by Rab Bruce’s Spider

Last week, I heard a video clip of what sounded like a gentleman of senior years asking a question on what sounded like a panel show. If I had to guess, I’d say it was probably on the BBC’s extreme Right Wing propaganda show, Question Time. That’s not really important except to give a flavour of the question and the audience reaction. To cheers and applause, this gentleman made the point that the next UK Prime Minister must treat the preservation of the Union as of primary importance, and he asked what steps should be taken to suppress Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP.

This sorry episode raises several points. First of all, whatever some pro-Indy Scots may think of the SNP’s efforts to turn Scotland into a normal, self-governing country, many people in England still perceive them as a serious threat to the preservation of the UK in its current form. This preservation seems very important to many in England, but while Unionist politicians may appreciate the truth that England needs free access to Scotland’s resources, the majority of ordinary English citizens (sorry, subjects) seem to view retaining Scotland under Westminster control is simply a matter of faith. They never seem to articulate any reason except their usual historical fantasy of winning a couple of wars together, and it is probably not too unfair to state that, if any of them actually came to Scotland, they would spend most of their time complaining that it is not sufficiently like England. That may sound over the top, but I’ve certainly come across English visitors like that. Effectively, though, this absolute conviction that Scotland must not be permitted to leave the UK is essentially a colonialist attitude. In the minds of people like that, the British Empire is still a fond memory, and the very thought that anyone in Scotland might want to leave the UK is a genuine puzzle for them. They simply cannot get their heads around it. Worse, they don’t even want to try.

Then there is the use of the word, "Suppress". Unconsciously or not, the questioner used a word which any fascist would be proud of, and he probably didn’t even understand why it might be offensive. The very fact that a member of the public can go on UK-wide TV and say such a thing is ample evidence that Right Wing extremism is now the norm in Unionist politics. People now feel free to express abhorrent ideas as if they were perfectly normal. Suppression is a term with violent overtones and from the audience reaction to the question, far too many people agree with Lisa Nandy MP that the UK should employ violence against anyone supporting Scottish independence.

The UK Government will, of course, officially decry such a reaction, but that does not mean they are above using underhand tactics to prevent Scotland from becoming a normal country. On Sunday, we heard that they intend to introduce a law which would require over 50% of the Scottish electorate to vote Yes before the result would be recognised. This is pretty much what they did in 1979, and it means that anyone who does not vote, for whatever reason, is deemed to have voted against. This goes against all idea of modern democracy, and I don’t think any other democracy has ever decided anything using this ridiculous method. The whole idea is to ensure that, even if the UK Government does reluctantly accede to the democratic demands of the Scottish electorate, the result will be heavily skewed in favour of the Union. When you consider that, under UK rules, 16 and 17 year olds will not be permitted to vote, nor will EU citizens living in Scotland, then the chances of us ever winning are remote.

More than ever, this convinces me that we must not play by Westminster rules. Nicola Sturgeon really needs to change her own requirements and declare independence on winning a simple majority in a referendum, or winning a majority of seats in a UK General Election. Any other way of doing it simply plays into the hands of people who will have applauded the anti-democratic question asked by that gentleman on TV.