Scotland

The polls close in a few minutes.

The Scottish Referendum. It FEELS Historic. It feels like the Night They Drove Old Dixie Down. Or maybe it isnt.

Back in the 1960s, Scottish and Welsh Nationalism was confined to the “Celtic Fringe” …Highlands and Islands, sending an occasional MP to Westminster.

The fact is…or WAS …Scotland and Wales are Labour strongholds. In the 1960s there was actually a Conservative presence in both these nations. What happened? Margaret Thatcher happened.

And effectively the Conservative Party began a slide to near oblivion.

Another fact. The Labour Party took Scotland for granted. In a bad General Election, Scottish Labour MPs can make up a quarter of its Westminster party. In a good General Election, Scottish Labour MPs can make up a fifth of the Westminster party. Therefore Scots can make up a disproportionate number in the Labour leadership….Gordon Brown, Robin Cook, John Reid, Alastair Darling etc.

Labour NEEDS Scotland. But as always the case, Labour can stand accused of taking its strongholds for granted. But increasingly, British politics is about the “middle ground”. The Conservatives take their base support for granted to court the mythical ” Worcester Woman”. Scotland felt neglected. Scotland…in devolution turned to the Scottish Nationalist Party.

SNP takes control of the newly devolved Scottish Government and presses for a Referendum. This os where we are.

It was assumed that the Scots would vote NO but over the past two weeks the opini

on polls are showing that the gap between the two sides has closed to the extent that Westminsters parties have panicked to the point of offering concessions….more powers …to the Scottish Government.

It is now 10pm and the polls have closed. Seemingly a victory for NO.

But comments here on the Campaign. The YES Campaign was energetic. The NO Campaign wS lack lustre. Saved possibly by the speeches of Gordon Brown, former British Prime Minister. The nominL leader of the NO Campaign, Alastair Darling was simply awful. The Westminster leaders, Cameron, Miliband and Clegg were inconvincing.

I am of course a nationalist. The Vote itself was an act of Self-Determination. That should be enough. But of course I am an IRISH nationalist. To achieve Irish unity, I must necessarily seek the end of the United Kingdom. Necessarily my feelings for my own nation is an animosity to another one. For my own nation to succeed, another must fail.

Are those who believe in a United Kingdom as entitled to love their country as much as I love mine. Well again….an English person in Surrey who feels diminished by the threat of the United Kingdom ending, has to recognise that many Scots, Welsh and Irish feel diminished rather than enhanced by the existence of the United Kingdom.

Arguably, English people use the words ” England” and “UK” as transferrable words that carry the same meaning. They fail to recognise that Scots are much more aware of the nuance. The English love the UK so much that they dont seem to realise that Scots can feel diminished or even humiliated by its very existence.

For the United Kingdom is little more than Greater England. And that is resented by a lot of Scots. And the English dont get it. Yugoslavia was little more than Greater Serbia. The Slovenes, Bosnians, Croats  (and Montenegro, Macedonia and Kosovo) resented it. And the Serbs still dont get it. And USSR was little more than Greater Russia and the Ukrainians, Latvians, Georgians and a lot of others resented it. The Russians still dont get it.

Does anybody seriously doubt that Greater England will go the way of Greater Serbia and Greater Russia.

Have the UK media, particuarly the British Broadcasting Corporation been fair to the YES Campaign. I dont think they have. There has certainly been bias. But I ask a bigger question. Is it reasonable to expect a UK broadcaster, publicly funded by UK taxpayers to be neutral on the existence of the Nation.?

Of course…for me this goes to the heart of the nature of the Union. A Union that I hold in contempt.

The role of BBC in London is one thing. But the role of the BBC Scotland is a bigger question. Is there a “unionist” bias in BBC Scotland? Did the BBC staff vote in much the same way as the general population? The role of the Media will come under intense scrutiny but if BBC News and BBC Scotland are going to be investigated, can we ask that it be extended to BBC Norn Iron? It might be interesting to know if BBC Belfast is truly reflective of the Norn KIron electorate.

Of course the BBC in Belfast might well be LetsGetAlongerists and LetsGetAlongerists have oft taken this blog to account for suggesting that their philosophy is at heart “unionist”.

If you have any doubt about this, just look at the tweets from our better known LetsGetAlongerist commentators and their avowed and occasionally bitter unionism during the past few weeks when the polls were suggesting a close result. LetsGetAlongerists can be remarkably vitriolic.

Look at Slugger O’Toole. Is it anti-nationalist? And did its anti-nationalism go international?

