“Ordinary Hard Working People.”
Spot the odd one out? There isn’t one, it’s just that the last is also the newest-touted with relish on the No Borders’ website . Really they’re all the same. Dog-whistle politics for ‘people just like you.’ It’d be comforting if it weren’t so laden with condescension. The implicit parenthesis for each being;
‘who will vote according to whatever prejudice we whip up then exploit.’
‘who will turn on each other, predictably, when we ram home our austerity programmes.’
‘whose fear of their own inadequacy is the cornerstone of our strategy.’
The “No Borders” campaign, whose finances and motivations have already been richly covered around the place, claims on its website “it (change) is not the same as separation, which is where a ‘yes’ vote inevitably leads.” Separation is one of these terms used increasingly by Unionists to disparage independence. It’s easily done, buying as it does into all of the cringier aspects of Scotland’s mindset as it has existed in the union.
Separation is a declarative action. If identity comes from difference, separation is the corollary of that distinction. “I am different, you say we’re the same, I know I’m different so I make sure there’s a distance-intellectually, politically-between us.” It’s that exact thought process that Scotland is denied by the Union, and which Unionists are now falling back on. ‘Better Together’ really means ‘unviable alone.’ We’re not really genetically programmed to make our own decisions, so just leave them to someone else. After all, it hardly matters-our decisions would be those of the bigger Union anyway.
Except they wouldn’t be. Maybe we want a country that’s not a country, but a sub-Nation State unit capable of exercising its new autonomy for the benefit of all its citizens (and those outside it who want to become citizens) rather than buying into UKIP and the Tories’ xenophobia and isolationism. Maybe we’d like a place which takes social justice seriously, rather than talking about how it’s the ‘right thing’ to slash benefits in the name of austerity. Perhaps we’d even like to have somewhere we can talk about what to do with those extra billions of pounds a year rather than having the capacity to nuke belligerent world powers. Like Iraq.
But don’t bother yourselves with that-it’s all too much. Better to be together, having our decisions made for us. Not buying into that? Then you’re a separatist. One of these people who wants an ugly divorce. Never mind that we’ve threatened to take the kids and destroy you financially.
Only people who are so oblivious to the Union’s impact could use people’s self-belief and earnest hope for a better future as a weapon against them. Knowing, as they do, that 300 years of subjugation (willing, in part, for sure) has conditioned the people of Scotland to suppress any natural impulse for thought or self-examination they may have, and to ruthlessly do down their kin in the hope of obtaining the scraps of political favour; a spot on the regional list if you’re a Labour man, a peerage if you’re a Tory. Really, both get to be Lairds in the end.
We should be celebrating our separatism, emboldened by our analysis that the Union’s trappings are as tenuous as they are corrupt. A ‘no’ vote in September is a vote for what jobs we’re afforded right now, but likely less if Westminster gets wind of the fact we really don’t have a backbone. It’s a vote for security, at a cost of billions of pounds per year and the threat of a nuclear accident 30 miles from our main city. Most importantly though, for Unionists and Separatists, it’s a vote for self-denial and fear. The fuse is now lit on independence, and it’s burning more brightly and quickly than many, on both sides, expected it could have-we cannot turn ourselves down.
Even if you’re a Unionist and believe in the supposed material securities of the Union you’re going to have to explain to the rest of us why you think they’re either beyond us as a country of the same size as New Zealand or Denmark, or why you think it’s especially good to stay in a political entity which has been one of the primary exporters of colonialism and fear in the past 400 years of human history.
If you’re up to the challenge I would love to hear from you-but if you’re daunted by the prospect maybe just start thinking of what we could do better in our new Scotland. Rather than telling yourself that the Union is all we could ever hope for, dare to ask yourself where it’s gone wrong. If you need help, go visit Glasgow’s East End. Or Peterhead’s harbour. Or Faslane. The Union’s inconsistencies are writ large across our landscape-stoic but not invulnerable.
Better yet, quit your job as a fat cat in the City, and stop propping up your capitalist excesses with lazy PR campaigns which don’t even bother to replace such obviously Anglo-centric buzzwords as ‘common sense’ and ‘who we really are’ (this one I love, it’s so common sense you’d almost miss its overt xenophobia). Spend some time in Scotland, let your face un-crease from all that cringing, breathe in the atmosphere that’s different for the first time most of us can seem to remember. Just don’t put down our separatism because it conflicts with your exploitation of us.
Or just watch Blazing Saddles again;
“You’ve got to remember that these are just simple farmers…these are people of the land, the common clay of the New West…you know, morons.”