Saturday, 15 July 2017

Socialism is theft

In order to understand a thing you have to strip it back to its essence. The fault of too much political thinking has been that it is too abstract. It tries to impose a theoretical system on human nature rather than accept human nature as the basic building block. This is especially the case with the political ideas of the Left and it is the reason the same pattern follows whenever they are implemented. Finding that socialism/social democracy comes up against the ordinary human nature of the workers, the Left requires that human nature changes. The theory is correct therefore it is the humans who are in error. But finding that people prefer to be in error the Left attempts to enforce change. It does this first through law, but if it meets opposition, being convinced that the goal of socialism is worth it, the Left resorts to force. Everything follows from the failure to understand and accept the essence of human nature.

Why do you go to work? People have different reasons and it sometimes depends on the job that they do. Some people claim to love their job so much that they would do it even if they were not paid. But there are few indeed of us who would like to live without any sort of income. If I won the lottery, I might decide to quit my job. But I would only do so because I would think that I could maintain my lifestyle without that job. For the vast majority of people, the reason why we get up every morning is so that we have an income and so that we can spend that money on things that we want and need.

Who do you spend your money on? The answer to this is simple. I spend my money on myself and on my family. What proportion of your money do you choose to spend on anything or anyone else? Well, if you think of this proportion in terms of household expenditure, you will find that most people spend a very small proportion on anyone other than their family. Out of each person’s disposable income what proportion is donated outside the family? Some people are indeed very generous, their generosity sometimes increases with their affluence, but even so it is still the case that for the vast majority of people an overwhelming proportion of our disposable income is spent on ourselves and our family.

Why do we encourage children to get a good education and why do people who work seek first a good job and then a better job? Why do people seek promotion in their work rather than just remain at the level at which they begin? Again there can be a variety of motives. We might hope that our children have a more interesting job because of their education. We might think that education makes life more worthwhile and interesting. We might want to do more good by being promoted. All of these things may be true, but if we are honest, most of us will reflect that we want a good education in order to get a job that pays well, we want promotion because we want our pay to increase and we want all of these things because we want to provide our families with a better lifestyle.

I know someone who was working as a cleaner. She was earning the minimum wage. She decided she could do better by working for herself. To begin with she was actually doing rather worse than when she was paid by an employer. Now that she had her own small business, she found that for every hour she wasn’t working she was paid nothing. But when she was working she could charge more and the amount that she was paid went to her business rather than the business of her employer. There was an element of risk in setting up her own business. There was the cost of equipment and the risk that she would not be able to find customers. She had to manage the accounts by herself and deal with some complex government rules and regulations. But gradually her business grew and she ended up earning more than previously. Why did she do this? Why not just earn the minimum wage? The answer is obvious. She wanted to earn more in order to provide a better lifestyle for her family.

At root the basic motives of nearly all of us are capitalist. We work for the sake of ourselves and our families. We hope to earn more by obtaining better qualifications and gaining promotions or by setting up our own businesses.

Out of your earnings what proportion do you keep and what proportion is taken away? This will depend on what you earn. But add together all of the tax that you are charged, income tax, property tax, national insurance, VAT etc. and you will find that it amounts to a significant proportion of your income. I don’t know the exact figure, but my guess is that it amounts to greater than 40% of everything most of us earn.

Which of us goes to work every day in order to pay this 40%? We may be happy to pay tax. We may think it reasonable to do so. We may support political parties that favour higher rather than lower taxation. But do we work so as to pay this tax? Is the reason you get up every day so as to contribute to the general wellbeing of society? Do you work in order that the Government can fund unemployment benefit and so that it can build schools and hospitals? We all think that these things are a good idea, but is that your motivation? If it were, we would have no need for tax.

If everyone were motivated primarily by the desire to provide society with what it needed, then we could at the end of each month decide to simply donate 40% of our earnings to what society needed. There is absolutely nothing preventing us all from doing just this. Why have taxation at all? Everyone knows that we need the Government to spend public money. Why not simply donate it?

Rich socialists like J. K. Rowling could bring about their goal quite easily simply by retaining whatever proportion of their wealth they needed and giving the rest away to the Government. This unilateral form of wealth disarmament would make society just that little bit more equal. Why doesn’t everyone on the Left simply give all they have to the poor? Think of the example that it would set. It would be just like unilateral nuclear disarmament. Soon everyone else would follow this example.

But no. The reason Rowling doesn’t give away all she earns to the poor, is that she fears no-one else would. The reason we have taxation is because we reflect that if we made giving money to the Government optional few indeed would be the people who would give it.

You don’t work in order to pay tax. At least the vast majority of people don’t. The reason for this is that if you had the chance, you wouldn’t pay tax. This is the case even when you recognise that it is a good thing for governments to spend money on public services. You still would rather spend that proportion of your money as you choose.

