The British nationalist threat

It’s not difficult to discern the thinking behind this latest pronouncement from that bastion of the British establishment and second-largest unelected legislature in the world, the House of Lords. An institution which, perhaps more than any other, embodies and exemplifies the structures of unaccountable power, unearned privilege and corrupt patronage which define the British state. Having convinced themselves that Ruth Davidson’s appeal during the recent Scottish General Election to naked British nationalist fervour brought about a Tory revival, they are looking to have the Westminster elite emulate her “style”.

What the House of Lords constitution committee is suggesting is that the British state should respond to the challenge of democratic dissent in Scotland that dares to question the primacy of the Westminster elite by the modern equivalent of sending a gunboat. They want the UK Government to put on a macho show of force. To firmly put its imprimatur on Scotland. Basically, to scent-mark what the British establishment regards as its territory.

They genuinely seem to believe that Scotland’s aspiration to be free of the British state will be quelled by a more emphatic statement of its subsidiary status within an archaic, dysfunctional and grossly asymmetric political union.

They honestly seem to think that the most effective way to respond to Scotland’s desire to be as other nations is to more explicitly declare that Scotland is not permitted to be as other nations and that, for the eternity that the divinely-ordained British state will endure, it will never be permitted to be as other nations.

They really seem to suppose that the answer to a more confident and assertive Scottish political identity that they regard as a threat to the old order and the old ways, is to rub our noses in a more gaudy and domineering form of Britishness.

We would do well to be very wary of this. Quite apart from the blatant attempt at the old imperialist strategy of divide and rule, the “reforms” being suggested by fanatical British nationalist, Iain Lang, and his committee have only one purpose. Behind the diversion of plastering the whole of Scotland with fluorescent union flags, there is the malign intent to deny the people of Scotland their democratic right of self-determination.

An early shot in this campaign to lock Scotland permanently into a political union that nearly half our people want out of and at least two-thirds are seriously dissatisfied with came from former Labour Home Secretary, Jack Straw, who penned an article for The Times immediately after the first referendum urging legislation to make the UK “indissoluble”. There have been a number of similar calls since. Though few have been quite so explicitly anti-democratic. Most are wrapped up in a load of waffle about “federalism” in the hope of disguising the true purpose.

These calls to deny Scotland’s right of self-determination have been gathering pace and becoming more strident ever since September 2014. This offering from Lang and his unelected cronies is just the latest.

What we are facing in Scotland is nothing less than a vicious, fearful backlash from hardcore British nationalists similar in many ways to that which arose as precisely the same vested interests sought to defend the status quo against rising demands for social and economic reform in the early decades of the 20th century. This must be resisted with all the peaceful, democratic means at our disposal.

Make no mistake! Our democratic rights are under imminent threat from people who regard themselves as above the constraints of the law, never mind the dictates of democratic principle or the bounds of civic responsibility.

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