Saturday, 18 April 2015

We must attack the SNP at its roots


Why are so many people voting for the SNP? In 2010 they got less than 20% of the vote and won 6 seats. This time according to some polls they may win all of them. My view is that they will do rather worse than they expect, but still unless the polls are hopelessly wrong, they are liable to at least double their share of the vote. What has changed in the course of 5 years? It’s only necessary to think for a second to understand what has changed. We had a referendum on independence.

When I lived in the USSR, I used to visit friends and relations in what is now the Ukraine. People on the whole got on pretty well. There were some jokes and bits of banter, but nothing unpleasant. Everybody I met thought of the USSR as one single indivisible country. Nobody dreamed that it would all fall apart so soon. I never met Ukrainian nationalism in those days. No-one I met thought of themselves as particularly different in any real way.  People from what is now Ukraine and what is now Russia were far more united during the Soviet Union than people in Scotland are today. 

People may wonder why I write so much about Scottish politics. One reason is that I am one of the few Scots with first-hand experience of seeing a country fall apart. The other is that I have seen what nationalism has done to Ukraine. Nationalism was latent in Ukraine, but it was ignited by foolish politicians and this spark led to a bonfire. People who had previously thought of themselves as the same now hated each other, now fought each other, now killed each other for a difference that two decades earlier they had barely been aware existed.  

When I was a child in Scotland, nationalism barely existed. There was no division whatsoever between Scots and precious little between Scots and people from other parts of the UK. Even five years ago less than 20% of the population were nationalists. The event that changed everything was the Scottish election of 2011. I don’t particularly remember following that election. Just another boring Holyrood election, I thought. We all sleepwalked into letting our country be run by nationalists. For the first time the SNP won a majority. Who knows, if they hadn’t won in 2011, we might still be having an ordinary election in 2015 with the SNP winning just less than 20%. But the SNP only needed to win once in order to play the nationalist card that sparked the bonfire that is now sweeping across Scotland. They claim to be civic nationalists, but the logic of civic nationalism ultimately collapses, for why separate people if there is no characteristic that distinguishes them. To be a civic nationalist logically entails that you are not a nationalist at all. But it can act as a convenient façade, which even its followers are unaware exists. Again I saw this in Ukraine in the 1990s. Everyone said they wanted to get on with each other and have friendly relations with their neighbours.  It was all very civic, even civil, but when the mask was taken off, the result was civil war.

It was the seemingly never-ending indyref campaign that brought out the hitherto latent nationalism in Scotland. Up until then Scottish nationalism was a minority pursuit, but the referendum meant it went mainstream. For the first time huge numbers of Scots were exposed to nationalism. They found it appealing. It is appealing. That’s why it is such a strong political card to play. That’s why it’s a card that should never be played.
There’s only one good argument for an independent Scotland. But it is a very good argument indeed. It can be stated in the following way:

1 Scotland is a country.
2 Countries ought to be independent.
3 Therefore Scotland ought to be independent.

Once you have accepted this argument, then all other arguments will be impotent against it. We know from history that people seeking independence have been willing to endure all sorts of privations in order to achieve it. They don’t care if their material situation will be worse, so long as they are free. It is for this reason that the campaign that we ran against the nationalists was in the end only partially effective. The slogan “Better Together” will never persuade someone who thinks Scotland ought to be independent.  Moreover, it looks from their perspective a little like the argument of a scoundrel. The nationalist doesn’t care if he will be worse off, he doesn’t care if times will be tough. He looks down on someone saying ‘watch out, you’ll be worse off’ with contempt.

While Better Together won every economic argument, while we could show that Scotland was indeed materially better off in the UK, we saw our opponents grow impervious to all our arguments. At the beginning of the campaign it was genuinely a debate about what was better for Scotland. Towards the end we were arguing against fundamentalists who couldn’t care less what was better for Scotland so long as Scotland was independent. That was the only better they were interested in. At this point rational argument ceases. It literally has no point. Since being defeated in September, nationalism has if anything grown still more fundamentalist. It matters not one little bit to them that the price of oil has crashed. It matters not one bit that the SNP’s argument for full fiscal autonomy are economically incoherent. All they care about is achieving independence for Scotland. All our arguments are brushed aside. But then if you went up to a soldier in an army fighting for independence and started talking about material wellbeing, he too would brush aside the argument.

