Monday, 15 October 2012

'No' to Scottish Secession

As something of a student of the American Civil War, I cannot help viewing talk of Scottish ‘independence’ as a possible misnomer.
In early 1861, several southern states announced their secession from the rest of the United States. The presenting issues were, one way and another, related to slavery, but in the eyes of those in favour of secession, there was also the matter of self-determination.
As far as they were concerned, the United States of America was exactly what it said on the tin — a union of states. And therefore the fundamental unit of government was the particular state, not the federal nation as a whole. To secede was therefore a right. They belonged to the United States voluntarily, and therefore if they so chose they could leave voluntarily.
Now consider the case of Scotland. The ‘Braveheart Myth’ depicts Scotland as brave ‘David’ resisting the English ‘Goliath’. But in fact, of course, for much of the early history of these two nations, the order of the day was banditry across the borders and hostility between the nations. And let us not forget the ‘Auld Alliance’ — the agreement of mutual support between Scotland and France if the English attacked the territory of either.
Scotland has never been a nation of farmer poets just wanting to get on with raising their herds and their children, eating their porridge and playing the pipes. In the days when warfare was the norm between nations the Scots gave — or attempted to give — as good as they got.
Thus the union between Scotland and England was, on a national basis, more like the birth of the European Union at the end of the Second World War, insofar as part of that project was to bring about lasting peace on a continent formerly riven by habitual war.
The union was good for Scotland and England, in removing a former mutual threat. Moreover, it was a balanced relationship of powers, evident when James the VI of Scotland became James I of England.
What Alex Salmond and his ilk have done, in my view, is little short of playing on the cultural equivalent of racism. From where I sit, Scottish Nationalism seems to rely for its energy as much on anti-Englishness as it does on a truly ‘Scottish’ spirit. After all, why does being fully Scottish require not being part of the United Kingdom?
This is why I would rather call the campaign now being run a campaign for Scottish secession, for that is what it truly represents. Scotland is not a vassal state of England now, and never has been so let’s not use language that suggests it was. And if Salmond has its way, the Scots will not be ‘free’. They will still be part of the EU, and they will still be run by politicians.
It may be that states ought to be allowed to be self-determining, but in that case the American Civil War was wrong in principle (as indeed many in the Souther states believe it was). However, as with the threat of the breakup of the United States in 1861, so I believe the break up of the United Kingdom not only affects us all, but ought to be resisted by all for the good of all.
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  1. Cameron must be confident that 'NO' will win the referendum otherwise he wouldn't be so co-operative in the organisation of it. In a rare event, I actually agree with him

  2. '...I cannot help viewing talk of Scottish 'independence' as a possible misnomer.'

    I would suggest to you that the word 'secession' is the real misnomer. Analyse actual recorded history concerning the formation of the United Kingdom and you will find that Scottish independence would be restoration NOT secession. You might consider the following as part of any analysis -

    'Scotland: The Shaping of a Nation' by Gordon Donaldson, ISBN 0 7153 6904 0.

  3. Agree completely with John.

    To see what Alex Salmond is really up to you only have to see this SNP party political broadcast..

    Chris Bishop

  4. A key aspect of Anglo-Scots amity was the Protestant Reformed Religion, from the moment Elizabeth I sent the Lords of the Congregation English aid against Marie de Guise and the French in 1560. Dis-union represents not only the failure of the State, but also that of the Church.

  5. Whilst I agree with you completely on the insanity of this whole thing (including the idiotic suggestion of remaining under the Queen whilst independent!), I think you've missed a few key details in all this.
    The first off is that whilst Scots are just as much citizens as anyone else, they have received the rough end a few times. Like the clearing of the Highlands, for example, where their rights were ignored and thus made to feel like they were treated as inferior. There is also the fact that Scotland is not on a par with England financially or health-wise. It's like the reason why Conservatives struggle in the north of England, investment has predominated in the south east and so they feel a slight.
    Of course, there is the all-too-often ignored fact that London's businesses raise money that then goes to subsidise Scotland, with many other reasons why the arguments for independence are false. But I think it's worth realising that there are some real feelings of resentment in Scotland caused by real as well as imagined slights over the years that people like Salmond target and play up to.