Fixing Scotland

I have often blogged on the sad but true reality that Scotland is a sick wee backwater country with people full of narrow-minded prejudice and bigotry. It is, admittedly, a negative view but is necessary to share because a problem ignored is a problem that grows and festers.

For decades, Scotland has been divided by Irish politics and this division fell pretty much exactly into faultlines of centuries-old antiqity between Protestantism and Romanism. Going back even further you could factor in the religious divide between the indigenous Celtic and Culdee Church and the early Roman Rite Church. So religion has certainly played a part in dividing folks who live here but also politics has played an increasingly prominent role in keeping us polarised. Given that much of our political differences stem from and are aligned with our religious differences, we have often seen volatile times in our wee country.

Some might argue that much of this antipathy and hostility is really only seen and expressed in the West of Central Scotland and there is a valid case there. The reality that has to be faced is that these divisions, while they are not necessarily manifest to a great extent outwith West Central Scotland, nonetheless impose their mark upon the whole of Scotland, particularly in the eyes of a watching world.

In recent times a resurgent SNP has enjoyed unprecedented success at the ballot box, capitalising upon the spectacular failures of a Labour Party which less than twenty years ago swept all before it and which has had a vice-like grip on Scottish politics for decades. Initially this was good news for Scotland because the early years of SNP governance at Holyrood saw a marked improvement on the basic business of running things as opposed to the previous Labour administration.

But then the brown stuff hit the fan. The SNP used their newfound dominance to promote the case for independence and, although the bid to break away from the UK was defeated, the deep divisions the IndyRef created have caused chasms to open up between an extremely-polarised people. Some of those divisions mirror the older ones but aggressive secularisation in Scotland has meant that those from a traditional Protestant background have abandoned both their faith and its broadly-linked inherent adherence to Unionism to buy into nationalism and republicanism. New fault lines thus sit upon and alongside the established ones, causing even more unrest and uncertainty.

So we are a divided country and in many ways a broken people, unable and unwilling to be reconciled with those diamterically opposed to us in ideology. Against this backdrop, it is hard to create a vibrant future for Scotland, regardless of who wins at the ballot box.

The SNP’s present term at Holyrood has seen a diminishment in terms of power, with no clear majority but also more importantly a distinct lack of focus in terms of where to go next. Sturgeon’s obsession with independence has seen her and her party take their eye off the ball in terms of the everyday business of governance, producing a marked slide in proficiency and efficiency. The nationalists are also acutely aware that their window of opportunity to take Scotland into a state of independence is closing fast. Success relies on whipping up enough fervour in a post-Brexit universe and this is an increasigly forlorn hope. Diehards such as Sturgeon may be happy returning Scotland to mediaeval levels of civilsation and technology just to get their coveted “FREEDOM!!” but most Scots would rather stay in a world of running water and electricty.

In short, Scotland isn’t working.

Scotland is populated by many small-minded, vindictive people who seek identity and definition by “independence” from the hated English. Sadly, being British is seen as distinct and separate from – rather than an extension of – being Scottish. This is the cultural barrier Unionists must overcome in order to convert nationalists and produce an insurmountable majority in favour of the UK. Britain as (an)other place and identity is the conditioning that supporters of the Union must eradicate with compelling arguments for a Scotland and its people at the heart of the Union. Those arguments are potent but not very well promulgated by Unionists and also they are often drowned out by the screeching cacophony of nationalist spin merchants.

Scotland has become a small place. By this I mean small in spirit, mind and vision. Our diminutive First Minister, with her biting rhetoric of grieavance-based politics and barely-concealed hatred for all things English/British, coupled with that familiar scowl, has become a totemic figure of a Scotland which has begun the 21st century by leaping back in time to a mindset where our English neighbours are a hated enemy rather than our kith and kin which, after millenia of tribal movements and inter-marrying, they clearly are.

The propaganda of England as enemy is sadly swallowed without discernment quite readily here in Scotland. In a sense you have to admire how nationalists can carry off the deception that all cultures, creeds and races are welcome in Scotland in the face of abundant evidence that English culture and English people are excluded from this utopia. You could just as easily put the word “Unionist” in place of English here.

