…not with Sturgeon as leader. Or, pushing graciousness to its limits, at least not with the current strategy of Sturgeon and her team shaping the party’s political direction.
On the face things, Scottish separatism ought to be at an all-time high. In fact, if polling is to be believed, it is at an all-time high. But none of this is translating to any concrete steps towards a second Scottish independence referendum being taken by the Sturgeon leadership.
Though it’s been hard to say it publicly, the reality is that in the 3 years since the referendum on British membership of the EU, the SNP has ceased to exist as any kind of truly functional vehicle of Scottish independence but has rather become an anti-Brexit party.
The allies of the party leadership are no longer the various groups who organise and participate in pro-independence rallies across Scotland, or who advocate and agitate for Scottish independence, but rather so-called ‘moderate’ British Unionists and nationalists who share the SNP leadership’s zealous Europhilia.
And here a distinction must be made. As it related to Scotland and particular much-needed immigration and access to the world’s largest single market, I supported and support membership of the EU. But it’s purely pragmatic. I don’t accept a ‘European’ identity and have absolutely no illusions in the political nature of both Europe, as a loose geopolitical zone, or as a political entity in the form of the European Union.
This is a body that carries out very deliberate genocidal policies against migrants, most of whom are fleeing war and terror, in the Mediterranean. If Donald Trump were responsible for even a tiny percentage of the deaths caused by Europe’s policies in the Med, there would probably be global marches.
This is a body that allies so harmoniously with murderous tyrants like President Field Marshal Abdel Fattah El Sisi, who ruthlessly polices the gates of Fortress Europe, all the better to keep Europe as white and as Christian as possible. It was Angela Merkel, considered by Europhiles as the Spirit of Europe made flesh, who stood side-by-side with the mass murderer Sisi, fresh from his brutal extermination of all opposition and perpetration of war crimes in the Sinai (something Europe helped normalise globally), calling his regime ‘a role model for stability in the region’. Merkel, whose country along with Europe in general is a leading provider of the arms used by Sisi against innocent and marginalised Egyptians, commended the Sisi regime for its ‘leading role combatting terrorism and illegal immigration’.
Notice how smoothly she elides ‘terrorism’ with ‘illegal immigration’? The Spirit of Europe indeed.
And it’s in this spirit that the EU allows tyrants like Sisi to hold captive thousands of migrants, mostly from Syria and sub-Saharan Africa, as non-people. They’re not allowed to work and are subject to racist abuse and exploitation. In return for this great service to the European project, Sisi and his kleptocrats are granted sweetheart deals and increased ‘cooperation’ with the EU. The ultimate aim of Europe is to completely outsource the dirty business of Keeping Europe White – the plan is for veritable concentration camps in places like Sisi’s Egypt or, as was the French plan as yet unrealised, Haftar’s Libya.
That’s not even to mention that Europe itself is increasingly becoming dominated by fascists – the kind of people who’d quite like to rule their country as Sisi does. Moreover, centrists, who are also ideologically sold to various different degrees Keeping Europe White, have reacted to the rise of fascism in Europe by appeasing it and adopting some of its principles. Thus, the genocide in the Med has ramped up, while Fortress Europe’s walls become all the more openly cruel and barbarous.
None of this is to be confused for the Eurosceptic position, most loved by the alt-left (‘Lexiteers’), of exploiting the real and perceived ills of the EU to argue for Brexit. As I said, and I repeat again, opposition to leaving the EU, for any country across these islands, is the only progressive position in relation to that question.
But the EU is not some kind of central point of political orientation for me – let alone part of my identity. In its totality, it’s actually hostile to many of my own principles, which is why my position, since it became clear that Scotland had voted to stay in the EU while Wales and England had not, has been one of pragmatism. The ideological case for Scottish independence doesn’t rely on disparity between England and Scotland on membership of the EU, but the pragmatic case, in the post-2014 world, sadly does.
But the SNP have went the other way. Sure, they dangle the carrot of a second independence referendum in front of those they need to keep them in power, but at every solid point when there’s been a chance to strike, out comes the dismal stick of them playing the very British anti-Brexit game. A game that will lead them to something below nowhere and gain for them less than zero.
Saving the Green Party of England and Wales, as well as Plaid Cymru, there are no allies to be made in any British resistance to Brexit. The British forces assembled against Brexit care as much about the self-determination of Scotland as the Brexiteers, namely not at all. We’re talking about the likes of the ConDem vetern Jo Swinson and the Thatcher-loving Anna Soubry here. We’re talking about the perversely populistic, paedo-obsessed, Max Mosely-funded pustule of a man that is Tom Watson.
