I was asked by plenty of people why I stopped blogging on Scotland, and in particular Scotland’s political turmoils. Maybe the night before extraordinary General Elections in Great Britain is the best point of time to answer this question. There are three reasons of relevance. First of all, I didn’t feel entitled any longer. Funnily, it was never a “Nat” who pointed to the fact that neither do I live in Scotland nor do I have Scottish ancestry, it was Unionists and Brexiteers who told me “it” was none of my business. The same people who assumed I were showing a nearness to Scottish nationalism, what’s utterly illogical. Anyhow, I didn’t fancy tilting at windmills, so I kept my thoughts private for quite a while.
Second, it got harder to investigate in a journalistic sense what’s fact and what’s propaganda. The public exposition has changed a lot since indyref in 2014. No matter what topic, there always seem to be two contradicting truths (is there even a pluralistic form of truth?) linked to it. Sure, things can be seen from different perspectives, but whether it’s education or women’s rights, health care or security: one side pushes forward, the other side demonises. And stupidly even the sources of information impact the reception meanwhile. To be precise (with fictive examples): When the BBC analyses health care spendings, it’s “look, I told you, we have it good” on the one side and “fxxk media bias, they whitewash the numbers anyway” on the other side. When The National analyses how official statements on Scottish oil reserves can differ remarkably before and after elections, it’s “damn, I knew they lie to us” on the one side and “they are SNP barkers and totally biased anyway” on the other side. “Bias” is what’s used as a knockout argument from both sides equally and therefore one of the most popular words on social media these days as it seems. Although for me, as a journalist, it’s clear: If I can track the sources and if the writer considered opposing positions and asked all the intruding questions, it’s a neutral point of view and reliable, no matter what’s written on the name label of the paper or broadcaster. We cannot chose what’s true due to our beliefs, we have to elicit truth by looking at the facts and the sources. This, regrettably, has become quite a challenge when observing Scottish events while living in Germany.
Third, my understanding has a tough time with reactions and decisions (not only) in Scotland. Don’t get me wrong, I do know how politics work, I do understand coherences and causal effects, I see essential overlaps of politics and economics. Ideals, cultural as well as social ones, such as equal rights and opportunities, poverty reduction etc., are noble aims, and I, for one, do believe in them, too. But a country needs money to implement aims like these, and money depends on a vital economic system which flourishes and grows, so it would be rather naive to exclude capitalistic attempts. So yes, I can understand why the Tories, being the British party with the best visible economic direction, sail in a tailwind during times of insecurities of different types. What I do not understand is how a PM can propose a vote of confidence – and that’s the bottom line of what is going to happen tomorrow with the new GE – but miss to offer a transparent programme. What is the definition of „mainstream“, talking of the „mainstream government for mainstream Britain“ statement placed in Halifax? What if the „if“ in „if we get Brexit right, we can use this moment…“ turns out to be a „but all the others don’t want to play by our rules“? These are just two wee examples of many, I’ve read the manifesto here, maybe you should do the same, and I ask you to tell me if you find what I did not find: concrete plans, arguments and facts instead of future visions, beautiful words and ifs. So without taking sides, I personally don’t understand the Why when I read there’s no real alternative to a conservative majority, as I don’t think that a party can rest on the sad fact the other parties provide even less substance and even more nonsense. So I don’t understand the arguments for “strategic votes” or “resistance votes” which aren’t worth the term “argument”, ergo I don’t understand the going ons any more.
But I’m going to have my eyes and my attention in Britain and especially Scotland tomorrow. Maybe the outcome and what the country makes of it help me to get over these three obstacles, and maybe I’m more motivated hereafter to rant on about my favourite topic: Scotland.