In order to defeat an opponent it is necessary to put forward his best argument and then refute it. The only way to refute an argument is by either refuting the reasoning or the assumptions. 

How many countries in the world can you name that are not independent? Off the top of my head I can name four: England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. No doubt, there are others. But the vast majority of countries I can think of are independent, sovereign nation states. It would almost appear that the defining characteristic of a country is that it is independent and sovereign. Countries fight wars to maintain their independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity. Being independent therefore in the vast majority of cases is the defining characteristic of being a country.  For that reason the statement “countries ought to be independent” would on the surface appear to be true and reasonable.

In order to defeat the SNP we must defeat their assumptions. The initial assumption “Scotland is a country” must not be allowed, for if we do allow it, the rest of the argument follows as a matter of course. While Scotland is called a country owing to a quirk of the English language, it is not a country in the sense in which 99% of the countries of the world are countries. As I frequently say Scotland is a country in a similar way that Fife is a kingdom. Fife is called a kingdom, but it lacks the defining characteristic of being a kingdom. It lacks a king. Scotland too lacks the defining characteristic of being a country, for it is neither sovereign, nor independent.

This would all appear to be straightforward. The difficulty is that the pro-UK side of the argument is frequently unwilling to say what is obviously true for fear of upsetting or offending Scottish voters. This is our biggest mistake. We ignore the strengths of the UK. Instead of fighting on ground that is strong for us, we fight on ground which is strong for our opponent. The debate always is framed in terms of Scotland. Every sentence involves Scotland, and Britain is never mentioned. We end up in a ‘who cares most about Scotland’ contest. But in a contest about who is most nationalistic about Scotland the SNP are always going to win.  

This same mistake has been there from the beginning of creating the Scottish Parliament. I’m all in favour of devolved power. It works well in Germany and the USA. But the Scottish parliament was created in far too grandiose a way. People went on about how we were recreating the Parliament we had lost in 1707.  Well, naturally Scottish nationalists would see this as a step on the way to independence. Why be satisfied with a parliament that had some powers when you could have a parliament with all powers? The same can be said for 'the vow' just prior to the referendum and the Smith Commission just afterwards. If you are talking to a freedom fighter and you offer him some freedom, he will of course grab it, but it will only whet his appetite for more. Independence supporters are never going to be satisfied with devolution.  Moreover, from their point of view they ought not to be satisfied. No concession will make them cease to want independence.  But they are always happy to reach that goal gradually. The logic of their argument is to demand ever more power until they approach and then fall over the line that makes them independent. The logic of our argument must be different.

We must attack the SNP at their roots. I have tried to outline how to do this in the past few weeks.  First, accept that the UK is one nation, that is indivisible. Therefore, cease treating the parts of the UK as if they were really countries. By all means let us keep our identities as Scottish and English etc., but let us accept that these are not real distinctions, no more than the distinction between someone from Yorkshire and someone from Lancashire. It has turned out to be a long-term historical mistake that in a number of respects the parts of the UK have been treated as if they were independent countries. No other nation state in the world allows its parts to have separate money and separate international football teams. If France or Germany treated their parts, which likewise were formerly independent countries, as if they were still independent, perhaps they too would have problems with nationalism. Scotland has not been independent for more than 300 years. The mistake is to treat it as if it still is independent. This simply concedes the argument to the nationalists.  It’s because we act towards Scotland as if it were independent that nationalists want it to be so in reality. Their logic is impeccable, for which reason we must refute it.

Secondly, rule out any further referendums ever. No-one would allow Aberdeenshire a referendum on independence. Well, on the same basis we should say that Aberdeenshire is to Scotland as Scotland is to the UK. Because it is an indivisible part of the whole, there is no right to secede. This is perfectly legal and is indeed perfectly fair. No nation state can forever be faced with being destroyed from within.  A second referendum moreover would spark nationalism still further in Scotland, it would lead to still more division in a place that is already divided enough. Who knows where this would lead? I have a right to live without a continual threat to my country’s existence.  Why should I, a British citizen, not have the same right as a French or a German citizen?

