ANYONE who supports Scottish independence is aware that Scotland voted No in 2014 on the basis of lies. We were told that only a No vote could guarantee our political and economic safety, security and stability.

We were told that the permanence of the Scottish Parliament would be enshrined in law, and that no Westminster government would be able to meddle with Holyrood’s powers without the express consent of Holyrood. We were told that the only way that Scotland could remain a part of the EU was by voting to remain a part of the UK. All of this turned out to be lies.

But all those lies are underpinned by an even bigger lie, the biggest lie of all that keeps Scotland a part of the UK. That’s the lie of the Union. For most of the 20th century, Scotland could pretend to itself that it was a partner in a Union. Scotland and England voted along very similar lines, both were on the same page politically.

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There were dozens of national institutions which were publicly owned, British Gas, British Rail, British Steel and so forth, all of which fostered and supported a common sense in the Scottish imagination that the nations of the UK were partners in a larger project. All those institutions were broken up and sold off by the British state itself, and now apart from the Westminster Parliament the only institutions which are British are the royal family, the military, and the BBC. It’s not a coincidence that in recent years we’ve witnessed a growing glorification of the military by the British state. It’s an attempt to shore up a sense of a identity that the British state itself destroyed.

Britishness was further weakened by the growing political distance between Scotland and England. The two countries are no longer on the same political page. Brexit has exposed the myth of the Union. Scotland is not a partner in a family of nations, it is a subordinate and minority part of a unitary state. There is no Union, there is only the unitary British state with its devolution window dressing, a tartan sop to keep the Jocks quiescent.

Many of the favourite anti-independence arguments of the British state’s supporters flow from the lie of the Union. There’s the so-called UK single market, which we are told is vitally important to Scotland’s well-being. Oddly enough, despite the fact that it’s supposedly so important, no opponent of independence ever thought to mention it before 2016 as a Google search on the term “UK single market” will confirm.

The term UK single market is a deliberate concoction, created with the intent of conflating the internal market of the unitary state of the UK with the very different political and economic beast that is the EU single market. The EU has a genuine single market, a trade deal created by the different regulatory bodies of the various EU states coming together and jointly agreeing a common framework which is mutually negotiated – and in theory at least – designed so that no one member of the single market can exploit the others.

The UK has the market of a unitary state. Scotland has no input into the control over the macro-economic levers of the UK economy, over most tax policies, or most regulatory authorities. These are under the sole control of the British Government. Scotland has no formal representation as an equal member of the imaginary British family of nations. There are only Scottish MPs, who can be sidelined and ignored, and the Scottish Secretary of State, who wasn’t even informed of the progress of Brexit negotiations.

The lie of the UK single market could only gain traction because it rests upon the lie of the Union. One lie builds upon another in British nationalist mythology. Another big lie of opponents of independence is that by virtue of opposing independence they are not nationalists.

The truth is that there are nationalists and non-nationalists on both sides of the Scottish constitutional debate, you don’t get an automatic free pass from nationalism just because you don’t want Scottish independence. In fact by actively opposing Scottish independence you are tacitly or explicitly supporting the nationalism of the British state.

Unfortunately the English language uses the term “nationalism” to describe two very different political phenomena, on the one hand there is the aggrandisement of an existing state, most commonly in a right-wing and xenophobic way, while on the other there is the campaign for independence for a nation which doesn’t have it. British nationalism is the former, Scottish nationalism is the latter. Brexit is very much a nationalist project, in the xenophobic aggrandisement sense of the term.

Most importantly, the term Unionist allows opponents of independence to disguise their British nationalism, and to falsely portray the Scottish constitutional debate as a debate between nationalism and non-nationalism. It is therefore a term which supporters of independence should refrain from using. If we have to be Scottish nationalists, those who oppose independence must be British nationalists. We must not allow our opponents to frame the debate in such a way that allows them to disguise their true nature.