‘Nationalist Paradox – discuss if you dare’ has been a common sighting on Better Together’s Facebook page in the last few weeks.
It has irritated, flummoxed, annoyed and baffled Nationalists who of whatever colour and shade in Politics, cannot see what it means.
This is because it is not included in the language of their particular discourse group. And they certainly are that – with their own language, morals, understandings, relationships, creeds and accepted values.
The Nationalist Paradox is something they instinctively deny because they have screened it out of their thinking – and it is easy to see why because it is inconvenient to what they wish to achieve.
So what does it mean?
Simply put, Scottish Nationalism is a great paradox, and on whatever level. It is a paradox, that is riddled through with sub paradoxes in many layers, like an enormous onion.
Picture Nationalism as a great and shining onion, plump, shiny and desirable. Then peel away at the layers and what do we find?
The greatest paradox of the Nationalists is that they offer Independence, yet there is more independence to be gained by staying in the Union. What they offer is not independence but fiscal dependence either on Brussels, or Berlin, or even on London without the controls they have now. That’s the over arching paradox; the skin of it. The “independence” they offer is not. They may point out that we are controlled by Brussels anyway through the Westminster middleman, and that Scotland could just as well liaise with Brussels herself. This ignores the considerable muscle of the UK in dealing with Europe as exemplified in our opt outs from Schengen, the Euro, and our rebate. Scotland alone would simply not have the strength in saying No! to Europe that the UK has – and therefore would be much more under control. That is not independence.
The second layer is that they claim to be wanting Scots to be self determinant, yet a key stone of their policy is to boost productivity by opening the doors to economic migrants and excluding hundreds of thousands of ‘Scots’ from having a say in the matter. This will ultimately benefit thousands of non-Scots who come to Scotland but probably not the 7.4% of unemployed Scots. Whilst excluding Scots who do not live in Scotland from the referendum on Scotland’s future may be seen as democratic and reasonable- indeed the only way to stage such a referendum, there is an irony in who does have the vote. It is not ‘Scots’ but the residents of Scotland who will decide the future of Scotland – and indeed of the United Kingdom. These include in their number thousands of people from all over the world, some of who will not stay in Scotland anyway. People born behind what was the Iron Curtain, under Communism, Americans, English, – will have a voice in this whilst 850000 Scots in England do not. This is a curious type of Nationalism, and indeed is not what it appears. It is Secessionism, and many of those who want it give reasons that are not Nationalist but economic. What appears to be Nationalism is apparently, for the most part, not what it appears.
The third layer is that they claim green credentials and ally with Greens and such, yet the bedrock of their policy is a fossil fuel which is running out. This is not very ‘green’. Neither is it very green to cover huge areas of beautiful Highland scenery with wind turbines. That is in itself quite a paradox, however there is another which is of greater irony than most.
Paradoxically this disallows them from using the vast wealth under Scotland’s feet which could be exploited through Fracking ,or coal gasification which they do not even consider. Which raises the question if their ‘ideology’ is actually good for Scotland? A linked paradox is that if clean ways could be found to utilize the massive amounts of gas and coal under Scotland, then there is more than enough to fund independence. Yet the available money is put into types of power generation that for the most part cannot supply base load to a national grid.
The 4th layer of paradox is that they claim to want a more inclusive Scotland, welcoming, honest, open, bustling, yet what we see is secrecy, stonewalling, propaganda, elitism and exclusion in their tactics and language. They stated they had received advice on the EU when they had not.
But when they did seek advice they refused to publish the advice received- and still have not.
They have also been observed lying or misleading on several occasions, even within the walls of Parliament. They have cooked up a vast fantasy about oil on the West Coast when there is no evidence that it exists. They claim that England has stolen seabed from Scotland when the evidential record proves conclusively that this has not happened. Even this week they claimed that BAE will continue operations in Scotland based on a half quote from the BAE Chairman, when if you read it in context he makes it clear that how BAE would react would be in accordance with how their customer, Westminster wished to deal with the problem. And for all their talk of inclusion there is a strong element of anti English feeling in many of them that is no longer banter but racism.
