Yesterday’s announcement of the Commonwealth Games tickets going on sale was rather spoiled by today’s announcement that – in the event of us deciding our own government – we would be cast out of the Commonwealth. The comments by Kamalesh Sharma were beyond ridiculous prompting someone on twitter to remark: “Scotland will have to re-apply to be Scotland if Scotland becomes independent. ”
The dreary daily grind of miserabilism must be draining for even the most lowly UK:OK acolyte. Signs of strain appeared today with one future member of Labour for Independence arguing:
Better Together continues to use the fear factor as its major weapon, with a campaign so thoroughly negative as to be in danger of alienating many Scots who want to vote for the Union but feel increasingly insulted by endless threats of famine, pestilence, plague and aliens if they dared vote for independence.
The unionist campaign has combined the hard and aggressive politics of a discredited Westminster with no vision, no narrative, no idea of Scotland the nation, and no concept of how the role of Scots and Scotland could be enhanced within a modern Union. This has caused frustration and anger, which may lead Scots to turn their backs on an increasingly divided Britain, spurred on by the rise of the political right; disillusionment with Westminster and unionist politics; an English nationalism waking up; the toxic politics of the Tories and their “Tea Party” allies Ukip; the tearing up of the post-war social and economic consensus; a Labour Party continuing to lack confidence; a Britain consumed by economic greed and inequality; a Britain that is increasingly intolerant and unfair; a Tory government devoid of decency, compassion and beyond any notion of the common good; a Tory party revealing its real disinterest in Scotland, and a Union in which there is a growing divide and where political and constitutional differences are widening.
But it is confusing. Being denied entry to the Commonwealth, an organisation that is shrouded in Britain’s inglorious imperial past is maybe no bad thing. We could leave with a new pool, and a velodrome and couple of gold medals in the trophy cabinet. Who would care? It’s like being told that, due to some temporal difficulty, I’m afraid you won’t be able to be in the 1950s any more but instead will be consigned to the 21st Century along with the rest of the world. Damn. How will we cope?
Do you know what? Things change. We used to be shit at tennis, we used to beat children in schools, and hang signs on pub doors saying ‘No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs’, political parties at Westminster used to be distinguishable. In an era without Woolies, where Noel Edmonds no longer bestrides the goggle-box like the bearded cultural giant that he is, with Big Brother consigned to tvs nether regions on 5, who’d miss the Commonwealth?
Presumably we are all to get exercised and upset: ‘Really? What uncertainty!’ I’m all a fluster. It’s difficult to conceive of how life could go on if we weren’t part of the, er, Commonwealth?
No. It’s difficult to think of a more arcane useless and faintly embarrassing institutions than the Commonwealth, other than, say, the House of Lords, the Battenbergs, the system of patronage, Balmoral, the Foreign Office, the Security Services, the unaccountable police and legal systems and the semi-feudal land laws that protect and enshrine power and obscene inequality. Why don’t we just get rid of the lot in one fell swoop and create a modern participatory democracy that might begin to address the vast social and ecological problems we face and which these useless outdated anachronistic institutions are designed to preserve?