The Queen has used her Christmas Day broadcast to highlight the importance of reconciliation between opposing sides – from communities in Northern Ireland to those involved in the Scottish Independence referendum.
Given her place at its pinnacle, I suppose it is fitting that the monarch should so clumsily epitomise the British establishment’s total inability to comprehend the nature of what has happened in Scotland over the past couple of years.*
We have had much talk of “reconciliation” from British politicians in Scotland in the months since the independence referendum. Most people, I suspect, recognise this as self-serving cant from those who would prefer that we forget the part they played in Project Fear – the campaign of distortion, deceit and dishonesty by which the people of Scotland were duped into forfeiting the democratic power that they held in their hands for 15 glorious hours on Thursday 18 September 2014 and return that power to the British political elites who are now so desperate to draw a veil over their deplorable conduct.
The Queen’s pious prating on the topic of “reconciliation” is somewhat different. It reflects the attitude of a British establishment which saw in the referendum, not a great exercise in democracy, but a threat to the entrenched power and privilege which defines the British state.
To the ruling elites of the British state, the Yes campaign was not a heartening affirmation of true participative democracy – it was an uprising against the divinely ordained order. Whilst those engaged in the campaign to restore Scotland’s rightful constitutional status gloried in a revival of political engagement and the organic growth of a genuine grass-roots movement, conventional power could only make sense of what was happening by translating it into the language of conflict, revolt and strife. The language of imperial power politics. The language of the British state.
British politicians in Scotland want “reconciliation” so that they can get back to the cosy arrangements which guaranteed them a place in the structures of power and privilege which they like to refer to as “Britiain”. The Queen voices the more general concern of the British establishment as a whole. An arrogant, disdainful concern that those fractious Jocks should stop rocking the boat and get back in their box.
With a casual condescension that lacks any self-awareness, we are being told that we’ve had our wee fling and should now content ourselves with the old order and the old ways.
In the vocabulary of the British establishment, “reconciliation” becomes a euphemism for resigned acquiescence and meek submission.
How little they know. How little they understand.
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