It's hard to draw satisfaction from the inevitable conclusion of any fox hunt, so instead I'll turn my attention to the very interesting exchange that's been going on over at Better Nation in response to Pete Wishart's article urging Labour to embrace independence. In particular, this contribution from Labour blogger Aidan caught my eye -
"That’s the crux of this – no particular constitutional state is sustainable in the long term.
Scottish political history both before and after the union of the crowns and then the Act of Union has been one of constant flux, change, revolution, revolt, counter revolution and altering the balance of power between the people, the church and the crown(s).
The best results have come from considered changes which have occurred on a gradual time scale allowing time for review, reflection and revision. That’s what devolution offers."
What Aidan seems to be saying is that it's literally beyond the wit of man to comprehensively devise the best constitutional arrangements for Scotland right now - we instead have to rely on the 'wisdom of centuries' to know better than us, meaning we can never stray too far from the status quo. Any presumptions to the contrary could lead to disaster.
If that's in any way representative of Labour's instincts on the constitutional question, it's rather telling. Dare I suggest that if the arch-conservative theorist Edmund Burke was alive and living in Scotland, he'd find his spiritual home at John Smith House?
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Also incredibly sad to see the thread start with Duncan Hothersall brazenly claiming that the SNP's civic nationalism is "fundamentalist anti-Englishness" in disguise, before hurriedly and unconvincingly 'clarifying' what he had meant in a subsequent comment -
"And I did not say the SNP was anti-English. My point was that they are careful to mask the anti-English sentiment that drives much of the support for nationalism. Of course the SNP as a party is not anti-English. But there is significant anti-Englishness in the ranks of their supporters."
Nice try, Duncan, but I cannot see any way of reconciling that 'clarification' with the words you originally used. A gentle reminder to unionists - you can try to slip in these false and offensive allegations of anti-English racism as casually as you like, but they'll never go unchallenged. Never.