A frightening trend is the politicisation of our civic services, leading to situations where those who are known to support the Union are targeted and victimised by nationalist activists. This is wickedness of a loathsome degree and it is amazing to think that Scotland is, in the 21st century, one of the most likely  places on earth where you can be persecuted for your beliefs and values.

Let no-one assume that this sorry state of affairs has been accidental. The nationalists have adopted and are carrying out a well-used strategy which, as Peter Beresford Ellis so powerfully illustrates in his epic work Erin’s Royal Blood, was used to devastating effect upon our Gaelic kin in Ireland. That strategy was to spread the myth that the Irish were a poor, downtrodden peasant race and people who had to rise up against their English masters. The truth, as Beresford Ellis amply demonstrated, was that this bogtrotters identity was a myth perpetuated to control the Irish peoples. The reality is that the Irish – like the Scots – are a noble race of kings.

We are being sold the same bill of goods here in Scotland, with the myth of us being a downtrodden wee country that needs to throw off the shackles of our brutal neighbours. A true reading of Scottish history will provide superabounding evience of a country and people that pioneered, colonised and conquered the world. Michael Fry’s The Scottish Empire and Tom Devine’s Scotland’s Empire are works that dismantle the nationalist propaganda of a puny Scotland lucky to survive against gargantuan odds. The truth is, Scotland for many years was Chief of the Nations but for nationalists the embarrassing part of this is that it was done at the heart of the British Empire, which as Fry and Devine prove beyond any shadow of doubt, was inherently Scot-centric and driven.

What doesn’t help, however, is the trend towards Scot-bashing which is a method deployed by certain pro-Union newspapers. It is one thing to deride the swivel-eyed loons of the SNP but quite another to mistakenly corral all Scots into the same pen. This is a crass blunder more likely to swell anti-English sentiment than disperse it.

It all comes down to the same thing that I repeatedly blog and speak about i.e. the need for we Unionists to make a compelling case for the Union. And again I reiterate that this argument must be neither political or economic. The Union certainly transcends politics and the economic argument is only easily won when communicating with people prepared to listen and who have even minimum intelligence. Even the no-brainer reasons economically will fail to pierce the rigid fundamentalist thinking of hardcore nats. Effie Deans has done an admirable job of highlighting this hardwired nationalism in the core group.

Arguing for the Union must also be about much more than seeking to share our jingoistic delight at Rule, Britannia and Land of Hope and Glory. Astonishing though it is (!) there are some who do not share our love of such anthems or the imperial sentiments they portray. Yet there are abundant arguments that can be made to convince even ardent nationalists that the status and wellbeing of Scotland are far better enhanced and served within the Union. Not least of which is the irrefutable fact that Britain is not something Scotland is a part of but that Britain IS Scotland and Scotland IS Britain. Just as marriage is a one-flesh union, so the Act of Union made one nation of both England and Scotland.

Scotland isn’t working. But that need not be the case. And Scotland IS a pariochally-minded, introspective wee backwater. But it doesn’t have to be. Scotland can once again be a place of glory and optimism, of enterprise and vision – a place to dream big and see your dreams come true. We can once again be a large-hearted, outward-looking people who see the world as ours to enjoy and conquer – not with aggressive colonisation but with friendship and service, with invention and achievement.

Scotland is the Land of Destiny – but it will not be by means of a mean-spirited, inward-looking approach to the world, based upon an irrational and self-destructive hatred of our English neighbours. That is the road to ruin and destruction. Scotland’s destiny is at the heart of the United Kingdom – leading the way and pioneering into the future.

The SNP’s concept of Scotland reminds me of someone who has been promoted to a big job but doesn’t have the self-belief or self-esteem to see them capable of doing it. Why not believe in a Scotland that can be prominent and dominant in the United Kingdom rather than a Scotland with self-esteem issues and that has to skulk away from this responsibility of leadership?

Scotland’s destiny is what it has always been – to be Chief of the Nations. The nationalists want Scotland to be the downtrodden victim of their fevered imagination. They want us cowering in flagrant shame, not towering in gallant fame. They want us to swallow the lie of Scotland the Slave, not proclaim the bold truth of SCOTLAND THE BRAVE.

