THE BLOG
07/02/2012 09:23 GMT | Updated 07/04/2012 06:12 BST

Huffing, Puffing and Blowing the UK House Down

The United Kingdom, like all states, is an artificial construct. For some its symbol is the bulldog. The strange thing about the bulldog is that it would die out as a breed if left to its own devices.

The United Kingdom, like all states, is an artificial construct. For some its symbol is the bulldog. The strange thing about the bulldog is that it would die out as a breed if left to its own devices. This is because their heads are so big that the vast majority of them have to be born by cesarean section. Therefore, because of its bigheadedness, it relies on a form of artificial selection to continue, and this makes it a great symbol for the UK.

The idea put forward by Harry Mulligan recently, that the Scottish people are being fed "ill-thought-out patriotism", is exactly correct. However, the ill-thought-out patriotism that they are being fed is coming from those who would keep the UK as one state.

The fact that Scottish independence movement continues to exist and strengthen in the face of an overtly hostile media shows that the motives for it are not confined to a narrow patriotism.

The British media is controlled from London and reflects London's views quite accurately. The corollary of this is that there are several mistakes that people make when they look at the upcoming referendum for Scottish Independence. Mulligan's article yesterday made a good few of them. I'd like to go through them here if I may.

The first and most common is to conflate the Scottish Independence movement with the Scottish National Party. This is done for a variety of reasons and the primary one is laziness. The SNP now have a majority in the Scottish Parliament but polls indicate that in the arena of an independent Scotland many people would be likely to vote for other parties. I am a member of no party but an independence supporter and there are many thousands, possibly hundreds of thousands, like me. Also, other parties in Scotland support independence, such as the Scottish Green Party.

Secondly, using the term "Tartan Tories" to describe the SNP is an old insult and really has no relevance. Maybe it has passed many people by that the SNP have consistently protected social provisions more than the two main UK parties. For example, in England the Tories (and Labour before them) have been inflicting death by a 1000 cuts on the National Health Service whereas in Scotland the Scottish Parliament has protected it. In England and Wales free university education is gone whilst it has been kept in Scotland. It is the Scottish parliament that is protecting these things and more, and London does not look kindly on it.

Another thing unionists often like to talk of is the Second World War (strangely, they often do it at the same time as criticizing independence supporters of harking back to history). They use WW2 as a rallying point - describing how everyone joined together to defeat the forces of fascism and this is then given as an important reason for keeping the union. Leaving aside the fact that Scots were a 3rd of the UK's dead in that war, and that with a 9th of the population, what would prevent an independent Scotland joining with whichever coalition was fighting such a threat?

Furthermore, if the UK's military ventures are destined to be, to use his phrase, "ill-thought-out" economic imperialist ventures into the middle-east - wouldn't Scotland be better off out of it?

And this is the crux of it. Scottish Independence is the only progressive game in town. It would alleviate the democratic deficit that people all over the (dis)United Kingdom suffer from whereby if England votes Conservative then Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland get a government they didn't vote for. It would solve the problem of the West Lothian question (on certain issues Scottish Members of Parliament can vote on English issues but not vice versa) which is a source of annoyance for many in England.

With independence, Scotland could keep its health service, its free education and not get involved in modern imperialist ventures. For me and many others, that short but by no means complete list, is far more important than Britpop, the upcoming Olympics or any historical considerations.

Finally, when Mulligan says "Do we really want to undo this world-beating force in favour of a selfish, scots-centric view of the world" he hoists himself with his own petard. This is "ill-thought-out patriotism" at is finest. It says that we should forget about social provisions and concentrate on being a "world beating force". That's very British-centric isn't it? "WE are going to beat YOU" it says. False assertions such as "Shame on these Nationalists who argue we would be better off alone. Its simply not true and its not the point anyway. Britain is the 'crème de la crème'" speak of the misplaced arrogance of a dying state that lost an empire and is feverishly clutching at straws.

The unionists are trying to blow some life into the dying embers of the UK and unfortunately for them, all that they are producing is hot air.