When The Guardian breaks from its usual sedate and hipster fare to inform us the government is considering calling in the Ministry of Defence to transport food and that the bosses of big business are predicting “civil unrest,” I think we should wake up. Suddenly the world of the ordinary and everyday is behaving like the worlds of familiar disaster fantasy, and – what’s more – we know where it all ends. We’ve read this book and watched this film a thousand times before. We know the rules.
Details of an unpublished report leaked to the press reveal that Theresa May’s government is at present modelling three Brexit scenarios; “mild, severe and Armageddon” – yes, you read that right, “Armageddon.” In the event of a no-deal exit from the European Union – now the most likely outcome of the Article 50 negotiations – the “mild” scenario is a non-starter. Without a trade deal or a contingency plan – which, as yet, does not exist – the UK will be faced with at least a few weeks in which half the basic food and medical demands of the country cannot be met.
Other than being the place of sacrifice and memory it is, Bannockburn is our place – here and now we have made it our Scotland in miniature; a snow globe of the country we have together imagined and hold as precious as a newborn baby in our arms. Together we brought this miracle of Scotland into the world and nothing – nothing – will prise it from us now. We are standing in the birthplace of what will become in our days the world’s newest state. You did this!
The grooming of vulnerable children for sexual exploitation is an undeniable reality, and it is a fact that in most of the cases uncovered in England the majority of the perpetrators have been men from British-Pakistani backgrounds. But to limit our analysis of this crime to the criminals’ religions and ethnicities singularly fails to grasp the true nature and scope of the problem. It ignores the facts that most sex offenders who commit crimes against children are lone white males and that organised grooming for sexual exploitation is nothing new.
Thanks in large part to the way the internet and social media work we have been herded into tribes of opinion, rarely coming face-to-face – or “interfacing” – with people of radically differing opinions. Trends in the development of identity politics have perceptively homogenised our tribal opinions, making us less independent thinkers than subscribers to our chosen tribal groupthink. What this means is that people are increasingly finding themselves pressured into adopting a package of positions so as to conform to the expectations of the collective.
At Dumfries on Saturday the good people of the town who chose the union and lent their vote to the Tories got to see first-hand the good nature of the Yes campaign. It filled up their hotels and restaurants, the chippers were queued out, and the pubs were jammers. They saw smiles, they heard laughter, they say people from all over Scotland come to their town, and they were included in these people’s courageous vision for Scotland – and for Dumfries. And up at the Burns monument in their town they saw their unionism; fleg-waving nationalism, complete with Nazi salutes.
London has every reason to deny it is currently considering the idea. May’s government depends on the support of the DUP, the political representatives of Ulster Loyalists – a community in the province that wants to see no difference between its “country” and the rest of the UK. But the British government has a nasty habit of denying its plans around Brexit. It denied a power grab in Scotland, and we all know what happened then. Denial is a British tactic designed to limit resistance to its plans until they are ready to be rolled out.
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.