we can only save the union if the union adds value

Mark Ferguson says this today:

[…] many within the Labour movement find themselves in a strange position on Scottish Independence. Intellectually and emotionally they find themselves on the same side as a Tory PM whom they dislike intensely. That creates a tension between those two strongly held positions, and encourages snark whenever the PM has anything to say on the union. It causes many of us to say that Cameron should “butt out” of the debate, that his every intervention is counterproductive and that it’d be better if he never spoke or thought the word Scotland ever again.

He suggests, in carefully wrought argument, that we need to work with David Cameron in order to save the union in question.  Despite his caveats, also well listed, I think he’s got it wrong.  David Cameron, more than anyone, has led a government which has served to devalue this union.  It’s a union only worth saving if it actually adds value.  And as Westminster’s creatures rule evermore cack-handedly, from on high and with scant regard for the human rights that maybe this union could once have represented (in what obviously could have emerged as post-colonial times), it hardly looks right now as if it adds any real kind of substance to our lives.

From its abuse of the disabled and the sick to its simultaneous persecution of the working-poor, its obviation of any administrative instinct to pursue big-time fraud and its kow-towing to (bad) big business interests (they’re not, by any means, all bad) in matters such as the NHS care.data scandal now unrolling and unravelling before us, we clearly have all the reasons on the table, whatever our political beliefs, not to trust in the good faith of this historical construct that currently binds so many cultures together in one.

Where Mark is right is in his observation that many in Labour will be conflicted.  But not, I suspect, because we find ourselves on Cameron’s side in this debate.  Rather, because we are beginning to feel that, at one of history’s occasional tipping-points, whilst in public we might still – even now – wish for union, in private those of us who don’t make a living off Westminster, who in fact “live up [that distant and – for example – frackable] north” and suffer quite plainly the consequences of Tory misrule, can only find it in ourselves to agree that the idea of independence from Tory London – or, by now, even any political colour of London – is just about the best option for the future.

For (the rest of) England, I mean – just in case you didn’t get my drift.

Primarily because we’ve given up all hope that any kind of renewal in Westminster will mean any (real) kind of renewal elsewhere.  Governance is like that.  Wherever you find yourself, that’s what you fight for.  I don’t blame Londoners for leaving us only the scraps.  I blame the system which leaves all the top tables in London.

That, I think, is what will drive Scottish independence if it happens.

And that, perhaps, is what more than one member of the Labour movement may begin to wonder mightn’t be a good thing for the rest of the UK too – even as it mightn’t also be the real cause, site and driver for all our conflicted souls.

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