You might recall that a few days ago, Labour Hame posed another one of its 'devilishly difficult' questions for nationalists -
"Should California secede from the Union, and are those Californians who wish to remain American guilty of being “anti-Californian”?"
As is always the case, the question quickly received a series of thoughtful and comprehensive answers. Here is just a selection...
Richard Lucas : "...the US has its constitutional arrrangements that seem to suit most Californians, a sizeable percentage of the people of Scotland have some doubts about the current UK situation."
Observer : "You know people don’t think that Scotland should secede just on a whim, & that the pattern should be repeated globally, just on a whim. There are very good reasons why people think that Scotland should secede...I do read posts from cybernats claiming that unionists are anti-Scottish. That is rubbish."
Rory : "The question itself is one that should only really be asked of the Californian people. If they believe that they can create a fairer, happier, more sustainable society by seceding from the US, then surely it would be the right thing to do.
I don’t really see what the second part of the question aims to achieve – it uses a stereotype of nationalism that most right-minded pro-independence thinkers would avoid like the plague. The vast majority of those who wish to remain part of the UK are not anti-Scottish, they simply have different priorities or ideas about what kind of country they want to live in.
The comparison of Scotland with California is also pretty misleading. California is a state, with far more autonomy from federal government than Scotland has from Westminster, and the logical progression from the anti-independence argument implied by this question is a fully federal UK, which I don’t think many unionists particularly want. The question therefore undermines its own agenda."
Paul : "The future of the California should be a matter for the people of California, and the future of Scotland should be a matter for the people of Scotland."
Michelle : "Those who support independence do not label those who believe positively in the UK as anti-Scottish. Nothing wrong with believing in an independent UK over an independent Scotland."
Indy : "Short answer to that – it is up to the Californians."
And of course there was my own succinct answer of "yes, if it wants to, but not if it doesn't" to the first part of the question, and "no" to the second part. And heaven only knows how many other excellent answers failed to make it past the website's random moderation "policy".
Yet, curiously, we learn today from the admin that this question, like all the others before it, remains "unanswered". It begins to call to mind the Spitting Image sketch from 1992 about an experiment to discover "what it takes to get people not to vote Tory", in which a voter is tortured in a succession of increasingly gruesome ways by members of the Tory cabinet, but keeps cheerfully saying "no, I don't think you really meant that, I'm quite prepared to give you another chance". In that spirit, we could perhaps try tying the admin of Labour Hame to a chair, and scream in his ear the answers to his questions...
"Is today Sunday?"
"What's your favourite type of mushroom?"
"Who won the first World Cup in 1930?"
Some minutes later...
"OK, did you hear our answers this time?"
"Didnae hear a thing, pal."