From Feudalism to Democracy via Faslane?
From a Union based on consent to one based on coercion?
All parties at Holyrood (except the Tories) voted in 2020 to enable all who live here to vote here.
They were being clear that, wherever in the world you’re from, you belong (and that includes recently arrived refugees, though not yet asylum seekers). You belong and – if you’re 16 and over – you have the right to decide.
Contrast this with Boris Johnson -and the whole tottering edifice of the colonial UK establishment – refusing to allow us to decide our future despite the overwhelming electoral success of the SNP, and the fact SNP and Greens both promised us voters a referendum.
Kate Forbes MSP says this “is undemocratic and fundamentally changes the Union from one based on consent to one only based on the force of law.”
But that gets it completely wrong.
The Govt in the UK parliament has a big majority of MPs based on a minority of votes. It’s rule in England is fundamentally undemocratic (45% of voters in England backed the Tories in the 2019 GE, 42% backed Corbyn – even in England the Tories should have to negotiate with other parties not ride roughshod) and Tory rule in Scotland is abhorrent (75% voted against it).
Tory laws – the hostile environment, the Police bill, refusing to allow people in Scotland to choose their future – do not express the democratic will of the people. They are a forced march from consent to coercion.
We may well need to move towards peaceful direct action that connects the harm of wasting wealth on nuclear weapons, the harm of so few landowners holding so much of our wealth, the harm of burning our kids future by continuing to extract oil and gas, to the fact we have the wealth and kindness to welcome and care for everyone here.
That sense was clear in the parties (except the Tories) uniting to enfranchise all who live here.
Maybe we need to move from divisive party politics to rule by ordinary people, enfranchised as empowered citizens assemblies, called to deal with a bundle of issues.
A 100 folk – a random representative sample of the population – that meets for 6 months to consider and decide on the issues to be decided on, and then sets up another half dozen citizens assemblies to meet for 6 months to hear the evidence from the experts (including calling evidence from whoever they wish) to chart the way ahead.
Deep, not depleted, democracy.
Instead of accepting the ongoing rule – of the royals, lords, city of London, landowners in Scotland – who embody the conquering forces that enclosed the land in England, let people starve in Ireland, cleared communities in Scotland, and used the dispossessed to colonise others elsewhere, maybe we need to imagine ourselves free already, to carry into action that freedom to reclaim ourselves to care for all, by disentangling ourselves from dominating colonial ways of thinking and acting that still hold us in thrall.
We would be WISE to stop being feudal. None of us in Wales, Ireland, Scotland or England are helped by that ‘united kingdom’. It’s not who we are.
We can become free of it, we can reclaim our communities ability to flourish, we can engage in everyday and outrageous acts of kindness and defiance.
Peaceful direct action may need to be the consequence of this most boring but consequential of elections.