The Coming Battle of Britain

6th February 2012

Colin Liddell

The Battle of Bannockburn - about to be played out politically
The Battle of Bannockburn - about to be played out politically
The secret coalition that will ensure Scottish independence

David Cameron’s stint as prime minister has been dominated by four main political narratives:

1. Britain’s opposition to the ongoing Franco-German centralization of Europe

2. The maintenance of financial credibility

3. The "Big Society”

4. The question of Scottish independence

The government’s inability to stem the rising tide of immigration and the ongoing economic and social chaos this is spreading throughout the land has, in the absence of a potent British nationalist party, largely fallen off the political stage.

But back to the four main political narratives, it is easy to see a synergy between these. The "Big Society,” essentially the concept of volunteerism writ large as an alternative to the state doing everything, is an aspect of the government’s attempt to curtail public spending in order to maintain financial credibility. This in turn is linked to Britain’s supposed opposition to Euro centralization, which is how the main EU countries are dealing with similar problems created by their public sector bloating.

Of course, it could be pointed out that the "Big Society" is nothing more than aspirational hot air and a political device to offload onerous responsibilities, while also stealing easy credit for successful private, charitable, and communal initiatives.

Likewise, Cameron’s opposition to the Evil Merkozy that lies at the dark heart of Europe is, on deeper analysis, rather hollow; certainly as long as voters are denied a referendum on Europe, and Pan-European institutions, such as the European Court of Human Rights continues to interfere in British affairs. Although the Euro may be temporarily weakened it is clearly not dead. There is a very real sense that once it recovers, the pound and Britain’s partial economic independence will be the next item on its ongoing project of financial gleichschaltung.

What is significant about these political narratives is not the actual level of achievement, which is minimal or non-existent, but the extent to which Cameron has dominated them and turned them to his political advantage, even in the case of the "Big Society.” Although this has an increasingly hollow ring with the British public, it still allows the PM to posture as a compassionate anti-statist.

Cameron is apparently on top of all these political narratives except the last one, the issue of Scottish independence. This is the joker in the pack, both because of its complexity and unpredictability and because of its potential to far outweigh all the other political narratives put together.

Scottish independence is the game changer

While the Euro-stropping, "Big Society" posturing, and budget balancing bickering will all fizzle out in the usual political and technocratic compromise zone and slide slowly into the swamp of political amnesia, Scottish independence could be a real game changer.

There are several aspects of this issue that do not get much publicity but probably should. First of all, there is no doubt that both the EU and David Cameron would benefit enormously from it.

Although the EU has been badly winded by recent financial events, the vested interests involved mean that it will probably weather this storm and emerge even stronger and more set on its long term goals of European economic and political integration. It should be noted that this tendency seems to progress regardless of whether European voters are electing centre left or centre right politicians, and there is every possibility that even if 'far right' or even 'far left' candidates were elected in significant numbers a similar modus operandi could be maintained as the EU seems to have power political and economic benefits that appeal to any ruling class.

Scottish independence would strengthen the EU hand vis-à-vis Westminster, reducing England to a smaller and weaker entity and one that would also be demoralized from the loss of a vital component of its identity and power. In cultural semantic terms, the name “Britain” is the name of a conquering entity that has straddled the globe and proved invincible. The vestiges of this greatness are still what power the vision of a Britain independent from the EU. The name “England,” by contrast, is historically that of a smaller, weaker entity, rather easily conquered by Dane and Norman, and only saved from the Spaniard by the vagaries of the weather. At least that’s the mythic image or perception, and such factors will work like a Fifth Column to reduce the resistance to the warm, all-enveloping embrace of Europe.

Given that the EU would benefit from Scottish independence, we must expect some tangible support for it at some stage.

What form this will take is hard to predict, but possibly it will take the form of economic guarantees when the unionist campaign raises questions of Scottish economic viability in the absence of the Barnett Formula.

The second main point, that David Cameron would benefit greatly from Scottish independence, is perhaps more counter-intuitive but just as rational. This is based on the widespread loathing for the Conservative Party that has existed in Scotland since the tenure of Margaret Thatcher. In addition to her de-industrializing economic policy that hit Scotland (and my family) particularly hard, her personification of bossy, middle-class, Margot Leadbetter, WI-style Englishness did not go down particularly well in a society that has always been dominated by a tough male, working-class ethos.

People see Scotland as a Labour country and this is easily ‘proved’ by the results of almost every Westminster election over the last several decades, but the recent rise of the SNP, which is politically more centrist, reveals the true story. The main reason that Scots have voted overwhelmingly Labour in the past has simply been because it was the most effective way to hurt a party that was indelibly linked in the Scottish mind with domineering Englishness.

The political side effects of Scottish independence

Scottish independence would have powerful effects on each side of the border. With Scotland freed from Westminster, there would be much less reason for Scottish voters to vote Labour. This would effectively result in the collapse of Labour in Scotland. Of course, the SNP, having fulfilled its historical purpose might also face a serious drop in support as a range of new parties rose up to take advantage of the new political ecosystem.

In England, the removal of approximately 50 Labour MPs to the one Tory that Scotland still send to Westminster would have a cataclysmic effect on Labour’s prospects of ever winning outright power again.

A large part of the support that a major political party receives is not because of agreement with its policies, but because it has the capability of winning. Voters are rather like London-based Manchester United fans. As long as Man Utd are the big club, these fans, with no real connection to the city of Manchester, will continue to associate themselves with the success of the club, but once the club starts losing championships these fans quickly move on. The same phenomenon can be observed in politics. Americans tend to vote overwhelming Republican or Democrat because these two parties are the only ones that can grant access to representation through the extremely undemocratic American system.

The Labour Party is essentially the expression of the class politics of the early 20th century, but has managed to trade on the electability created by those limited conditions to draw out its political life long past its sell-by date. The very name of the party, which has an unpleasant, antiquated ring for voters in a post-industrial society, reveals this very clearly. The sudden removal of its contingent of Scottish MPs from the political equation would very likely deliver it a death blow.

With the Labour party removed or truncated to midget proportions, British politics would start to resemble the present governing coalition, while in the remaining White working class areas we could expect to see a post-Griffinite BNP or a new English nationalist party hoovering up votes on an identitarian basis of both race and class.

Given that the Tory Party would benefit from Scottish independence, we must expect some tangible support for it at some stage.

This is despite Mr. Cameron’s professions of unionism. What form this will take is hard to predict, but possibly it will take the form of Mr. Cameron earnestly entering into patronizing Lord-Snooty-style debates with that wee ghillie Alex Salmond. With Cameron and the Eurocrats secretly or not so secretly on Salmond’s side, the unionists are probably marching to the political equivalent of the Second Battle of Bannockburn!

Roll on 2014!!


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