Over recent months there has been a concerted attempt by the frothier – read ‘deranged’ – end of the “Rule Britannia, God Save the King, Keep out migrants, we hate nationalism when it’s Scottish” types in social media and newspaper comments sections to get the term ‘scexit’ established as the preferred term for Scottish independence. This is getting more insistent as opinion polling continues to show that support for independence is in the lead and the British nationalist troll account which calls itself ‘The Majority’ is in fact ‘The Minority.’ Today the fifth poll in succession gave a lead to Yes, with now even the traditionally No-friendly YouGov putting support for independence up 4% on 53% once don’t knows are excluded.
The moon howlers of British nationalism use the term ‘scexit’ because they see it as a pejorative. The word independence has positive connotations and the diehard supporters of Anglo-British supremacism cannot permit anything that might portray a Scotland that is in charge of its own affairs in a positive light. Naturally they seek to use a term which is Anglocentric not Scottocentric. Independence centres Scotland and Scottish aspirations, ‘Scexit’ like ‘separation’ centres the British state. It implies that the important consideration is the act of ‘leaving’, not the end state of independence. It’s like describing emigrating to a better life in the sun as a trip to the airport. It’s a term which puts Scotland in a subordinate position, the very antithesis of what independence is all about.
It is however richly ironic that the same people who champion Brexit are trying to get a term derived from the word Brexit established in Scotland as a negative alternative to the standard term independence because they understand that Brexit is widely reviled in Scotland and is seen by a large majority to be a dismal failure. But then logical consistency is not the strong suit amongst people who take to social media accounts bedecked with flags and declarations of loyalty to a monarch in order to tell us all how much they hate nationalism.
However the preferred neologism of the staunch mob will however never catch on beyond the narrow confines of GB News – which apparently stands for Gammon Bampot News, and the RANDOM capitalisations of the Express, a publication which regularly and knowingly publishes misleading and false stories – such as an interview from beyond the grave with the ghost of Princess Diana – and yet still insists that it’s a newspaper.
In no small measure this is because independence is the standard English word for the state a nation finds itself in when it ceases to be a political dependency of another country, no one talks about the Ausxit of Australia or the American declaration of Usaxit. The idiotic word Scexit attempts to make out, entirely falsely, that independence for Scotland is somehow conceptually and qualitatively different from the independence of any other nation that takes the step of becoming an independent state. It’s a bit like insisting that a bus is no longer a bus because it is carrying a Scottish set of passengers, everyone can see that that would be a nonsense, and a nonsense is exactly what the word Scexit is.
But even on its own terms the word fails. At its core it attempts to draw an equivalence between the UK leaving the European Union, and Scotland becoming an independent state once more. Yet the equivalence fails. The British state wields far vastly greater power over Scotland than the European Union ever did over the UK. The UK could and did negotiate opt outs from EU policies which it found politically unacceptable, such as the single currency or the Schengen Zone. Scotland gets no opt outs from what Westminster determines, it just has to, in the words of Alister Jack, “suck it up.”
The UK was already an independent state prior to Brexit and did not need to seek the permission of Brussels in order to hold a referendum on the question of British membership of the EU. Scotland, as the proponents of Brexit are very fond of asserting, does require the permission of Westminster in order to hold a referendum on independence. The EU is a voluntary union of nations in which each member has equal status and a voice in making decisions which affect them. The UK is not. The UK is a unitary state which lies about being a voluntary union of nations and in which the smaller nations do what the largest nation decides .
Another crucial distinction is that when the Brextremists hijacked the narrow leave vote to impose their hardline version of Brexit, they stripped European citizenship from all British citizens, leavers and remainers alike. Scottish independence will not strip British citizenship from residents of Scotland who are currently British citizens. The parliament of an independent Scotland does not have the power to decide who is or is not a British citizen, only the British government can do that. In the exact same way the government of an independent Scotland cannot decide who gets to be a Danish or a Greek citizen, only Denmark and Greece can make those decisions. If, following Scottish independence, British citizens in Scotland lose their right to British citizenship, that can only be as a result of a decision made by the British government, not the Scottish one. Unlike Brexit, Scottish independence will not result in anyone being stripped of their citizenship against their will.
The use of the joke word Scexit is a crude and blatant attempt by Anglo-British nationalist supremacists to gaslight Scotland into fearing that an independent Scottish Government will behave exactly as the English nationalist Brextremists of Westminster have done.
But there is yet another reason why the word Scexit is an idiocy and anyone who uses it to argue against Scottish independence should be dismissed as a fool. The departure of the UK from the European Union left the EU down one member but still intact. Scotland becoming independent does not leave the UK intact. Scotland becoming independent does not mean ‘leaving’ the UK, it means ending the UK. The polity that remains after Scottish independence can call itself what it likes, but it is no longer the United Kingdom in any meaningful sense. The United Kingdom was so called because two kingdoms united, the Kingdom of Scotland, and the Kingdom of England and its crown dependencies. After Scottish independence all that is left is the Kingdom of England, trying to tell itself it is still the United Kingdom, even as Wales thinks of following Scotland’s example and Irish reunification gets ever closer. After Scottish independence there is no UK any more.
But if they insist on silly made up words for Scottish independence, then at very least be accurate about it. It’s not Sc.exit, it’s Sc.end.uk. Scotland will not be exiting the United Kingdom, it will be ending it.
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