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Mar 18

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Scottish Independence

Sooo for anyone who hasn’t heard, Scotland is having a referendum in a few months time about independence from England.  Which is groovy – referendums are always fun, right?

And obviously I’m not Scottish, and I can’t vote in this one, and everyone’s sticking their oar in, so I’ll try and keep this short and simple and sweet.  Basically: I’m pro-Union.

My views have very little to do with either politics or economics.  I think it likely, particularly looking at the voting patterns of the North, that Scotland despises the Conservative government just as much as I do, and I’m sorry on behalf of all England that Scotland too suffers under the weight of the puffed-up ideologue loons who currently inhabit Westminster.  Will Scotland be better or worse off economically speaking if it splits from England?  Dunno.  Historically it hasn’t had a great time, but that was 500 years ago, so really, who’s counting?  Will England be worse off if Scotland goes?  Well, almost certainly, if only because we’ll have our despicable government all to our sunny selves, with fewer constituencies likely to vote them out.  Save us, Scotland!

But all of this isn’t really the point.

The base reason why I’m pro-Union is this: that lines of national boundary and cultural difference have been the cause of more crap for the last few thousand years of human history, than almost anything else in the world.  Humanity’s capacity to invent differences and reasons to screw over the other guy is almost boundless, and the willingness of governments to distract from internal problems by ranting and railing against external woes is even more so.

I’m thrilled every time I hear the words ‘multiculturalism’ or the rantings of people who claim that ‘British culture’ is being diluted.  Dilute away!  I firmly believe that cultures and peoples are made richer, not poorer, by the mingling of histories, traditions and religions.  We do not forget our stories – merely expand the context of the world in which they are read, and this is surely a wonderful thing.  In this day and age we should be knocking down the divisions between people, not building them up  and at its most basic level, Scottish independence will create barriers.  Not simply will it potentially raise barriers against trade and political co-operation, but it will raise a social barrier, and create yet another Them who are different from Us.

Devolution I’m all on board with.  Devolve away!  The rights to healthcare, education and the humane protection of the law should be universal to all people in all places, but after that I’m really not too fussed.  But let’s not isolate ourselves as societies any more.

Scotland: please don’t go.  Our government are inane, and yours are… characterful, I think we could say.  Let’s be infuriated by them all, and change it all, together.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.kategriffin.net/2014/03/18/scottish-independence/

5 comments

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  1. Karen

    Speaking as a Canadian (one who has faced questions of Quebecois separation, at that), may I say you have summed up my own feelings perfectly. Multiculturalism, hooray!

  2. Steven French

    Sums up my feelings in the matter perfectly!

  3. MidwestJoe

    American chiming in here just because I can and not for the reasons you’d think.

    Being ruled by people that you despise is not fun, being ruled by people you do not agree with is not fun, and there’s only so much not fun that certain people can take before enough is enough and it’s time to strike out on one’s own even if the road may be rocky.

    The Scots are a proud strong people who want to try something different…they want to be their own country…of course it won’t be easy…of course some stuff is going to get and be all bungled up…of course there are going to be angry people on both sides…but they want to try and the folks in charge are willing to listen to the will of the Scottish people. So if the Scottish people as a whole decide to go ahead with this and if they are truly well informed of the consequences and if they are well and good scared out of their minds but happier than a fat man in a twinkie factory….then GOOD ON THEM AND GODSPEED!!!!

    A roommate moving out after a few years does not destroy a friendship….a deckhand moving to captain their own ship does not destroy camaraderie….Scotland is still there….the people will still travel back and forth across the EU…they’ll still be all Scottish like and what have you…they’re not destroying multiculturalism…they’re just…being stubborn and proud and loveable and strong…like they always have been, they’re Scottish, so does this move really surprise anyone? Nothing will get diluted…things will be the same…the only way things will change is if people purposely try to make them change.

    Mind you the obvious question….when the frelling hezmana were the Scottish ever similar to the English?