It is because the world recognises Ukraine as a sovereign independent nation state that is indivisible that the secession of the Donbas and Crimea without the permission of the Government in Kiev is considered illegitimate. There is wrong on both sides of that conflict, but in principle it is perfectly legitimate for a sovereign independent nation state to protect its territorial integrity. If that were not the case, it would be wrong for the West to object to the people in Crimea and Donbas seeking to secede. But if a nation state that has existed since 1991 is allowed to defend its territorial integrity why cannot a nation state that has existed since 1707? The UK has existed for longer than the United States, Germany and Italy. They would not allow secessionists to infringe their sovereignty. Why on earth should we?

Thirdly, don’t make any sort of deal with those who have only the goal of destroying our country. Don’t work with them even if they pretend to be our friends. They are nothing of the sort. They are the greatest threat to the UK in over 300 years of history. Treat them as such. Under these circumstances it would be normal for the main pro-UK parties to work together for the good of our country. If necessary, they should do so again.

Fourthly, we must find a way to bring about more unity into the UK and promote a feeling of common identity. As we devolve, so must we unite. In the United States there is lots of local power, but there is also much that unites everyone no matter how far apart they live. The United States overcame historical division and reinvented itself. We can do the same. This will take time, perhaps generations. It took much of the USA over one hundred years to heal the wounds of the Civil War.  How long will it take to heal the wounds of our referendum in Scotland? I have no idea, but we have to start putting the nationalist genie back in the bottle.

Some people who voted No in Scotland will object to what I write here. My answer is as follows. If you think that Scotland is a country in the same sense as France is a country, you should join the SNP. If you don’t feel particularly British, you likewise should join the SNP. We need people throughout the UK who are willing to say we value our country and we are willing to fight for it. Too many are lukewarm about Britain. Sorry, but you only help the Nats. We need to tell a story about the UK that is more attractive than the story the SNP want to tell about Scotland. If we had run a campaign based on how much we loved the UK and how it is a great country, it would have been both positive and it would have meant that we were fighting on firm ground, our ground.

We have a battle on our hands. We can’t do it alone. We need people throughout the UK to realise that the breakup of our country would be a disaster for all of us. It would be a disaster economically, but much, much more important it would involve the loss of our country. A Frenchman or an American would see the breakup of his country as the greatest disaster imaginable. So too must we. We also have to recognise that the divisions in Scotland are becoming dangerous. We must make no further concessions to nationalists. Don’t try to be more nationalistic than the nationalists, you only help them. Don’t appease them as they attempt to destroy our country. You will only help them do it. Don’t accept the assumption on which the SNP campaign. Rather attack their assumptions. They assume there will be a hung parliament. Unhang it by letting all pro-UK parties work together. They assume that in the end, there will be another referendum. Refute their assumption. Just say No. They think they can use the Scottish Parliament to ferment division in the UK.  Some say they will use the Scottish Parliament to claim UDI. Show them that we are serious and will take all necessary steps to stop them. 

This is Britain’s most difficult fight in centuries. But we have been in tough spots before and remember, this is Britain. We always win. This time, however, a few will not be enough. We will need all those who love the UK to work together to defeat Scottish nationalism. We had another finest hour last September, but this time we will need rather longer.





If you like my writing, you can find my books Scarlet on the Horizon, An Indyref Romance and Lily of St Leonards on Amazon. Please follow the links on the side. Thanks. I appreciate your support.



42 comments:

  1. Who should we vote for? Labour is a risk vote, they took us to war last time and many of our Labour MPs are really bad. At least SNP is already in government and we know what they're like. Greens or UKIP won't get a single seat and Tory austerity is killing rural areas.

    Plus, Tories and LibDems are now unelectable here as their own manifesto says they couldn't vote on budgets.

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    1. Take an objective look at the SNP record in Holyrood and a different story emerges. Take a look at Ed Miliband standing up to Obama and saying no to a war in Syria and a different story emerges. Take a look at the fiscal autonomy debacle and a different story emerges.

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    2. I like Ed Miliband and I do support him. But the SNP has already said they'd put him in power, so in our local constituencies, if you want Mr Miliband as your Prime Minister, you have a choice between an SNP or a Labour candidate.
      I'm very proud that Scotland is overall rejecting UKIP and the main fight is between the SNP and Labour, both supporting Ed Miliband.

