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Paul T Horgan: Is one annoying harpy enough to force Scexit?

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Away from the dramas that are broadcast and streamed to our screens, there is something that is called ‘Real Life’. ‘Real Life’ is not a mini series, a soap opera or a sitcom, although it does resemble these.  Like its video counterparts, ‘Real Life’ has its own characters, each with their own, highly-detailed back-stories.  The characters vary; there are the heroes, the villains, the harlots, and the buffoons, to name but four major types.  There is also the annoying person.

The annoying person is always unwelcome.  The humour or drama is not in the antics of the annoying person, but how the annoying person affects the other characters in ‘Real Life’. Thus, we do not look past the annoyingness of this character and into their back-story, which is all but irrelevant.

The holder of the role of being the Most Annoying Person in the United Kingdom varies over the years.  It is usually a politician.  This is annoying in itself as this person will pollute our screens solely on the basis of being a politician.  Since the achievement of amassing votes may have been due to the appeal of the party instead of the ability of the politician, it is open to question whether the annoying person really deserves so much screen time.  Annoyingly, the answer may be no.

Who, you may ask, is the most annoying person in ‘Real Life’ in the UK at the moment?  Of course, that may be entirely down to your political persuasion.  However, some politicians are annoying because of their party’s policies, which somewhat exonerates the person themselves.

In my opinion the Most Annoying Person in the United Kingdom at the moment has to be a politician who uses any kind of excuse whatsoever to make a call for a second Scottish independence referendum.

Of course, this person may not be so annoying to the people of Scotland. But they should be annoyed. Their most senior politician in a monomaniacal party is only interested in one policy, which is Scottish independence. But she and her party was elected to govern, not to keep being annoying over independence. And yet it does appear that sound governance in Scotland always has to give way to a never-ending campaign for independence.

Every election becomes an annoying mini-referendum on independence.  This is despite the fact that the annoying party that this annoying person leads actually lost its majority at the most recent elections, which should have annoyed them more.  Surely it makes sense to demonstrate an ability to govern over an annoying desire for independence.  Indeed, if it could be demonstrated that Scotland could be governed competently, this surely would be the best argument for independence.  Perhaps no; a nationalist vote is not cast on the basis of a range of policies, but just one: independence.  It may be too annoying to have more than one policy.  But then nationalism is more about sentiment than pragmatism.  The pragmatic approach is unionism. It is the sentiment of national pride, or perhaps annoyance, that drives independence.

Independence was touted at the last referendum based upon a utopian ideal, a national progression towards the broad sunlit uplands entirely based upon the high price of oil.  This ignored three annoying facts.  Firstly, the price of oil does go down and did so drastically in late 2014, which would have wrecked Scotland’s finances.  Secondly, the world’s largest user of oil, the USA, has been following a policy of self-sufficiency for a number of years.  Under its current president, whose mother was Scottish, this is set to continue for the foreseeable future.  China, which also uses oil, is seeing its growth slowing.

Thirdly, oil is not a blessing, it is a curse.  There is a well-documented phenomenon called the ‘Resource Curse‘. This demonstrates that if a country has a highly-valued natural resource, its economy loses its ability to diversify as it focuses on this single source of revenue, which pegs its currency too high for other local industries to be able to export goods.  As the entire working population cannot be employed in delivering this natural resource, the remaining economy collapses.

The natural resource takes over the political process as it becomes the sole source of taxation.  It invites corruption and conflict as everyone scrambles to get their ‘cut’ of the money generated not from the creative abilities of a working population to add value to raw materials, but simply from pumping matter from a hole in the ground.  Nigeria, Venezuela, and Russia all have this resource curse.  People who did not like Margaret Thatcher always maintained that oil revenues allowed the wider economy to accommodate the destruction of the manufacturing sector and three million unemployed without major upheaval.  Norway seems to have dodged the bullet, but that may be because of a relatively small population and also good governance.

And that is what Scotland needs.  Instead it is being run by a deeply nationalist party that still believes that a natural resource will create a Caledonian Utopia, providing insulation from national and global economic shocks.  It touts a ‘Nordic Model’ of governance.  Scotland is not Norway. The Nordic Model is cultural and social, not economic and political.  It did not travel anywhere outside Scandinavia.  Mass immigration into Sweden is demonstrating its shortcomings.

What is really annoying is how these facts are never acknowledged. Instead, there seems to be a policy by this Most Annoying Person to annoy the English so much that Scottish independence will come as much of a relief as an annoying person leaving a room so other people can openly talk about how annoying the person is.

The people who want to keep the United Kingdom should instead let this annoyance wash over them and remember that at the end of the day that the joke is on the annoying person. All they have is their ability to annoy, and that’s it.  And that’s not annoying.  It’s funny.  And a little bit sad.

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Paul T Horgan
Paul T Horgan works in the IT Sector. He lives in Berkshire.

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