It is not property that is theft, rather it is taxation. If I go to your house and take away 40% of the things in it, I will quite rightly be called a thief. But if I vote for a political party that wants to take away 50 or 60 % of what you earn and eventually make everything a matter of public ownership I will not be called a thief, rather I will be called a socialist.

No-one is preventing people on the Left from giving away their income. No-one is preventing them from sharing what they earn with others. Each socialist could do each of these things immediately. What they want is for everyone else including themselves to “give away” what they earn and to share what they have. The Left recognises that human nature is capitalist and for this reason always wishes to achieve its goal by means of compulsion.

Given that human nature is capitalist, that is, we work in order to better our own lives and those of our families, why is it that so many of us vote for political parties that are not capitalist? This question is of especial importance at the moment for more than 40% of the population has just voted for a party whose leader in effect is a revolutionary socialist. Make no mistake Mr Corbyn may seem like a cuddly, beardy grandfather, but his goal is exactly the same as all the other socialists who tried to implement their theory in the past century. The means by which Mr Corbyn wishes to achieve socialism may or may not differ, but the aim is the same. In the end the means won’t differ much either. Socialism always comes up against the capitalist nature of humanity and compels humanity to change. Nice Mr Corbyn too would force you to be equal, for the simple reason that the goal of equality can only be achieved by compulsion. It is for this reason that socialism is essentially a totalitarian philosophy.

Why would people who work in order to earn money for themselves and their family vote for a political philosophy that is the antithesis of their own motivations? Some of them do so out of self-interest. If you earn very low wages and are either unable or unwilling to seek a better job, then it may at least in the short term be rational to vote for socialism. The same calculation may apply if you can’t or you won’t work. People who don’t work or who earn very little pay only a little tax. If I pay only 20% of my small income in tax, it might look like a bargain if I make someone else pay 60%. That person's paying more might mean that my unemployment benefit rises or my minimum wage increases. Likewise if I have debts due to tuition fees, I might be very glad if someone else had to pay the debt rather than me.  Voting for something that makes me better off would not usually be described as altruistic, but because I am a socialist I can feel virtuous even though I am in fact taking rather than giving.

People who vote for socialism because it will make them materially better off are of course not acting morally. They are acting selfishly. The only people who are not acting selfishly when they vote for socialism are those like J. K. Rowling who are rich and who are willing to pay more tax knowing that it will make them worse off. But if I have a fortune of hundreds of millions, even losing 50% of it will still leave me hundreds of millions. This is a rather easy form of selflessness. Best of all it gives that warm glow of virtue that will outweigh any material loss. The desire to feel virtuous and appear virtuous to others is, of course, another form of selfishness. 
But the rich socialist’s “selfless” choice of voting for higher taxation is at the expense of all those who really don’t want to pay more to the Government. It is “forcing them to be free”. It is this that makes socialism immoral. Morality depends on my having the free choice to give away what I earn and to share with others. Socialism makes this a matter of compulsion. “Give all you have to the poor” says Jesus “and follow me”. But I’m sorry Jesus I can’t give anything to the poor, because they Government took it.

It may be virtuous to share with those who are poorer, but Labour voters would take away the choice. They want to compel both themselves and others to give away a proportion of their earnings. But this is to destroy virtue, because morality requires that I have a choice. Socialism changes morality into law and seeks to achieve its aims by taking away my choice. In this way it destroys morality and is the antithesis of it.

The poor may calculate that socialism is in their material interest and that by taking from the rich they increase their own wealth. However because socialism contradicts human motivation, the poor rapidly find out that their short-term self-interest is contrary to their long term self-interest. Our ability to pay high levels of unemployment benefit, our ability to maintain good public services depends on the motivation of ordinary workers working for themselves. Socialism damages and in the end destroys this motivation. When I work less for myself and more for the Government, I end up working less hard than I otherwise would. In time this leads to a lessening in productivity and the economy stagnates. This means we have less to spend on schools, hospitals and the unemployed.

By attempting to reform human nature and by undermining the motivations that we all have in our daily lives, socialism undermines the foundation of economic activity. It is only because I work for myself and my family that I reach the levels of productivity that I do. Without the impulse to improve my own material situation I will simply slack. For this reason, above all, socialism damages economic growth. Why work hard, why study, why strive if the result of my effort is the same as if I did none of these things? When I wish to do better for myself and my family I seek inequality. That’s what success is. Equality means I can do no better than anyone else, no matter how hard I try. So why try? Why set up a small business? Why invent something? Why get up early rather than stay in bed? By taking away the motivation for success, socialism ends up with economic failure.  Growth declines and the amount of money the Government has to spend falls. This means that quite quickly we find that socialism makes the poor poorer.

For this reason socialism is not merely amoral because it compels and therefore prevents me from being able to choose that which is moral, it is also immoral because whatever its intention it makes people less free and lowers the average standard of living. The rich become much poorer, but so do the poor. Worse still the poor no longer have the opportunity to become rich. Socialism may well achieve equality, but the price that is paid for this is equal levels of poverty.

