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By Jason Michael
The Withdrawal Bill amendment has become yet another broken British promise to Scotland, but at what point does our continued engagement with a lying state make the consequences of these broken promises our own fault?
From August last year the BBC went full tilt in its efforts to present the British government and the devolved governments of Scotland and Wales in two very different lights over the issue of what was even then being described as a Westminster “power grab.” Reporting Scotland consistently depicted the London government – which strenuously denied attempting to arrogate all returning EU powers to itself – as the grown up, responsible party busy trying to get on with the business of Brexit, while Scotland and Wales were treated as petulant and immature children stamping their feet and hindering the work of the ‘real’ government.
Infantilisation is one of the standard colonial tools deployed by imperial states like Britain against their possessions. It has long been known by psychologists and illusionists alike that the creation of the adult-child relationship between the client and the patron forces the client – the subject of the power play – to regress. By offering milk and cookies to the subject, for example, while the adult has tea and biscuits and speaks to him or her as an adult would to a child, the subject unconsciously becomes a child; more obedient, more submissive, and more susceptible to manipulation.
Severin Carrell (@severincarrell) January 09, 2018
This is precisely what the BBC was doing to Scotland during this political standoff. On Wednesday 9 August when the Scottish and British governments met to address Westminster’s intention to return all EU powers to London Brian Taylor, BBC Scotland’s political editor, described the UK ministers in the most grownup terms. They were the ones “negotiating Britain’s exit,” they were in the “driving seat,” their proposals were “common sense,” they had come to seek “compromise,” and they did not wish to “fall out” with the Scottish administration. But against this construction of a ‘good parent’ by the BBC, at the table to cajole the Scots, it was the actions of the naughty children – who “dissent” – that risked causing a fall out.
Language like this continued through August and September in relation to the issue, and the “common sense” approach of the British government became the de facto frame in which the BBC in Scotland reported the story. Ultimately, however, the Scottish and Welsh governments made their case – even though this was muted in the media. The London government began to talk of an amendment to the Withdrawal Bill, and eventually promises were made to Scotland that the Bill would be amended to better protect Scotland’s interests.
So far so good, but where did this talk and these promises lead? Nowhere! Time ran out and the Bill went ahead unaltered. Naturally, after the chief of the British administration in Scotland, David Mundell, announced this to the Scottish government on Tuesday more promises were made. This time we are told the necessary – and promised – amendments will be put before the House of Lords in the spring.
The Finance and Constitution Committee will not recommend consent to the EU Withdrawal Bill in its current form. T… twitter.com/i/web/status/9…—
Fin & Con Committee (@SP_FinCon) January 09, 2018
All of this is a pattern with which we in Scotland are well acquainted; talk, promise, time, broken promise – wash, rinse, repeat. In fact, it would be fair to say that the course of Britain’s engagement in the 2014 independence referendum can be written up under the exact same headings. The same can be said for the hanging carrot that was the Smith Commission. We were talked to, promised, and made to wait and see before the promises were broken one by one.
Each time this happens we have the same predictable look of shock and frustrated anger on our faces. The pro-independence media kicks up the same storm, almost reprinting the same words that were printed the last time it happened. Britain brings us in to the office for a chat, we sit quietly in the low chair, promises are made, we’re sent away, and the promises are broken, and every time – going by what we read in our movement’s press – this comes as a surprise to us.
That the British government does this should not come as a surprise. Britain behaved exactly the same way towards Ireland and Irish republicans in Northern Ireland until the United States intervened to help bring about peace. We now know the British government was even conspiring to assassinate the Irish Taoiseach so as to facilitate another series of broken promises in Ireland. London has followed this exact same strategy in India and in almost every imperial and colonial possession it has been forced to relinquish. This is how Britain behaves.
A man who starved 4 million to death in India, facilitated Zionism & Wahhabism in the Mid East, ordered a massacre… twitter.com/i/web/status/9…—
Crimes of Britain (@crimesofbrits) January 09, 2018
Once again we have been sent out of the office to wait for the delivery of yet another promise. This will all be fine. It will all be sorted in the Lords in the spring. No it won’t! The compromise brought to the Scottish government in August 2017 was nothing less than the already decided “common sense” approach of the British government. At every stage in these negotiations London has been playing Scotland and the Scottish government for time, knowing that it will run out and Britain will get everything it wants while we wait patiently like fools. Britain does not negotiate with its possessions or with those it considers its possessions.
Sooner or later we are going to have to accept this as a cold hard reality of dealing with Britain and stop acting so surprised every time the same thing happens. Nothing the London government says can be trusted – not now, not ever. Only when our own government and media accept this fact and begin to act accordingly can we hope to get what we want from these people. Its promises are worthless and the longer we sit on our hands hoping that the next one might just maybe be kept the more damage we are allowing to be inflicted on our country, our people, and our interests. We are now well and truly at the point where trusting London and suffering the consequences of its broken promises has become no one’s fault but our own.
BBC Reporting Scotland making an idiot of Scotland