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27 thoughts on “Fixing Scotland

  1. Dear me cowards all ! Hiding behind Protestantism’s shield of (they are all wrong if the don,t share our fears) try and get a grip on reality.Every reason given Here is based on terror of standing on our own two feet and facing the future as a free and proud nation,who dealt and traded in Europe before the Romans even knew of our existence.People ! try and be adult in a big boys world.

  2. Completely off topic here Bill, but thought I’d ask you and fellow readers their thoughts on the Joey Barton fiasco.

    My take for what it’s worth, is that he’s already been suspended for almost 4 weeks, soon to be 5 due to the extension until Monday.

    It looks blatantly obvious that the club board are searching for a way out and don’t have the money to pay him off so are/were looking to sack him.

    All very odd, a 5 week suspension is ridiculous no matter what the issue is/was.

    It sounds to me like Warburton’s said he doesn’t want him back, board need to be seen to stand behind their manager and its left a massive embarrassment for club, player, manager and fans.

    Pathetic stuff from where I see it. 😩

    • In my opinion it was bad judgement to sign him. He is too slow for our game and his volatility was too high a risk. But Rangers have handled the matter woefully. It is bad PR to say the least.

    • Signing anyone with such a high media profile (such as JB has in his Twitter feed) was always a non-starter for me as it would only give the SMSM greater chance to get at the club. My thinking was further reinforced when i saw him play this season – not good enough.

      i don’t know what was said between the players, manager and JB…..but surely they are able to take some criticism from within the group/team ?

  3. Effie Deans has a point regards extolling the virtue of the UK, however she also notes in her linked article:

    ‘. …The SNP want the softest possible of Brexits. Why give your opponent anything. Rather if they want this, do the opposite. …’

    Her article then links to another whereby she tries to argue the need for a ‘hard’ Brexit (in order to steal a march on the scottish nationalists).
    Is she mad ?!?

    A hard Brexit usually signifies the UK coming out of the Singe Market [SM] and thus relying on World Trade Organisation [WTO] rules – which may give some advantages over time but, more importantly, several disdvantages almost immediately. Also, the UK would have to start and revive bilateral trade deals with various countries – at the same time. With 40-odd years of EU rule under the UK’s belt then there is a dearth of experienced negotiators – imagine the scenarios of a rookie civil servant up against a wizened, old hard-nut of a ‘wheeler and dealer’ from, say, China. One can only recoil at the possible damage that could be done in order to get ourselves back into the global ‘game’.

    If new trade deals weren’t to go through quickly – note the length of time for both CETA and TTIP (the former hasn’t even been implemented and the latter looks doomed) – then the UK could become an economic basket-case quite quickly. Suddenly there would be no incentive at that point to stay in a demoralised, grab-any-deal UK and, thus, nationalism in Scotland would become rampant.

    No, it’s probably best for the UK to have a soft exit – via staying in the EEA or alternative, but similar, agreements with the EU – and thus build from a relatively ‘mild’ change in economic positioning and then take our time with external trade deals with, as Bill notes, Scotland at the vanguard.

    • Surprised at your gloomy viewpoint to be honest. Britain is nobody’s bitch. The world wants to trade with us. That is why we are GREAT Britain.

      • Bill, It’s not a gloomy viewpoint – it’s a realistic one – and, thus, we need to take into consideration what we [the UK] have got ourselves stuck into since 1973, at least.

        I’m not saying that the UK has to be anybody’s bitch but we do have to negotiate, deal and trade with others…..and that shouldn’t be to our immediate, and possibly continuing, disadvantage.
        Free trade deals take time – if one wants to go down that route – and would lead to so much short and mid-term uncertainty, until they are sorted out, that the UK government may as well start packing their bags now, before 2020, because they will lose many on an economic basis alone – urging in the anti-British factions of the Corbyn and Sturgeon parties who would be only too willing to take over.

        Yes GREAT Britain but let’s not fool ourselves into becoming a foolish and headstrong Britain. We have to keep ourselves fighting fit and together. Others within our kingdom are waiting willingly on the side lines just hoping for it all to fail.

        We need to identify the final aim for the country – the ability to reach that goal will largely depend upon whether we make a large or several smaller step-changes to achieve it.