But how is it that the nice liberal newspapers were as pro-Union as the Tory press. Well of course Labour needs Scotland and the “Union” is a basic part of Conservative philosophy.

The nature of Imperialism and the “Union” was the earliest imperialism is that both fundamentalist Socialists and Conservatives are unionist. The Imperialism of McAuley was at heart pseudo liberal. It was bringing “civilisation” to the unfortunate. The Imperialism of Cecil Rhodes was unapolgetically exploiting the natives.

At its best, unionism is patronising and at its worst its a relic of the worst aspects of  Imperialism. At least thats how its seen by nationalists.

If the Exit Polls are right, then is everything lost for an Independent Scotland.

No.

The aftermath will be bitter. Very bitter. The Role of the Media. The normal embargo on hard news and speculation during voting. The role of the banks and big business appearing to bully the Voter. The effect might well be that Scotland is a one party state…controlled by the SNP. Labour will not be forgiven quickly and will take a hit in next years Westminster Election. SNP will gain a lot of seats and could well stop Labour getting a majority to form a Government. Even foreign interference from Barak Obama and Bill Clinton will backfire.

It is unlikely the Tory press or Tory backbenchers will be happy about the concessions that David Cameron was forced to make to get that NO vote. Scottish MPs will probably be excluded from “English” issues. Confrontation is inevitable.

So how is Bitterness and Confrontation good for Scottish nationalism?

Well Nationalism NEEDS Resentment and is never satisfied by Concession.

Just look at Ireland. Talk to any Irish Nationalist long enough and you will hear about Oliver Cromwell and Drogheda, The Wild Geese, Father Murphy in 1798, the execution of the 1916 Leaders. We are not impressed by Catholic Emancipation, the British faciliating literacy and Gaelic language or Land Acts.

We simply take all and want more. Alec Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon, the astute SNP leaders know how Nationalism works. Luckily no British Government has a clue.

But there is a bigger truth. The “United” Kingdom has never been more “disUnited”. It has never been less homogenous.

Norn Iron is already semi-detached. The residents are fully entitled to Irish citizenship. The Good Friday Agreement ensures power sharing between unionists and people who want the Union to end. Indeed 40% of the voters dont want the Union. A figure now matched or bettered in Scotland. And SNP in power for decades to come.

And of course, increased powers in Scotland will cause agitation for more power for English regions, maybe even an English parliament. UKIP (United Kingdom Independence Party) will snipe at Conservatives over migration. There will be pressure over European Union. And too many inner city areas seem controlled as fiefdoms by tribal elders, to whom the Labour Party have cosied. The tribal elders deliver the votes and Labour looks the other way.

And of course, young British men go off to Iraq and Syria to appear on YouTube, executing other young British men.

So….the “United Kingdom”?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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18 Responses to Scotland

  1. pippakin says:

    Oh dear it seems you have a sense of doom but why? If its as the polls were saying on the 17th it should be very close. Most of us know about the schmooze and spin of big business, banks and politicians I doubt the Scots are less well informed than anywhere else. Assuming they will say NO through fear is insulting.

    And again the dislike of the English comes through. Do you actually know any English people? I’ve never spoken to one who wanted the Scots to stay, seriously the most enthusiastic they get is a kind of weary indifference. At best its go if you want/stay if you want. Westminster politicians don’t represent the English the idea of that is laughable.

    I really believe it would be good for the English to be free of Scotland with its £1,300 per head per year more than the English and who knows how much more has been spent on NI. The backlash to the latest extravagant promises began this morning it will get worse. I dare say the Scots were listening.

    I’ve always said don’t be surprised if its the English who end the union. If they’d had a vote in this referendum Scotland would be off.

    • I take the point that the English could end the Union.
      But I think that I am right that Fear or at least Anxiety won the day.
      In my regular Facebook existence I have ffour English friends.
      One (hi David) is a labourite unionist. And a regular if silent reader of this Blog.
      If he is reading this, his view would be welcome.

      And I have three other English friends. Only one has really expressed an opinion (pro Union).
      My American friends mostly anti Union.
      Of course, this in some way reflects the nature of the friendships I have developed over sixteen years.
      As you will know from my writings here, I do not in “real life” thru choice develop POLITICAL friendships outside my comfort zone.
      Thru the nature of my non-political hobbies, I DO have friendships which are not based on their religion, politics, nationality.
      I must emphasise that in real life, I am not exactly “social”

      In another hobby related Facebook existence, one of my American friends is very unionist and monarchist.

