a post from regular Yours for Scotland columnist Mia.
Welcome to post-2014 Scotland, where ability to think critically has become a threat to government and where the principle of achieving consensus by negotiation has been substituted for the convenience of deception, gaslighting and malicious prosecutions.
Continuous deception has thrown us into a fake reality. Yet, we are expected to nod and accept it without question. We saw deception in the attempt to use the Moorov strategy to send Mr Salmond to prison. We saw it in the collusion between COPFS, a corrupt government and a farcical parliamentary inquiry to stop evidence reaching the electorate.
We see deception in how we have been blocked from demonstrating at the Scottish Parliament grounds. Allegedly this is to prevent those who work there being blocked out. Yet, our critical thinking whispers that this is another example of opportunistic abuse of power to stop demonstrations somebody fear are coming their way, as they intend to ramp up the butchering of Scotland’s democratic structures.
It seems the political pygmies in power are forcing Scotland to transition from a nation of roaring lions into a band of nodding sheep.
We see deception in how Sturgeon’s government disguises kowtowing to Westminster with the farcical “four nation approach” or claiming we do not have enough autonomy. We see deception in how England parties fake autonomy by adding “Scottish” to their branch names.
Deception is what kept Scotland in this union in 2014 and what has kept it in ever since. Yet, we are still expected to nod in agreement.
The need to protect this deception is what put Mr Murray in prison. Resorting to discrimination of bloggers as justification to send this man and not others to prison was deception taken to another level. The need to protect all this deception is also what saw corrupt civil servants coached at taxpayers’ expense and then enjoying salary increases instead of being sacked and disciplined. Yet, still too many keep nodding.
There is an increasing number of lobby groups demanding things. They may be more or less active and controlled by different powers, but their overall strategy is the same: to crush your dissent by blocking your critical thinking with mild gaslighting, which escalates to borderline emotional abuse if you refuse compliance. These groups may demand different things on the surface, but deep down, you find all are having the same effect: delaying Scotland’s independence.
If you bring up the flaws of 2014’s franchise you face a wall of intolerance from the so called “civic nationalists”. Somewhere, somebody has already decided that it is more acceptable to deny Scotland’s natives their legitimate right to self-determination than to deny those with allegiances elsewhere the ability to do so. And still many keep nodding.
There is something about the intolerance of civic nationalists that reminds you of the trans-lobby’s modus operandi and the intransigence of Sturgeon towards any other path to independence that is not her gold standard lead balloon. The contempt shown by the FM towards the achievement of a supermajority in 2021 and the way she helped unionists keep their seats with her SNP 1 and 2 deception was perhaps the biggest eye opener to how little appetite this “leader” has for independence. Yet, many still nod.
For what I have experienced, if you don’t play ball and immediately repent from your scepticism about the franchise, then you better get ready because a credible and reasoned counterargument to yours will never materialise from the civic nationalists, just like a logical and reasoned justification for usurping female’s safe spaces never seems to emanate from the trans-lobby, nor we will ever hear a credible justification for the demand that we must stay put until Nicola’s gold standard unicorn decides to show its horn.
The best you can expect from them three is a collection of unconvincing words designed to derail the discussion and shut you up. They don’t seem to have appetite for reaching a common ground. Instead, their strategy seems to be forcing you into firefighting what looks like a personal attack to distract you from the flawed argument you were dismantling.
Civic nationalists’ tell you is that you are wasting your time because the people of Scotland will only accept the present franchise. Yet, no convincing evidence has ever been presented to support this because the people of Scotland have-never been given sufficient information to understand the risks of the franchise, just like this government did not give us enough information about the risks for women and children that self-identification brings before the consultation bill and before the hate bill was forced through parliament.
Nicola’s fans will accuse you of being divisive and undemocratic for rejecting Nicola’s gold standard unicorn. Yet, your common sense tells you that there isn’t anything less divisive and democratic than handing England’s government a veto and then claim you cannot use democratic mandates because May, Johnson or whoever takes over denies consent. If calling you divisive and undemocratic doesn’t work, along come the covidists to claim that COVID is a credible excuse to continue delaying a plebiscite on independence. The biggest flaw in this argument is that the last May election, could have been a plebiscite on independence if we had a real pro-independence leader in control of the SNP instead of a pretender who appears to be rather cosy sitting in Westminster’s back pocket.
There is something fundamentally dishonest and insulting in the way we are expected to nod like sheep and accept all this crap without discussion.
Now that more people are seeing the flaws of the 2014 franchise, the civic nationalists have abandoned the excuse of inclusivity and have moved on to their next goalpost: now we need all the other countries of the world to accept Scotland’s franchise. It seems that under the eyes of the civic nationalists, we must accept that an independence plebiscite can no longer be an expression of Scotland’s self-determination. It has to become the expression of whatever it is that the rest of the world decides self-determination for Scotland must be. I wonder if in a few months’ time they are going to move the goalposts again so they can demand all forms of extra-terrestrial life within the Milky Way to tell us what they think the correct franchise for Scotland’s self-determination plebiscite must be.
This rationale aligns well with Nicola’s government apparent expectation that we will accept that the whole world could comment during the consultation on the draft bill about the GRA reform, despite our critical thinking sounding the alarm that such openness will invite the interference of external vested interests in to our own law making processes.
The politics of deception are present in Nicola’s verbal acrobatics trying to make us believe she cannot proceed without a section 30 because the referendum would be “illegal”. Yet, we know advisory referendums are not illegal. What is unlawful under international law is to deny Scotland its fundamental right to self-determination, which she and the UK government have been doing despite Scotland having asked to exercise it since May 2015.
