Trump win reiterates that the UK is ove

Posted By: November 14, 2016

 Marianne Taylor. HeraldScotland. Monday, Novemberr 14, 2016

IT was enough, as my mum would say, to put you off your porridge. I speak, of course, of yesterday’s nauseating picture of the beaming Donald Trump and Nigel Farage giving the world the thumbs up. Farage was the first British politician the president elect chose to meet and the body language said it all: brothers in arms.

But should we actually be worried by the sight of Don and Nige getting intimate? Surely Farage doesn’t represent the UK in any meaningful way or have any real influence?

Granted, it can be hard to work out the meaning of anything these days. But this picture is particularly chilling because my instincts tell me it is significant – scarily so. In fact, to me it perfectly sums up the toxic direction of travel England has chosen to take in the post-Brexit age, the right turn towards insular, protectionist, xenophobic mainstream thinking we have seen recently on both sides of the Atlantic. Farage may get a job advising President Trump, or he may retire to the German countryside to hunt wild boar. Regardless, his work in the UK is done and you can see his filthy fingerprints all over Theresa May’s new government. This rhetoric is now being presented to us as the centre ground, and Trump’s victory gives the Tories the perfect opportunity to continue this process, while easily differentiating themselves from his personal ridiculousness.

England, it seems to me, is on the road to perdition, and it wants to drag Scotland along for the ride. So, are we going to allow ourselves to be locked inside this out-of-control car heading for a moral and economic brick wall? Or are we going to be brave enough to jump out while it is still moving? That, my friends, is the alarming question facing all who live in Scotland. And Trump’s election has made me all the more sure that independence offers the only real alternative.

I know, I know. Most of us are still trying to work out how the heck we got here. And, like many, I can hardly bear to even contemplate the thought of another divisive political campaign full of lies on both sides. But here we most definitely are, and we must now begin to face up to these realities. Perhaps the starkest of all is that post-Brexit, the UK is over. Even those who opposed independence in 2014 and who would feel genuine sorrow at the break-up of the Union must surely now recognise this. But the quicker Scotland accepts it and moves on, the better for all of us – we genuinely cannot afford to do otherwise.

Anyone who doesn’t agree must ask themselves a couple of key questions. Firstly, do they honestly believe Theresa May will have Scotland’s best interests at heart in the post-Brexit negotiations? And secondly, could a Labour government soften the blow?

With reference to the first, it doesn’t take a genius to work out that Tory and UKIP voters, and the electoral prospects of her party are Mrs May’s priorities. We can already see this is leading towards a hard Brexit with immigration control rather than access to the Single Market top of her negotiation list. Make no mistake, the EU cannot and will not give the UK both, but don’t be surprised if there is a special deal for London despite Mrs May’s Brexit lieutenants making it clear there will be no such arrangement for Scotland.

Being outside the single market and not adhering to the EU rule book will bring economic limitations we cannot yet even fathom. And Scotland’s fragile economy will suffer particularly badly. I’m not by nature a conspiracy theorist, but I genuinely believe the Tories will view the trashing of Scotland’s economy as at best collateral damage, at worst a policy worth actively pursuing since it would make independence more difficult in the future, thus keeping the Scots yoked in to an increasingly pointless and worthless Union. Too grim for words.

As for the second question, around the prospect of a Labour government, I say only this: the Labour party will be lucky to exist in five years.

With all this in mind, surely we in Scotland must move on, looking to Europe for our future prosperity rather than America. And we must do it as a sovereign state.

I don’t doubt that independence would be difficult and expensive. But since staying within the Union now presents an even gloomier economic and social prospect, we should bite the bullet and allow ourselves to go with the one certainty offered: we would at least be able to put our own interests first. This in itself would allow us to become intellectually independent and form the new alliances we will need to survive and thrive.

Trump victory highlights many interesting things, most notably the following: voters are willing to deviate from the status quo when they’re frustrated, and polls get it wrong. Nicola Sturgeon, take note.