Sunday, October 27, 2019

Neal Ascherson says Brexit threatens the Union

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Neal Ascherson, one of my favourite political commentators, writes in the Guardian:
Theresa May went around preaching about "our precious, precious union". This puzzled me, given massive English indifference. Ask somebody in Durham or Exeter why the union matters, and you get a blank stare, a shrug and perhaps a mumble. 
Then I understood: it wasn’t Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland that was "precious" to her, but "the union" in the abstract – a sort of legitimising halo hovering over Westminster’s anointed. It's a cult confined to Britain’s ruling caste and, of course, to Scottish and Irish unionists who genuinely have something to lose. 
The "great rest of England" seem to have felt for many years that if the Scots want to leave, "it seems a pity but it’s their right". Few southerners would feel diminished.
And he concludes:
If England in 2019 can no longer remember why the union with Scotland and Northern Ireland once made sense, Brexit has delivered the United Kingdom to the hospice of history.
No country last for ever - read Norman Davies' Vanished Kingdoms if you doubt me - and I suspect that one day soon the Scottish Liberal Democrats will have to start thinking about what a liberal Scotland would look like rather than just defending the union.

1 comment:

David Evans said...

Don't worry. Once we are out of the EU, we can then aim to get out of the UK as well. So long as we move fast, we can apply for English self determination and leave all the National Debt to the Scots, Welsh and Irish.