Watson is a perfect example. He was obviously a ruthless cheerleader for Blair’s invasion of Iraq, one who tried to ensure that no one was ever held accountable for it, but whose new found phoney altruism led to his bizarre claim following the referendum in 2014 that Scotland can’t have independence because our ancient and colonially-cleansed clan system was some kind of precursor of evil capitalism.
These people, and those they represent, will never be allies of our cause – they are committed and vicious enemies of it. Even their conception of Europe is one unaligned with the prevailing Scottish anti-Brexit vision, and one which overlaps with Brexiteers. In contrast with the SNP’s righteously stated agenda of supporting free movement across all of Europe, many of the British anti-Brexit mob actually support curtailing freedom of movement either out of conviction or as a means to appease one of the primary purposes of the Brexit vote in England and Wales, namely racism. Of course, it’s not going to be freedom of movement for Berliners or Parisians they want to end, but, as with much of the Brexit crowd (Nigel Farage’s wife and children are German), the poor, racially suspect hordes of Slavic untermenschen from Eastern and Southern Europe.
At the very best, the SNP could prop up a Corbyn government in the hope of being granted a second independence referendum by our British Labourite Overlords, but the slight hitch in this plan is that it isn’t at all supported by the British Labour Party or its Scottish branch, regardless of what John McDonnell says about it.
Take, as a perfect example, the news today that the British PM Boris Johnson will prorogue parliament in order to, effectively, force through a no-deal Brexit without any parliamentary spanners being thrown in the works. You’d think this would be a perfect time for the elected leader of Scotland, who happens to be a lifelong Scottish separatist, to, erm, move solidly towards to a second independence referendum.
The argument would be that Scottish self-determination has been undermined, stamped upon and effectively pissed all over from the grand heights of Westminster so much since 2016, that Johnson’s actions are a step too far and the Scottish government must act in Scotland’s best interests.
At the very least, you’d expect Scottish independence to be front and centre in any reaction by Nicola Sturgeon to Johnson’s anti-democratic move. But you’d be wrong.
Yes, there was the usual nod to independence stuck on at the end of her statements on Johnson’s move, but back we are to the SNP leadership placing the focus on a British parliamentary election and the so-called ‘People’s Vote’ (the ‘people’ being British and the ‘vote’ being a second EU referendum). For the avoidance of doubt, I am opposed to a ‘People’s Vote’ and would not vote in one – not because I support Brexit in any way, shape or form, but because I strongly support Scottish self-determination.
Scotland voted to stay in the EU in an unambiguously comprehensive manner. We actually even went a step further – we voted a government into power who said they would hold a second referendum if Scotland was dragged out of the EU against its will. In fact, we took another step further – we voted, in the Euro elections, again in an unambiguously comprehensive manner, for an anti-Brexit, pro-Scottish independence party.
That’s three different acts of democratic self-determination regarding the question of Scotland’s place in the EU by Scots – to go along with the ‘People’s Vote’ charade, which is something dreamt up by people who want to remain in the EU despite Scotland’s self-determination, is to completely undermine our self-determination for the sake of English-British majoritarianism
This is completely unacceptable. And if only we had a SNP leadership capable of or willing to point out these obvious facts. The point should be for a Scottish remain argument – not because we’re all self-centred nationalists who don’t care about the fate of our English neighbours, but rather because we can only determine our own political wills and we have absolutely no say over the will of our neighbours. If England wants to go down the path of a no deal Brexit or any kind of Brexit, and many English people do, there’s nothing I can do about it.
I can only act within my own zone of self-determination and that zone of self-determination is being curtailed, yes, by all the usual British suspects, but, rather extraordinarily, by the SNP. But Sturgeon, by continuing down this path, while de-emphasising independence, is setting us up to simply be swept away in the tidal wave of shit that follows the inevitable enactment of Brexit – any Brexit.
It would be here that my younger self would call for a new pro-Scottish independence party, but to do so would be of the utmost futility. As Scottish nationalists, separatists or simply independence supporters, we are stuck with the SNP. One shouldn’t ever discount the power of structure over principle – the SNP has become a behemoth: a money-spinning, sinecure-creating, power-granting, self-referential subculture. While of course most SNP figures remain committed to independence, one ought not to have any illusions on a prevailing waft among the upper echelons of the party that has become far too comfortable with the status quo – far too comfortable with apartments in London and the benefits of sitting in the British parliament.
I’m reminded of the story of when it became apparent to James VI (known as James I in England and Wales) that he could leave the drafty, cold, austere halls of Edinburgh and take up residence as King of England in the wealthy, relatively less demure London. He never again set foot in Scotland.
Such is the allure of Babylon.
We can only hope that there’s a shake up among the top rungs of the party – there are certainly plenty on the bottom rungs of both the party and the movement who are getting sick of Sturgeon’s continued will to embed the SNP further in the British political system, leaving Scotland stranded.