to be First Minister of Scotland, that is not mere rhetoric. She genuinely believes that by riding a wave of jingoistic British nationalist fervour that appeals to the basest instincts of an electorate substantially in thrall to the mainstream media, she can achieve real power. The SNP is the obstacle.
To be more precise, Scotland is the obstacle. The political engagement and activism of the independence movement is a very real problem for the British establishment. Democratic dissent is something the ruling elites are ill-equipped to deal with. But the SNP stands between us and the ugly forces currently being unleashed by Theresa May and the nasty little clique that has coagulated around her attracted by the smell of power. Scotland must be put back in its box. And the surest way to do that is to undermine the agency by which the people of Scotland exercise the effective political power that challenges the might of the British state. The surest way to get Scotland back under control is to delegitimise the SNP; discredit the SNP administration; denigrate institutions – such as NHS Scotland – whose performance would otherwise reflect well on the SNP administration; demonise SNP members/supporters; and smear SNP politicians.
Look around you and you will see all of this happening right now.
The SNP is the only political force capable of challenging the Tories. The only political force capable of standing against the very real threat of populist British nationalism. When a far-right Tory government starts promoting itself as the champion of the working class, it is time to be afraid for democracy. It is time to slap the shackles on established power. British Labour is incapable of fulfilling this role. Quite apart from the fact that it is too fatally riven by factionalism to be an effective political force, it has proved woefully susceptible to being manipulated by the Tories. British Labour is too ready to let the Tories set the agenda on issues such as immigration. British Labour is a party of the British establishment and as amenable to British nationalist nativism and exceptionalism as its Conservative counterparts. British Labour will be eager and enthusiastic accomplices in the Tories’ efforts to delegitimise the SNP.
The stuff coming out of the British political establishment may seem confused and incoherent. It is certainly riddled with inconsistencies and contradictions as well as the language of hate. But it is purposefully so. It is not an appeal to rational sense. It is an appeal to emotion. It is an appeal to atavistic urges. It is, in the parlance of our times, ‘othering’ on a scale which is only feasible when the full resources of the state can be called upon.
Will we allow ourselves to be manipulated? Unfortunately, many will. Which places an even greater burden of responsibility on those who refuse to be used as instruments of their own subordination.Views: 6736
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