Is it still good news when Tony Blair agrees with us? From Tom Nairn’s prediction of Britain’s break-up in 1977 to Tony Blair’s forty years later with a bit of Gerry Hassan’s Trump/Brexit theory in between.

‘Tony Blair: Case for Scottish independence “much more credible” due to Brexit’

This is a headline from CommonSpace on 17th February 2017 above a great big photo of the beast itself. I really hate tony Blair. It’s a full-blown war criminal with the blood of thousands on its hands. The mainstream media have clearly got over it all and his prediction is all over the place. Repulsive though he may be, he has been very successful, winning elections and making money and getting jobs he’s clearly unfit for so maybe his opinion is savvy. I’m conflicted.

Here’s an excerpt from what Commonspace published:

‘TONY BLAIR, the former UK and Labour Prime Minister, has said the context for the pro-Scottish independence case is “much more credible” after the Brexit vote.’

‘He made the remarks during a speech on Brexit which he stated had the potential to accelerate the break-up of the UK and fasten Scottish independence. The break-up of the UK is now back on the table but this time with a context much more credible for the independence case…..We are already seeing the destabilising impact of worry over border arrangements on the Northern Ireland peace process.’

Is that the correct use of the word ‘fasten?’ He’s certainly right that the Irish border dilemma causes all sorts of knock-on effects. Why no separate immigration policy for Scotland? Why the threats of a hard border for us? Blow up parts of England and you get better treatment?

Introducing Tom Nairn, prophet of the break-up of Britain

‘If there is a single writer and thinker who has set the movement for an independent Scotland in the larger picture of a failing ‘Ukania’ and the rising place of civic nationalism within globalisation, it is without doubt, Tom Nairn.’

In Open Democracy on 13th September, Anthony Barnett reminded us of the man who had predicted the break-up of ‘Ukania’ as he put it, forty years ago. Barnett says of Tom Nairn:

‘His wake up call to Scotland was a basso profondo within a wider chorus. His wake up call to my country, England, strikes a few lonely echoes against a stony reception – even when his diagnosis of the deep hysteria of the British elite is so well observed. Yet everyone in London who reads about politics is uneasily aware that he is the author of The Break-Up of Britain. The first to see it coming. And it is coming, in one way or another… You can excuse his impatience for that book was published getting on for forty years ago – way before you were born! But his seeing further and better has not stopped him from continuing to engage with the way that breathing fossil, the British constitution, “a Coelacanth” Tom calls it, is actually lived – and how its history, interests and ideologies continue to entrap us.’

Nairn was one of the first to point to the kind of civic as opposed to ethnic nationalism we were to see in Serbia, Croatia and Bosnia in the 90s and characterise it as more a form of anti-imperialism and of anti-neo-liberalism. The inclusive form of contemporary Scottish Nationalism is a classic form of civic nationalism. I know it wasn’t always so. The progressive social and economic policies of the SNP, though not perfect, do represent an attempt to resist the brutality of neo-liberalism and there is evidence of some success in this in my last piece and some earlier ones. Nairn saw all the former ‘great’ empires collapsing and fragmenting into the original cluster of small countries many of whom get on fine now.  One of the earlier break-ups, the Austro-Hungarian Empire (Austria, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia), has no conflict. The British Empire has already fragmented into numerous independent countries. None seek re-union. It’s worth a look at this to see the astonishing list:

I can’t see quickly just how many there were but Britain did at one point invade 90% of the countries in the world.

So there’s nothing unusual about Scotland leaving. It’s a popular trend. It’s normal.

The day Britain died: Brexit, Trump and Scottish independence. The Article 50 vote meant the end of Britain as we know it. Everyone needs to come to terms with what that means.

Less well known than Blair, Gerry Hassan wrote a piece on 17th February 2017 supporting the view that the break-up is coming. He wrote:

Last week a Rubicon was crossed as the House of Commons voted 494 to 122 – a government majority of 372 – to give a third reading to triggering Article 50. Just as seriously on the same day – Wednesday February 8th 2017 – the UK government reneged on its promise to take 3,000 child refugees (what was called the Dubs amendment) and slashed the number to 350. If that wasn’t enough the Commons at the same time voted to refuse to offer any guarantees to EU citizens living in the UK: content to use them as pawns in a high power poker game. It is going to be difficult for many in Scotland, and for many ‘openDemocracy’ readers, but Britain is over. There is no way back. Last week the very idea of Britain as outgoing, welcoming, doing the right thing, looking after the most vulnerable and being driven by a sense of humanity, was not only trashed but finally and fatally died.

Hassan goes on to reject the notion that the Trump and Brexit wins means you don’t need a detailed highly rational case to be made for Scottish independence any more using the case made by  Iain Macwhirter in the ‘Sunday Herald’ that independence should do the same:

‘He suggested that ‘not very much’ more work should be done on independence, and instead ‘the Scottish Government should produce a short statement, more like the American Declaration of Independence’. That is an understandable statement in the age of populism and rage against elites.’


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s