I was struck by an interesting turn of phrase quoted overnight in an article from the British state broadcaster’s news page, on the subject of Brexit, by Arch-Tory Michael Gove.
Gove, one of the stalwarts of the anti-euro brigade, along with Boris the Mayor of Trumpton, Farage and Chris Grayling (truly a beneficent bunch indeed) is due to say in a speech later, today presumably, that the United Kingdom leaving the European Union would be a “galvanising, liberating, empowering moment of patriotic renewal.”
An interesting and emotive use of language there. A statement which highlights the enormous great, Hannibal’s ancient cavalry sized, elephant that’s in the room that is called the UK, one that needs to be large enough to pull Boudica’s chariot round a foreign battlefield. Mind you if Farage and this lot got their way I think she’d be going back to being called Boadicea and have her romanticised image portrayed in statue form from Calcutta to Clapham once again.
Does anyone remember at any time, any time at all, before, during or after the 2014 referendum, where that ‘evil nationalist” Alex Salmond, or his ‘vile separatist side-kick’ Nicola Sturgeon mentioned patriotism being anything to do with Scotland’s quest for democratic self-determination? Nope, me neither. So much for Scottish nationalism.
However there is indeed a problem with nationalism in the UK. That nationalism is British nationalism, a nationalism which is so deeply entrenched and entwined within the establishment that control that group of countries that many don’t even notice that it is there, or if they are conscious of it don’t see it as significant.
This nationalism is xenophobic and isolationist in nature, public opinion being manipulated very ably by daily news headlines from their media organs stoking up hatred and suspicion of foreigners.
Above all else, and worryingly, this nationalism continues in the 21st century to be elitist, promoting an image of superiority. In fact I’m sure some, from a privileged background, who support the likes of UKIP, or who are on the extreme right of the Tories, will have relatives a couple of generations ago who were part of the aristocracy and elite who at some point or other had sympathies of varying degrees for one or two of the abhorrent dictators of the mid last century and their British fascist sop Baronet Oswald Mosley.
Even more worryingly current polls, the most recent for the Telegraph in the last couple of days, show that there is only a 10% gap in favour of the UK remaining in the European UnIon at the moment. 40 odd percent of voters across Britain are listening to this lot, and taking them seriously.
As far as I’m concerned that is yet another good reason for Scotland to get the hell out of Dodge City as soon as Scottish voter opinion and practicality allows.