Sunday, January 14, 2007


Scots and English Browned off with the UK

I've been absolutely fascinated these past few months at the growing demands for independence from Scottish, as well as English, people.

Long-time readers of this site will know it's an area I've touched on before. I've written in the past of my support for an independent Scotland and England which you can read about here and here.

I must say though how surprised I am that these demands have been expressed so quickly, not to mention so loudly.

The Scottish National Party is expected to do very well in the Scottish Parliament elections in May and they have pledged that if this indeed is the case then a referendum on Scotland's future will take place soon after.

It's an even more intriguing situation when you consider the fact that the man who is charged with defending the Union is himself a Scot - Gordon Brown, the man expected to be British Prime Minister in a few month's time. Unfortunately for pro-Union folks, the guy has about as much charisma as a plate of haggis.

'I want my country damn you!'

If you're a person in favour of seeing the UK continue then you won't have enjoyed the results of recent polls on the issue. An ICM opinion poll for The Sunday Telegraph in November found 52 per cent of Scots favoured Scottish independence - and if that wasn't enough, 59 per cent of English respondents also favoured Scottish independence! Not exactly a wee problem then.

Gordon Brown however is very supportive of Britishness (hell, just check his initials) and he has been busy over the weekend trying to halt the rise of Scottish independence through an article in the Daily Telegraph where he warned of a "dangerous drift" towards separatism. Brown barked:

"It is now time for supporters of the union to speak up, to resist any drift towards a Balkanisation of Britain and to acknowledge Great Britain for the success it has been and is."

Sadly for Brown the Brit, not all Scots agree with his assessment. SNP leader Alex Salmond commented:

"Revealingly, Mr Brown is unable to accept that, under his chancellorship, the Scottish economy has lagged behind both the UK and spectacularly, the small independent countries in Europe."

It seemed to me that Brown was becoming increasingly desperate in his defence of the Union. Here was a line that surprised me:

"The failure to defend and promote the United Kingdom is now becoming more a feature of the thinking of the Right."

So if you don't want to defend and promote the UK then basically you're a fascist? Oh boy.

And while Brown has warned of the potential for a 'Faustian pact' between Scottish nationalists and the Tories, which would lead to the dismantling of the Union, ironically it was Brown who ended up praising a demon in his defence of the status quo:

"In contrast to Lady Thatcher, who rightly defended the Union and did so even when not expedient to do so, Conservative writers now embrace anti-Unionist positions, from independence to another anti-Thatcher stance: 'English votes for English laws' - itself a Trojan horse for separation."

Oh dear. If this is the kind of strategy Gordon Brown has for convincing Scots of the merits of the Union - labelling nationalists as right-wing and praising Maggie Thatcher - then the Union is in serious peril!

My take on this is that the majority of people in the two countries want a break. Independence for both doesn't mean the two nations have to be enemies, it means Scotland's relationship to England would be akin to the Republic of Ireland's relationship with England. I think that's the kind of relationship most Scots desire.

Unquestionably the English are getting a raw deal. Actor Michael Caine of all people summed this up rather well when he said:

"There's a possibility that a Scotsman is going to rule over me. A Scotsman who comes from a constituency where my member of parliament, who I elected, has no say whatsoever. And there is an answer, given to me by my friend Sean: give Scotland its independence. Gordon Brown can be prime minister of Scotland."

Seems the fairest solution. Why should the English have to put up with Scots who can rule over them and tell them how to live their lives when they can't impact on the lives of Scots? It's not fair and it's not right and it's why the Union is on thin ice.

The English deserve devolution and I think it's inevitable they will get it. Therefore, even if the Scots decide this year they are not yet ready for independence, a devolved English assembly will, in my view, lead to increased calls for English separation and thus the end result will be the same.

What this means for Wales and Northern Ireland is the big question. If NI is left out in the cold as a result of the English and Scots telling them to get stuffed, then I'm sure we in the rest of the island would be prepared to embrace them with open arms into the warmth of a United Ireland.


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