Loosely following on from my previous post, a Twitter exchange between Tory Hoose's very own version of "Admin" and Lib Dem blogger Gavin Hamilton drew my attention to a post by Gavin in which he ponders the way forward for the Tories, but also gives a special mention to left-leaning Nats -
"Finally, I have noticed that some Nationalists argue they want to defeat poverty and bring about social justice in the modern Scotland - but the only way this can be done is in an Independent Scotland. How can this be so? The reason it can be so is that England keeps on imposing alien Conservative regimes on Scotland who are against such left of centre agendas. Indeed, making sure we do not have a Conservative regime enforced on us period, is a key driver for having Independence.
This strikes me as most unhealthy reasoning. There is absolutely no reason why we should not achieve these laudable aims as part of the UK. This reasoning is getting dangerously close to a basic anti-English sentiment which never lies far beneath the surface with some nationalists."
I wouldn't describe Gavin's own logic here as "unhealthy" so much as utterly baffling and in dire need of elucidation. There is "absolutely no reason" for thinking that we can't pursue a left-of-centre agenda as part of UK - except, of course, for the excellent reason Gavin has just given himself, namely that the UK electorate keep on electing right-of-centre governments (of both the Tory and Labour varieties) and that there is absolutely nothing Scots can do to change that within the context of the United Kingdom, due to our having less than a tenth of the population. For Gavin to demonstrate that he understands this reasoning so thoroughly, but then to wildly assert that anyone who adheres to it is "dangerously close" to being anti-English, simply isn't good enough. We need to know why.
Let me try a counter-example here. Suppose there was a serious proposal for the UK to withdraw from the EU, the Council of Europe and the European Convention on Human Rights, and instead become the 51st state of the USA. One of the consequences of that would be the instant reintroduction of the death penalty - because even citizens in US states that have abolished capital punishment are still subject to the federal and military death penalties. Now I could easily argue that there is "absolutely no reason" why the UK can't be just as free of the death penalty as part of the US as it currently is as part of the EU. It's simply a matter of "winning the argument" at US-wide level, I could say. And every single person would know that is a fundamentally deceitful claim, because the argument is essentially unwinnable in the US, at least for the foreseeable future. By choosing to join the US, we'd be aligning ourselves to a completely different political culture, one that would render absolutely inevitable the return of judicial murder to these shores.
I trust that, as a good Lib Dem, Gavin would think that in itself was a good enough reason to argue against taking such a step. But would that make him "anti-American"? And if not, why not?