Now here’s a conundrum of Unionist principles vs UK nations
It’s not been a huge while since a Conservative Government famously imposed its will on Scotland.The result was a massive revolt. And no – I’m not talking about the Independence Referendum. Under Margaret Thatcher they made the mistake of piloting the Community Charge (nicknamed the Poll Tax) in Scotland ahead of introduction in the rest of the UK. What resulted was a schism of major proportions between the Scottish electorate and the Tory party that has got deeper ever since. Plus ça change!
Let’s move forward to today and we hear Philip Hammond the new Chancellor of the Exchequer declaring that there will be no special deal for Scotland in the Brexit negotiations. For someone who is a Unionist to the core that is simply a ridiculous position to take. The outcome will be untenable. It indicates that either the upper echelons of Government are stupid or that they are trying to force another Independence Referendum. Being kind and assuming the former is not the case then one is left with the inevitable conclusion that there is some strategy afoot to displace the SNP’s position via the Brexit negotiations.
Do they really think that is going to work with an electorate that after two referenda has come to realise that they are being consistently lied to? Project Fear won’t work a second time around. A clear majority of Scotland wants to stay in the EU (just as in Thatcher’s day they wanted to keep the domestic rates as a form of taxation).
Plus ça change
So we have a Unionist stance that de facto is heading to split the United Kingdom into at least two fragments. (What will happen in Northern Ireland is uncertain – although at least one commentator has remarked that their long-term future might be re-unification with the Republic.) A real lack of joined-up thinking if ever I saw it – plus ça change (again)!
Martin Schulz comments that the UK Cabinet… is based on solving internal splits in the ruling centre-right Conservative Party rather than promoting the national interest.
Whilst the media coverage would have us believe that the new May administration is about competence and coming together there are enough indicators in the wind to hint this might not work out. As one wag put it – we had Thatcherism – are we now headed for Mayhem? Or maybe it is simply a case of The Darling Buddies of May with the EU taking the role of the Tax Inspector who is strung along ad infinitum.