Only when we recognise that our nature as people is to be capitalists, only when we accept that the building blocks of society are individuals and families, only then will we make progress politically. There is no use fighting against what we are. Anyway the only way to radically change human nature is through force and compulsory re-education. It is this that you are voting for when you support Labour. 

We need to pay taxes, but it is necessary to recognise that the level should be as low as possible because people are not motivated to pay taxes, rather we are motivated by our desire to improve our own standard of living and that of our families. Lower taxes mean that each of us works harder, this in turn means the economy grows as much as possible and in the end means that the overall amount that the Government receives increases rather than decreases. In this way the economy by being in tune with human nature rather than opposing it reaches its peak level of efficiency. This benefits not merely the wealthy, but the poorest also.

Socialism is a theory that has been tested to destruction. It contradicts human nature and therefore can never work. Wherever it is tried it makes people poorer and less free. It is not accidental that socialism leads to totalitarian Government it is fundamental. People are naturally unequal and can be made equal only by force. Socialism is voting to give the keys to your house to Government so that it can control how you think and steal what you have. It is for this reason that socialism is theft. 

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Everything is permitted except morality

We live in a relentlessly secular society. In some ways I am glad that we do. I would far prefer to live in a secular society than a theocratic one. I don’t want laws to be governed by any religion. I don’t want a government to say to me that I can or I can’t do something because of religious rules.  I believe in freedom of conscience and the freedom to believe or not to believe. But I think this freedom should cut both ways. Religion should not attempt to impose its beliefs on society, but nor should society attempt to impose its beliefs on religion.

Is it possible for a politician in Britain to be a practicing Christian? Most certainly it is. Theresa May is a Christian. So are Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. There are many others. There are also politicians who follow other religions. This is generally unproblematic.  Why then has there recently been some controversy over the former Lib Dem leader Tim Farron who resigned because he thought it was impossible to be both a Christian and lead the Lib Dems?

It may have been because Mr Farron is a more high profile Christian than other politicians. Theresa May does not often talk about her faith, nor for that matter did Gordon Brown. It is for them something that is kept in the background. But Tony Blair did indeed do God. He talked about it quite a lot. What is the difference between Blair and Farron?

Tony Blair has been a practicing Roman Catholic officially or unofficially for many years. What would he have said if he had been interviewed about something controversial like abortion or homosexuality? Well Tony Blair thinks that the Pope is wrong about homosexuality and that the Catholic Church is wrong about abortion. As usual he finds a third way.

What about Mr Farron? I don’t know exactly what he believes, but I’m sure that whatever it is, he really believes it. Mr Farron believes in Christianity literally. For him the task is to follow the teachings of Christ. He adapts to Christianity rather than striving to make Christianity adapt to him. That is the difference. I don’t know the denomination that Mr Farron follows, but it would not be at all surprising if the version of Christianity he believes in has traditional teachings about abortion and homosexuality. For nearly two thousand years every version of Christianity had the same teaching about these issues. Most still do.

We have in Britain and the West in general gone through something of a revolution since the 1960s. In 1959 nearly all Christians and most of the population in general thought that marriage necessarily involved one man and one woman, that sex outside marriage was sinful, abortion and homosexuality wrong and that changing sex was impossible. There might have been a few people that disagreed, but they were uncommon. All of the churches taught more or less the same things about Christian morality although there were some disagreements. Christianity in 1959 was still a fixture in the life of our country. People generally conformed at least outwardly to Christian morality even if they didn’t themselves believe in Christianity.

In the past fifty years or so we have started a social revolution almost without precedent. Until the 1960s nearly everyone living in Britain would have believed more or less the same things about traditional Christian morality. We have now reached the stage where almost no-one still does.

What happened? The Christian rules that governed society were rather suddenly thrown off. The reason was that for the first time in history it was possible to have sex without having to worry about having children. This was the game breaker. Consensual sex between adults ceased to be a moral issue and became instead simply a matter of inclination and taste. Until the 1960s a woman who had sex outside marriage risked poverty and having to bring up a child without help. Consequently marriage remained what it had been for centuries. It regulated sex and determined sexual morality. But suddenly there was effective contraception and crucially a welfare state that would take over the role of the husband if there were any accidents and unforeseen consequences of following our inclinations. Love became free, but this really meant that sex became free. Everything was permitted because someone else would pay the bill.

This relation between men and women changed fundamentally. It wasn’t necessary anymore for a woman to marry before she had sex. The connection between sex and having children was broken. What had until recently followed as a matter of course now became a choice. Pregnancy could easily be avoided, but even if a woman did have a child without a father, it didn’t really matter. She would be looked after and the amount she received from the state rose with each child born outside marriage. Apart from rather briefly at the very beginning, men became superfluous. Children born outside marriage far from ruining a woman’s life might instead bring with them a flat, money and idleness. There was no more disapproval, because sex was no longer a matter of morality. Women threw off the constraints of human nature. They could follow their inclination and seek sex in a similar way to men. Not only were men superfluous, but women had achieved equality with them. Now they were superfluous to each other.

