I rarely look at Twitter, it’s a cesspit of bile which is damaging to the mental health and well being of even the most robust psyche. Even less often do I look at my Twitter notifications, however I looked into Twitter on Wednesday to check on the reactions to Kamekwasi Kwarteng’s immolation of the British economy and was confronted by dozens of notifications, which turned out to be overwhelmingly from members of the staunch brigade working themselves up into a British nationalist – sorry anti-nationalist British patriot – lather over the piece that I did yesterday for The National.
When you are upsetting right wing British nationalists you know that you must be doing something right. What got their nationalist and supremacist goat was not pointing out to them that they are indeed nationalists, and moreover nationalists of a deeply unpleasant xenophobic and exceptionalist ilk, there is no getting through their impregnable wall of denial on that score, not when it’s a core belief of their British nationalism that British nationalism cannot be nationalist at all. The immediate cause of their anger was a passage in yesterday’s piece that The National tweeted out noting that should the UK Supreme Court rule against the Scottish Government in the indyref court case it would be the final death knell for the union.
This is of course because such a ruling would be an effective decision that the nature of the UK as it has always been understood by traditional moderate Scottish Unionist opinion was a myth without any legal or political foundation. It would be a ruling that the UK was effectively a unitary state in which the component nations of what was hitherto understood as a voluntary union need the permission of the British Prime Minister not just to leave the UK, but merely to ask their people if that is what they wanted to do.
Such a ruling would make a nonsense of any assertion that the UK was a voluntary union. This might play well with the frothing British nationalists on social media who like to spit bile about the ‘racist SNP’ in a truly epic performance of psychological projection, but it would not go down at all well with moderate and mainstream Scottish opinion who despite the claims of certain British nationalist social media groups, are really The Majority in Scotland, it would merely trigger the conversion of the next Westminster General Election in Scotland into a de-facto referendum on independence. And there would not be a single thing that the staunch mob could do to stop it or boycott it. There is nothing in the psyche of British nationalism to allow its adherents to cope with a situation in which they are the powerless ones. All they have is fury and denial.
The anger of British nationalists that the independence movement would continue even after a ruling from the UK Supreme Court that Holyrood cannot hold an independence referendum, indeed the campaign would be invigorated, was in no small measure a deflection, a tissue of psychological defence, against the reality that the British state is self-combusting before our very eyes.
On Wednesday the Bank of England was forced to make an unprecedented intervention into the markets, buying up vast quantities of British Government debt in order to avert an economic catastrophe created by the Chancellor’s incomprehensible decision to massively increase government borrowing in order to introduce a raft of tax cuts which will do little or nothing to help ordinary households but which will give a huge boost to the already bloated bank balances of the richest in the country.
Kwarteng’s mini-budget prompted a run on the pound, which is heading towards parity with the dollar and the euro. It threatened to bankrupt the pension funds and led to a sharp rebuke from the International Monetary Fund. The Tories have always liked to boast that they are the party which can be trusted on the economy, the events of the past few days have shown that to be just another of their lies.
In the independence vote to come the answer to the question : “What currency are you going to use?” will be, anything but Sterling. The plummeting pound will translate into higher costs for imported goods which will in turn fuel the inflation which is already assailing household budgets. Meanwhile interest rates are rising as quickly as the pound is falling, which means that we will soon see sharp rises in mortgage costs and rents.
This is a disaster by any measure, moreover it was entirely unnecessary and avoidable. This is what happens when the fate of millions are put in the hands of a few thousand unrepresentative right wing Conservative party members. It is the product of a dysfunctional and broken Westminster system, and Labour’s constitutional review will do nothing to fix that. Westminster cannot be fixed, it can only be left behind.
While all this is going on Kwasi Kwarteng and Liz Truss have gone to ground. There is a worsening self-inflicted financial crisis and Truss has not made any public statement for a week. Last week people in the UK were worrying about heating their homes this winter, this week they are worrying about having a home this winter. But Truss and Kwarteng, the architects of all this misery are nowhere to be seen. They are failing in the very basics of leadership, to reassure the public in a time of crisis. That alone demonstrates that they are unfit for the high offices that they hold thanks to the votes of a few thousand Conservative party members. How very Tory, trash the economy and run away. Douglas Ross and his pals are in hiding too, their ferry shtick won’t save them from responsibility for this disaster.
So with this complete and utter shitshow of a British state – which heaps wealth on the wealthy while starving the poor, and making them homeless – do the frothing British nationalist zoomers on social media really think that supporters of Scottish independence, the only plausible route out of this disaster and back into the European Union, are going to react to a UK Supreme Court ruling that Holyrood cannot hold a referendum by saying, “Oh well that’s it then,” let’s just give up on this whole lark. Hell no. It will only provide further proof of the need for independence as the only possible way that Scotland can ensure that the right wing of the Conservative party cannot dictate to Scotland and blight all our lives with their cruel and callous ideology.
On Monday night I did my first in-person public speaking event since I had the stroke. It was the launch of Yes Carrick, our new local Yes group, which I am delighted to support. I did it because the venue was literally around the corner so didn’t involve a long journey. I managed to talk for some twenty minutes which was better than I had expected. I might be able to do more events in future as long as transport is provided.
My Gaelic maps of Scotland are still available, a perfect gift for any Gaelic learner or just for anyone who likes maps. The maps cost £15 each plus £7 P&P within the UK. You can order by sending a PayPal payment of £22 to [email protected] (Please remember to include the postal address where you want the map sent to).
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