The key issue here is, of course, the definition of “national interest”. Any government is perfectly justified in declining to disclose information if there is a persuasive case to be made that such disclosure would be contrary to the interests of the nation. But what is the nation? What interests are being protected or promoted? When David Davis refers to “national interest”, whose interests does he have in mind? When any British politician talks about the “national interest”, what ‘nation’ do they have in mind?
It may be significant that these British politicians tend always to refer to the “national interest” in the singular. As if there was but one nation and one clearly identifiable interest to be served. And, for British politicians, this is true. As far as British politicians are concerned, there is only one nation. And they are never in the slightest doubt about what interest they serve.
By definition, a British politician is one who believes in a single, unified and, for all but the most trivial purposes, homogeneous entity called ‘Britain’. Some believe in it as an existing construct that is the ‘natural’ arrangement which it is just ridiculous to question. Some really do see it as akin to a divinely ordained entity and regard any challenge to their belief as heretical. Others view their ‘Britain’ as an unfinished project. They will not be satisfied with anything less than a ‘One Nation’ Britain made over entirely in the image of almost entirely imagined history and in rigid accordance with a narrow, exclusive, defensive, fearful, inward-looking, elitist, ‘blood and soil’ nationalist ideology.
By definition, a British politician identifies with established power. When a British politician speaks of the “national interest” they are speaking always and only of defending and furthering the structures of power, privilege and patronage which define the British state and serve the interests of the few at the expense of the many.
Whether a British politician is justified in declining to disclose information because it would be contrary to the “national interest” as they define it is a matter of political perspective. That they act contrary to the interests and will of the people of Scotland is an affront to democracy and justice.
We can fix this. We can reject ‘One Nation’ British Nationalism. We can choose better politicians. We can choose a better politics. We can choose to do things differently. We can bring our government home.Views: 4238
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