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By Jason Michael

Britain isn’t dying with a last heroic leonine roar. It’s petering out with a long irritating whine.

Some time ago I wrote an article to the effect that British nationalism in Scotland had run out of steam, and that we knew this because – having nothing left to say – its propagandists had descended to the lowest levels of rhetoric and personal abuse. This has not changed. Britain’s failure to deliver on “the Vow,” Brexit and the dire trajectory it is on, and the recent reminder that Scotland’s consent in this so-called union of equals is of no consequence to the London government have stripped the unionists of any meaningful argument for the union.

All that is left is the naked intransigence of mindless British chauvinism, a bigoted imperialist fantasy that is both out of time and at the end of its tether. Yet, rather than facing up to the facts of its terminal decline, its defenders are digging in for a war of attrition with nothing more useful for ammunition than inanities, alternative facts, and such a comprehensively skewed view of reality it would put Salvador Dali to shame.

Commenting on Effie Deans’ recent blog posts and social media activity someone said: “She’s this great ‘unionist’ blogger…” While I could jokingly ask if we were talking about the same person, the truth remains; Effie Deans – with her Twitter following of almost ten thousand – is a significant voice of Toryism in Scotland. Once upon a time I used to enjoy reading her Lily of St. Leonards blog. Her sense of entitlement and self-importance was always impressive, and sometimes – sometimes – she had something to say. If for no other reason, it was worth reading just to see what the hard right of British nationalism in our country was up to.

Shortly after the European referendum she took a break from blogging and tweeting. Other imperial troopers piped down for a while too. They had been delivered a serious blow. After all the promises of the Better Together campaign had been broken and now that they saw as clearly as we did that voting No in 2014 meant we’d be taken out of the European Union, they had what looks to have been a collective nervous breakdown. They had been shafted, and they knew it. Britain cares as little for them, it seems, as it does for us.

What emerged after the re-think hiatus of Scottish unionism was a hard core remnant of British nationalists; they have metamorphosed from pious peddlers of almost believable British lies into hard-nosed defenders of the union, no matter the cost. After this resurrection we found ourselves looking into the blank and pitiless eyes of born again, fundamentalist, extremist British nationalists; people with nothing left but a union jack and a thousand-yard stare.

Grasping at straws to weave together porous arguments that they themselves no longer believe is now the daily routine of the “great unionist blogger.” Most of it I can’t even bring myself to read. It’s embarrassing, it’s beneath her, and – even if Effie can’t do it for herself – I truly feel humiliated for her. Victory is beautiful when we can stand away from a vanquished foe who has been ennobled by the contest. Not here. In their defeat they have become pathetic.

Events in Korea – the historic meeting of Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in at the DMZ and the summit in South Korea – have become emblematic for Effie of how we should behave in “our quite small English speaking island of Britain.” She adds later that “People who speak the same language and share the same landmass should not be divided.” The depth of ignorance in these two tweets must surely have her employers at Aberdeen University questioning their own wisdom.

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On the prospect of a hard border on the island of Ireland she pontificates: “The Republic of Ireland needs to remember that it was their [sic] choice to leave the UK that put an international border in Ireland.” At no point in the history of Ireland, as Effie well knows, did the people of Ireland choose to join the United Kingdom. Rather, it was Britain’s choice to invade, colonise, and brutalise the island of Ireland that led to the British partition of their country.

If her intention is to cause offence by her wilful ignorance, then she is failing miserably. She can only be causing offence to her British nationalist friends. Having in their ranks so many who consider themselves the intellectual élite of Scotland, they must surely be appalled. Such glaring stupidity can only ever reflect on them, but she is about the best they have.

Her own website notes in its subheading that her interest is “Scottish politics” – not English or British politics. Her own awareness of the national distinction of Scotland and Scottish politics from the nations and politics of our nearest – English speaking – neighbours must inform her of the basic difference between the division of Korea and that of Scotland and England. Korea is a single nation divided into two states, whereas Britain is one state comprised of three very different nations. Sharing a landmass and a language as a reason for state unity is something we can be sure Germany and Austria, Russia and Belarus, the US and Canada, and most of Central and South America will be fascinated to hear.

None of this is what we might describe as intellectual brilliance, but this is it – this is all they have. This is as good as it gets. Britain, for all we may despise it, was a worthy adversary. It was the largest empire in history; it had nice uniforms and pretty good music. There is a real sadness seeing it die so ignominiously, but if this is all we are to get from its parting shot – we should take it.

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Brexit and the Irish Border Problem


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