The sixties was a triumph of inclination. Whatever felt good ought not to be constrained by an outdated morality made obsolete by progress. The pill in this way made marriage archaic for it fundamentally changed what marriage was. Until then marriage had been a societal necessity and a duty upon those who entered into it. But when sex became a matter of preference it had no more to do with duty than the preference of brown bread over white. For this reason promises about matters that were no longer governed by morality ceased making sense? Tradition kept marriage going, but it no longer constrains how men and women behave. Divorce is easy and the husband and wife stay in marriage no longer than their inclination lasts. The “promise” that is made is part of a ritual, some quaint words from a world that no longer exists. Couples in effect promise to marry until they feel differently. In reality they don’t promise at all, for they don’t think that this promise needs to be kept. They feel no duty to do so. As the amount spent on wedding days increases it has become ever clearer that all those thousands of pounds are being spent on precisely nothing. A few words that no-one much listens too and a white dress that is worn just once. Next time will need a new white dress.

Marriage ceased to be a matter of duty, when it ceased to be a matter of necessity. It was this that opened the dam. If sex before marriage was no longer a sin and simply a matter of inclination, then so too sex after marriage was neither sanctioned by marriage nor made permissible by it. It wasn’t a matter of morality at all. From this it obviously followed that everything was permitted. A couple might stay together, but no morality constrained them to do so. If they felt the inclination to look elsewhere, no-one would say they ought not. But a promise that is unconstrained by morality isn’t anything at all. Least of all can it be described as a promise. Many couples might feel that they are promising for ever, but they are not, they are simply following their present inclination. What could make them keep their promise?  Who today stays in a marriage because of duty or because the church teaches that we must? Who thinks that divorce is morally wrong? Well when something is no longer morally wrong should we be surprised when there is more of it?

Marriage has become a sham. We think that we are following in a tradition. Some of us may even mouth the words of the prayer book. They are quite pretty words about sickness and health and until death do we part. But we are not at all doing what people used to do when they married, because they made promises that they thought they had to keep. We don’t. In no real sense then do we promise at all. A promise that survives only so long as inclination tells it to is like promising while crossing your fingers. If I promise only for so long as I feel like keeping the promise it is as if I get married in a play or a film. It is all pretence. I may repeat the same words as of old, but now they are only a ritual   that used to have meaning but no longer does.

Once one thing becomes permissible it becomes easier and easier to make something else. Soon enough everything is permissible. Man becomes the measure of all things. The Church must bend to the will of man and change to fit in with his inclination. In this way God becomes man not by coming down to earth, but rather by man breaking down the gates of heaven and installing himself on the throne there. No wonder everything is permitted, for it is man himself who decides what he will allow himself to do and he will allow whatever is his inclination.   

All this follows from the triumph of inclination over morality. It is this above all else that changed after 1959. Whatever had been a sin up until this point could now be declared not to be a sin.  Inclination was now the only virtue and the sinners were simply those who denied that any particular inclination was virtuous. These would face the Grand Inquisitor known as Cathy Newman and eventually be forced to recant and then repent.

The reason for this is that homosexuality is also an inclination. Why should any morality condemn it? Likewise some men have the inclination to be women and vice versa. What right does morality have to stop them? What right does morality have to stop anything? Everything is permitted.

We have now arrived at a state which would have been unimaginable to someone in 1959. A woman can change into a man and “he” can then marry a man who has “become” a woman or indeed a woman who has become a man. At this point we are unconstrained. Even words mean what I want them to mean. We can marry more or less who we like. But no-one’s promise is to be kept for any longer than they please to keep it. So really the progress we have made in extending who may marry is quite illusory. For not only have we abolished God, we have also abolished marriage. We can’t very well extend it for there is nothing left to extend. The reason for this is because somewhere along the way we lost touch with human nature and the reason why we have marriage in the first place.

Sexual morality and the concept of marriage are not so much derived from Christianity as from human nature. They existed prior to Christianity because they are the building blocks of family life and society. We regulated these things up until 1960 because we had no choice but to do so. Widespread premarital sex prior to 1960 would have led to large numbers of children with no-one to look after them. Marriage has been the foundation of society well before Christianity, because there would have been no society at all without it. Women needed men to help them bring up children. They could not do so on their own. It was morality, whether Christian or not, that compelled men to stay and which regulated their inclination.

We have been meddling in matters that we don’t really understand, just as much as Mr Oppenheimer did. The consequences are with us already. The birth-rate has collapsed in Britain and the West in general. This is fundamentally because we were able to control fertility and make having children a matter of desire rather than a natural consequence of marriage.

