Friday, 28 October 2016

Identity Politics

We are told that in the aftermath of the European Referendum Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish First Minister, felt deprived of part of her identity. This, it seems, caused her to think about how 'No' voters in Scotland might feel if ever those favouring independence gained a majority.

Perhaps it would be a good idea to think on this again before stirring up another dose of the tribalism that attended the first Scottish Referendum. In many cases this internecine hostility has yet to subside, at least partly because the demagoguery employed by the 'Yes' campaign was so shameless.

A second concern is clearly illustrated by the aftermath of both the Scottish and the EU Referenda; the losers won't give up. Just as nationalists will not accept the decision of the Scottish majority, so Remainers will not accept that the UK is leaving the EU. Some are conducting more or less open guerrilla warfare, for example claiming that parliament (with its large Remain majority) must be able to supervise the withdrawal negotiations or re-interpreting the referendum to claim that the vote did not require the UK to leave the Single Market. Ms Sturgeon claims that the UK majority cannot impose its will on the Scottish majority who voted to remain.

Withdrawal would be far easier and more likely to achieve prosperity if it enjoyed wholehearted public support; anyone can see that. But of course it does not. Remoaners even continue to allege that Leavers were too stupid to understand what they were voting for and hence their votes should not be respected.

I suspect that any majority which might in future be obtained for Scottish independence will never be overwhelming. How would the nationalists respond to almost half the population resisting the result of such a referendum?

I may have lived more than half my life in Scotland but I am British. I shall remain British. My British citizenship is integral to my identity. I shall not be deprived of it by any law passed in Edinburgh.