      • pippakin says:

        The Scots voted for the Union because they wanted to. Alec Salmond had a bad election as bad as Cameron, Clegg and Milliband. I think the Scots listened to George Galloway who almost persuaded me for the Union, so annoying!

        I am far from social myself but you would be surprised at how garrulous are some of the inquisitive buggers who pass by my house waving and pointing…I don’t see how it impinges on my comment knowing English people is completely natural if you live there which of course I did for many years.

        Some fifty eight million people live in England, many of them of Irish descent and there are others from everywhere else in the world indeed I read that some 700,000 Scots live in England which doesn’t include those who came, stayed and assimilated.

        Three hundred and more years ago the Scots joined the Union because they were bankrupt and in those days there was no IMF or Central Bank. It maybe that there is a kind of tribal memory, certainly Alec Salmond made mistakes he has said so and resigned as leader of the SNP although this may not be permanent since I think he has resigned before.

  2. Political Tourist says:

    Scottish/British Labour, sister party of the SDLP, played a very dangerous game joining with the toxic Tories against Scottish Independence.
    Long term they will rue the day.

  3. boondock says:

    The Scots bottled it but Im not surprised – the amount of negativity and bullying the voters were being blitzed with for weeks was incredible you would have thought a vote for Yes was a vote for instant death. Cameron thinks the issue is finished for a generation. I would say bollix. The elderly heavilly backed the NO so demographics will be at play. Events such as Westminister not delivering on their panic promises or Uk leaving the EU or another dubious foreign war may all bring a new referendum back on the agenda quickly. As we keep saying over here. Nationalists just need to get lucky once. FFS it was a 55/45 split although the media have that as some sort of crushing defeat when the reality is a bit of rain or sleet on voting day could cause more of a swing. It certainly has been interesting from an Irish perspective as we now see what depths the UK media and goverment will go to to get the right result. An irish referendum is going to need the Southern parties and southern media fighting the cause and I just dont think they can be bothered!

  4. hoboroad says:

    I see the three Westminister parties are already fighting amongst themselves over what last nights result means. Labour want a constitutional convention. The Tories want only English MP’s to vote on English matters. And the Lib/Dems want a federal UK.

  5. JamesM says:

    “The vow” seems to be unravelling quite nicely. Labour were doomed from the start of the campaigns.

  6. Political Tourist says:

    Strangely the places with biggest Orange elements voted YES.
    Glasgow and the North Lanarkshire towns of Airdrie, Coatbridge and Mothwell.
    I’m shocked, surprised and bitter about the vote.
    Shocked by the size of the YES vote.
    1.6 million Scottish voters well, grew a pair.
    God bless them.
    Surprised by those not frighten off by the scary wing of the No vote.
    Last night saw the burning of the Scottish Flag by No supporters.
    And bitter very bitter about the Scottish Labour Party.

    • JamesM says:

      Labour has shot itself in the foot in Scotland. When the three parties fail to agree on Devo max, another referendum will not be far off. Although the no vote won, the Union has never been more divided.

  7. I believe Salmond has won, the union is finished, more powers to Scotland will increase demand for full independence, it will feed the flames nor extinguish them. The union is dying a slow death, but it is dying.

    • pippakin says:

      Regrettably I think you’re wrong if change there be it will have to come from the English. The best that can be said of Salmond is at least he didn’t kill anyone while he was getting his sums wrong and rewriting history.

      • I agree it will come from the English, that is because change will come from Westminster and Westminster is a majority English assembly. But England will be and has been, forced to make those changes. As for getting his sums wrong? I think he called them correctly, he has destroyed the status quo and set Scotland on the road to independance with the Westminster elite in disarray and turmoil. A good outcome and if I was him I would call that a victory.

      • pippakin says:

        What do you mean England will be and has been forced to make these changes? If England voted tomorrow Scotland would be gone. You keep referring to the govt as English but the English are only just getting over twelve years of Scottish rule arguably the English have the least rights and the least cash per head of population than the Scots and possibly the Welsh, and we all know NI wouldn’t last ten seconds if it were up to an English vote.

        Look at what really lost Salmond the vote:

        1st George Galloway

        2nd Alex Salmond

        3rd Gordon Brown

        4 Corporation tax

        5 Losing Trident etc

        6 Join NATO

        7 Join EU

        8 Keep Sterling

        Salmond was continually countered and all he could do was bluster “what are they going to do – attack?” How funny. I had expected better from him, really he was so bad I wondered if he was using a different script writer.

        There are Scots who like George Galloway genuinely prefer the union they were treated almost as traitors – and they didn’t like that.

        I expected more from Alec Salmond he was very disappointing.

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