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    3. You make the SNP sound like the auxiliary wing of the Labour Party.

      Is that the thinking behind the SNP surge I wonder? The voters in Scotland want a Labour government in the UK, but only one that is at the beck-and-call of the SNP. That'll go down well in England I'm sure...

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  2. Nicely written Effie.

    Can I ask you at what point in your view did the United Kingdom gain the status you feel it should be recognised as having - of being an indivisible country?

    You say that the USA and France have this status, and to some extent I'd agree that the US constitution for one supports your view.

    However, for all the examples of 'indivisible' unions you might put forward, there are plenty of others.

    Why was the USSR not indivisible? Why not the United Kingdoms of Sweden and Norway, the UAR, or Yugoslavia, or Czechoslovakia.

    And did the UK's 'indivisible' status only happen at some point after Irish independence?

    It seems to me your argument is eloquently presented and persuasive up until the point that a reader actually looks at the evidence in the world around them, at which point it falls apart.

    Your argument has some similarities to the one used by Labour at present, that 'the largest party forms the government'. Perhaps a couple of decades ago, when people had to rely on newspapers for their information they might have got away with it. But nowadays an argument which defies all of the evidence can't hold together for long.

    Off the top of your head you could only think of the four home nations as 'countries' which aren't independent and sovereign. When you look at the rest of the world the reason becomes clear - countries like the United Kingdom don't last; eventually they break up.

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    1. When did Scotland become indivisible? When did England, or even Wales?

      Good points all, but I suppose there have to be limits somewhere, otherwise we'd be in an endless cycle with nations popping-up, merging and breaking up again and again and again.

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  3. Try Nubia, Matabeleland, Siberia, Xinjiang, Tibet, Chaldea (in modern terms the Marsh Arabs), lots of parts of India, Hawaii, and country-termed Native American lands like Navajo Land and Apacheria.

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  4. Thanks Garve. Your reply is well reasoned and worthy of thought. I start from the point of view that all countries are made up of places that formerly were independent. The UK is and if you go back far enough so was Scotland. Some countries in history fall apart other do not. Often for arbitrary reasons. Everyone thought the USSR was indivisible. The reason it was not was that Gorbachev chose to allow it to fall apart. Who knows if he was right. Perhaps he had no choice. Revolutions happen. But if he had chosen to fight the breakup of the USSR he would have been within his rights legally.

    Anyone from a formerly independent country or region could decide to campaign for independence. Texas could campaign, so too could Bavaria. But then so too could Dal Riata. But most countries at some point decide that this is it. There will be no more splitting. Crimea has as good a case for splitting from Ukraine as Scotland does from the UK. Why can the one do so but the other can't?

    I can see a certain logic when people who speak a different language or who have a different religion wish to leave a country that has existed for centuries. But the UK is not the Austro Hungarian Empire. We all speak the same language, more or less. We are all the same mix of Anglo Saxon, Celtic, Norman etc with welcome additions from elsewhere. We have a remarkably similar culture. It seems illogical to me to split because there used to be a country called Scotland. The Germans don't think this way. Why should we?

    Off the top of my head, that's as well as I can do. We are unlikely to persuade each other. But polite debate is the way forward for Scotland and I very much enjoyed reading your argument. This is how debate should be.

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  5. I got as far as ,, we must attack the notion Scotland is a Country,, And thought if this blogger can't accept the very basic fact that Scotland is a sovereign Nation and a Country in its own right, No point in reading further, Not even your most ardent BritNat/Unionist accepts this fact, The whole article is an illogical and false rant,

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    3. No you didn't. The referendum question was "Should Scotland be an independent country?" So the idea that Scotland is a country is confirmed by either a Yes or No answer. The question asked whether the country should leave the Union of countries it was in.

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  6. Here is a translation of an article that appeared in Le Monde in February, in this part the author's attempt to explain why, despite large parts of Ukraine having been USSR and previously Russian Empire for hundreds of years, people are developing a new identity which is Ukrainian.


