Siobhan Tolland: Social democracy or corporate fascism? Choose your path, Scotland


CommonSpace columnist Siobhan Tolland says UK Prime Minister Theresa May has shown her true colours after deals with the US and Turkey

IT’S been a good week for the fascists and a bad week for everyone else. 

Donald Trump is speeding up his racist segregation and shutting down the borders like, well, like the unstable, nuke-wielding fascist he really is. It’s an extremely difficult part of history to sit by and watch, feeling helpless.

Here in the UK, of course, the unionist media acted like Theresa May’s visit to said fascist made her Captain Scott or something, like we’d just discovered life on Saturn and she was off to meet with its supreme being. 

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While that scenario might explain a few things about ‘the Donald’, my take is somewhat different. It looked more like a bad gangster movie with Trump as the dodgy coke dealer and May as the desperate addict.

It’s not an exaggeration to say the English Empire is in deep shit. A Brexit no one expected, let alone prepared for, has left the UK out in the cold of the EU. The Conservatives’ obsession with a racist segregation through “control of immigration” means they are losing access to their biggest market. This leaves the UK in an economic vacuum.

And so, desperate for a trade deal, May visits Trump for the post-EU fix. And amid her negotiation, what’s happening? Well, Trump announces he is building a wall to keep Mexicans out and tells them if they don’t pay for it they can f*** off.

He censors scientific research. He bullies the media and tells them to shut up. He is bulldozing (literally) oil pipelines, bulldozing women’s and indigenous peoples’ rights. Hell, everyone’s rights! 

He bans war-torn vulnerable Syrians from entry into the US, as well as muslims – even with green cards. And then there is the weekly list of crimes committed by foreigners – what type of foreigner is yet to be decided. So all this is buzzing around the globe while May and Trump get down to business. 

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Andrew Marr reflected the opinion of the Conservative government and mainstream media when he said we just have to do a deal with Trump – for the sake of our future prosperity. Think about this. This government believes that the UK must make a trade deal with Trump no matter what he does. And that is the UK that Scotland is tied to. We need a deal and so we must remain silent. 

An anonymous government source muttered that May wasn’t too keen on the muslim ban, but “fight them on the beaches” resistance this was not. It was more a “erm, well maybe it’s a kinda, sorta a wee bit naughty Donald”. He still gets his state visit, though, but he’s only coming if he can snub Prince Charles – for crying out louf.

So where does this leave Scotland? The UK’s removal from the EU market and its focus on America for trade has significant economic, political and cultural consequences for us. It will decide the country we will become. So a very important question now arises: would you rather Scotland has closer ties with Trump’s worldview rather than the European worldview?

This is not an academic choice for us now. If we do a deal with Trump, we do a deal with unprecedented and pure corporate fascism. Naomi Klein is correct when she says America is experiencing a corporate coup. The cabinet is a who’s who of corporate power peppered with creationists and fascists. 1

This is no usual deal. It’s the UK dealing with absolute corporate power posing as government. In terms of our social services and our sense of social responsibility, how do we think that might work out? The hint that the English NHS would be opened up to American corporatism perhaps answers that question.

Read more – Tories face backlash: Over one million people say Donald Trump not welcome for state visit

And it’s not even just Trump. After meeting him, May shot off to an increasingly violent dictator of Turkey to do an arms deal with him. 

“Thursday: meet fascist for trade deal – tick. Saturday: meet violent dictator for arms deal – tick.” This is what we are now tied to. Morality has been stripped clean from the UK’s global worldview.

So where does Scotland go now? Robin McAlpine talked about needing a story for winning independence. Well, I propose a good time honoured morality tale. The hero versus villain nearly worked last time, he stated. 2

If we are comfortable with the US building a wall because Trump doesn’t like Mexico and honing in on and demonising Muslims, or if we can stomach Trump approving torture and threatening people who stand against him in the UN, then fine. Let’s just throw our lot in with a UK desperately trying to tie itself to it. Let’s just sell our soul to the Dei’l and be part of the Trump/May corporate fascism that unfolds.

But if we want our nation to have some sense of moral compass then we need to consider another way. If we want to preserve our social contract of an NHS, free education and welfare support and not have it forced into the hands of corporate America, then we need to take radical steps to preserve it. 

If we don’t want our citizens to live in fear – all types of fear – then we establish a state based on principles of peace, respect and diversity.

Corporate fascism or social democracy? You choose. I’m going to fight for the happy ending.

Picture courtesy of Karl-Ludwig Poggemann

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