2007 - 2022

United Togetherness

CoFQwg0WcAAVtSDA ‘Reverse Greenland‘ sounds like something from a Nordic Kama Sutra. It is instead the unlikely proposition that Scotland stay in the EU and in the UK.

But as the Brexit consequences unfold before us, the connection between the unmuzzled right’s Europhobia and their economic project is also becoming more obvious.

It’s not just Sir Philip Green’s reputation that is ripped apart – it is Zero Hours deregulated poverty-wage Britain, and with women giving birth in the toilet at Mike Ashley’s Sport Direct and routine humiliation all part of the management handbook, what is your new government’s response?

The Prime Minister’s response is to appoint George Freeman, who is on the record arguing that people working in new firms should have NO employment rights.

The Mirror reports: “MP George Freeman , made head of Mrs May’s policy board last week, also believes people working in new firms should have no employment rights, possibly including maternity pay, paid leave and minimum wage .”

The connection between our departure from European treaties and regulations isn’t being made clear enough through our media, but will soon become transparent as the Britannia Unchained agenda emerges.

As Labour flounder, wheeling out Owen Smith (a sort of Tim Fallon-lite as The Candidate)  the Liberals are’ back’. Nick Clegg is, we’re told ‘back’. So too is Paddy Ashdown, yes, really.

Amid the idiocy and confusion two old tropes have been resurrected. Ming the Meaningless has tried to breath new life into that hoary old notion of Federalism and now the re-tread of SDP / Third Wayism is being dusted down. Full Federalism, like the Full Monty or the Full English is an unpleasant unpalatable experience that’s hard to keep down.

As Andrew Tickell suggested earlier this month, this ‘isn’t going to happen’, but that’s not really the point, it can still prove a useful distraction for a few weeks over the summer:

“In any moment of crisis, on any occasion when Unionists encounter what they perceive as the grim slide to Scottish self-government – the F word begins ricocheting through the airwaves. You may remember it was Gordon Brown who smuggled it into the 2014 referendum debate. The former PM’s constitutional fantasies were uniformed and polished by the three now fallen UK leaders.”

Tickell concludes: “Doomed talk of UK federalism by powerless peers can only represent an adolescent twinge in a political world that now demands that Scots put aside childish things, and choose.” But perhaps more important a development has emerged between the anointment of St Theresa and the Memorial service for New Labour (same caterer, roast for May served as cold cuts for Tony’s service).

This time branded More United it is a mawkish nod to Jo Cox’s speech. It’s a sort of maudlin evocation to a Nicer Politics that, no doubt will champion Europe, dialogue, good manners, PR and General Middleness. Logos, day-time TV and celebrity endorsement will be involved. Dan Snow and Simon Schama have already pledged their backing.

Desperate and confused Labour and Tory MPs may shuffle over, sensing a Comfort Zone. SDP 2.0.

Yes as the world buckles under extremism and 1000 chickens come home to roost this is a classic Ukanian response.

“We are more united than divided. So let’s unite and change Britain” is only a David Cameron Downing Street ‘humm’ away from “We’re all in this together”.

There’s a sort of queasy pooterish about this. As crisis looms and institutions falter, the notions of Federalism or a new Third Way are responses that represent a failure of imagination. Yes there is a need to de-toxify the political dialogue, but this is not done by wishing away reality. The fissures in our society are very real and can’t be removed by a Union Jack love-heart.

This is an empty form of redemptionalism.

A Reverse Greenland is the same as all this posturing, an infantile attempt to wish-away explicit contradictions of our predicament...”Moreover it is continuous, it stretches in to the future and the past, there is something in it that persists, as in a living creature’... But in a time of great rupture and upheaval clinging to the hazy notions of past and continuity is understandable but as dangerous as the toxic tribalism it is a response to.


Comments (13)

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  1. tartanfever says:

    Politicians just say this stuff because a compliant press will just blindly publish it without question or without asking the right question. Note the Guardian article at the weekend claiming ‘an emergency brake on UK immigration from the EU for 7-10 years for access to the single market’. I don’t think so, and this was quickly demolished by MEP’s from Europe.

    Or David Davis, Brexit minister, claiming that we have an ‘indigenous car industry’ that Europe relies on. Really ? He’s talking about Nissan in North east England, where no doubt the slightest fall of profits will see them relocate their entire factory to France as most of their business is in the EU. How can journalists not even ask the obvious ?

    Even Alex Thomson of Channel Four gets it all wrong.

    ‘Yesterday Russian doping is damned – today Mike Ashley is damned. Thank journalists for both – not the respective authorities.’

    He may be right about Russian athletes, I haven’t followed the story, but in terms of Mike Ashley, shouldn’t we be asking why authorities have laws that allow business to get away with these things instead of just concentrating on a greedy businessman who behaves like a greedy businessman ?

    Politicians come up with utter crap because a compliant media let’s them get away with it everytime.