    --
    This new identity is largely formed "in opposition to". It is primarily a rejection of authoritarianism and corruption, and of the Russian aggression and Rousskiï mir (the "Russian world") proposed by Vladimir Putin. But deep movements across the Ukrainian society is not limited to this. "Maidan and war have contributed to the birth of a Ukrainian citizen, says sociologist Yulia Shukan. Active people, engaged, which recognize each other beyond the ethnic and linguistic differences and willing to organize themselves to overcome the deficiencies of the state.

    --

    Denying Scotland a perception of itself as a country or nation seems firstly a tough task since it has been ingrained in many people's minds through generations, but also investigate further the ideas in the above article about how quickly a national identity can develop when powers try to prevent or deny it or forcefully subsume it into something else.

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  7. You dismiss the 'Scotland was a country' argument too easily. Scotland was an independent country - and an important player on the European stage - for rather longer than it has been in a Union. Those of us who voted Yes did so in order to regain some of the influence we once had - and lost in 1707
    To consider that the argument ought to be finished and that we should all settle down as part of the UK begs the question as to why on earth we should? You seek stability. History tells you there is no such thing. History also tell you that Scotland was indeed a country and can be so again, should its people so desire.

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    1. Far from dismissing it, I agree Scotland was a country. Scotland now is not a country, because it lacks the defining characteristics of a country, which is that it is independent. I've never been convinced by the argument Scotland was a country therefore it ought to be again. So was Dal Riata, so was Wessex, so was Burgundy and so was Bavaria. Should they all become independent again. This way lies madness. The world is bringing down borders. It's possible the EU will soon become a unitary indivisible nation state. That way lies progress, while yours takes us back to the middle ages.

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    2. Interesting that you see progress as monolinear - I disagree. There is no innate superiority in the fixed boundary nation-state model that we have become used to since 1945, and no reason why the kinds of groupings of polities which were common in the past should not re-emerge.
      You suggest that the EU may become a unitary, indivisible state. I consider it more likely that something akin to the Holy Roman Empire will be the result. The HRE gets a bad press in history, as having been an unworkable collection of fragmented polities which held back 'progress'. Yet it is worth remembering that it held together in one form or another for almost a milennium...

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  8. Can I thank everyone on both sides for their comments. I can't reply to everyone. I'm busy writing new articles and continuing the campaign. But I do appreciate you all reading my blog and taking the time to comment.

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  9. "First, accept that the UK is one nation"

    Eh no I do not, because it's not, the UK is a state, and that state is dominated by english MPs that have no interest in Scotland apart from keeping it under british/englisg rule. We were under no illusion we were in an corrupt one sided union when your ex PM said this.

    We English, who are a marvellous people, are really very generous to Scotland.’

    -- Margaret Thatcher, 1990

    better together, yeah right?


    You also say "Better Together won every economic argument" utter rot.
    A little time spent researching Scotlands economy, easly proved Scotland had all the attributes of a rich well off country.

    "If its geographic share of UK oil and gas output is taken into account, Scotland’s GDP per head is bigger than that of France. Even excluding the North Sea’s hydrocarbon bounty, per capita GDP is higher than that of Italy. Oil, whisky and a broad range of manufactured goods mean an independent Scotland would be one of the world’s top 35 exporters.

    An independent Scotland could also expect to start with healthier state finances than the rest of the UK."

    /www.ft.com/cms/s/2/5b5ec2ca-8a67-11e3-ba54-00144feab7de.html#ixzz3XkDWTLUe


    And : "'Scotland subsidising rest of UK' October 2010 by World Renowned Economist Andrew Hughes Hallett

    "A leading Professor of Economics, Andrew Hughes Hallett, has sensationally confirmed that Scotland has been subsidising the UK treasury in London for years and that the Calman Commission recommendations are unworkable and potentially damaging."

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sbUZkKD-jrY


    Your blog is misinformed ignorant arrogant nonsense.

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    1. It is Scotland, not England that has its own parliament, and it is Scotland that benefits from a lop-sided constitutional settlement drawn up by Scottish Labour to serve Scottish interests.

      As for statements made by MPs in the past, may I refer you to the late Robin Cook's statement "England is not a nation, it is merely a collection of regions", and Charles Kennedy, when he said he supported regional devolution because "in England Regionalisation is calling into question the idea of England itself".

