Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Will Ruth Davidson describe John Redwood as "ignorant and petty" for calling the independence movement "anti-English"?

As we all remember, the Nationalist MSP Joan McAlpine set off an almighty storm a couple of months ago by describing opposition parties as "anti-Scottish" for using their in-built majority at Westminster to circumvent the Scottish people's verdict in the Holyrood election. All of those parties excoriated her and demanded her resignation, having first cynically twisted her words to the point where she had supposedly claimed that anyone who disagreed with the SNP was anti-Scottish. The Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson, for instance, described Joan as "ignorant and petty".

Well, we intriguingly now have the mirror image of the misrepresented version of Joan's words from a senior Tory MP. John Redwood has unambiguously dismissed the entire Scottish independence movement as "anti-English" -

"Nationalists in those countries [Scotland and Wales] enjoy using the EU against England. They see that the EU’s continued insouciance to England, refusing it any recognition, is part of the process of weakening and undermining the Westminster government they dislike. It all helps to antagonise the England they wish to leave in a way which might help the change they want. One of the great ironies of the Scottish “independence” movement is it is not truly an independence movement at all. It is a dependence movement, wishing to shift Scotland to Brussels control directly. It is an anti English movement more than it is an independence movement. In bizarre opposition to all the rest of his feelings, Mr Salmond even wants to keep Scotland in the pound under the control of the Bank of England!"

Can we now look forward to Ruth Davidson's scathing thoughts on these comments, or to the deafening silence of another display of moral consistency?

On the 'substance' of Redwood's argument, it's quite difficult to fathom his logic without first understanding the paranoid psyche of the obsessive Tory Eurosceptic. It seems that in his alternative reality, the European Union is already a unitary state, and therefore if Scotland was to become an independent member of the European Union, we'd be directly swapping each and every aspect of our dependence on London for dependence on Brussels. Our wish to do so can thus only be explained by anti-Englishness.

In the real world, as an intelligent man like Redwood knows only too well, Westminster has far more control over our lives than Brussels does. The benefits system. Weapons of mass destruction on our soil. Participation in illegal wars. Broadcasting. Immigration. Even abortion law. Control over all these matters would be repatriated (to use a word Redwood ought to appreciate) to Edinburgh with independence. The powers that Brussels currently exercise would remain where they are, but the difference is that we would have a direct vote in EU institutions, as opposed to Scotland being 'represented' by David Cameron and William Hague!


  1. James

    I am one a several hundred bloggers on Facebook and wonder if you could somehow make it semi-automatic (with some sort of link button to Facebook) so I could link your posts directly into Facebook?

    I did a cut and paste and the link comes up only as an http as opposed to a visual link which is the cas

    e with a number of other blogs. This makes it less likely that people scanning the topics will click on the link.


    James McL

  2. Oh Oh

    Beneath my dialogue frame I found a facebook logo, but in my defence it was sort of greyed out.

    I tried clicking on it and it did link your article into my Facebook Wall but again only in script.

  3. "It all helps to antagonise the England they wish to leave in a way which might help the change they want."

    If he sees it in that light, then it is HE who is petty, not us. That whole mindset doesn't occur to me.

    And I was led to believe that Redwood was intelligent!

    There is, perhaps, a little clue in that quoted sentence about Redwood's whole thinking. He suggests that we want to leave England. One interpretation of these words is that his thinking is that we are at present a part of England. It is the UK from which we want independence, not England.

    I realise that he was talking about independence of Wales as well as Scotland, and it could be that he meant to 'leave England alone'. But that interpretation ignores Northern Ireland's existence.

    Of course, you are completely right about the EU situation. Although Euro-sceptics like Redwood tend to give the impression that Brussels controls everything, there are so many areas where it has no say. And perhaps the most important of these is how we raise our money.

    As for Ruth Davidson apologising: she'll have to wait to find out what David Cameron says to that.

  4. Lupus/James : I think the visual link on Facebook that other bloggers get is a result of them being a member of 'NetworkedBlogs'. I suppose I should look into joining, but I always worry there'll be some sort of hidden downside!

  5. Thanks and greetings from Toulouse, 80 metres from the stand off.