SEVERAL commentators have described Brexiteer Conservatives and members of the public who back Boris’s no-deal aim, as “English Nationalists”. To a certain extent I can understand that, writes Helen Martin.
They don’t want to be in the EU, and certainly the English public have been polled happily accepting Scottish independence because they see England as the UK. They resent having to negotiate or be obliged to form agreements, except for global trade deals. All that is something of a “national” trait.
But it’s a very different form of nationalism compared to that of the Scottish National Party. The SNP’s and Scotland’s desire is to stay in the EU, a group of countries who each run themselves but feel strengthened and supported by their continental membership.
It’s the ability to work together, to have so many alliances, a single market, and an acceptance of different cultures, histories, languages, and customs, with freedom of movement, access to health, employment and education, that appeals to Scotland.
All of that is loathed by Brexiteers. They want to stick to their own culture, history, language, etc. They don’t want free movement and “immigrants”. Their history is about power, taking over other countries around the world, and being seen as a superior empire and profiteer as a result. They have calmly accepted that most of those countries have regained independence, but there is no tolerance of anyone, ever, taking over Britain. That’s how they see the EU – as being an exploitative ruling empire like Britain once was.
Brexiteers have constant anger towards the EU because they see it as an enemy. They are convinced the EU is trying to give the UK a bad deal and that it is impossible trying to negotiate with someone with whom you feel at economic war.
Having joined the EU in the first place, become an inbuilt part of it, signed up to a variety of mutual benefits and sharing mutual “house-keeping” and bills, opting to leave it is, of course, an upsetting divorce experience.
Brexiteers don’t want to pay the money they owe, they don’t want to work together on the maintenance, safety and happiness of the “children” in Ireland when one is staying with the EU, the other with the UK.
The EU has approved divorce/withdrawal deals which still allow forms of trading, exporting, importing and securing EU citizens living in the UK and vice versa. They’ve accepted extensions and been willing to discuss with any UK representatives. Even now they still hope for some civilised parting.
Brexiteers want none of that. They want to walk away from the “marriage”, care about nothing and start again as a singleton.
That’s the problem Scotland faces and why SNP and independence support is growing faster than ever. Scotland is one of the long-time ago taken-over countries that has not achieved independence.
When Britain and Ireland were all in the EU, leaving the UK wasn’t such a serious need. Getting stuck in the UK under the Westminster Government without the EU is terrifying.
The UK Government sees Scotland as one of its “regions”. It ignores our nationality, doesn’t understand our culture, our very different mindset, our need for fellow European and international citizens, and sees our industries and assets as its own.
There is a real risk, especially if Tories retain existence and are in power in future, that our devolved Government could be dissolved.
Tories or Brexit supporters will disagree with all of this – and that is my point. With such incompatible ways of looking at the EU, we can no longer live together. The only answer for Scotland is independence and EU membership.