      We can exchange historic grievances and examples of insulting comments about each others' countries till the cows come home, but the fact is Scotland's identity is fostered, nurtured and encouraged by the present set-up, while Englishness is challenged, questioned and denigrated at every turn.

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    2. In another sensation, some other clever person suggested Spain without the sunshine was a more accurate prediction.

      Where is the evidence a majority of MPs having a postcode that relates to a place called 'England' has any more significance for them than being a badge used by a bunch of sports men and women which their electorate cheer for when they play certain sports every once in a while (and invariably lose)?

      The regions of England are as different to one another as Scotland is different to everywhere else in the UK.

      The suggestion that MPs across all these regions somehow unite under a banner of "the English" so they may collude and connive to somehow marginalise people living in elsewhere in the UK is I think the stuff of Mel Gibson movies no?

      Otherwise, please provide some evidence it is possible to lump together this population of MPs in any way shape or form into a geographically cohesive political force. The force to which you refer would be that of the domain of English Nationalism and this is thankfully a very weak entity of little or no significance whatsoever (and long may that continue).

      As for...

      "We English, who are a marvellous people, are really very generous to Scotland"

      If it were a joke, it was a poor one. If it were not then that mad old girl certainly never did speak for everyone.

      I look forward to living in and sharing the space presently known as the UK and to see the gap between us and people across Europe be reduced further still. We are far more alike than we are different and can all benefit from further integration not less.

      Sharing the same space is certainly the harder route but I believe it is worth it. Nationalism has however cast its long shadow and has polarised attitudes.

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  10. Effie, I think your theory has too many exceptions and contradictions. My theory is that we need to take the moral high ground against all Nationalism. Nationalism is the division of people, and the blame of "other" people (usually neighbours) for our problems. Nationalism has an obsession with borders which are remnant of feudal and imperial eras.

    Any argument based on the definition of a nation/country/state/province will always run into problems. The definition of theses terms is not relevant – who cares if Texas / Bavaria / Belgium / Flanders / Newfoundland are nations / states / länder / provinces. The important thing is that the various elements of our government are dealt with as locally as is logical and shared with as many neighbours as logical. I would suggest that there is a relevant roll for all of our current levels of government from EU to Councils – we just need to agree which rolls should be governed where on a case by case basis where change is required (I'm not suggesting a revolution – we are where we are – I'm just suggesting the objectives for any future change).

    Political parties should generally aim to promote a certain view (in opposition to alternative views) on how our governments should be run. Nationalist politics by contrast aims to speak for a 'nation' (in opposition to other nations?). Every time I hear Nicola Sturgeon say she is going to speak for Scotland – firstly I think “no she does not speak for me”, and secondly I think “who does she think is against us”. No matter how 'civic' they claim to be it boils down to a regional tribe - with anybody in the region who does not agree being labelled as disloyal.

    I think our main target should be Nationalism - the politics of division and blame. And to show impartiality (and keep the moral high ground) we need to confront all Nationalism.

    It is acceptable to argue for any policy – left or right or other. If there is an objection to any policy at Holyrood, or Westminster, or Brussels then let us here well argued alternatives. It is perfectly acceptable to argue for more sharing of certain areas of government (for example we might want closer integration of taxation to reduce avoidance, or some countries might want more sharing of currency); or we might want more devolution (for example of benefits or taxation); but we must always confront the proposal that 'other' people are against us.

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  11. The Scotland Nation

    Tom Divine

    http://books.google.co.uk/books/about/The_Scottish_Nation.html?id=HBW-6peFSU4C

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  12. Also you make the mistake of thinking we voted yes because of the SNP, again wrong.

    I and many other Scots voted yes, because it was in the best interests of Scotland, Salmond, "wee Nicky" and the SNP had nothing to do with it.
    If we had a yes vote, you would have seen support for the SNP collapse, and maybe the other parties making something of a comeback.

    However after two years of lies, threats and intimidation, from the westminster mafia controlled 'project fear" we had the Scots vote no.
    The surge in SNP membership is down to the fact that Scots are now mad as hell that westminster did everything they could to get the "jocks" back in the box, and they are out to cull these parties that stabbed Scotland in the back.

