On The Escalator
Posted on January 30th, 2017
by Rab Bruce’s Spider
Did anything happen over the weekend? If you listened to Ruth Davidson, the main news was that she has again demanded that the SNP abandon all thoughts of another IndieRef. This is almost a daily demand from the Truthless one, and she usually issues it when she wants to deflect from some other news which shows the Tories in a poor light.
Deflecting from what, you may ask? Well, some people noticed that Donald Trump has set about fulfilling his election promises by banning Muslims from several countries from entering the USA. As you’d expect with such an ill thought out plan, it created havoc and resulted in a great many people being held in detention for hours, with some allegedly set to be deported until a judge ruled this was illegal.
There was an outcry on social media, with the leaders of many European nations quickly condemning Trump’s actions, although Theresa May was noticeably silent for a long time before eventually coming out with a mildly disapproving comment. She later instructed her Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, to phone the USA and try to sort out the issues for UK citizens like Mo Farrar who were now banned from entering the USA. Boris achieved this, gaining an exemption for UK citizens, an action which was promoted as a triumph of diplomacy. The only problem with this victory is that Canada had already achieved the same exemption some 15 hours before Boris even picked up the telephone, so he probably didn’t need to employ many of his famous diplomatic skills.
So everything’s OK again now, isn’t it?
Well, no. To claim that things are sorted is to cling to the usual UK vision of “I’m All Right, Jack!". UK citizens may have been granted exemptions, but there are hundreds of thousands of other human beings who remain affected by this ban. But what else can you expect from the UK? Not much, since those other people are only foreigners, after all, and Theresa May would probably love to replicate Trump’s action if she thought she could get away with it.
So, even though the UK can smugly sit back and try to ignore what Trump is doing, this matter is far from over. Already, Iraq has retaliated by banning the issue of visas to all US citizens. Other countries will no doubt do the same before too long, putting the ball back in Trump’s court and potentially bringing about a gradual escalation in the collapse of international relations. It is no secret that many of Trump’s advisors would love to go to war with Iran, and the consequences of that don’t bear thinking about.
It is natural for those countries which have been singled out by Trump to take offence, but their sense of injustice must be exacerbated by the knowledge that the main sources of anti-US terrorism are countries which are not on his proscribed list, such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Funnily enough, Trump allegedly has business interests in those countries. Is that a coincidence? Some might think that, in addition to being a liar, a misogynist and a xenophobe, Trump is already tainted by the whiff of corruption.
Naturally, not all Americans think as Trump does, and there have been a lot of protests. This, too, is understandable, but it could also be playing into Trumps’ hands. There can no longer be much doubt that he subscribes to a Fascist doctrine, and a classic way of such regimes enforcing their grip on power is to foment protest, then use those protests as an excuse to clamp down very hard indeed.
One thing we can be pretty sure of is that he’s not going to change his mind in a hurry. He has a lot of Americans cheering him on, and he will want to ensure that his hold on power is as firm as possible. Before he was elected, many people were concerned about the prospect of having him in control of America’s nuclear weapons, but a far greater concern is how he is already shifting America to the extreme Right. History tells us that such shifts are dangerous, and when it is a country with the economic and military might of USA which is moving towards extremism, we really should be very concerned indeed.
As for the UK’s relatively supine response, he probably doesn’t care much one way or the other what we think, but he must know Theresa May doesn’t want to upset him too much because the UK will be desperate for a post-Brexit trade deal on whatever terms he decides to give us.
Which brings us back to Ruth Davidson’s anti-IndieRef demands. A second IndieRef is increasingly likely with every day that passes, but we must wait until we know exactly how the Brexit negotiations go, so we’re in for a long wait, but this weekend’s events have shifted the balance of the arguments. Next time, economic arguments may well be high on the agenda, but the UK’s position on those isn’t as strong as it was the last time. Besides, people should realise by now that predictions of how any economy will operate in the future are futile. Economies are complex things, and nobody can predict anything with much certainty.
No, what has happened this weekend is that the arguments are beginning to focus more on social attitudes. For Scots in the next IndieRef, it may well be less about potential economic outcomes than the choice between clinging desperately to an insular, xenophobic UK or taking the chance that Scotland might just be able to create a more progressive, outward-looking nation. The way things are going, that should be an easy choice for all but the most rabid of BritNats.