Thursday, 23 July 2020

Extending the tour

There might, conceivably, be a parallel universe somewhere out there in which Boris Johnson touring a series of venues in Scotland, presumably meeting the invited few in his usual manner and spouting his usual mixture of bluster, lies and impractical bridges will convince Scots to abandon any thoughts of independence. His cheerleaders seem to think not only that there is such a universe, but that this universe is the one. To the more grounded amongst us, it seems unlikely to say the least; far more likely an outcome is that his tour will deal the final blow to his party north of the border whose very existence he denies.
It could, of course, be a bluff. Perhaps he has already decided that England would be better off without those troublesome Scots, and just in case his promise to deny them any chance to determine their own future through a referendum (even if they vote overwhelmingly in favour of holding one) isn’t enough, he’ll seal the deal with a few incoherent speeches in which he can continue to deny reality. The flaw in that theory is that it presupposes a degree of self-awareness on his part which has been conspicuously absent to date. It is far more likely that he, and those around him, really do believe that all they need to do to turn the tide of public opinion in Scotland is to send an Old Etonian who knows little and understands even less to tell a few bad jokes to selected audiences, make some promises he has no intention of keeping, and have union flags plastered everywhere. Thus, in their view, will the ‘precious union’ be saved. It’s an attitude tells us more about them than about anything else.
In truth, I don’t believe that the union is doomed, much as I’d like to believe that it were so. But the problem that defenders of the union have is that they don’t understand – are psychologically incapable of understanding – why anyone would want to end an arrangement which they ‘know’ to be the bestest and most perfectest ever devised. They still struggle to understand why all those countries which were formerly part of the British Empire couldn’t see how much better it would have been to remain subservient to the ‘mother country’, but instead went off and chose to misgovern themselves. And that, ultimately, is why they will fail. Not because there is no argument for the union, but because they are unable to see or understand any argument against it, or even see any need to do so. One of the keys to winning a debate is to be able to understand the thinking of the opposition; not agree with it, merely understand it enough to respond to the other viewpoint. Brow-beating people into submission isn’t winning an argument, and in any event it’s now too late for that. Boris Johnson is one of the best recruiting sergeants the SNP has ever had; they must be absolutely delighted that he’s throwing himself into the campaign against independence. They’re probably even hoping that he’ll spend three weeks on tour rather than just the one.

1 comment:

dafis said...

Great news for to Scotland they seem to have a momentum and a clear(ish) vision of where they want to be.

Wales ? Well we still seem to be stuck in the begging bowl syndrome, Tories and Labour happy to reinforce that position with bleats of "we can never afford to go it alone" while Plaid has a wet, limp-wristed stance with the other hand still waving that f****n' begging bowl ! Despite what opinion polls allegedly say I honestly don't think we are any where near the starting gate and am despairing to figure what could ever suffice to be a catalyst for change in this underlying servile posture.