  2. nick says:

    i saw paddy launch it on andrew marr – they really do think we are stupid, its almost funny the way they try to stroke and pet us (…on the way to the abbattoir)

  3. c rober says:

    I am beginning to wonder if a federal EU II on the periphery might be another option , ie this encompassing of Iceland , not as a model but as a partner and along with the usual suspects , Norway , Denmark , Faroe et all would be a good thing. A west and North could actually work in this scenario , same problems , same weather , same industries. If not for the UK , then for Scotland with a wider partner network.

    With that though must come though with change for the border limits , for one in one out. By that I mean for every member states emigrant there must also be a new host state immigrant. I am surprised that this has not been brought to the table already in the EU proper by other members before now.

    The much maligned and usual chip wrapper headline of benefits tourism , one of the leave voters main mindsets , well simply applying the member states criteria to an immigrant is that solution. Most of the EU member states own benefit structures are aligned to pay in to get out , and in some cases time limited , or in the case of child benefit (something those papers seem to hark on about) is only claimable in the state where the child resides.

    Westminster had more than 30 years to align its benefits to that of the EU , it had the same amount of time to address lack of investment into housing , schools , jobs and did not , choosing instead to blame the EU… and as the writer comments those chickens have came home to roost.

    On the wider scale , has France now decided to show the UK what the border will look like for entering the EU from Dover , impacting businesses that export , as well as those that want a little time on the continent for a holiday? I think so , having a long enough memory on how France treats the Uk with borders I suspect that it is the case. After all they did invent sabotage.

    1. tartanfever says:

      ‘has France now decided to show the UK what the border will look like for entering the EU from Dover ‘

      Remarkable with this in mind that BBC news blindly carries Theresa May talking about no substantial borders etc between N.Ireland and the Republic and yet right on her own doorstep we’ve seen traffic chaos at Dover.

    2. Crubag says:

      The UK has historically preferred welfare paid on need rather than contributions (which I think was a flaw in the Nordic horizons argument – the Nordic middle classes were happy to pay high taxes if they received high benefits), but that may change outside of the EU too.

      There is also an interesting test coming up for the Scottish Government. Outside of the EU, we will no longer be required to pay fees for non-UK undergrads. Will we maintain the status quo, or will we take advantage of the new conditions to reduce incentives for overseas students and channel the money instead into Scottish youngsters? (or just spend it elsewhere?)

  4. Alf Baird says:

    For Scotland, any slight shift from powerless internal colony to a still centrally controlled form of federal ‘sub-state’ matters little when the key ruling elements and culture of the ‘parent’ state remain so obviously totally untrustworthy and rotten to its core. This suinds mair like the Libdems very last throw of the dice.

  5. Ian Kirkwood says:

    It was an interesting reminder of expediency seeing again the clip of SNP top brass of the day arguing tooth and nail against Ted Heath’s idea that Scotland should be drawn into the EEC.

    Today leaving the EU does indeed raise the spectre of eroding employment rights at the hands of Prime Minister May, whose cynical investiture speech must rank near the top of opposite-speak chart.

    Leaving the EU poses dangers. Staying does too. What will be the costs? And can Scotland afford the price better than Greece? Leaving also offers opportunities. For example, European VAT would no longer be mandatory. VAT’s discontinuation would cancel deadweight losses of at least the same as the sum raised (£9 billion a year for the Scottish economy). Economist Ronald Banks, on page 24 of his book ‘Double-cross’, shows that the deadweight loss attributable to VAT is THREE TIMES the amount of VAT collected. That is even worse than Income Tax.

    Moving instead to site rent as revenue will halt the tax damage to our economy. The UK tax regime now has a new leader; but social problems have no hope of a solution while Theresa May continues with the central tax policy of free capital gains for site owners. Until the rents we all create together are collected for the good of all, people who don’t own sites remain to one degree or another, UK outcasts.

    AGR promises doubled growth of at least 4% and a swift move to a sustainable annual surplus for Scotland. A government presiding over such a revenue structure will be under no duress to erode hard-won employment rights.

  6. Ed says:

    So the PM says no borders between NI and the IR but there will be one between Scotland and England if Scotland becomes independant, pass that one by me again !!!!!

  7. Anton says:

    I’m a bit confused by this post. What does “an empty form of redemptionalism” mean? And what’s a “sort of queasy pooterish”?

    1. Alf Baird says:

      “an empty form of redemptionalism” could refer to why some (e.g. fundamentalists) will always prefer Unionism, nae maiter whit.

      “sort of queasy pooterish” could describe why some (self important, mundane, narrow minded, inhibited) people voted Naw.

      1. Anton says:

        Alf – Well, they might mean what you say, though I think it’s a stretch. Personally I don’t think there’s such a word as “redemptionalism” or such a noun as “pooterish”.

        As ever, I stand to be corrected. But in the meantime I don’t think the argument is advanced by words that don’t mean anything.

        1. These are just words.

          There’s a really common tool used now if you’re not familiar with something, its called Google:


          I’d really recommend it

          But you know what redemption means?

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