        In effect a cautionary viewpoint.

          • I agree, Bill, but boldness doesn’t equal foolhardiness.

            Handing in our Article 50 notice letter with nary a trade agreement with the EU or anyone else signed and dusted down – which is the WTO, hard Brexit route – is foolhardy in the extreme. We have been bold voting to leave and we have an aim to make our own way in the world again without being spoon-fed from the EU – let’s not muck that all up on the first step forward.

            • If we are going to kowtow, there is no point in leaving. May as well stay in and do our master’s bidding. The whole point is leaving. We rightly hsd a go at the Nats for trying to get independence while retaining so many aspects of the Union. Brexit means Brexit. “Come out of her, My people!”

              • If we take a ‘soft’ route – usually expressed as EFTA-EEA (nominally referred to as the ‘Norway’ route) – then we come out of the EU. We would then only have to accept EEA directives, out from all of the EU directives, in order to hold to the four degrees of freedom for goods, services, people and capital within the single market.
                This gives us a ‘parking space’, in the meantime, to negotiate trade deals, if we so wish, with non-EU nations (which we can’t do at the moment due to the EU having competency on trade), whilst keeping in place the current deals/treaties. So, less of an economic shock.
                And as the march of globalisation goes on we start to realise that the EU is just a middle-man in the global structure(s). In the EEA we then only have to give a years notice – when we have, since, set ourselves up better and able to forge ahead from a position of strength.

                Taking the ‘hard’ route means that we either
                a) put in Art. 50 and go straight to WTO rules (without any negotiations with the EU)
                b) start negotiations and after two years, if no settlement is reached, we ‘fall’ into WTO rules by default
                c) we start negotiations and with an optional (by vote) extension period, we still haven’t agreed then, again, we default to WTO.

                Either way – hard or soft – we we will be out of the EU.
                Either way we will be in a precarious situation if deals/ agreements/ treaties aren’t negotiated properly.

                Either way we will be out – no kow-towing.
                It becomes, again, a matter of whether we partake of foolhardiness or not.

                • I have confidence that the UK will be able to draw on thousands of years experience trading with Europe and the wider world. As for negotiations, nobody is better than we Brits for handing you your own backside and invoicing you for it. In short, I do not think we have any cause to fear whatever kind of Brexit route we go. The important thing is Britain is open for business now, not hamstrung by the EU.

                  • Granted that we both have the same aim – with different routes to get there; the government, of course, has to take into consideration a lot of stakeholders (internal and external) into it’s decision and subsequent negotiations.

                    I reckon they will start off with a ‘Norway’ type deal (probably a little bit different – with a Union flag stuck on top and calling itself a ‘British’ solution) hoping that they keep most folk ‘on board’, with the possibility of having to accept a hard Brexit solution constantly at the back of their minds.

                    We shall see…..good debating ;-))

  4. The political landscape in Great Britain has evolved with a pace unprecedented over the last ten years or so.

    In fact, so much so that the uprising of virulent Nationalism in Scotland should have been expected, both here and across the rest of the UK.

    We’ve had Tony Blair and his (quite frankly) evil and sinister war which has led the United Kingdom into years and years of conflict that in truth has only made the situation worse.

    The Iraq war was shameful, unlawful and more pertinently has made Great Britain a despised nation right across the Middle East.

    Afghanistan? Well our input (along with the Americans) has turned that country into a medieval Hellhole for its citizens.

    Syria? Well, all I can say is my heart breaks when I see footage on the news bulletins.

    What have our governments’ done? Got into bed with a nation that’s Hellbent on the absolute destruction of a region that we really ought to take a step back from, analysis our position and consider what we’ve actually done that’s been effective or helped the regions people.

    When you consider what the previous Labour, and now Tory governments have led the UK into, at the same point in history as Scotland gained devolution, with everything that entails then for me it’s little wonder Scotland’s politically minded people have turned against Westminster.

    The answer is within your article here, it’s for those that believe in the Union to take the lead, to denounce Nationalism of any kind.

    After all, take a look back in time, history itself proves that the inward, festering hatred of those that you believe do you wrong or suppress you hasn’t faired well, has it? History proves that parochialism is dangerous.

