Scots are genuinely and rightly concerned about the future of devolution. There is nothing permanent in the current constitutional arrangement, and nor can there ever be. It matters not a jot what the Scotland Act says or what any one politician says; sovereignty in the United Kingdom rests only in Westminster. No law and no treaty can bind the power of this or any future London government to any particular course of action. We can talk about the Claim of Right and Scots Law all we like, the legal reality, for so long as we remain a part of the United Kingdom...
I’m not against the SNP. Far from it. I am critical sometimes of the SNP – and so should I be. So too must we all be. Being critical is nothing other than “expressing an analysis of something’s merits and faults,” and like every other political party and human institution the SNP has its merits and faults. I support the SNP because, even after subjecting its merits and faults to rigorous critique in my own mind, on balance, I believe it to be the best option. But, as a free person, I reserve the right to change my mind in the future after further consideration.
Sectarianism is a reflection of the historical, social, and political tensions of Scotland, dating back – of course – to the Reformation. Even then however, from the mid-sixteenth century, the struggle between Catholicism and the various Protestantisms of the Reformation period was always, in essence – as it was in England and on the continent, a power struggle. With the Peace of Westphalia – ending the Wars of Religion in 1648 – where states recognised the principle of cuius regio eius religio, which granted the monarch the right to determine the religion of the state.
So, what will Westminster do? From the point of view of the Scottish independentista Westminster – the British government – can do as it pleases. It is of no concern to us. As power exists only in the imagination of the dominated, the very asking of the question – What will Westminster do? – is an act of capitulation. The independentista has no need of this question. It is unimportant to her. Rather, the independentista thinks of what is best for Scotland and acts to that end – ignoring the protests and tantrums of the British state. It may bring the force of the law down upon us.
Here’s the thing; the door is open. It has always been open. All this time we have been free to leave whenever we want. But we have been conditioned to believe, like a herd of sheep, that only the landowner can take us through the gate. Thus, we have become our own gaolers. This is how power operates, this is how it enslaves. It imprisons the mind of the dominated, and produces in the dominated mind the will of the master. Scottish independence can and must begin only in the realisation that we are free when we want to be free.
In spite of his obvious intelligence, his quick-wittedness, and his natural ingenuity, ‘the Scot’ is slavishly obedient to the point of servility. In fact, this is made quite explicit in a scene – after the first attempt on the Home Secretary’s life (played by Keeley Hawes); after saving her life almost at the cost of his own a uniformed officer points him to the service entrance of the hotel where she is staying. Take the backdoor Jock! As always, ‘the Scot’ gets ahead in the world by being perfectly obedient to his betters. He cannot be the hero of the story unless he knows his place.
Given the lies and the deliberate distortion of the narrative by the BBC and the rest of the British media throughout the Troubles; making the IRA, Sinn Féin (painted in the British press as the “political-wing” of the IRA), and the wider Irish Republican movement out to be the aggressors, it is understandable that the independence movement in Scotland would not want to be linked to this story. This is why the false narrative of Ulsterisation worked.
Listening to people in the “grassroots” of the independence movement, as opposed to those who have styled themselves the political, cultural, and intellectual leadership of the movement (the kites and the crows), we hear other objectives. There are those who want independence “for their children and grandchildren,” “for the future,” “to end austerity,” “to put power back in the hands of the Scottish people,” and so on. This is not the independence envisioned by Sarsfield, the leaders of 1798, nor indeed Ireland’s campaign for Home Rule.