Such a strange spectacle yesterday. As May invoked “sovereignty”, “national self-determination”, “negotiating positions”, I wondered how Salmond felt listening to this. A Scottish indy in 2014 would have had to deploy the same blend of abstract principle and gamesmanship. So, to some extent, the underlying mechanics of the nation state (formed, forming or deforming) on display.
Yet the jaw stayed dropped, as the exceptionalism of a “Global Britain” hovered behind her lectern. “Global” meaning “Used-To-Be-Imperial-Still-Got-It”. As May buccaneered through her speech, I was wincing at the amount of “global” reality that’s about to bite.
Will the massive, rising economic zones of South America, South-East Asia, China, India give a rice grain for a “Global Britain”, opening up their coat to show their wares, like the spiv in St. Trinians? Or might they respond, “we’d rather deal with 500 million, singly-regulated producers and consumers, please”?
And the threats, the threats, if they don’t give May the deal she wants – of tax-and-wage undercutting, stealing away the world’s great corps… The ever-acerbic Will Davies tweeted: “This anarcho-capitalist threat is woeful: be nice to us, or we’ll rip apart our own social fabric.”
But Yessers will still be resonating oddly with all this. It’s sometimes as if Brexiteers looked at Yes1 and thought, ”Rather too much of a focus on interdependence, civic multiculturalism, chaps … THIS is how you do ‘self-rule’. We’ll use your ’glories of sovereignty’ stuff, but we’ll use OUR heft to threaten EU on finance and intelligence. Oh, and keep the ‘workers’ anxious about the foreigners, and hopeful about getting their jobs. That’s how to do it!”
Jings. Sigh. Remember when the merest hint of steel over our post-Yes debt obligation in 2014 heralded the End Of Days?
In another tweet, David Greig worried that Scots were facing the worst of all worlds – a hard Brexit and a hard Indy. My reply was that surely any indy pitch that’s about a “remain and reform” attitude to the EU, is always a ”soft” #indy – we are the willing partner in their toughest times? And to be honest, some “hard” Indy is necessary – eg Trident, currency, dealing with assets/debt, etc. Indeed, the quanta of “hardness” in our lives is strong and wide at the moment – Ben Wray’s excellent piece on indy’s more global challenges shows this well. Scotland showing thoughtful governance, and civic self-awareness, in this moment of crisis, is capital of some kind in the bank of Indy.
Lastly, from May’s speech: Scotland is about to enter into adult-level realpolitik here, as May shouts “Singapore!” at the Eurocrats. For the latter, a clear Scottish declaration of #IndyInEU could be a way to temper the rapacious, aggressive Freezone that’s metastasizing off their shores.
All fun and games, until someone – and we know who – comes to terms with their eye-dentity. We can either brick ourselves in, as the elites cavort and dismay. Or: we build.