By Rab Bruce’s Spider

After spending a couple of years condemning the Scottish Government for not getting on with the day job, the Scottish Tories have now changed tack and have decided to attack the Scottish Government for getting on with the day job. They have begun an orchestrated campaign to mock the SNP for making an issue over food labelling during a pandemic. It’s almost as if the Scottish Government cannot win.

Still, it is the job of the opposition to oppose, and the Tories are certainly doing that, although the sheer brass neckedness of their attacks is something to behold.

There are actually a couple of strands to this. In the longer term, they are attempting to dismiss food labelling as an issue because the trade deal they want with the USA is dependent on the USA being able to flood the UK market with food which is produced to much lower health standards than currently apply. To ensure that nobody notices, the USA wants country of origin labelling to be scrapped. The Tories, naturally, will roll over and do what they are told, so labelling as we know it will soon vanish. The only way to have any idea of the source of food will be to judge it by its price, and many families on low incomes will opt for the cheaper products which will almost invariably be from the USA. This also means that Scottish food producers will be priced out of the market, leading to what many have predicted as the end of UK farming as we know it. Even some Scottish farmers seem to be waking up to the fact that they have been sold down the river by the Tories, but unfortunately it is too late now. They have got what they wished for, and the consequences will be borne by all of us for many years to come unless Scotland can somehow break free of the UK.

Which brings me to the other strand of the labelling. The current furore is over the proliferation of Union Jack symbols on Scottish produce. There is a discussion to be had over who is behind this. The UK Government, naturally, but who is producing the packaging, and why? Is it the supermarkets themselves insisting they will only sell UJ-branded foods?

The main point, however, is that the predominance of the UJ is part of a drive to ensure Scotland remains an effective colony. It is classic colonial behaviour to impose your own symbols and values on a colony, and that is precisely what the UK is trying to do. They want to normalise the UJ, to let it subliminally sink into the minds of Scots so that we accept the dominance of the UK without question.

But could this tactic backfire? Many people, including my own family, refuse to purchase goods branded with the UJ, but if everything has it, what choice will we have? Perhaps the answer lies in the Subsidy Myth.

There’s a video doing the rounds on social media featuring Kelvin Mackenzie, the one-time editor of The Sun. In it, he resorts to many stereotypes, referring to Scots as Jocks, mentioning everyone in Scotland lying around eating deep fried Mars bars and living off his taxes. He also, coincidentally, mentioned the UK when he clearly meant England, although he did hastily correct himself. That was, though, a revealing insight into his thinking.

But what was most important about this laughable video, which was so bad it may well have been intended as a parody, is that he seems to genuinely believe the Subsidy Myth.

The story of Scotland only surviving because of generous handouts from its wealthier neighbour began some time in the 1980s as a serious claim. Since then, it has been repeated over and over again as a way of convincing Scots that they could not possibly afford to become a normal nation. There have been plenty of articles disproving the claim, yet it persists to this day, and is one of the very few arguments Unionists now have.

The problem they have is that people in England now believe it more firmly than most Scots, so the myth is in danger of actually encouraging the break up of the union. If enough English voters believe it, and if they apply pressure on their MPs, there’s always an outside chance that public opinion will allow the Tories a way to climb down from their current strong opposition to Scottish independence. I should say that I am not overly confident of this since those in the WM Government must know the reality, although to be fair, their grasp on reality doesn’t actually seem all that strong at the moment. So if public opinion swung in favour of freeing England from the burden of paying for Scotland, we might yet see a way out of this mess. From that point of view, I am all in favour of promoting the Subsidy Myth. It’s starting to work in our favour.

And perhaps the Union Jackery could work the same way. If we are forced to buy goods which are emblazoned with the UJ, we should make a point of telling people and apologising for serving up this food. Our younger generations should be reminded every time they see a UJ that it is a symbol of our subservient status within the UK. Instead of meekly accepting the removal of our own national symbols, and instead of letting our world-renowned brands be usurped, we should take every opportunity to highlight that the UJ is being imposed on our products and that it reduces their value because of its tainted reputation. I’m not talking about history here, but about Scottish food having a world-class reputation, and not allowing GM adaptations. Scotland the Brand is important in the eyes of the world, and if the UK is attempting to suppress it, then we need to turn their own actions against them.

If it’s got a Jack, put it back. And if you can’t put it back, make sure everyone knows you are buying it under protest.