As is always the case, the closer one is to the political establishment, the safer one is from state and media attack. We see examples of this from the British state broadcaster all the time; non-establishment politicians and activists are smeared while their every infraction is blown up out of proportion, while – no matter how criminal their behaviour – the establishment politicians and activists are shielded by the state media and the rest of the political and policing establishment.
Today, more than four years after that campaign, while the SNP remains the party in government in Scotland and holds the majority of Scotland’s Westminster seats, and as the constitutional crisis engendered by Brexit approaches crisis point, the Scottish government and the SNP continue to engage with the state broadcaster as though it is a neutral agent and an honest broker. It is neither. Outcry over the treatment of Fiona Hyslop MSP, the Scottish government’s Secretary for Culture, Tourism and External Affairs, on BBC Question Time (Thursday 7 February 2019) is nothing new.
Rather naïvely Peter assumes the law to be the written text of civilisation’s better angels, or – as he puts it – “the codification of society’s mores and principles.” Here he touches on what the child is taught to think of the policeman and the law, that it is universally good and wholesome. It lacks completely any normal and healthy hermeneutic of suspicion that comes with the reality of the law, its place in society, and the purposes it always and everywhere serves.
Ever since Donald Trump called for closer US-Russian relations on 7 January 2017, whilst still president-elect, the United States has been pulled into a de facto soft coup, with powerful elements of the intelligence and military-industrial complex – the so-called “deep state” – mobilising against him. In no sense is this reflection an attempt to ingratiate myself to Trump or otherwise rehabilitate him. Donald Trump is, in many respects a liability, but even a broken clock is right twice a day. We simply cannot argue with the fact that, on aggregate, closer relations between the world’s two most powerful states will be good for everyone.
Civil society is a naturally cautious and conservative set of relations and institutions, and when it is governed – if we can even describe such as governance – by the unambitious and women and men who are essentially followers of whimsical public demand it loses any forward momentum that theretofore existed. It gives way to socio-political inertia and begins to atrophy. There exists no better example of this than Brexit Britain.
How primitive of us to think that Gàidhlig is part of our heritage, our history, and our culture. We should know by now that only the master really knows our country. Perhaps we should write an apology: Tha sinn duilich gu dearbh, ach tha e àm a ghabh sinn ar dùthcha air ais.
Governments come and go, but all the while there remains a permanent sub-structure to the state – the bureaucratic state – that remains essentially unaltered no matter which particular political party is in government or which particular personality is head of state or head of government.
This was a state of emergency, and, as the dominant classes intend neoliberalism to be a long-term politico-economic project, there had to be a permanent policing solution to facilitate it.
Pierre Bourdieu's identification of intellectuals as the "increasingly dominated fraction of the dominant class" is useful, but this analysis of intra-class power struggle goes far beyond the boundaries of the academy.
The British state has no domestic resource more important than Scottish oil. To imagine that the apparatus of state security is not interested in maintaining its hold over North Sea oil – and therefore over Scotland – is an absolute fantasy.