What nation? Whose interest?

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.

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19 thoughts on “What nation? Whose interest?

  1. Phil Orchard

    The SNP has had a decade to deliver better politics and politicians (to say nothing of better policy). It has failed.

    1. Alasdair Macdonald

      A rotten apple, methinks!

      We have a better politics, better politicians and there are better policies.

      1. Phil Orchard

        Not yet we don’t. But Nicola Sturgeon has another four years to deliver. Maybe she’ll stop banging about Indy, focus on the day job, and surprise us.

        1. Dan Huil

          The day job: linesman or cake guzzler?

          Westminster British nationalists are ruining Scotland – and how they love to do so.

        2. Hugh Wallace

          Wah, wah, wah… BritNat Alert! BritNat Alert!…

          The only people “banging on” about independence are the unionists. This independence support, and many others like me, wish Nicola was taking more about independence but she isn’t (I’m trusting her to do the right thing, so I’ll leave that be). As for the “day job” nonsense, the SNP MPs & MSPs are highly active doing their day jobs for their constituents & all Scots. The ones neglecting their day jobs are those politicians adjudicating at football games or appearing on bakery programmes.

          Awa an’ bile yer heid.

          1. Phil Orchard

            If the current state of the public services in Scotland is the result of all this SNP activity. SNP MSPs and MPs clearly need to be less active, but more focused on actually delivering results.

    2. grizebard

      Oh, apocalypse time has come round again, has it? Yawn.

      You evidently have no idea of just how absurd such poisonous ravings make you appear. But please carry on, it’s good to keep reminding people of the truly bitter & twisted nature of BritNat thinking.

  2. William Ross

    Peter

    The “national interest” is the British national interest. That is to say “the national interest” of a state vindicated by the Scottish people on 18 September 2014.

    The UK government is at a critical moment in negotiations to leave the EU. I think it reasonable for a whist player not to have to show his cards while a game is on-going?

    Would you expect the EU Commission to reveal their internal analysis? No, I thought not….

    William

    1. Peter A Bell Post author

      A British politician openly admits that the British state has information which, if published, would reveal harmful consequences to Scotland and its people of British government policy and action so horrendous that, by this British politician’s own assessment, it would significantly strengthen the case for Scotland ending the Union. And you insist that this information should be kept secret. You insist that Scotland should just accept these harmful consequences. You insist that the people of Scotland have no right to be warned. That they must not be given the opportunity to avoid the harm being done to them by the British state.

      You demand that we be prepared to pay any price to preserve your beloved British state. The Union at any cost, is your mantra. We must pay the cost of your mindless allegiance to the ruling elites of the the British state. We must be penalised because of your dumb infatuation.

      And you wonder why British Nationalists are despised.

  3. Dan Huil

    Hopefully the EU will really stuff the so-called united kingdom and aid its destruction. The world would gladly see the end of the so-called united kingdom.

    1. Iain MacLaren

      It may be best to try to disregard this comment when assessing the seriousness of Mr Huil’s input.

  4. Simon

    Get on with the day job, focus on the day job 😀 Oh dear! It makes me laugh when I hear this used. Is it not normally used by people who can’t think for themselves and constantly regurgitate Daily Express type headline, and then think they’re thinking for themselves and being all political?

    Scotland voted for an SNP government, moving towards independence, is part of the day job! I suppose all the issues in the rest of the UK are Nicola’s doing do? I fear for a Scotland without the SNP! The SNP do the best they can with what their given by the beast which is Westminster.

    What am I thinking! I’m so sorry. Of course, a Labour or con’s First Minister would make everything beautiful. Public service would be perfect and over night, why? Because they would not be talking about independence and focuses on the day job 😀

    Thanks Peter, I think you hit a raw nerve with this one,, please keep them coming…

    Wishing everyone a great day,
    Simon

  5. Robert Graham

    We all know what part of the country always takes precedence , England first and always , i wish the Britain – UK guff was dropped we all know its England , in movies – adverts – the news its England ,
    It might come as a great shock to those who defend this union , you as a jock are tolerated just , you as a Scot are not and never will be accepted as one of them , you will be treated as just another foreigner ,
    Tough shit ,stateless people , not embraced by either as one of them . a lonely existence enjoying it ? . Pick a side you cant do both it does not work .

  6. Bob

    What Nation ? Who’s interest ?
    Say it as it is…England & England’s alone.
    Why, because the UK Govt will do everything in it’s power to mitigate against anything that will effect production in England whether that be farming, fisheries or immigration to the detriment of the other 3 Nations that make up Britain/UK.
    The Great Repeal Bill..who loses out..Scotland
    Welsh & N.Irish Farmers. Fishing Rights used as a tool to gain concessions for UK.
    Concessions for who & to whom’s detriment…England thats who & to Scotlands detriment.
    Immigration…. Scotland needs Immigration but England has a thing about immigrants & as such England decides our future.
    The list goes on. But which Nation ? Who’s Interest ?should never, ever be in doubt…. It will always be in England’s favour, England’s Intetest. The rest well ..they’ll do as their told.

  7. douglas clark

    It is quite extraordinary how certain people take it as their right to determine whether the Scottish Government is a force for good or bad. Our new heroes, for instance Phil Orchard, suggest that Hollyrood, or more specifically the SNP, has failed.

    I would like Phil Orchard to be a bit more particular. Is he able to tell us exactly where the SNP has failed? Are the issues he raises in any way mainstream? Are they perhaps offset by other policies that have been for the greater good?

    Or not?

    Our good friend William Ross says:

    “The “national interest” is the British national interest. That is to say “the national interest” of a state vindicated by the Scottish people on 18 September 2014.”

    And the BREXIT referendum that turned the whole story of Scotland in the EU on it’s head is irrelevant? Independence Referendum first, BREXIT referendum second. William, I am not convinced by your argumentation.

  8. William Ross

    Douglas

    Thanks for your comment. I am glad that I re-visited the article.

    The question answered by the Scottish people on 23 June 2016 was whether THE UNITED KINGDOM should stay in or leave the EU? Nobody asked them whether Scotland should remain in the UK as an independent country. Polls on independence have not moved. Nearly half of Leave voters were nationalists. SNP supporters were the most likely of all party supporters ( yes, including the Tories) to vote Leave. I hardly knew an SNP supporter who voted Remain.

    In GE 2017, one party the SNP, offered Scots a clear route to become an independent country in the EU. Our party got beaten nearly 2 to 1 by vehemently anti-Indy ref 2 unionists.

    We need to let Brexit to take its course and then return to Indy ref 2.

    William

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