Sunday , July 14 2024

Always call a thing what it is

Everyone must respond in their own way to the continual attempts by the SNP to break up our country. We all have different experiences and make different choices based on those experiences. I’ve been in the debate from the beginning. I thought at the start that it was a simple matter of making a rational case for the UK and putting forward arguments for why it was better for Scotland not to leave. There was always a difficult balance between the positive and the negative. I think the Better Together campaign got that balance catastrophically wrong. We were lucky. David Cameron and George Osborne blew a massive lead in the EU referendum by making ludicrously exaggerated claims about Brexit. They almost did the same in the Scottish independence referendum by orchestrating a campaign that was far too negative and at times obviously false. There was simply no need to exaggerate the difficulties an independent Scotland would face. There was no need to refuse anything or come up with ever more lurid scare stories. All we needed to do was be positive about the UK and point out that independence would involve a huge amount of change and uncertainty.

Scotland in the long term could be at least as successful an independent country as the Republic of Ireland. But everyone on both sides of the argument needs to recognise that it wouldn’t be especially easy to arrive at that destination. It wasn’t, after all, easy for the Republic of Ireland. To get where they are today they had to go through a civil war, partition and decades of poverty.

It’s vital that everyone in Britain recognises that Scottish independence involves wrecking our country. The only argument we need to make is that the UK is our home and has been for centuries. It is a great country. Few countries in the world are more prosperous or free than we are. It is the country that our ancestors fought for and anyone with the least amount of ordinary patriotism should be sick and tired of those British citizens who continually try to break it into little pieces.

My favourite maxim of philosophy is “Always call a thing what it is”. I’m not sure who said it. It may have been Aristotle, but I can’t find the quote. So then again it may have been me. It doesn’t matter. I think it is about time that we actually took the fight to the SNP by recognising exactly what they are. They are trying to use the ballot box to destroy our country. They are trying to achieve what countless enemies of Britain failed to do through the centuries. Some of them may be nice people, others of them clearly are not. It doesn’t matter. They all hate our country and would like to destroy it. I have always thought that what they are doing is fundamentally treacherous. For a British citizen to try to destroy the UK is to act as an enemy within.

This may appear overly provocative. That of course is the role that I play when writing these blogs. There is a cosy consensus in Scottish politics. Everyone more or less agrees with everyone else. There are certain views that everyone has whether Lib, Lab, Con or SNP. Our newspaper columnists, with one or two exceptions, have the same “liberal” consensus of rehashed, second rate Guardian articles with a tartan fringe. It’s all just virtue signalling and deeply predicable. I know exactly what any article will involve just from the headline. So I don’t play that game. I call a thing what it is. I may be wrong. I frequently am wrong but I don’t use euphemisms and I’m not part of the cosy consensus. Scotland needs a Socratic gadfly to stir things up a bit and get people thinking.

It’s only possible to come up with interesting political ideas if we’re willing to test the boundaries of what can be thought. The purpose of what I write may be the reaction it gets. It may be to develop my own ideas. It usually isn’t what’s on the surface. Dig a little deeper.

How did we act during the Second World War when we found German spies pretending to be British or British people helping the enemy? Did we debate with them? Did we cooperate with them? Did we even talk to them? No of course not. I am coming to the conclusion that we must relearn this lesson with regard to the Scottish nationalists.

I have spent years debating with Scottish nationalists, but it always ends the same way. They may start off being polite, but they nearly always end up making insults or supporting those who do.  I have failed to persuade a single Scottish nationalist to support the continuing existence of the UK. So why write at all? Someone has to oppose them.

Pro UK politicians especially in Scotland continually fail to oppose the SNP. The reason for this is obvious. They want SNP voters to vote for their party. Therefore they are as nice as possible about the SNP. They cooperate with them. They form a consensus. They are friendly with SNP politicians.  The idea of destroying our country is treated with as much niceness and understanding as possible. It is in this way that the UK sleepwalks to its own dismantling.

Part of the problem is that far too many Scots who are nominally Pro UK sympathise with most of the ideas that the SNP holds. The fundamentalbasis for the SNP argument is that Scotland is a country in the same way that France is. Nationalists view the United Kingdom not as a single unitary nation state, which it is, but rather as something similar to the United Nations or the EU. The absurdity of this is that it would mean that Scotland was already what Scottish nationalists want it to become. But then why campaign for something you already have?

The problem is that most Scots, including No voters,  think of Scotland as if we already were independent. For this reason we fight Scottish nationalism with the disadvantage of agreeing with it. This is why Better Together was so insipid and at no point made the patriotic case for Britain. The problem more often than not is that even people who voted No don’t feel very British. No wonder their support for our country is so lukewarm. If you were willing to sell your birthright for the mess that is the European Union, then clearly your support is barely worth having. I keep coming across No voters who prefer the EU to the UK and who flirt with Scottish nationalism. This is our problem. Such people fundamentally sympathise with the SNP. They are the reason that we couldn’t make a positive Pro British argument and had to resort to negativity. It’s only if people feel British that we can appeal to their patriotism. Anyone who would give up his country because of losing a referendum on the EU has already given it up. So what are we left with? Endless negativity about economics that may well be true, but which misses the point. Scottish patriotism in the end will always trump economic arguments. If we lose the identityargument the economics won’t matter.

