Scotland as Subaltern Nation in a World of Madness

Another epochal day, another delay, another battle in court looms. Brexit is like constitutional tantricism, endlessly failing to reach its end.

Having been defeated again Boris Johnson says he will not request an extension to Brexit, pleading: “I will not negotiate a delay with the EU and neither does the law compel me to do so.”

It does, and he knows it does.

If there’s one thing you can rely on Boris Johnson to do, it’s to lie and lie again.

Brexit combines grinding tedium with nerve-wracking history-making. The tactics and sub-plots are bewildering. People are exhausted and desperate. As Super Saturday turns into Shitty Sunday there is no light at the end of the tunnel. Monday looms. More of the same beckons.

As Joanna Cherry has stated: “So Boris Johnson loses again today but is threatening not to comply with the #BennAct or promises made to Scottish court. Just as well we are due back in court on Monday & Mr Speaker has just confirmed to me that he’ll sign #Extension letter if court so requires.”

I’m not sure if that quite works and nobody else does either.

David Allan Green warns:

“Immense moral hazard if UK government breaches Benn Act or the averments made to the Scottish court a brazen breach here will mean UK courts may not give government benefit of doubt re other potential orders Huge problems across board Government needs to tread *very* carefully.”

I’m not sure “treading carefully” is really their strong suite.

The scenes around Westminster are of police-protected politicians being escorted in and out of buildings as frantic Brexit protestors scream abuse are vaguely apocalyptic. The scenes from earlier in the week of an XR (apparently) protestor getting dragged off a tube train and beaten are a portent of things to come.

People are getting confused. None more so than the Spectator editor Fraser Nelson who claims:

“The Boris deal gives companies a strong incentive to relocate to Northern Ireland. They’d benefit from frictionless EU access and future UK trade deals. Makes for a richer Ulster and, ergo, a stronger union.”

Meanwhile back on Planet Earth loyalists in Northern Ireland are planning civil unrest if the Brexit deal goes ahead, with a “large public meeting” due to be held next week to decide next steps. And you wonder what those next steps might be? Having failed to blackmail the entire British state, the loyalists are now furious and who knows whether fleg protests will turn into something far worse.

The idea that Brexit is strengthening the Union could only really be penned by someone suffering from deep level delusion or inhabiting a completely sealed political silo. Nelson suffers from both conditions. What we are watching is the rapid unraveling of the fabric of the United Kingdom. The relentless (and coordinated) disrespect shown to the SNP speakers in the House of Commons is far worse than its ever been, but a someone said “Scotland is watching.” 

The economic damage of this self-harming is calculable. But the long term political damage is not.

Whilst it’s alluring to concentrate all fire on the Tories, who have spent three years doing nothing then coughed up a deal and demanded everyone sign it without looking at it, this is a crisis of the entire political class.

Scotland emerge from this chaos as a subaltern people – derided in Westminster and denied a Section 30 Order, told that a mandate in Holyrood and a mandate at Westminster wouldn’t count. Effectively we’re being told that there is no democratic route to self-determination.

This is a very dangerous game for Unionists to play as Brexit reveals the depth of the crisis in English politics and the desperation of the Conservative leadership. But we’re not alone. This week alone there have been massive, democratic public demonstrations in Ecuador, Chile, Haiti, Catalonia, Hong Kong, Guinea and Lebanon.

The level of state violence differs from place to place, but the hysteria and fear is a common denominator. Systems are collapsing and failing and we have created the conditions where distrust of elected officials and structures is endemic, but rather than this popular rage being used to replace and renew old systems, it’s being used to attack minorities and assert authoritarian power. Instead of channeling this anger we’re getting Brexit-mania, Trumpism and Q Anon everywhere.

As Hedge Fund owners and billionaires surf the wave of lumpen anger that oozes through England like pus the stage is set for the next “Great Betrayal”. It’s a message and a narrative that Brexiteers and loyalists can converge over, though that sad alliance seems to have been a costly and short-lived one.




Comments (8)

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  1. Dougie Blackwood says:

    Interesting times ahead. Court on Monday; will we get a definite answer and if we do will anyone listen. Handcuffs and jail for contempt of court sounds good.

  2. john burrows says:

    Progressive ‘revolution’ is only possible with cross party consent.

    Reactionary revolution is, by definition, autocratic and contemptuous of convention. The former requires consensus. The latter only requires numbers in the Reichstag.

    Pretty obvious which of the two types we are in now. Can only assume supporters of Johnson in Scotland are of a similar lawless nature.

    History is there for all to see that bombastic demagogues are a menace to all. But here we are, yet again.

    It seems every generation is doomed to go through this madness.

    We will never rid ourselves of the dotage of age, but there must be a way of keeping victims of the condition away from charlatans and villains.

    Suing Rothermere into poverty and stripping him of his baublies of Empire would be a good start.

  3. Jo says:

    I think the biggest problem we have now is that our “news” is “cooked” by whatever publication, broadcaster or individual journalist is in charge of the kitchen. The additional ingredients thrown into the pot with the main offering will ultimately determine the look, smell and taste of the end product. In fact, sometimes so much is added to the dish the main ingredient can’t even be detected!

