Why I believe in Britain
- Published: Tuesday, 16 September 2014 21:44
UJK Rowling made an influential contribution to the debate on the so-called “rape clause’ by tweeting about it this week to her ten million followers. And BBC journalist Laura Kuenssberg came in for criticism for a tweet accusing the SNP of trying to make political capital out of it. But despite the social media interest, the issue doesn’t seem to have the same traction in England as it does in Scotland. A petition calling for a debate in Westminster has attracted few signatures south of the border, in contrast to an impassioned debate at Holyrood, where all four main parties except the Conservatives oppose it.
Jeremy Corbyn’s opening speech was a bit of a turn-up. Full of energy and passion and with turns of phrase reminiscent of Harry Potter: “the wealth-extractors”. They sound nasty. He is now dashing around Tory marginals, campaigning like a professional.
It came as rather a surprise after the listless, phoned-in performance he turned in over Brexit, and in the House of Parliament, sounding often like a substitute maths teacher gamely - but lamely - filling in for the drama department. Obviously, it’s still unlikely, but it would be ironic if Jeremy Corbyn turned out to be Britain’s next Prime Minister.
It struck me that perhaps the feeble performance at PMQs and elsewhere could have been an act, designed to lure the Tories into calling a snap election, when he would throw off the facade and emerge as a true leader.
Talking to English friends recently, it has become apparent to me that they don't really think that the United Kingdom is in the process of breaking up as a result of Brexit. It will all blow over, they insist, when everyone realises what a great success Brexit is. Things will unfold like England after the Reformation - sure there were difficult times, some beheadings. A massive land grab by the aristocracy. Bloody Mary. But then it all came good under Elizabeth 1. And that is how it will be again. But my perspective as a Scot is pretty clear. Brexit spells the end of the UK. Here’s why:
1 Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland voted to remain in the European Union. So a UK-wide Brexit would mean that for the convenience of the English, Ireland and the European Union would be expected to undertake the trouble and expense of enforcing a border across 300 miles of the island of Ireland. Fuck that for a game of soldiers.
Tonopah, Nevada. Photo: Rob Bruce