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Oh Scotland! You’ve really let yourself down. You should be ashamed.

30 May 2014

1:41 PM

30 May 2014

1:41 PM

Lord, grant me strength. And serenity. Further evidence emerges that supporters of Scottish independence are losing their minds. Yesterday Iain Macwhirter was in full Can we no do anything right? mode; today it’s the turn of Joyce Macmillan to wallow in self-pity.

Again, you see, the problem with Scotland is that it is full of Scottish people and, golly, some of them hold nasty, inconvenient, dismal views. They are the enemy within. That may sound nastily conspiratorial but, hell, it’s not my view. To wit:

On Monday morning, as the final Euro elections results were being confirmed, I made my way up to the NHS outpost in Lauriston Place in Edinburgh for un ultrasound scan.

I was feeling so traumatised by Scotland’s lapse of judgment in electing a Ukip MEP – and by England’s alarming decision to prefer Nigel Farage and his crew to all other parties – that I found myself peering suspiciously at everyone in the waiting room; the guilty 140,000 Scottish Ukip voters must be somewhere, I reasoned, so why not here?

Traumatised, I tells ya! And feather-footed through the plashy fen passes the progressive vole.

Reader, I cried too. With laughter admittedly, but tears are tears and they were shed in a noble cause.

Of course leftists are always scolding people. But, really, Scotland how could you? You’ve let yourself down this time. Worse, you’ve disappointed me. Electing a Ukip MEP should shame you. It is a lapse in judgement for which, evidently, you are collectively responsible. Worse, the guilty people are everywhere. Even, perhaps, in NHS waiting rooms. You can never be too careful, you know.

As it happens I have no time for Ukip myself. Readers with even short memories may know this. I didn’t vote for Ukip last week but I don’t suppose there’s any point in denying that their success in Scotland has been mightily entertaining. It has appalled all the right people. (It’s also a damn good story and like other hacks I’m in favour of damn good stories.)

Still, the people have spoken. The bastards. Nor, whether one wishes it otherwise or not, is it an aberration. Poor Joyce is so traumatised by Ukip’s success that she quite fails to ask why it might have happened.

Perhaps that’s because the answer might discomfort her or anyone else who believes in the myth of a saintly progressive Scotland. So, for the benefit of slow learners, here we go again: a third of Scots wish to leave the european union. Nearly 70 per cent favour sharply restricting immigration. And almost 70 per cent want a ‘tougher’ line taken on benefit-spending. A benefits cap is favoured by around 80 per cent of Scots and nearly three quarters think the unemployed should be made to work for their giro cheques.

This may be unfortunate and the bloody people may be mistaken but, awkwardly, this is what they actually think. That being the case it is neither surprising nor horrifying that a party such as Ukip – non-keen on the EU, less than chuffed by immigration – should do reasonably well. The people aren’t being conned or hoodwinked into voting for Ukip; Ukip are merely meeting a demand for that kind of politics.

The delusions don’t stop there, alas. You see:

Given the mixture of scare-mongering and condescension offered by the No campaign so far […] it becomes increasingly clear that a No vote in September may well be something of a tragedy for Scotland, carte blanche to an arrogant British establishment to continue to strip our assets, and to treat us with the contempt they will feel we have deserved.

I know it’s rude to call this sort of thing scare-mongering but isn’t it just a tiny bit scare-mongerish? Condescending guff, too. There’s also something a trifle arrogant about writing as though you’re The Voice of the People at the same time as you deplore what you hear from the actual people themselves.

And, again, there is the paranoia and the familiar, fond determination to treat Scotland as a victim. Some parts of the left insist upon this so much and so often that you begin to think they like and even need the idea. Poor Scotland! So small! So weak! So liable to be pillaged by vicious neoliberal thugs streaming over the border! They may already be in our waiting rooms, who knows where else they may lurk? Lock up your daughters, Caledonia.

Worse, the British state (of which we are of course a part) is somehow, albeit mysteriously, stripping our assets? Come off it. (And at the same time of course this isn’t a Scotland vs England thing. Not at all.) The Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrats all treat Scotland with so much contempt they each think her wee parliament should enjoy greater powers and more responsibility. When-oh-when will they cease being so beastly?

Only, it seems, a Yes vote can protect Scotland. To vote differently is an act of hari-kari all the more plangent for being so unnecessary. Certainly no decent Scot could have any honourable or honest reason for disagreeing with the High Priestesses of Progressive Scotchness.  More epistemic closure, really.

Of course there are problems that need addressing but it’s not as though the soft-left Scottish consensus hasn’t had a chance to solve them. It’s only enjoyed 15 years in government, after all. Perhaps the fault lies less in the tools (or levers!) than in how they have been used?

But, hey, the people are ghastly and they need re-educating. When that happens they will see clearly and wash themselves of their sins. Until then we shall remain traumatised by the horrifying revelation not everyone agrees with us. Democracy sucks, right?

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