    Yes, politicians are playing disgusting games but the most dangerous games are being played by the media. The mood of the population is being controlled, stoked and fueled by the media.

    The clip in the article from the Commons concerning Joanna Cherry is certainly dreadful but something even worse happened yesterday.

    Ian Blackford had correctly observed that England, Wales and Northern Ireland had got what they wanted while Scotland had been shafted. The immediate response from the UK Prime Minister was to stand up and say he was sure Blackford would be delighted to learn that England had just beaten Australia in the Rugby World Cup! Yes, seriously.

    For me it summed up Johnson’s utter contempt for Scotland and yet those thirteen Tory MPs from Scotland were still screaming their support for him. There was no mention of this particular moment on the BBC’s coverage of events. Blackford’s comments were shown but Johnson’s reply was not. Even on Scotland’s “own” BBC channel news, not a trace of it!

    On “The Seven”, we had John Beattie, yes the former rugby player now masquerading as a journalist, actually arguing with Kirsty Blackman and Christine Jardine over their position on opposing Brexit. It was a scenario that had been repeated over and over on the BBC all day… BBC journalists arguing with politicians who hadn’t backed Johnson.

    The media is full of “journalists” who, in fact, simply use their position to further the aims of their favoured political Party! Then we have the “political commentators” who are wheeled out when required to explain to you and I what is going on because, let’s be honest, we’re too stupid to work that out for ourselves. These people are invariably former Party “advisors” whose aim is to spin their chosen message from the particular media platform they’re on at the time. Our media is infested with them!

    There are bizarre crossover situations in the media too. The Spectator is mentioned in this piece alongside its odious editor Nelson. His deputy, the equally odious Katy Balls, now also moonlights at, of all places, The Guardian! Balls who, if asked, would probably follow Johnson into that ditch! Balls, so frequently wheeled out by the BBC whether it’s on QT or Politics Live, not to represent her profession of journalism, but to bat for the Tories. That said, she isn’t as vicious as some of her female colleagues in the same profession.

    I give you Isabel Oakshott, or Julia Hartley-Brewer or Camilla Tominey…..who may very well be journalists but who also drag politics and journalism to the gutter because their rhetoric is invariably light on substance and heavy indeed on vicious and poisonous bitching. Yet all are BBC favourites!

    As for its own journalists, well, where to start! It would be sensible to just say “Kuennsberg” and leave it there! It would, however, be remiss to not mention one particular event concerning that particular individual. Laura Kuennsberg, chief political editor at the BBC, was caught out after footage of an interview she’d done with Corbyn was doctored to make it look like he’d said something he had not said. A complaint about her dodgy video footage was made and the complaint was upheld by the BBC Trust. Incredibly, in the same statement announcing that decision, the BBC Trust also insisted that her misconduct in this matter didn’t mean Kuennsberg wasn’t “an excellent journalist”. It says a great deal about the BBC that putting out doctored footage designed to smear the leader of the opposition can be considered appropriate behaviour for an excellent journalist. It says even more that she wasn’t sacked. Then again, the BBC has been up to its neck when it comes to smearing Corbyn for four years now.

    Yes, politics is a dirty business, always was. Our media, however is an even more dangerous and powerful monster whose main trade is peddling lies. It is bad enough that privately owned “news” publications are free to do that. The real scandal, however, is that the BBC, which we fund, is the dirtiest player in the game yet gets away with it even when it breaches its own code of conduct many hundreds of times every day. We may want to clean up politics but the truth is, until you decontaminate our corrupt media, you will make no progress whatsoever.

    1. Jamie MacDonald says:

      Great comment Jo, so very true, what say we start delivering our bags of rubbish to Pacific quay?Thanks

      1. Jo says:

        Sounds like a plan Jamie!

    2. Alistair Taylor says:

      Very well said, Jo.

  4. Radio Jammor says:

    I note that this was posted 19 October and that you quote David Allen Green. I suspect that had you waited a little longer and read his feed last night, you might not have posted this at all – or at least have significantly changed what you posted.

    “Nothing in the latest tactical idiocy to cause alarm

    The Benn Act letter is sent, these other reported letters legally inconsequential

    Seems clever, and will impress the easily impressed, but nothing to worry about” – David Allen Green, 22:11, 19/10/19: see

    Mr Green also posted this morning a thread by Mike Hind, a PR man, which starts thus:

    “Downing St wants you to kick off about him not signing the letter.
    This is a perfect example of Lakoffian framing.
    The fact is that an unelected Prime Minister has again been humiliated by an elected Parliament.”

    You are reacting how the manipulative Cummings wants you to. By falling for the confusion, getting angry and probably then compounding things by reacting in confusion and anger, which these psychopaths can then use against you, or for themselves.

    Step back. Stay calm. Read-up and then make a clear-headed response – or none at all.

    The latter would really throw them, because confusion and anger through misdirection is their stock in trade.

    1. I think I was probably angry before Dominic Cummings arrived on the scene. I didn’t kick off about him not signing the letter. But thanks for your advice and looking up “Lakoffian framing”.

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