The purpose of marriage from the dawn of history was to regulate the birth of children. But we in the past fifty or so years have decided that we know better than the whole of history. Marriage is no longer about children. We have decided that the foundation of human society is prejudice. But we forget that if there were no such thing as having children, if there were only sexual desire that could be fulfilled without consequence then marriage would never have developed in the first place. We have changed what is essential about marriage and relegated the birth of children to an optional extra. But when you change the essence of a thing, you no longer have the thing in itself, just as a candle that burns to its end ceases to be a candle, but becomes just a mess of wax.

Because we have been able to regulate fertility we have been able to pretend that men and women can do exactly the same things in life. They can, but the consequence of this equality is that women less and less can become mothers. Our population falls, but because we now depend on the welfare state to look after everyone no matter how they act so as to fulfil their inclination, we require an ever increasing flow of population to be imported from elsewhere. This either leads to depopulation of other European countries that have the same birth-rate problem as we do, or it leads to importing people from places with a high birth-rate. Gradually the people of Europe are in this way replaced by people from outside Europe. Meanwhile people in Britain complain both about immigration and about any attempts to constrain their inclinations. They appear unaware that the one is a necessary consequence of the other.

I do not wish to impose my morality on anyone else. I do not wish Christianity to force non-Christians to conform to Christianity. But the following must be recognised.

Tim Farron got into trouble because he thinks Christianity is true. What follows from believing something to be true?

If I think that the teaching of Christianity is true, then it is for me to conform to those teachings. If I don’t like something about what the Church teaches it is for me to change not the Church.

The mistake that the Christian churches in Britain and elsewhere have been making since 1959 is that they have adapted to the changes in society rather than the other way round. It is not for the Church to change, rather it is for society to change.
If the Church simply adapts to society what use is it? How then can the Church regulate anything or anyone?

For Tony Blair to say that the Pope is wrong and the Catholic Church mistaken is an act of rebellion against the Church. He is as it were going up to God and saying, sorry God you are wrong. I Tony Blair am right about this.

When Jesus met the woman who was about to be stoned for adultery he said “He who is without sin cast the first stone”. No-one did. He then said “I don’t condemn you either, go and sin no more.” He did not say your sin is in fact not a sin. If she had attempted to argue with him, if she had said, but Jesus I am not a sinner at all, he would have explained, you are mistaken, how can I forgive you, if you don’t acknowledge that you have done wrong?

We have got to the stage where to believe in the standard, traditional teachings of Christianity which almost everyone believed up until 1959 is to risk being called a bigot. Anyone who says that they think it is impossible for homosexuals to marry or for people genuinely to change sex is liable to be condemned.

Christianity is a matter of faith not knowledge. I may believe that I am in possession of the truth, but I cannot know it.  For this reason, I do not believe that it is correct for Christians to impose their views on anyone else. But I also do not believe that society should attempt to forbid views that are a matter of Christian tradition, conscience and faith.

Tim Farron held impeccably liberal views about everything. He did not wish to impose his Christian views on anyone else, but he wanted to be able to believe what he believed without constraint. It is this that is now problematic in modern Britain.

We have replaced morality with inclination in Britain and it has led to the infantilisation of our politics. Politicians can no longer reason with an electorate who are concerned only with finding new ways to fulfil their pleasures and their impulses. We have thrown out the foundation of our society (morality) and the only thing that keeps it intact (Christianity). We are left with law. But if I can break the law and get away with it what morality will tell me that I can’t? Where is the foundation of your morality, where is the bedrock if all is a matter of taste and inclination.

Now it is possible to doubt everything and everything is permissible so long as it fulfils an inclination. The bricks with which over the centuries we constructed our society are crumbling to dust. Meanwhile anyone who criticises this process is condemned, anyone who prefers a different model of society grounded in history, human nature and truth is shunned. This is usually called progress. 

Saturday, 1 July 2017

The SNP goal is receding into the distance

Did anything happen this week of consequence? Nicola Sturgeon turned up in the Scottish Parliament and said something about delaying indyref2. If this meant that we would have this referendum in a couple of years’ time, then what she said would have been of small consequence. What does it fundamentally matter if we have to go through all that divisiveness again in one year or two or even three? But the moment has passed when Sturgeon’s latest threat matters very much or indeed her withdrawal or delay of her threat. It is this that matters far more than anything she might or might not have said.

The biggest problem we have in Scottish politics, apart from the continual threat implicit or explicit to break up our country, is that there is an almost complete lack of understanding on the part of the anti-SNP opposition of what helps us oppose the SNP and what hinders us. There is a lack of understanding of the fundamentals which means that even our success happens more or less accidentally.

The Scottish establishment, which includes nearly all journalists and nearly all politicians, agree with Nicola Sturgeon about nearly everything. This is particularly the case with Labour. SNP and Labour supporters agree with each other on nearly everything apart from independence. They each want to spend more public money and give more power to Scotland. They each think that the root of all evil begins with T and ends with ories.