They claim that Scotland subsidizes England. This is not true, and neither is it true that England subsidizes Scotland. What it would be more accurate to say would be that the four nations of the UK have united their economies into a larger one, and benefit, as shareholders, from any dividends. However that is actually not relevant. The Paradox is that by voting for independence they have to apply to enter the EU and will not partake of the rUK rebate and will end up subsidizing … England via the rebate which they will no longer get but will contribute to.
They talk of ‘Wastemonster’ yet spend vast amounts of public funds on their own expenses and propaganda. They spend money on trews, hotels, expenses, their own propaganda yet see no contradiction or irony in accusing Westminster of the same.
This is a tragic paradox, for they offer false hope to those who have not. The have nots want more and think they will get it by voting for independence. The Nationalists have ruled out increasing tax on Oil. They have promised to lower Corporation Tax. They want a Scandinavian style society. There is only one way that they can make up the shortfall in spending for the society they wish to achieve. Taxes must go up. Not a little, but a lot. How else could it be done?
But if they do, then the over taxed haves will leave, and the have nots will end up with less. The goose that lays the golden eggs will leave. This is a charlatan’s trick.
The Nationalists claim that Scotland independent would be Scotland more democratic. Yet they rule by imposition. Caithness Councillors were unanimous in opposition to Gaelic road signs and a requirement that new teachers be able to speak Gaelic, yet they had it imposed on them.
The nationalists favour wind power, an expensive and unreliable form of energy that pushes electricity bills up, yet champion the poor – who cannot afford the higher bills and drives them into fuel poverty. They grumble when the UK government removes the requirement from the energy companies to buy onshore wind.
They also accuse the UK government in a press release this week of not funding offshore wind when the UK government announced increased subsidies for offshore wind on December 4th 2013 wihcih was widely announced in the Press and may be searched for on the net.
The Nationalists claim to be concerned about poverty and inequality in Scotland yet have no anti poverty strategy or policy in place. For this lack of policy, Leslie Riddoch, a Yes voter told them off in her own column.
Indeed they diverted £1bn of anti poverty money to other places to make up for shortfalls in local spending after freezing Council Tax.
They blame the UK government for underfunding them and point to the Joseph Rowntree Foundation and Dr Barnardos as both saying that not enough was being done to address poverty in Scotland. Yet both these bodies stated that although they recognized the limited powers of Holyrood, there was a lot more they could be doing with the powers they had.
They claim that they wish to have no nuclear weapons in Scotland and decry Trident, yet in their White Paper they allow for flexibility on removal and are prepared to let visiting NATO vessels use facilities in Scotland on the basis of don’t ask don’t tell.
They wish to join NATO, an organisation they were against for years. They think they will reap billions to spend on other things by cancelling Trident. They claim that Trident costs £30bn, yet do not mention that this is spread over nearly 40 years, and that the money is not spend to buy Trident to maintain it. It pays the wages of thousands of people in Scotland. Paradoxically the rUK could afford the pay for Trident at about £3bn a year out of the £100bn in invisible earnings that she reaps each year, and in which Scotland currently shares. That revenue stream will be closed to Scotland after independence.
The UK spends about £34bn on defence every year. It is not one of the big spenders. If Scotland were entitled to 10% of that (in reality its about 9) then she would gain £3,4 bn. That includes Trident. It is not a lot of money. Indeed the paradox is that is about the maximum of what is spent on Trident each year. It would have to be spent on creating new jobs for the people who would lose theirs after Trident left.
Another paradox of this is one of the purposes of Nuclear weapons. We hear a lot about deterrence – but that is not the sole purpose of nukes. They save money. If you have nuclear weapons then you do not need large conventional forces in the event of large scale conflict. This not only saves money on buying personnel and kit, but on the research needed to develop the new generations of weapons and the industries to build them. You can still be a big player on the world stage but have smaller forces.
