Wednesday, 15 March 2017

What we wish for

A couple of days ago Andy Murray became just Scottish again. Soon, if Nicola Sturgeon’s dream comes true he may get the opportunity to adopt that specific nationality on a more permanent and exclusive basis. La Sturgeon is, of course, back on the Indie Trail. I wonder if she and Alex Salmond are operating as a tag team, with Wee Eck jostling the ropes waiting his turn to bound back in and take back the reins again. Meh. Scottish independence is a pipe dream, a personal vanity project and the Scottish National Party is a flash in the pan now it is abundantly clear what a snarling, spiteful, ankle-bitey wee beastie it is.

A shame, really, that they have resorted to biting the hand that feeds, given that the British Isles existed millennia before Scotland was even dreamed of and the Walter Scott, Rabbie Burns, shortbread tin illustration version of the Highlands, where about one in every thousand Scots live, is an even more recent invention. If the English yearning for independence from the EU can be accused of harking back to a green and pleasant land that never was, that accusation can apply doubly, trebly to the Scottish. We’ll get along just fine though, whatever back-to-the-future we both end up in.

On the subject of alternate futures – something that absolutely nobody can predict – I find it odd that so much of the anti-Brexit rhetoric pivots on the doom and gloom that lies ahead. One of the latest ‘threats’ I heard was that we ‘could’ all be £2000 poorer following Brexit. So what, unless I win the lottery tonight I ‘could’ be £millions poorer by tomorrow. Of course, equally, I might actually win the lottery and still end up only a ‘free lucky dip’ to the good. The future is just a sea of ‘what-ifs’ but what it certainly isn’t is pre-ordained. The future is malleable; like a streetwalker it promises to be what you want it to be... as long as what you want is an expensive disappointment.

I may not know what lies ahead for me, but I do know that a lot of it is up to me. I could drop dead of a heart attack tomorrow, that’s true, but if I choose to make some sensible lifestyle decisions and live an actively I could be around for, oooh, months to come. Continuing that analogy, some remainers seem determined that the future is going to be bleak, as if they have chosen to give in and subsist from now on deep-fried brown food, cigarettes, booze and extreme indolence; they would be gutted if they survived into their eighties, but at least if they do there’s a fair chance they could cripple themselves into type 2 diabetes, blindness and gout... so that’ll learn yah, you ignorant Brexiteers.

But, while we’re predicting the unpredictable, a good rule of thumb is to extrapolate from the current direction of travel. And that extrapolation always takes us to a future of increasing costs with reducing benefits. It foretells a world in which only the best-educated work profitably, alongside state-subsidised, low paid, migrant armies, while the indigenous unemployed languish and become agitated. In the next few years the countries of the EU will elect more hard-line administrations, reintroduce border controls, pass new labour laws to favour nationals and increasingly defy the Polit-Euro.

More referenda, more net contributors opting to leave, more demands for bailouts from net recipients until eventually the only workable thing left of the European Union is a vague, sort-of free-trade area, mingled with unilateral protectionist policies... with an independent Scotland still begging to join. Excuse me for preferring to argue for an uncertain but optimistic unknown future, rather than hankering for more of what we know only too well.

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