Right-wing populist governments with designs on capturing the state and fascism, such as Donald Trump’s and Boris Johnson’s are, are bringing home the shock doctrine consecutive US and British governments have employed on their foreign interventionist adventures since the US-backed coup and military takeover of Chile in 1973. This is the neoliberal dream; to see powerful and cohesive democracies softened up by truncheons, rent asunder by socio-economic division, and fractured into thousands of squabbling factions of the oppressed.
Blessings are conditional. However we think of them, and wherever we think they originate, blessings are gifts – special graces – which we can accept and discard. That is in our gift. We have the right of refusal. Blessed with love, we cannot take our lovers and loved ones for granted. We cannot take without giving in return. The gift of love is not a certificate of ownership. Likewise, the blessing and gift of life is conditional. Its continuation and renewal always and everywhere depend on our generous acceptance of the gift and our loving care for the blessing.
This is the extraordinary power we are handing to these soft Noes. We are casting aside the independence and the new state that could be in favour of an empty IOU from soft Noes who, we may well suspect, we have simply imagined and reified. Yes, you read that right: It is my conviction that these soft Noes are phantasms. Figments of our imaginations. Ghosts. Sure, in a nation of 5.4 million people with 3,925,800 registered voters there are bound to be some ditherers – some.
In Britain, the architects of ‘Global Britain’ – the hardline Brexiteers – have envisioned a new future and new direction for the British state post-EU. ‘Empire 2.0’ is a neoliberal project built on a sinister neo-imperialist nostalgia which seeks to restore the former greatness of the United Kingdom. They want to construct an anarcho-capitalist wonderland for the powerful, wealthy, and privileged ruling class – the English Übermensch, veiled by the trappings of classical Britishness; the signs of soft nationalism – the London bus, the red letterbox, and the now ubiquitous Union Jack.
Feeding people is of course our number one priority. At a time like this feeding people is in itself an act of rebellion, but the foodbank must be militant – it cannot and must not feed people on a charitable and apolitical basis. It must not simply feed the hungry, but ask why they are hungry. Such a militant movement must use the soup kitchen and the foodbank as the mess halls of a revolution.
The purpose of austerity is to so completely and utterly destroy the ability of ordinary working people to resist the advancement of this government’s neoliberal ambitions. It is where class war gears up into total war; an all-out war of annihilation on the poor by the rich. It is designed and executed in such a fashion so as to fracture the bonds of society, weaken community and class solidarity, break the family, and crush the individual. Brexit – the British establishment’s hoped for break from European regulations – can only make the scope of austerity more far reaching.
Gaining statehood, therefore, must not be seen as the end of the independence project. Independence is a process that begins in dependence and continues on to the very end of the life of the state. The problems we have now under British rule will for the most part remain after independence, with the only real difference being that we ourselves will have the freedom to provide Scottish solutions to Scottish problems – and the adversary then will be the same as we have now: International capitalism, neoliberalism, and the limitless avarice of the globalised plutocracy they have birthed.
Murdo Fraser, like the rest of his smug-faced cronies, is interested to know how many people who voted for the SNP last year will be feeling betrayed today. I think I am in a position to answer that question for them: Precious few. People all over Scotland have turned to the SNP precisely because they are tired with the kleptocracy the Scottish Conservatives in our country represent. Independence has turned out not to be about the “flag waving nationalism” they love to cite, but a boiling desire to make our country the nation Scottish people in growing numbers want it to be.