By Jason Michael

Toryism in Scotland is not to be understood narrowly as allegiance to the Conservative and Unionist Party. The tory is more. The tories are that segment of the population who cannot imagine us out of the Union because of ancient hatred and myth.

Great Britain has to be the current world record holder in being the country that has had the most other countries declare independence from it. So many independent nations – 59 to date – have fought for or declared their independence from Britain that having had previously belonged to the United Kingdom is almost considered a prerequisite for UN membership. Historically speaking, gaining freedom from Britain is the done thing. Yet for some inexplicable reason, of all the nations on the face of the earth, Scotland alone is to be thought incapable of being a state in its own right.

There’s nothing original about wanting independence from the United Kingdom.

Oddly, the reason for this isn’t the domination of Scotland by the Westminster state – well not any more. History and the development of the modern liberal democracy – such as Britain pretends to be – effectively makes it impossible for nations to be held without the consent of their people. While it remains to be the case that Great Britain qua “Greater England” does have a part to play in the ongoing dependence of Scotland, it is true to say that it would be powerless to maintain its hold over our country without the support of the majority or a near majority of Scottish people.

This is the tory sentiment of Scotland. Here we are not talking about “Tories” as members of or voters for the Conservative Party but “tories” in the American Revolutionary sense – those colonials who for whatever reason supported British rule. These are the tory loyalists, and in this sense we can rightly describe the Conservative, Liberal Democrat, and Labour parties in Scotland and their supporters as the nation’s tory faction. They may indeed be distinct political parties and have different policies, but for the purposes of the independence campaign they are the tory element of our society which enables the British state to continue its domination and exploitation of Scotland.

Kezia Dugdale may well deplore the British Conservative government’s austerity agenda, but – as a tory loyalist herself – she is content to inflict an eternity of unelected Tory rule over us rather than see an independent Scotland. Exactly the same can be said of Willie Rennie and his Liberal Democrats because, as is its nature, toryism will sacrifice all other things; party and policy differences and such like, to safeguard the Union – no matter how harmful that might be for Scotland and the Scottish people.

No matter how brutal the London austerity programme in Scotland, how much of Scotland’s resources are plundered, or how much of Scotland’s wealth is confiscated the tory will always put the Crown and the Union over all other concerns. As a political ideology toryism is more closely related to a cult or a religion, seeing in the monarch and the state-cum-realm the incarnation of something divine. It is no coincidence that the motto of the present monarchic dynasty – the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (sometimes Battenberg-Windsor, sometimes Windsor) – is Dieu et mon droit. This is all about the God-given right of a king or queen to rule over us.

Old British loyalism was all about protecting the petty sectarian bigotry of this so-called divine right of England’s monarchy, and the close links between the Loyalist Orange Order and the Scottish Labour and Tory Parties testifies to the quasi-religious roots of Scotland’s tory sentiment. Thankfully, in a more secular Scotland, this has lost much of its religious and cultic overtones, but it lives on as an irrational mindset: “No Surrender” to anything that might threaten the sanctity of their atavistic imaginings of the Crown and Union. There is no rational argument for monarchy in the modern world, but it remains because the tory is incapable of surrender – and in this the Union and the Crown are two sides of the same coin; defence of the realm saves the queen.

It is encouraging to know that this loyalism has never been altogether a given in Scotland. Over the years of the Union it has gone through cycles of popularity and distain, and right now we are seeing it slacken. Perhaps it is as weak now as it was during the Jacobite risings and the Clearances, and so we should be eager to press on. No doubt the independence we win from its defeat will be one of transition – from monarchy to republic, but unless we wish to go shopping in the defunct monarchy markets of Europe for a new king or queen of Scots we had better soon put an end to this Crown nonsense or it will eventually lead us down the same only dirt track of Union.


An all Unionist Panel on a Unionist Channel Debate Scottish Independence

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