I have been much criticised for referring to Unionists – and No voters are precisely Unionists – as evil or stupid. I have given this much thought, as a number of very well-intentioned people have urged me to apologise. After a great deal of angst, I have decided to offer a heartfelt apology. Not all Unionists are Evil or Stupid. Some are just Cowards. There, I think that covers it.
My analysis runs thus:
The United Kingdom has become a force for ill in the World. In invading Iraq against the express wishes of the UN Security Council, Blair and Bush did to the United Nations what Hitler and Mussolini did to the League of Nations. The UK was up to its neck in complicity with extraordinary rendition and torture. Its foreign policy is based on resource grabs for the benefit of a few wealthy corporations. Even this year it is in Court still defending the atrocious deportation of the entire population of Diego Garcia to make way for a US airbase, and still preventing their return. It is actively preparing to do the same to the Ascension Islanders. It supports the hideous dictatorship of Bahrain and was implicated in the overthrow of Egypt’s only elected government by the CIA’s General Sisi. It constantly works against the interests of the Palestinians at the UN.
This week the UK has been passing still more laws attacking fundamental liberties in the name of “counter-terrorism” and increasing surveillance. It has an economy dedicated entirely to the interests of very wealthy people in the City of London. Its wealth gap between rich and poor is massive and still growing. The UK has 100 billionaires, and malnourished children, living on a small island. It is dominated by corporations run on a low wage model and has systematically destroyed workers’ rights.
On balance, the government of the UK has become a force for evil in the world. not a force for good. To support it in full knowledge of the above is evil.
Given the existence of the tremendous communications possibilities of the internet, and given the wide range of information available above all in Scotland where a new political consciousness has developed, there are few excuses for having been ill-informed in the referendum. The failure to inform oneself, given the resources available, was itself evidence of a lack of gumption.
Some people are Unionists not because they support the policies outlined under Evil, but because they fail to perceive them. This group overlaps heavily with those who do not believe the Labour Party is now a fully paid up neoconservative party subscribing to everything above, and with only a sham concern for social justice. Despite the Red Tories’ open pledges to be tougher on welfare reform and immigration than the Blue Tories, these stupid people believe social progress is possible within the UK under Labour. They also actually believed that The Vow on Devo-Max would be delivered. This group of Unionists are incapable of perceiving evil when they see it, even when it comes certified with membership of the Henry Jackson Society. These people are stupid.
I have added this last group. These are people who did perceive the evil of the UK, and thus weren’t entirely stupid, but were too scared of social change to abandon unionism. A substantial section of the cowards should in fact be grouped under evil, because the cause of their fear was entirely self-centred. They could see the evil the UK does, but cared rather more about their own pension, job, mortgage etc. than they cared about anything else in the world. This combination of selfishness and fear of social change is of course classically Tory. But not all cowards fell into the Tory category. Some were genuinely fearful that things might somehow get even worse for everybody. They would not have boarded the first trains in case their heads were blown off by the 30mph winds.
After four months of constant thought, I cannot think of any hypothetical unionist position which does not fall into one of those categories. I am grateful for the criticism which led me to realise that I had left out the cowards. Some of that criticism came from nationalists who do not like politics to be described in moral terms, and for whom national independence should rouse no more passion than a change in local council boundaries, being a simple question of the best technocratic management of broadly similar political systems. That is a position I wholeheartedly denounce. For me national independence for Scotland is a great ethical choice for good – and against evil.
Fortunately a great many of the stupid are realising their mistake – being slower on the uptake does not stop you getting there eventually. So now there is a definite majority, for Yes. I am pleased about this, and view Independence as absolutely inevitable in the near term. I shall certainly live to see it. I don’t see converting No voters as part of my personal mission in life. The Wizard of Oz could give the Coward a medal and the Stupid a diploma. I shall content myself with being the one who throws water over the Evil.
Finally, for those who cannot get their heads round the purpose, style and conventions of political polemic, plainly you don’t have to be a No voter to be stupid. I have No voters in my family and among very close friends, including some without whose assistance I couldn’t keep this blog going. An attempt to introduce intellectual rigour into political discussion and test positions as part of political debate in no sense equates to personal animosity. As I have repeatedly stated in the context of the hundreds of political issues this blog has debated over ten years, I do not choose my friends by their politics. Otherwise I guess I wouldn’t have any 🙂 !