The New Age of Appeasement | Max Stevens
Which other nation was able to control ¼ of the world and 1/3 of the world’s population only to now entertain demands by seditionists by flipping a coin with a gun to its head every decade or so because of a concoction of constitutional vandalism, appeasement, and arbitrary polls? The solution is simple, identify the Scottish separatist threat as to what it is: the enemy within.
Arguably, the most damning piece of legislation the New Labour government implemented was the Scotland Act 1998. Far from ensuring Scotland as a Labour stronghold, this piece of legislation legitimised and gave a new platform to Scottish separatists with the first anti-unionist devolved ‘government’ being elected in 2007 – a mere nine years after the Scotland Act was introduced. Which government legitimises a fringe separatist movement that is capable of dismembering the nation-state? How about a government which entrenches the vulnerability of the United Kingdom and deepens division within its own borders? The subsequent Scotland Act 2016 siphoned off parts of fiscal decision-making (predominantly, income tax and air passenger duty) to the plastic parliament at Holyrood. While on paper this delegation of responsibility seems minor, it was a clear act of appeasement to the dominant Scottish National Party seditionists who only managed to lose the 2014 referendum by a mere ~380,000.
The fate of the existence of the United Kingdom by ~380,000 votes.
This weak and ineffectual piece of legislation by the Cameron government proved itself to be a form of appeasement as prominent members of the Conservative and Unionist Party continue to offer ineffectual solutions to the separatists. In August 2021, Secretary of State for Scotland Alastair Jack declared ‘If you consistently saw 60% of the population wanting a referendum… then I would acknowledge that there was a desire for a referendum’ this lack of backbone to counter those who wish to destroy the United Kingdom is not isolated to this individual alone as an off the cuff comment. Michael Gove too stated ‘The principle that the people of Scotland, in the right circumstances, can ask that question (for independence) again is there.’
Both men are wrong. The duty and purpose of the Conservative Party has always been to protect the nation’s institutions and culture. Otherwise, what is the Conservative and Unionist Party there for? What would be there left to conserve if said party could not effectively conserve the integrity of the nation it loves? Indeed, the refusal of the British state to fight for its own survival is infuriating and depressing for the members of the Conservative and Unionist Party.
Bypassing the plastic parliament in Scotland and side-lining the SNP must be at the top of the unionist agenda.
The Currency Question
In August 2021, the Government Expenditure and Revenue Scotland (GERS) Report 2020-21 indicated that Scotland’s deficit had expanded to 22% of GDP. In comparison, UK net borrowing was £304.0 billion in the financial year ending March 2021, equivalent to 14.5% of GDP.
If the Scottish separatists are unwaveringly adamant on complete independence from the rest of the UK, then it should be made clear that such an independent entity would not have access to the Pound Sterling, nor would it be funded in any capacity by Westminster.
Under the Maastricht Convergence criteria, if Scotland decided tomorrow to leave the UK and apply for EU membership (in a worst-case scenario for unionists) the European Commission would most likely approve this application given a transition period combined with pressure to reduce the fiscal deficit to below 3%. Inevitably this would give the separatist two hard choices. First, implement strict austerity. This would fundamentally anger the SNP’s social democratic and anti-Tory inclined membership resulting in a repeat scenario of the disconnect between the party membership and leadership (Theresa May’s relationship with the grassroots membership during her premiership). Alternatively, the new independent government could negotiate leeway on this <3% fiscal deficit requirement. If the three years of Brexit deadlock taught us anything, it is that questioning the EU’s demands is incredibly difficult, if not futile (see the Northern Ireland Protocol, for example) and regardless if such negotiation would be successful or not, an independent Scotland would be unable to answer the currency question. The answer would lie to exogenous forces in the form of the United Kingdom or the European Commission. By simply denying an independent Scotland from using the Pound Sterling this would thus sledgehammer the separatists’ transition period plans and force them to establish their own weak currency, which they would most likely peg to the Pound Sterling and so undermine their own case for independence.
What is to be done?
While it is the correct decision by Downing Street, at present, to deny the separatists another referendum, the Prime Minister should flat out deny any further referendum indefinitely by a Conservative government. Under the pretext of the Brexit referendum causing three years of political deadlock and division, Boris Johnson can cut off the main viable route for the separatists and consolidate himself as a hard-line unionist.
However, lessons can be learnt from Covid too. Because healthcare has been devolved since 1999, Westminster was unable to coordinate Scotland’s lockdown and vaccination programmes and so the devolved administrations, naturally, took credit for Downing Street’s vaccination rollout. In a conventional state of emergency, the Home Office (not devolved authorities) control the response by the state to such emergencies, thus in itself side-lines the Scottish separatist administration. If Britain is to face a crisis again, she is to face it united.
The main reason as to why appeasement is the currently policy of the government is because the Holyrood administration is deemed to be legitimate, thanks to Blair’s constitutional vandalism. Parliament is sovereign – despite Blair’s efforts to distort this fact – and it is completely legal to override or deny any action by the devolved authorities. However, we have reduced ourselves to a glorified bidding war between Westminster and Holyrood on delegating areas of responsibility and government spending in the form of the Shared Prosperity Fund and if we are not careful, we may find ourselves in the same position as the Liberal Party on the issue of Home Rule.
In short, compromise is not possible. Our core conservative and unionist principles cannot be changed or amended, and we should acknowledge the Scottish National Party for what they are – seditionists. They are unapologetic to the prospect of destroying the very existence of the nation-state we love. If the United Kingdom crumbles, so will the Party of Peel, Disraeli, Lord Salisbury, Churchill, and Thatcher – to name a few. This is very much an existential crisis for both Britain and for the Conservative Party.