I was surprised last night to come across a tweet from a prominent historian insinuating that the independence movement in Scotland was neither progressive nor liberal.
It seems extraordinary to me that any educated person can’t – or won’t – recognise parallels between 2018 Britain and the darker forces on the rise in the 1930s. My own history degree may come from a university in the American south and not a fancy British one, but it seems to me that the academic in question is tweeting up the wrong tree: Scotland’s clear and growing desire to reject these ‘values’ is definitely progressive and explicitly liberal.
To put Scotland’s position in context, let’s take a look at what the UK government has been up to lately. Do any of these policies sound liberal or progressive to you?
Ditching friends and partners and running into the arms of DJT in the hope of a trade deal.
Bowing and scraping to the crown prince of Saudi Arabia in order to sell more weapons so more innocent civilians can be murdered in Yemen.
State visits for dictators such as Erdogan just so Liam Fox can stay in a job.
Deporting British citizens to countries they’ve never even visited.
Starving the NHS of money and ensuring its EU workers feel unwelcome.
Calling non-nationalists ‘citizens of nowhere’.
Planning to lower animal welfare standards by refusing to acknowledge animals are sentient beings.
Renewing nuclear weapons and storing them near a rather large population base despite the objections of that population.
Pursuing the hardest Brexit possible to copy UKIP and placate future UKIP defectors who will inevitably run once this silly, doomed policy fails.
Ignoring the will of the devolved parliaments and attempting to snatch their powers in order to sign trade deals with the despots mentioned above.
Gerrymandering the vote by redrawing lines and demanding voter IDs.
Cozying up to the climate change deniers and creationists of the DUP, giving them £1 billion, and going so far as to make one a lord in an attempt to stuff the upper house purely to pass a crooked agenda.
Planning to enact sneaky laws to allow fracking while slashing environmental standards.
Becoming hysterical instead of welcoming refugees who desperately need our help.
If our tweeting academic were to ask anyone who’s recently written, spoken or marched in favour of Scottish independence where any of these policies stand on the progressive/liberal spectrum, he might – albeit belatedly – learn a few things about the independence movement.
I also have a question I’m sure his historical background will help him answer: If you lived in an independent country with an autonomous parliament, no arms trade, no nuclear weapons, high environmental standards, a welcoming attitude toward refugees, a world-class universal health service, a decent standard of living for all citizens, and a seat at the table of the world’s largest trading bloc, would you be clamouring trash it all to enter into a union with the Brexit Britain of 2018?