The tactic of imposing ideas by shutting down dissent rather than by reaching a common ground is becoming far too common in Scotland to miss it. So much so that one is beginning to get the impression that Sturgeon’s regime has become so undemocratic that critical thinking is being deliberately blocked out of political discourse.
The only reason to demand from us to give up critical thinking and embrace without question the government’s political brain fart of the day, is because the brain fart does not stand up to scrutiny and is unacceptable to the majority.
Critical thinking and logic are not the only victims in Nicola’s Scotland. Scotland’s popular sovereignty has now become some form of inconvenience for the Scottish ruling class. For the last 7 years, it has become clear that Sturgeon’s idea of good governance consists in handing everybody else chunks of Scotland’s sovereignty and decision-making power.
Inviting external vested interests to comment about our own bills, inviting the rest of the world to determine what is acceptable as an exercise of self-determination, and to use a franchise which leaves a door open for external interests to frustrate Scotland’s exercise in self-determination are, in practice, handing over chunks of Scotland’s sovereignty.
7 years of nothing worthwhile under Sturgeon’s belt to speak of despite so many majorities and mandates, tell us this person is no pro-indy leader and will never become one. She can be in power for another 7 years and we will be still regretting how many powers and rights she will have lost us and how many years and opportunities she will have wasted us.
If the SNP was an England party, letters of no confidence on such an incompetent leader would have started flying in her direction by the dozen ages ago. Here, whenever you try to bring up in certain political circles just how hopeless this leader has been, you are told that we cannot possibly contemplate the idea of sacking her because she is “the most admired politician in the UK”. Now being admired and tolerated by those who you claim to oppose is something to be proud of. It used to be the opposite. In fact, I am not sure you can define as “admiration” the action of no longer hearing complaints from the opposition because you have effectively abandoned your principles and crossed the floor to the side where those you allegedly oppose sit. I would not call that “admiration”. I would call it “capitulation”.
When gaslighting alone is not sufficient to counteract your critical thinking, along comes the emotional abuse. Apparently, in the eyes of those who call themselves civic nationalists, your refusal to accept the 2014 flawed franchise makes you an “ethnic nationalist”, just like your refusal to accept science denying nonsense and protesting against putting women and girls at risk makes you in the eyes of the trans-lobby machine, a “transphobe”, or not accepting Nicola’s gold standard unicorn makes you “divisive and a unionist”.
To tell you the truth, I am not even sure what the term “ethnic nationalist” is supposed to mean, because as far as I can see the bonds of ethnicity, traditions and heritage can never be separated from the concept of nationhood and being a people. They are the main foundations of it.
But then I do not quite understand where the meaning that the trans-lobby machine gives to the word “transphobe” comes from either. The prefix “trans” comes from the Latin and refers to movement, means to move across, to the other side. The suffix “phobia” comes from the Greek and means fear, panic. Therefore, the word Transphobia strictly speaking should mean “fear to move across to the other side, to change”. Women fighting for their rights and their spaces were never transitioning from something to something else, so strictly speaking I do not quite understand how this word is applicable to them at all. In fact, if we are to respect the strict original meaning that combining the prefix and suffix brings, which should be “fear to move across to the other side”, in my view the word should apply to all those who are stuck in the middle or at the beginning of a trajectory because for whatever reason they fear to continue the trajectory to the end. An example of this would be the males who are desperate to take over female spaces dressed in frocks and who demand others to see them and treat them as women, but who have phobia of going through the full transition because they are far too attached to their beards and male genitalia. It seems to me that besides usurping females’ spaces, this lobby has also helped itself to the Latin prefix “trans”, changed its meaning and just expect that everybody else has to nod and accept it.
As per being called a unionist for rejecting a failed strategy that achieved nothing in 7 years, well, you can only say that who is keeping Scotland in this union is not our criticisms, but rather the apparent phobia the SNP leader has to actually leadto independence.
It sounds like “civic nationalists” are trying to deconstruct the concept of nationhood to give the vote to all those who may come to Scotland from elsewhere; just like Nicola’s fans are trying to deconstruct the concept of independence to be able to accommodate in it devolutionists or those who seek “independence” within the UK; or just like the trans-lobby machine has been attempting to deconstruct the concept of womanhood to be able to accommodate males with beards in it.
It is only by deconstructing the meaning of the word nationhood that you could ever accept that roots, ethnicity, language and heritage are not important parts of a nation. In the same way, it is only by deconstructing the concept of independence that you can accommodate as pro-independence those who only seek a dependent status where Scotland has limited autonomy within the UK. Also in the same way, it is only by deconstructing the meaning of the word “woman” that you could ever accept that men wearing dresses are women.
Common sense tell us the demands of civic nationalists, the trans-lobby and the gold standard enthusiasts are harmful, unreasonable and therefore unacceptable. Only by following a strategy that shuts down our critical thinking, those demands and the demoting of independence down the priority list,could ever become acceptable.
We have the power to frustrate that strategy by refusing to be distracted from independence, by forcing it up in the priority list, by refusing to retreat when under verbal attack and by remaining stubbornly focussed on debunking flawed arguments.
We need to look always below the surface and maintain focus. We have an individual portraying herself as a pro independence leader, despite actively removing the wheels off our main political vehicle for independence and despite being continuously fabricating excuses to avoid moving forward. If a lobby group’s demands appear to collude with this leader’s extremely low appetite for independence and look like they could help her trash, delay or distract us from independence, it probably will.
It is important for us to remember at all times that no political party and no party leader are irreplaceable. SNP and Sturgeon are no exception
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