Looking back over my blogs of the last year, they have mainly featured Brexit, Trump and even Duterte in the Philippines. There is a common thread running in all of these – a new form of Politics which seems to be based on stirring up resentment –the politics of blame and resentment. A world wide wave of populist politics which have successfully gained traction by playing to the basest of instincts – Xenophobia, protectionism and authoritarianism.
The “Blame Game” would be an accurate description of the new politics. In the case of Brexit and Trump, immigration is the main hate tool, in the case of Duterte (lacking immigrants ) he chose drug addicts instead! All the apparent failings in the system – Health, Education, Housing, Employment, you name it, all these can be placed at the door of immigrants. Resentment is a lethal weapon but very effective when trawling for votes among those who feel ignored and disaffected in Society. Setting one part of society against another, whether it be by race, religion or social class – whatever ticks the box at any given time. Forget about ethics – it’s the vote that counts! Now as a political philosophy that stinks – but think about it – cynical but effective. Divide and conquer – this trick endures. Remember the Scottish Referendum and Brexit , both the Noes and the Leaves successfully played from variations of this song sheet.
So where stands Scotland in this brave new year – we have Theresa and her merry bunch of Brexiteers bravely marching to the tune of the flute band, her re-shuffle more of a kerfuffle and the knives not far from her back at any given time! A total burach of a Government . And of course we have an “official opposition” proving to be as useful as a chocolate teapot – how dare they sit on their hands while the UK is about to drop off the cliff that is Brexit? Corbyn, my friends, is anything but the answer to our crisis. The same can be said of the Labour Party in Scotland’s new leader – just when you thought it couldn’t get worse, – up pops one, Richard Leonard. It should not be possible for the Labour Party to select someone so out of touch with Scotland’s needs, but somehow they have managed yet again, (come back Kezia ,even you were better than this.) Labour in Scotland – the gift that keeps on giving. Ruthie baby stutters on – the one trick pony, obsessed with Independence. Mind you on Brexit, she has had more turns than the Glasgow Empire! Single Market – mibbies aye, mibbies naw. Customs Union – whatever the DUP says (that flute band again!)
So as far as the Unionists are concerned, Scotland should just accept what Westminster has in store. Make no mistake, Scotland’s future is teetering on the brink. We are in very real danger of social and economic disaster if we simply allow ourselves to be dragged off the cliff by the Westminster Wombles. As the horror of the reality of the Leave Vote unfolds, the people of Scotland will have to stand up and be counted. But unlike the remainers in the rest of the UK, at least we in Scotland have a life-line – we have an ace card up our sleeve – Independence. But that card has to be played and timing is everything. In my humble opinion the time is when we know the likely outcome of Brexit and before March 2019.
Many many years ago, as a young activist, I was paired with a more experienced canvasser to learn the tricks of the trade. I was horrified to hear this man’s opening line on the doorstep was “are you happy on your knees?” Suffice to say that this often provoked a hostile reaction from the householder. I quickly decided that this was not an approach I would take – much too dangerous, I thought.
And yet and yet, I find myself thinking more and more – that’s where we are now – on our knees. Being on the wrong side of two referendums have seen to that. Our wee Nation is being dragged down on an almost daily basis by a totally dysfunctional Westminster system.
Perhaps you were right my old friend – perhaps it is time to cut to the chase – are we happy on our knees? It is time to get up off our knees and protect the future of our Nation.
It is Burns Supper time of the year, so as an Ayrshire lass, I leave you with a quote from the Bard. In a letter to Mrs Dunlop in 1790 Burns wrote –
“Alas! I have often said to myself, what are all the boasted advantages which my country reaps from the Union, that can counterbalance the annihilation of her independence and even her very name “