    The Referendum will tell though, and after they decide, well…I guess we’ll go from there…maybe things will change while others won’t…we’ll see.

    But if Scotland does become independent, then on the behalf of the dozens of others countries who have done so just like them…I wholeheartedly welcome them to the Former Subjects of the British Empire Club….c’mon boys and gals time to party! XD

  4. Tim S

    I always laugh when people talk about traditional British culture being diluted. Traditional British culture being as far as I can tell some sort of mix of Celtic, Roman, Saxon, Norse and Norman…. We’re a mongrel nation and always have been, honestly I think we should be proud of it.

    Midwestjoe – “when the frelling hezmana were the Scottish ever similar to the English?” Which English?
    I know we’re a small country but there are a lot of differences between different regions. I’m from Teesside in the north east, it’s about 100 miles from the Scottish border. It’s also about 200 from London. Culturally (which is a slippy word in this context) we’re probably closer to the Scots than the Londoners. London is not England, not by a long chalk. It’s a huge and fascinating place and I probably have a skewed view of the people since I’ve never lived there but there is more to England than that.

  5. Jamie

    Hi all,

    I appreciate your perspective on the whole thing, and as a Scot who’s very firmly in the Yes camp I feel it’s only fair if I have a wee go at least explaining our side of the whole thing :)

    I understand your thinking along the pro-union lines, but that arguments can always be extended to the EU. Why don’t we have a super country of Europe? Well, the truth seems to lie in both the differing ideologies of the collective nations, and also the differing requirements of the people.

    Yes, Scotland has had the short end of the stick for decades – we’ve contributed more to the Union financially than had back for all but one year (this year actually) out of the last 32. (this year can was very largely down to capital investment in the oil industry – the massive rewards of which will put us right back to surplus next year). So, on the economic side of things, we’re in an incredibly strong position.

    But just because we’ll be ‘wealthier’, is that reason enough? I argue no. For me there are so, so many reasons for an independent Scotland. Firstly, the needs of the people north of the border are routinely under-served. Now, this isn’t different from a lot of other areas of the UK outside London, however as Scotland is treated as a ‘region’ in its entirety, and economic division is different when it comes to Scotland, we’re even further under-served than other areas. What this means in real terms is economic stagnation, lack of capital investment, lack of an oil fund, lack of ability to tackle poverty and the like. Simply put, the Scottish economy will never, ever grow under the neo-liberal consensus that is Westminster (all parties, not just the cons).

    Now, as for devolution – remember there is little to zero appetite to give Scotland any powers to make any meaningful change. A lot of Scots would like a devo max option (control over all taxation and other money raising, and only reserving foreign policy and defence) however this isn’t on the ballot. And never will be. We’re too valuable to the UK for that to happen. (I should point out that I am against this, simply because of things like Trident, which a vast majority do not want, but which would remain under devo max).

    Also, the political culture in Scotland is incredibly different to that of the South East of England especially, but also many other parts of the UK. Our desires and needs are consistently not met, and people have begun to realise this is increasingly unlikely to change.

    As for solidarity – it never ends at borders! And in terms of multiculturalism – the Scottish government is advocating a far more relaxed immigration policy than the UK – Scotland desperately needs more immigrants! And the UK’s increasingly tight policies mean our ageing population cannot be given the injection it needs.

    Independence gives the opportunity for a new partnership in the British Islands, one of mutual respect and togetherness that isn’t bound by an unworkable political system. I fully believe that a socially just and resurgent Scotland will serve to ignite the centre left in England, and case serious light on the democratic deficit that exists there. London’s dominance won’t go unchallenged for long after independence. Edinburgh can become a larger financial power, and Glasgow’s industry can receive the much needed boost it needs.

    The rest of the UK will suddenly see what can be achieved by decision making in the national interest, and a reforged alliance in the British isles (and a real sense of perspective and reality check for Westminster) can only improve the fortunes of all here.

    …in my humblest of opinions :)

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