We’ve all heard and read about British Unionists Nationalists playing the Orange Card to protect the ‘Union’ as Ireland reached its penultimate struggle for independence in the early 1900s but now the Conservative Party is playing a Red Card to defend the ‘Union’ – and to an American audience. The failed Scottish Tory-leader Annabel Goldie has claimed to the American news media that an independent Scotland would be,
…a left-of-centre, socialist administration with already well articulated views on issues like nuclear — Trident (nuclear missiles) or nuclear energy — and very strong views on social issues … all sorts of views which are somewhat alien to the American ethos.
There is much more of this in a lengthy, mixed MSNBC report entitled, Scotland to split from UK and ‘be a nation again’?
How long, I wonder, before the desperation of the British nationalist parties, Tory, Labour and Lib-Dem, makes them take up the Orange Card as a way of stoking communal strife in Scotland to forestall independence. Unlikely in this era? People thought the same in the ‘civilized’ political ethos of early 20th century Britain but the likes of the Churchills and other Tory grandees were only too happy to see anarchy and bloodshed on the streets if it meant the continued integrity of their United Kingdom.
Let the Scots take warning. The referendum for independence is only the first step in a long and difficult process (and even that basic expression of democracy, a referendum, is being threatened by the qualifying diktats of London politicians and civil servants). Hopefully any future Scottish Revolution will be an entirely bloodless one. But if it means ‘saving’ the United Kingdom from a fatal fissure, there are many in the British establishment who will do to Scotland in the early part of the 21st century what they did to Ireland in the early part of the 20th century.
If that happens what 1916 will save Scottish nationhood and democracy? Or will it simply fade into the past, subsumed again under the Greater England that hides behind the façade of the United Kingdom?
On a slightly more optimistic note, if there is a Scottish Revolution, perhaps this will be one of its voices?