Even Ruth Davidson’s Conservatives agree with Sturgeon about many things, but most especially about the EU.  Davidson apparently thinks that the increase in Conservative support in the past two years is due entirely to the outstanding nature of her campaigning and the fact that her Scottish Conservatives are far nicer than the English variety. There may indeed be something in this. She has her merits. But she is also missing something.

Big changes in political support are not so much due to the personality of politicians as fundamental changes in society. Ruth Davidson still thinks that voting for Brexit was a disaster and if we really must leave the EU we must leave as little as possible. This means that she essentially doesn’t grasp why Pro UK support in Scotland has been rising and support for independence has been falling. The trouble is that hardly anyone else in the Scottish establishment gets this either. It is for this reason that much that is written keeps missing the point or rather is even unaware of the point that is missed.

As I have been arguing since well before the EU referendum it is crucial to understand that Brexit makes the Pro UK argument easier and the SNP case harder. I have listed the reasons for this previously at some length. Really what else of fundamental significance has happened in the past two years? Do people think that all those SNP supporters just deserted their party because they got tired of them? No. Even if Scottish journalists can rarely see it, ordinary Scots came quickly to realise that leaving the EU was going to be one of those life changing events. It added uncertainty in a way that hardly anything else has done in the past decades. Well there is only so much uncertainty that most people want to deal with. How about adding the uncertainty of breaking up our country? How do you fancy both leaving the EU and leaving the UK? Scottish independence became “Operation Market Garden 2”. Nicola Sturgeon’s plan amounted to parachuting behind enemy lines, dodging crack SS divisions and capturing and holding a bridge while armed only with red berets. Sorry Nicola we tried that. It was called a bridge too far.

Ordinary Scots now view indyref2 as something for fanatics. It looks impossibly risky. This isn’t going to change in two years. It will take at least a decade for the implications of Brexit to be fully felt. It fundamentally changes the direction that Britain has taken.

There were two paths diverging in the “yellow wood”. We could have stayed in the EU. The ultimate destination of the EU path is not known, but it is perfectly possible to believe that it will succeed in its task of ever closer union and that this will bring with it peace and prosperity. We chose a different path, not least because we didn’t like the EU route even if it was going to succeed. It just didn’t suit our nature as a country. But just as the EU route can lead to peace and prosperity, so too can our path lead to an excellent destination and one more suited to both our own needs and the needs of our EU neighbours. The problem is that far too many disappointed Remain supporters are simply unable to see the excellent possibilities that Brexit gives us.  Some of them treacherously would like to see Britain fail just so as to point out that that they were right.

Many SNP supporters could see the attractions of Brexit. Scotland, even if still a part of the UK, looks a lot more “independent” outside the EU than in. It is for this reason that some SNP Brexiteers have become disillusioned with arch Remainer Sturgeon and have ceased to support an SNP that promises to give up newly won Scottish powers to the EU and which ultimately would subsume an independent Scotland into a federal EU.

Brexit meant that Nicola and friends went skinny dipping only to find that the wicked Tories had stolen their clothes. Tory Brexiteers were able to put forward arguments that appealed to Scottish nationalists in the same way that Tony Blair had been able to capture many centre and right of centre voters. People like Michael Gove and Boris Johnson put forward arguments that appealed to people who wanted Parliament to be more accountable and democratic and who thought sovereignty mattered. The arguments they made in 2016 were similar to those that Sturgeon and Salmond made in 2014. These arguments were not the same of course. The EU is a very different thing from the UK. The EU is not an independent sovereign nation state.  But that is what the EU wants to become. This meant that we had the paradox of Sturgeon and the SNP defending a union (the EU) and arguing for its benefits, telling us how dangerous it would be to leave, while we had Tory Brexiteers telling us how Brexit would give us freedom, sovereignty and at least more independence. It isn’t altogether surprising that some SNP supporters preferred an independent UK outside of the EU than a dependent Scotland in it. It is this that left Nicola naked on the riverbank even more angry than usual.

More crucially however, it is vital to recognise that the condition for the possibility of Scottish independence was always the fact that the UK remained in the EU. Even those who want Scottish independence recognise that Scotland’s prosperity depends on maintaining a very close relationship with the former UK. We have three hundred years of shared laws, economic and family relations. If you put Scotland on a diverging path from the former UK, then naturally the distance between us politically and economically will increase dramatically over the years. This changes the calculation that everyone in Scotland makes in their head about the advantages and disadvantages of independence. Do I really want quite such a gap between London and Edinburgh? How would that affect my job and the prospects of my family? This is a fundamental change, not a transient change based on the popularity or unpopularity of a politician. Put simply Brexit makes Scottish independence less attractive even to those who may be tempted. The floating Nats therefore have left the cause, while the fanatics have sunk to the bottom of the pond.