    All it achieves is an inward, defensive attitude where the big bad oppressor becomes a counterpart or an enemy.

    England isn’t our enemy, it’s our neighbour and our family, as is Wales and Northern Ireland.

    There’s so much to embrace, both economically and emotionally by letting our guard down and loving our neighbours. Sadly for me, the SNP and its’ rather angst ridden activists won’t allow it to happen.

    This country voted to remain within the UK and the UK itself voted to leave the EU.

    Excuse me if I’m wrong here but is that not a mandate, if ever there was one?

    We have a Scotland that wants to be a part of the United Kingdom and the Great British people has decided to let the rest of Europe allow itself to get engulfed in beaurocracy and have the will of individual nations be governed by unelected politicians. Let the UK and it’s individual nations be as one, embrace the opportunities and fulfill its potential as one of the leading countries on earth .

    The problem we have in achieving that is our politicians. We have a Labour Party that’s sadly unelectable, a party that seems to be incapable of anything at all politically.

    Put two Labour Party members or MP’s in a room and you’ll get three different opinions. That’s how divisive they’ve become.

    Their party leader is unelectable, his history is one of a man that seems to despise Great Britain, its history and its politics . Hardly a future Prime Minister is he?

    We’ve had Bliar. I think the man is evil, genuinely a character that history will look back on and very probably be ashamed of.

    Cameron, well if nothing else he was brave. He had balls and he gave the country two referendums that will force the UK to change direction, and at great pace I’d imagine.

    Theresa May and her past, is one of Establishement, as are most UK PMs’. She has perhaps the biggest three or four years in office that any PM has had since the forties.

    The United Kingdom has to change for it to prevail. It won’t last otherwise and that’s my fear. Scotland is changing, it has to come to the fore within UK politics. That means the Scottish Tories and Scottish Labour growing a pair and taking a lead.

    If the Labour Party in England is unelectable then for Heavens sake we need a strong Labour in Scotland to offer a Left Wing alternative to Nationalism.

    Ruth Davidson is very obviously a strong leader. She can achieve something in Scotland that hasn’t been attained in decades in Scotland . A strong Unionist voice in Holyrood and Scotland as a whole.

    All in all, a cracking read Bill, the Union isn’t just a political union, it’s an emotional and historical one. It’s a spiritual partnership that goes back hundreds of years,

    Let’s not allow a divisive National Party with no true mandate or no real policies to deviate from our path. The way that will happen is for one thing and one thing only to happen ..

    Those that feel so strongly about the Union must become political, we cannot allow a party that gets into bed with Rupert Murdoch to force their will upon us, not ever.

    The world in general is in a seriously precarious place, let us as a nation take the lead. Stop listening to parochial, insular nonsense and broaden our horizons by showing a new example.

    An example where we can douse those flames in our own country then offer to help others.

    It may be just goggle eyed garbage from me here, but I truly believe Scotland (within the UK) is about to be one of the most important nations on this beautiful earth ….

  5. I would also like to add the “arrogance” of the English FA not letting the Scottish teams enter a British League to “wet their beaks” also does not help the union. Just adds fuel to the independence fire.

  6. Good to see you back to your best “Merlin”, unfortunately a very true and precise article. England does not help by indicating we did not leave the union because “we could not afford not to”. We need to feel wanted and we need to feel part of the decision making for UK not just Scotland. The English M.P.s who do not want Scottish M.P.s voting on “English” matters now just stirs the mire. The Brexit vote in my opinion was down swayed by the immigration situation. Many English would also like to see the back of “the Jocks” I would add.

  7. Hi Bill,
    Another great one and so very very true and all because of natzi lovers hating England and the Union.I have read Effie Deans earlier and says more or less what you say too.I think fishy would be better going and staying in Eire as she seems more happy with them and also her friends Corbyn/McDonnell who have similar love of ira/hamas and that says it all on why she wants too destroy Great Britain as a whole.Just a pity that WM allowed Scotland too have it’s own Government and as far as I’m concerned they have been given too much devolved powers.So much so they can’t even get anything right at all because of her quest for Independence instead of main purpose of running the country

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