Mark McNaught: Theresa May’s only ‘precious bond’ is a golden chain leash

19/07/2016
angela

Dr Mark McNaught says Prime Minister Theresa May's comments on the UK union have little meaning

PERHAPS sensing the impending demise of the UK over Scotland’s constitutional status within the EU and the UK, Theresa May opined in her first remarks as prime minister outside 10 Downing Street last Wednesday.

"The full title of my party is the Conservative and Unionist party and that word unionist is very important to me. It means we believe in the union, the precious, precious bond between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland," she said.

While it is touching that she and the Tories 'believe in' the union, belief is all that is left holding the UK together; any 'precious bonds' forged on solidarity, civic engagement and common purpose were broken long ago. The only bond that remains is the chain leash, blithely depicted on the Royal Seal. 

While it is touching that she and the Tories 'believe in' the union, belief is all that is left holding the UK together; any 'precious bonds' forged on solidarity, civic engagement and common purpose were broken long ago.

At least the monarchy entertains no pretence that Scotland is in the UK willingly. While its artistic candour is refreshing, Scotland has been shackled to Westminster symbolically and literally since 1707, unable to express itself politically, exercise self-determination, and build a nation reflective and worthy of its people.

From the Act of Union of 1707 marking the extinction of Scotland as an independent nation, through the Second World War, these 'precious bonds' were genocidal British imperial ventures. In the name of God, the monarch, and the empire, populations throughout the globe were ravaged and enslaved, extracting their wealth to be sent to London, and the raw materials sent to factories to make into products to be sold and taxed for the enrichment of the aristocracy.

As with the construction of so many Westphalian states, the building of the UK state involved the cultural and linguistic genocide of the Scottish people, in addition to the Irish and many others. The Highland Clearances uprooted thousands of Scots from their traditional lands, which were simply given to the Norman Nobility to exploit as they chose, imposing their own brand of barbaric feudalism for which they are so justifiably notorious. 

Gaelic was outlawed, and speaking English became a prerequisite to achieving any kind of higher social status or employment. Scots played a disproportionately large and integral role in the Empire compared with the rest of the UK, and Scotland became its industrial firmament. 

The shipbuilding industry, locomotive works, steelworks, coalmines, and many other industries provided the equipment necessary to maintain the empire, and Scots were largely the managers and administrators.

This led to a great exodus of ambitious Scots from Scotland; hundreds of thousands sought their fortune elsewhere, as there was little opportunity at home. Scots increasingly became a migratory people, uprooted from their land, maintaining a deep affection for their country and people, yet unable to return to build a life of comparable prosperity to that which they enjoyed elsewhere.

In the aftermath of World War II, and the development of true social, universal UK institutions such as the NHS, unemployment benefits, and decent retirement systems, the UK was finally able to develop a credible basis for legitimacy and cohesion. 

In my view, this marked the apex of UK unity, when the government actually took an active interest in the well-being of its people, and took collective political and institutional action to achieve it.

While its artistic candour is refreshing, Scotland has been shackled to Westminster symbolically and literally since 1707, unable to express itself politically, exercise self-determination, and build a nation reflective and worthy of its people.

Alas, this was not to last, as only 30 years later the Thatcher government began the dismantling of all that made UK governmental institutions a positive influence in the lives of the many, reverting to the historical norm of exclusively favouring the entrenched privileged few. 

What could have been a durable welfare state which could help assure the well-being of its citizens for generations to come, became a historical aberration, with the UK decomposing into its rotten, feudal structure of privilege and sadistic contempt for the less privileged.

The Blair government initially offered some hope for a renewed sense of civic optimism, which was killed on the bloody sands of Iraq, then buried in the 'third way' graveyard. 

Needless to say, the late Cameron government did not offer any more hope of constructing a cogent UK-wide civic identity, which is invariably necessary to forge the requisite 'precious bonds' to maintain a cohesive society. Without a strong civic identity, there is nothing holding the UK together, except coercion, lies, and demagogy.

It is in this context that Theresa May is attempting to maintain the corrupt feudal UK constitutional status quo. The Tories have been openly contemptuous of Scots and Scottish aspirations at least since Thatcher. The only bonds with Scotland they value are a parking lot for Trident, and billions in oil and whiskey revenue. 

The Scottish people themselves are a derided afterthought, and Tory social policy actively seeks to diminish and impoverish them. One of the major arguments to vote No in the 2014 referendum was that leaving the UK would mean leaving the EU, which was seen by many voters as a dangerous leap into the unknown. 

From the Act of Union of 1707 marking the extinction of Scotland as an independent nation, through the Second World War, these 'precious bonds' were genocidal British imperial ventures.

One reason arguably was that the EU was seen as a moderating force over the UK, which could restrain the Tories from completely destroying UK societal cohesion. During the Brexit referendum campaign, the possibility of the UK leaving the European Convention on Human Rights was openly discussed. After the Brexit vote, it will be openly sought. 

Any moderating force the EU ever had over the UK will be removed, leaving corporate fascism to definitively take over UK governing institutions.

So what 'precious bonds' can Theresa May point to when attempting to preserve the union? Other than a golden chain shackling a unicorn by the neck to the ground on the Royal Seal, nothing.

The unity of the UK is extinguished. Independence is nigh.

Picture courtesy of Number 10

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