Paradoxically this makes the world a safer place because there are fewer conventional weapons around.
Scotland has played a huge part in the development of the United Kingdom. Indeed it can be argued that the United kingdom was a Scottish creation, forged by a Scottish dynasty and is now a nation with one of the biggest economies, and generally one of the better standards of living in the world. The great paradox is that those who wish Scotland to be independent cry this down.
To them Scotland is a miserable downtrodden place, starved of funds by a government ignorant of Scotland, with only 59 MPs, undemocratic, neglected and victimised.
Scotland the victim. ‘Too wee, too poor, too ignorant’ they cry at the No voters, yet you would go very far to see a No voter who would actually say this. To No voters Scotland is a vibrant and proud place with great culture, scenery, industry and prospects of being even greater with the advance of further Devolution. No people are positive about Scotland and her place as a shareholder in a large Union which has more clout as the sum of its parts.. Yes voters ask what the positive things are about staying in the Union – but ignore lists of positives when repeatedly placed in front of them.
It is quite a paradox that the people supposed to be most upbeat about Scotland end up being the downbeat, the victims, the ones who do Scotland down.
This one is the scaremongering of the Yes camp. The UK, they say, is finished. They point to an advertisement published by a magazine called Moneyweek over a year ago called ‘The end of Britain’ and use it as ‘evidence’ to prove that Britain is finished.
They do not read it, because if they did they would see that the main idea is that Britain is spending too much on Benefits, the NHS, Pensions, and Education – it’s a very right wing article inspired by the Tea Party in the US. We are supposed to learn from this that the only way to save Britain from drowning in debt is to cut spending on these things
Which leads one to wonder if this is the model they would wish to see followed in an independent Scotland?
In reality the article was completely demolished in February last year by the noted Banking advisor Frances Coppola yet still gets trotted out as infallible proof that the UK is finished.
The great paradox here is that since the crisis over the Euro, the Independent Scotland wishes to use the pound.
The nationalists apparently see no irony or paradox in wishing to shackle themselves to an ailing and failing currency because they now think they have a share in it. The pound at any rate is not an asset – it’s an institution; the difference is not subtle, but you can’t really carve up an institution.
To be independent Scotland needs her own currency.
Even in the unlikely event she would have a currency union – or use the pound as a dollarized economy, she would still not have control over her own finances.
That is not Independence.
The Judas Paradox. Number 13
To vote no, we are told, is a betrayal of Scotland. No voters are ‘not true Scots’.
Yet surely the vote is about what is good for Scotland?
We have a scenario set out in the White Paper published last November, Everybody now knows what the Nationalists was- if not how they will pay for it.
But the great paradox here is that it might actually be the Nationalist who are betraying Scotland. There is no ‘what if’ about their plans. They will not even concede the necessity of a plan B for currency.
But the great ‘what if’ here is what happens if they cannot deliver after voting Yes?
What will they have delivered Scotland to?
Could it be analogous to Ireland? Will the young leave to find jobs in the southern part of the British mainland?
Will industries, companies, enterprises relocate and shrink?
Will unemployment rise?
Will taxes soar?
Will the poor finally get a poverty strategy which does them no good because the money has run out?
Will great houses and museums and monuments become shabby because there is nothing to spend on them?
Will the population shrink?
Will the population rise as cheap labour is brought in to boost the economy, driving down wages and eroding worker rights?
WIll power have to bought from England when the wind does not blow?
Will the NHS continue at its current levels?
Can pensions be afforded at current levels?
What will happen to house prices?
And so on. A never end of questions that must not be asked because the mere act of asking them s ‘scaremongering.’
And Scotland ends up poorer, leaner, declining, shrinking, having sold her shares in the huge company she was a shareholder of and set up a corner shop?
If that happens – but of course it never could, then where is the betrayal, and who is the Judas?
Can you answer the Nationalist Paradox?