Quite soon we will have to redesign the Union Jack. I can see no way of stopping Scotland from leaving the Union, so there goes St Andrew’s Cross.
At least that will give us a chance to right a historic wrong and include some symbol of Wales on the national flag, provided they don’t declare independence too.
Did you know that the Royal Arms of England used to feature a lion for England and a dragon for Wales? The dragon was dropped, in favour of a unicorn, when the English and Scottish crowns were united in 1603.
Quite soon we will have to redesign the Union Jack. I can see no way of stopping Scotland from leaving the Union, so there goes St Andrew’s Cross
I find this a useful way to think about it. We have in recent years seen major nations, including Yugoslavia, Germany and the USSR, change shape utterly. Perhaps we should get used to the idea we are about to undergo the same thing.
When the Blair Government began its revolution in 1997, I thought there might be some chance of saving the United Kingdom. But when the Tory Party adopted Blairism under David Cameron, the last hopes of that faded. Not that they were very strong by then. I don’t see how anybody can stop it now.
Nationalism makes many people in Scotland feel good about themselves, and anyone who supports British independence from Brussels can’t really argue against it. I suspect that, against all logic, if I were Scottish, I would favour it for the sheer exhilaration of it.
And I now think that our only hope of reunifying Scotland and England is to say: ‘We will be sorry to see you go, and continue to regard you as friends and allies, closer to us in all ways than anyone else on Earth. But if you must go, you should know that you will always be welcome back if you change your minds. We’ll leave a light burning.’
Nationalism makes many people in Scotland feel good about themselves, and anyone who supports British independence from Brussels can’t really argue against it
The last thing we should do is behave as Spain has towards Catalonia. Heavy-handed rigidity will only make the divorce worse when it comes. It really is going to be very hard to prevent another vote, and we shouldn’t try.
Attempts to argue about finances, or defence, or currency just won’t work. Younger people in Scotland are used to the idea. Many don’t share the English view of the EU – not surprising, as Scotland’s law and politics are much closer to the continental model than ours. Why cover ourselves in bruises in a vain effort to keep hold of people who – for now at least – prefer to leave? Far better to stay on the best terms with them once they go.
Let us, for a while, think rather harder about whether we can save England, our beautiful, free prosperous country, its unique liberty, its limited government, its literature, music, architecture and landscape, its inventiveness and its courage, the things that made us great in the first place and which – if we take the trouble to preserve them – might keep us in being in the future when others fail.
Accused of killing a man I’ve never met
On Monday I once again had followers mysteriously cancelled on my Twitter account.
On Tuesday I was censored. On Wednesday I was denounced in The Guardian.
On Thursday I was accused of helping to kill a man I had never even met (I’ll come back to this). And on Friday I was attacked and abused in the Left-wing New Statesman.
I was also denounced on a website associated with the vice-chairman of the Conservative Party, so effectively an arm of government. Paradoxically, the website – which claimed my words endangered public health – is partly run by a man who spends much of his time defending cigarette companies.
This is normal life now for any dissenter from the official view of the lockdown – abuse, accusations and smears.
On Monday I once again had followers mysteriously cancelled on my Twitter account [File photo]
The censorship was a mysterious cut in the recorded version of a weekly conversation I have each Monday on Talk Radio with presenter Mike Graham. Mr Graham had nothing to do with it. But Talk Radio recently ran into trouble with the pro-lockdown internet monster YouTube, which provides a platform for its recorded material.
My guess is that someone at Talk Radio, worried that YouTube might attack again, cut out some rude words I said about government propaganda (the whole episode is described on the Peter Hitchens blog). This is what censorship does. It makes people cut their own stuff, so the censors don’t have to.
But the worst was the suggestion that I should be counted as responsible for a poor man who had died, in Shrewsbury, after testing positive for Covid-19. The claim was that he had liked some of my tweets, and as a result, had ignored precautions against the virus and so died.
I’ll leave it to you to judge the strength of that. Furious screeching internet warriors, who remind me strongly of the Red Guards who denounced and attacked Mao’s enemies in 1960s China, demanded I should confess my guilt and express public shame. Normally, this sort of thing would be easily dismissed. But in the current atmosphere, I am not so sure.
With every day that passes, this country grows darker and narrower, and more like the places I used to visit in my foreign correspondent days, secure in the knowledge I could fly home to freedom, law and calm. Believe me. I have seen a lot of tyrannies and we are turning, bit by bit, into such a place.
Child spooks? Now that really is sinister
I should have worried more about the TV series Spooks, which glamorised MI5 as a heroic defender of the nation against terrorism.
We have now got far too complacent about this rather creepy organisation, with its enormous budget and its increasingly political remit. I wonder when it will finally get the power of arrest, which will make it truly dangerous?
We have also allowed the police to go down the same path. Infiltrating undercover agents into organisations which are essentially political, as well as into actual criminal gangs. Personally, I don’t think this is especially effective at preventing crime, or right. Now, having created this monster, the Government is trying to regulate it.
And what a mess they are in. The Covert Human Intelligence Sources Bill actually licenses government informers to commit crimes to help them stay undercover – a direct blow at the rule of law.
If that is not bad enough, it permits children to be used as undercover spies by more than 20 state agencies. Children aged 16 and 17 could even be recruited to spy on their own parents. The only safeguard is that such child spies should only be used in ‘exceptional circumstances’, which has all the force of a wet paper bag.
Much praise is due to the few MPs who are fighting this nasty development, and to the much larger contingent in the Lords who have repeatedly tried to torpedo it. If you create such powers, they will be used, and in ways that nobody thinks of now.
The most hateful thing I ever saw in my years in Moscow was a statue to Pavlik Morozov, a (probably mythical) child who had denounced his own parents to the authorities, and then been murdered by his grandfather. Millions of children in the Evil Empire were brought up to revere and admire this little toad.
When Communism fell, the Morozov idol disappeared from the park where it had stood and has not been seen since. At the rate we are going, perhaps it will end up on the empty plinth in Trafalgar Square.
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This post was first published on DailyMail.