From all of this it follows logically that Pro UK people should support us leaving the EU as completely as possible. The more the UK leaves the EU, the more divergent Scotland’s path would become if it chose independence. If we were to stay in the EU’s Single Market, or the Custom’s Union or anything else then the risk of Scottish independence would precisely thereby be increased.

I don’t think some Pro UK people even realise how dangerous our situation was a couple of years ago. The SNP won all but three of the seats in the 2015 Election. Keep that up and they would in time have got indyref2. Keep that up and they might have won it. That I think was our choice. Stay in the EU and face the break-up of Britain or leave the EU and keep our country intact.

We needed a game changer. We got it. Now some people who think they are clever want to give it up.  

Just about a year ago I returned from holiday to a string of messages from Pro UK people complaining that I been arguing for Brexit and now look what I had done. There was panic. Sturgeon was continually on the television. There was an idea that she might hold an immediate unofficial indyref and that she might win it. Many Pro UK people were terribly pessimistic. I kept writing about the fundamentals. Short term noise can change polls, but such change does not last. Our position had been strengthened immeasurably and time would show this to be the case. But Pro UK pessimism ruled for a while until the logic of the position became clear. But even now far too few Pro UK Scots are willing or able to follow this logic from assumption to conclusion.

Sturgeon kept making threats. She wanted a special deal for Scotland that would keep us in the EU while the other parts of the UK left. This would have amounted to independence lite. But anyway she would have retained independence heavy for a later day and would have been able to show her supporters that she was taking steps towards it. There was then a vote in the Scottish Parliament for indyref2. Surely no-one would dare say “No” to the mighty Scottish Parliament. If anyone dared the Scottish people would go ballistic and support for independence would increase.

All those “Remain” journalists, bitter at losing their beloved EU were somehow eager that Sturgeon would punish the English for Brexit. I kept saying that Brexit was our friend and would help the Pro UK cause. Almost no-one believed me.

I think Brexit will bring advantages, but it doesn’t fundamentally matter. It still locks the UK together.  There will at some point be a recession, but we will become a country like Japan, Australia.  Just as with them we will relearn some fundamental lessons. You don’t need to be ruled by someone else to trade with them. Prosperity does not depend on being part of the European Union or any other trading bloc. If it did Australia and Japan would be poor. Instead most of the EU is poor.

A Japanese or an Australian can feel that they are internationalists without wanting to create either an Asian Union where they are ruled from Beijing or an Australasian Union where they are ruled from Jakarta. Internationalism is about nation states cooperating rather than merging and thereby ceasing to exist. Neither is it nationalistic for an Australian to wish to maintain his nation state’s sovereignty and prevent undemocratic rule from abroad. If this were nationalistic then the word “nationalism” would apply to virtually every nation state in the world and so would drop out of usage. If everyone is a nationalist then, no-one is.

The SNP strategy is now in tatters. They had a vote in the Scottish Parliament, but this has now been superseded by the General Election. If the Scottish electorate wanted indyref2, then we would have expected the SNP share of the vote to increase. We would have expected them to retain all their seats and perhaps gain more. Instead they lost a large share of the vote and a large number of seats. Whatever else the SNP have, they no longer have a mandate for indyref2. We have just tested the theory that saying “No” to Scots leads to a rising of the clans and a temper tantrum that makes independence inevitable. We have discovered that Scots in fact are grownups who are able to discern what is in our long term interest. We have learned that Theresa May can keep telling the SNP that they will have to wait for as long as she likes. Sturgeon kept making threats, but they have been shown to be empty. She has become a Scottish doll. You open it up just to find another still more angry than the first. But the whole thing is empty just a piece of kitsch picked up on the Royal Mile, the sort of thing that most Scots find vaguely embarrassing.  For the moment Scottish independence is a dead issue.   

The only thing we have to worry about is that the present Government falls. There is no need for this to happen. It could happily go on for years with the DUP votes. But a leadership challenge to Theresa May might force another General Election. It just needs a few MPs to put their loyalty to the EU above their loyalty to our country and we might face another election.

The danger we face is that it is now obvious that Jeremy Corbyn would have happily made a deal with the SNP. Even with considerably fewer seats than the Conservatives he wanted to try to form a Government. How could he have done so without the SNP MPs?

This is really the only way Sturgeon can get her indyref2 any time soon. We were within a whisker of this happening in June. Just a few more Labour seats would have put Corbyn over the line where he could have ruled so long as he made a deal with the SNP. I kept warning people about this, but “Pro UK” Labour people cared more about their party winning seats than stopping indyref2.

So if there is another General Election I will make the same argument. Pro UK Scots should avoid Labour as the most likely outcome of a Labour victory is indyref2.