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  13. "If you think that Scotland is a country in the same sense as France is a country, you should join the SNP."

    You do realise that the only people left not in the SNP would be you, UKIP/BNP supporters and the extreme section of the Rangers support..there is a huge overlap in these last three groups.

    Everyone I know, everyone, regards themselves as Scottish. I literally don't know anyone that would answer British when asked their national identity.

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    1. 45+YESnp=FREEDOM ( I WAS BORN IN englandshire)

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  14. Even the USA isn't an indivisible state as has been claimed.  Check out Texas. They talk regularly about seceding from the USA.

    Scotland IS a country and no amount of claiming otherwise will change that. The act of union was between two equal countries, although it doesn't seem like that nowadays. We both remain countries.  It is why there is still a border and each side has a different, national, legal system. 

    Not sure what sort of childhood Effie had but perhaps she was too busy playing with her toys to notice that nationalism had been in the news regularly, since before the SNP started.
     
    I don't have the time or energy to explain the difference between civic and ethnic nationalism again. Wikipedia has good explanations of both. Read it and learn.

    It is completely absurd to claim that any decision made must be binding on everyone for ever more.  I don't see anyone claiming that we can never reconsider our decision to join the EU. We changed our decision on national service.  This government is undermining our decision to have the NHS free at the point of need.  Things change all the time, especially when the original decision was found to be based on lies, as the referendum was.   Membership of the SNP is shooting up because so many NO people realise they were conned. Westminster will not deliver federalism as promised. They will not deliver 'modern home rule' as promised. I think that well over 50% now want independence.

    Having said that, the General Election is NOT about independence, it is about getting rid of the Tories, food banks, sanctions on the disabled and protecting the NHS.  For that we need a strong voice at Westminster. There was a vote to stay in the Union and by crikey we need to make our voice heard there more then ever before. That is democracy.

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    1. For many the GE will be about independence, the referendum changed a great deal of things for many people. It is wrong to assert what the GE should be about, each vote is personal.

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  15. There is no such country as Britain and no such nationality as British! We live in a union (so-called) of nations.

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    1. There is a country called the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It's explained as such on wikipedia. Countries CAN have different nations within them.

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  18. I don't like what is happening in Scotland, lets ban Scotland....... This was tried before in Victorian times but it did not succeed.

    Its not North Britain, its Scotland and if you can't snub it out with 300 years of Unionism then its not going away any time soon....

    Did Poland at some point cease to exist as its borders changed ? I really do not understand the overarching desire to retain the UK yet deny Scotland its existence.

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  19. Hear, hear, Effie!

    Of course Scotland isn't a country. It - along with England - liquidated itself in 1707 (and entirely voluntarily, it must always be stressed). Any of your correspondents who doubt what I say should read the Acts - it's in the very first line (and I quote: "That the Two Kingdoms of Scotland and England shall upon the first day of May next ensuing the date hereof and forever after be United into One Kingdom by the Name of Great Britain...". Can't get any clearer than that!). To call Scotland a 'country' is merely a parochial, sentimental colloquialism designed to shield nationalists from the reality that our forebears chose to wind up the country in order to give its people better lives (something they achieved beyond their wildest dreams).

    Following on from this, because Scotland simply ain't a country, Alex Salmond's ludicrous banging on about the 'sovereign will of the Scottish people' is so much poppycock: there is no such thing as the 'sovereign will of the Scottish people'! As any first year law student will tell you, sovereignty in Britain lies solely with Parliament - and so, by extension, with the British people - NOT with any individuals or sub-groupings of the British people.

    Really, Alex Salmond's capacity for idiocy knows no bounds whatsoever. When he disrupted the Budget in 1988, Brian Wilson called him 'cretinous', while Patrick Cormack said, 'I ask [Mr Speaker] to consider implementing this Standing Order in future [to conduct a vote from the floor, as opposed to going through the lobbies, on the question of whether to kick Salmond out], rather than allowing important proceedings of the House to be interrupted in order to gain notoriety for idiots'. Never, ever, were truer words said. And that was almost 30 years ago!

    Oh, and I notice that your correspondent 'CM' says there is no such thing as the British nationality.

    WRONG!