I’ve said this many times. Countries have fought wars and gone through all sorts of struggles to become independent. In the short term Scotland would be worse off. But so what? If you really want independence, that ought not to deter you.  At the moment there are not enough Scots who are so patriotic that they don’t care that they will end up worse off. But eventually if we keep going in this way there will be. The SNP now controls education. They do everything they can to assert the difference of Scotland from the other parts of the UK. They are continually negative about Britain. If you think GERS will continue to protect the UK, you are mistaken. This sort of argument does not help us. It may even hinder us. Eventually Scots will say stuff your economics we’ll make a go of independence somehow. It’s a very good argument and there isn’t an answer to it.

To fight those who hate our country we need unity. We need every British citizen who cares about the UK to join together in opposing the various nationalisms that threaten our country. We must cease to think of ourselves as Scottish first and British second or English first and British second. This way of thinking simply helps the separatists because it make the UK seem disunited. We must think of the parts of the UK like states in the USA or Länder in Germany. Only with a UK wide patriotism that we all feel and we all share can we defeat the powerful forces that want to break up our country.

How to respond to the SNP’s latest drive for independence? Here’s how I’m going to respond. I’m going to keep on writing as much as I can. I will continue to make the case for the UK. I will continue putting forward arguments against the SNP. But I’m not going to debate with them. I’m not interested in their arguments. I don’t care why they want to break up my country. I have had a long experience of these arguments going nowhere. On Twitter I keep getting random people contacting me, trying to bog me down in long discussions. No more. It’s clearly orchestrated and there is no chance whatsoever of persuading these people to change their mind. So I recommend simply not engaging with anyone who has a little yellow thistle in his avatar or anything else that suggests they are a nationalist.

I have been the victim of endless attacks from SNP supporters. These too are orchestrated. Suddenly the message goes out to attack Effie and they come in their thousands with the most vile and insulting comments. My response to this now is to block en masse. I simply go down my timeline and block any nationalist I see. Problem solved.

I write blogs for the benefit of my own side. I try to keep spirits up and encourage everyone to be positive about our country. Morale is crucial. Sometimes I write to annoy the nationalists. This follows the motto “Always do what your opponent least wants” If they are annoyed with me, they are not thinking clearly and the way they respond frequently makes them look bad. Our greatest ally is the cybernat so always encourage him to follow his worst instincts.

I try to always come up with innovative ways to oppose Scottish nationalism. Not only may this give us new arguments, it may also put them off guard. So if you read something that seems a little unusual, you should recognise that there may be method in my madness. Alternatively I may be mistaken. But I have written hundreds of blogs by now and trying to come up with something new requires that it may be a bit different. If you have been challenged, if you disagree with me in an interesting way that hasn’t occurred to you before, then I have succeeded. That was the purpose. But this method also means that sometimes I will write something that won’t in the end stand up to scrutiny. You have to dare to be mistaken sometimes in order at other times to say something truly interesting.

Our side must come together. The EU Referendum is passed. I voted for Brexit, you may have voted to Remain. I don’t know who was right. Only time will tell. But let’s work together just as we did during the independence referendum. Let’s not continue to refight the EU referendum when at some point we may have to fight against a common foe.

Be confident. I don’t think there will be a second independence referendum. Brexit makes it much harder for the SNP to make its case. But if there is another independence referendum, we will win it again for the reason that the SNP doesn’t have an argument and it simply doesn’t have enough support. For this reason most of what has happened since June is just bluster.

Don’t fill in any forms sent by the SNP. Beware of Nats bearing surveys.  Information you send may help them and hurt us. I don’t want anyone in the SNP knowing my address or what I think. Who knows with whom the SNP will share the information? Lots of SNP MPs and MSPs are friendly with some of the worst cybernats. The SNP don’t want to listen, because they only hear what they want to hear. So simply don’t take part.

Put pressure on Pro UK Scottish politicians not to work with the SNP.  A cow would be foolish to cooperate with a slaughter man. The same obviously applies here. We should oppose a second independence referendum not because we are not confident, but because none of us want the disruption to our lives and because it would be so damaging to unity in both Scotland and the UK. For this reason it is vital that Theresa May stick to her line that the issue has been settled.

If Nicola Sturgeon attempts to organise an independence referendum without  the consent of the UK Government, we should have a campaign of boycotting it on the grounds that the decision has already been taken. A 100% vote for independence on a 50% turnout would obviously not lead to independence. It would have the validity of an election in North Korea. The Pro UK side should simply refuse to engage with the SNP. There should be no politicians or anyone else with whom the SNP could debate. Let their conversation be only with themselves.

I have been called every name you can imagine for simply writing nearly every week a blog that opposes Scottish nationalism. I am sick of it. I will continue to write, but I will not respond. I will not read the vile comments that SNP supporters make and I will block them en masse for they are all the same. I urge everyone who supports the UK to do likewise. Don’t debate with those who hate our country and in the end hate us too. Ignore them. Block them. Boycott them. We said No. We continue to say No. Perhaps if we all treated them in this way they would finally get the message.

This post was originally published by the author 9 September 2016

About Effie Deans

Effie Deans is a pro UK blogger. She spent many years living in Russia and the Soviet Union, but came home to Scotland so as to enjoy living in a multi-party democracy! When not occupied with Scottish politics she writes fiction and thinks about theology, philosophy and Russian literature.

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