But I will give Labour a free argument. They can make the point that the one thing that is preventing a Labour Government with an absolute majority is that too many Scots vote for the SNP. If people like Mhairi Black really wanted socialism they would encourage their constituents to vote for Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour. They are far more likely to get it in this way than by voting for the SNP. The UK is closer to a Far Left Government than we ever have been before. True socialism is in reach. Not some wishy washy Tony Blair style social democracy, but rather the real deal. The only thing that is stopping this not only in Scotland, but the UK as a whole is the SNP.

In this way the UK is reintroducing two party politics. My argument will be about stopping Labour because I think socialism makes all of us poorer and less free. My evidence for this will be ever instance of socialism in the history of the world. But Labour supporters now have raw red meat steaks thrown to them by Mr Corbyn. It doesn’t appeal to me, but I can see how true believers in socialism are enthused. The smaller parties, including the Lib Dems and the SNP are going to get squeezed. While the rest of us debate about the merits of the free market versus Mr Corbyn’s first five year plan, whatever the SNP or the Lib Dems might have to say begins to look irrelevant, even quaint.

I think it is vital that we avoid a far left Labour Government, but it may be that the youth of today have to learn this lesson for themselves. It’s like touching the stove. No matter how many times you tell a child that they mustn’t touch it, you just know that they won’t learn the lesson until they do. At some point we will have to endure a Labour Government. Perhaps it would be better if we went for full on socialism rather than the watered down version. At least that way the failure will be clear sooner. Everyone will have touched the stove and we can get another Tory Government to fix Labour’s mess.

That’s fine just so long as the price of Labour’s mess does not include Scottish independence. If Corbyn granted indyref2 and bankrupted the UK with his socialism, it might well be that Scots would vote to leave just to get away from him.

There is nothing much left to talk about in Scottish politics. I may well take a break from this topic. I am uninterested in the day to day minutiae of the Scottish Parliament. So until I can think of something new and interesting to say about Scottish politics, I will have to look for other things to write about. This will at least enable this blog to tick along. But for the moment I can summarise where I think we are in Scottish politics in the following way.

Strategically I believe it is vital that the present Government at least gets us out of the EU before there is another election. This leaves the SNP with a mountain to climb. The fundamentals would then be massively against Scotland voting for independence. The reason is that the transition from leaving the UK to joining the EU is liable to leave Scotland neither in the UK’s internal market nor in the EU’s Single Market at least for a period of time. There can be no seamless transition for Scotland so long as the UK actually leaves the EU. Getting the UK out of the EU before indyref2 was our first task. This is now within our grasp.  

What sort of EU deal would Scotland get? We have no idea. But it could not possibly be as good as now. It must involve paying a larger membership fee for there would be no rebate. It might involve a hard border with England. Even if the Republic of Ireland can maintain an open border with Northern Ireland, this is because the Republic of Ireland is an EU member and everyone realises that decades of terrorism creates a special case situation. We don’t know what if any objections countries like Spain might have to Scotland’s membership. The SNP also are going to have to explain why they want to give up powers that the Scottish Parliament has just begun to exercise over matters such as fishing. If Scotland were to join the EU from scratch we would have to create our own currency and then promise to join the Euro and also Schengen. None of this looks very appealing.

After getting us out of the EU, the UK Government’s task will be to delay indyref2 until we see how Brexit is working out. Luckily this is in the Conservative manifesto. It is absolutely crucial that the SNP should have to win an absolute majority at the next Scottish Parliament election on a clear, unambiguous manifesto commitment to holding indyref2. SNP support is in decline and is likely to decline still further as the Brexit process continues. If the SNP fail to gain an overall majority at the Scottish Parliament then our long constitutional nightmare which started in 2007 will be over. No majority, then no vote for indyref2. That’s it. It will then be over. The SNP’s dream will be dead until and unless they once more get an overall Scottish Parliament majority.

We are close folks. The only threat is a snap election and a Corbyn coalition with the SNP. Other than that we are almost there. It is for this reason that I am rather pleased that Theresa May’s Government is propped up by the DUP. They must know that Northern Ireland’s future in the UK depends on Scotland remaining in the UK also. For this reason if they are sensible they won’t push too hard, nor ask for too much.

The Pro UK task is simply this. Let us get through the next few years. Get us out of the EU as cleanly as possible and as advantageously as possible, but above all get us out. This will automatically over time work towards unifying the UK as we face the task together of building a new future. Continue to put obstacles in the way of the SNP. Delay, obfuscate, do what is necessary to stop indyref2 before the next Scottish Parliament elections. This is not a problem so long as we have a Prime Minister who is willing to stand firm.  I hope for this reason that we keep Theresa May for as long as possible.

The SNP’s position had extended far beyond their supply lines and had become untenable. This is why Nicola Sturgeon has decided to retreat. But I don’t think she is fully aware of the reason for her defeat. She thought that she could use Brexit to build herself a bridge to independence. But her strategy was built on the assumption that Brexit was going to help her argument, instead it destroyed it. She now has no bridge. It wasn’t only too far. While Sturgeon thought she was approaching her bridge it was all the time receding into the distance.