Friday, 14 February 2014

British threats and smears show they know they're losing control

The recent boorish, bullying behaviour of the British, and the shrill hysteria of those in Scotland who are loyal to them shows one thing: that the British and their allies here have woken up to what we on the ground have detected for some time - the winds of change are blowing through Scotland and a Yes vote is now not only possible but likely.

Phase II of Project Fear is clearly Project Hate. The British have told Scots for generations that we are valued and equal partners in the United Kingdom; that our continued presence strengthens both the UK and Scotland. This is why the anti-Scotland campaign's slogan is BetterTogether, instead of the 1979 and 1997 slogans Scotland Is British and Think Twice, which were respectively British nationalistic and patronising.

This campaign, which was already mired in controversy over its trousering of dodgy "donations", including its single largest from the sponsor of war criminal Zeljko "Arkan" Raznatovic, and has stumbled from disaster to disaster, culminating in an apparent tactic to hide from the debate entirely, has sought from Day 1 to persuade Scots that our influence in the United Kingdom gives us much more international clout than we would have as an independent nation.

(As an aside, the media in Scotland seems to have taken against the "hiding" tactic: on last night's Scotland Tonight show on STV, political editor Bernard Ponsonby admitted to viewers that British ministers, as a matter of course, refuse to engage with or be interviewed by the Scottish broadcast media. This is in tandem with the continued refusal of BetterTogether's leader, David Cameron, to engage in debate with Scots, despite his continual interference in the campaign.)

This has been fatally undermined by two interventions by the British this week.

Yesterday, the British finance minister George Osborne made the latest in a series of secret visits by British ministers to Edinburgh, during which he insisted that Scots are not, in fact, equal partners in the Union, entitled to rejoice in our shared assets and inheritance, but instead is a mere colony which shares British structures and institutions only inasmuch as we behave ourselves and continue to be governed by London.

He was immediately supported by the rapidly imploding Labour party in Scotland, presumably able to tear themselves away briefly from writing articles in the Hitler-supporting Daily Mail newspaper to support not Scotland's place in the Union, but the threats of a Tory finance minister to wage economic war on Scotland.

Thank God that the founding fathers of the Labour party are dead now, those great men unable to witness the utter bastardisation of their fine movement into a gang of weasel traitors, quisling their way through their careers. What must Tony Benn, languishing in an NHS hospital bed, be thinking when he sees Scottish Labour relishing in this Eton toff's threats and aggression, chuckling with glee at the hammer of the NHS putting the jocks in their place?

This intervention by Osborne, that Scotland is somehow forbidden to use a freely-tradeable currency, that he will cut the nose of Scotland to spite the face of British businesses (not to mention the billions of pounds in the Bank of England which underpin Scottish banknotes and will be removed in the absence of a currency union), is a game-changer, but not in the way he intended.

Rather than persuading people en masse to vote No, short-term anecdotal evidence shows that his intervention has both strengthened the resolve of Yes voters and campaigners not to be intimidated, and and also made No-leaning voters wonder if Scottish participation in the Union really is as highly-valued as they are told by Scottish unionist campaigners.

The second intervention was made by an unnamed British minister in this morning's Herald, in which he threatens Scots that the British, in defiance of the Edinburgh Treaty, may reject the result of the vote if it is in favour of independence.

This leaves unionists with a dilemma.

With their "BetterTogether" shtick's credibility destroyed by Osborne's declaration that Scotland is a subject and not a partner, they are forced to revert to their Scotland Is British, they own us argument. This is unlikely to go down well either with undecided voters or, fatally, with their own campaigners.

There are likely to have been many pro-unionist campaigners who genuinely believed that Scotland was an equal partner in a successful union. They will be Thinking Twice this morning, wondering if they have been fooled all along.

Yesterday has changed the entire concept of unionism in Scotland forever, directly altering it from one of an equal partnership to one of a subjugate Scotland, availing of our shared assets only as long as we consent to an alien government which shares none of our Scottish values.

One last though: would the British have needed to send their big guns up and deploy their nuclear argument with seven months to go if they thought they were winning? I think not.

Scotland will prevail. It is then up to the remaining unionists to choose between helping to build a new Scotland for all, or be modern-day Arthur Seyss-Inquarts, their only ambition for Scotland a personal ambition to play a minor part in administering foreign rule here.

I hope that after a Yes vote, unionists will work with Scotland, not against her. I am increasingly unconvinced they are capable of, or willing to do, so.