    Try looking up the British Nationality Act 1981, 'CM'. It's there in black and white, pal. And it's the law of the land, like it or not.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Why do we have a Scottish anything then...parliament, legal system, education system etc etc All distinct from British.... like driving licences, passports etc......

      The reality seem to be different.....and less 'Black and White' as you put it.

      I would expect any sane person who was called a name by Brian Wilson to think they have in some way 'arrived' at a reasonable juncture in their life.

      Delete
    2. You have proved yourself wrong. You wrote: "That the Two Kingdoms of Scotland and England shall upon the first day of May next ensuing the date hereof and forever after be United into One Kingdom by the Name of Great Britain..."

      It DOESN'T read: "That the Two Countries of Scotland and England shall upon the first day of May next ensuing the date hereof and forever after be United into One Country by the Name of Great Britain..."

      You know that a kingdom can consist of multiple countries right? We actually had separate kingdoms, under one monarch wearing both crowns, from 1603. The parliaments were united in 1707. We did NOT become one country.

      It certainly wasn't 'entirely voluntarily' either, have you read even ONE history book? The people didn't want it. It was agreed by the parliaments *without* consulting the people of Scotland. Hardly democratic. England wanted to ensure that Scotland didn't choose a separate monarch and Scotland's politicians had lost money in the Darien scheme and 'sold' Scotland into the Union in return for money. Plain bribery.

      Your founding premise is false so the rest of your post is gibberish.

      Oh, and please can I be there when you try all the English people that we don't have a country. I was born in England, a *country*.

      Delete
    3. "Plain bribery" a straightforward bailout, nothing underhand about it. Besides, it was just the trigger, many had openly promoted Union aside of that, and the Darian scheme was just the spark that made it happen.

      Delete
  20. I don't know any No voters who think Scotland isn't a country.

    Why don't the stubborn Scots stop keeping their nationality and erase themselves like the Prussians from Germany? Because they like having their nationality; questioning it is really quite sad. The UK is supposed to be a unique Union of nations..or so we were told. Really hope the No strategists go with this history deletion.

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    Replies
    1. Scotland ISN'T a real country anymore. AT MOST, it is a CONSTITUENT/CONSTITUTIONAL/HISTORICAL 'country' of the overall country called the United Kingdom of Great Britain and NI. It's better described as a 'Home Nation'.

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  21. I thought that this might be interesting but it is completely flawed and inaccurate. These are some of my observations.

    1. It is widely disputed that it was nationalism that brought down the USSR. People did and still do to this day identify as 'Sovietskii Narodnikii' A 'Soviet People'. It was poverty, corruption and despair that brought the USSR to its knees. Read Dr Moya Flynn's Migrant Resettlement in the Russian Federation: Reconstructing 'Homes' and 'Homelands'.

    2. Other Countries who are part of a larger country or state do allow (or cannot prevent to be exact) their constituent states to have Football teams Bavaria as a state of Germany for Example has Bayern Munich (German for Bavaria) one of the most popular and best football teams in Europe. ALSO Bavaria promotes Bavarian Citizenship with the philosophy of 'Bayern first German second'.

    3. If the Scottish Parliament voted in 1707 to join the Union, then why can it not - or at least its people vote to leave it.

    4. To say that what is not a country cannot become a country because it has not been for 300 years is to deny history and progress. Poland was partitioned (three times) for over 200 years between the Empires of Russia, Austria-Hungary and Prussia. It retained its identity, language and even Stalin said that trying to impose communism on Poland was like trying to saddle a cow! Poland stands strong today.

    5. The French are not as together as you think. France is very, very much provincial. Go to Lyon or Toulouse and talk about Paris, and people will literally spit out adjectives denouncing the capital. Try to tell a Norman that Provence is better and you could be refused service.

    I think that this is a rather poor attempt to try and get across what is clearly a strongly felt and held principle. If you had stuck to the facts and not exaggerated, you might just have done it. If I was marking this as an essay it would have failed as it is wholly inaccurate and holds little basis in fact or proper analysis.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Just as aside, the idea Scotland still exists is due to us having a national football is one I've never heard.

    It was Unionists that built The Wallace Monument. Think about that for one moment and what it means. Scotland wasn't dissolved. It was maintained.

    ReplyDelete
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