Tuesday, 9 September 2014

What Ever Happened to the Thrifty Scot?

The Scots are renowned, historically, for being canny and thrifty. With latest opinion polls suggesting that around 50% of the folk currently living in Scotland plan to vote YES to the break-up of the UK, it would appear that only one half of the thrifty folk remain in Scotland. The rest must be living in other parts of the UK or in other parts of the world.

I would have a fair bit of empathy for some of the reasons expressed by the separatists for seeking political change. I do get the frustration with Westminster governments who in recent times have sucked-up to global super powers:  crippling our manufacture-based economy; making us dependent on those global super powers for our clothes, shoes, food and furniture.  Whether Conservative, Labour  or Liberal their policies have all been about creating a subservient working class.
But, why would any Scot think that if the SNP were in ultimate control of Scotland that it would be any different at all? Could they possibly really believe that Salmond is any more genuine than Blair or Cameron?
I would be very much in favour of regions having greater local powers and responsibilities: of developing pride and trust in local government to perhaps even to the point where folk would feel good about paying their taxes to that government.
But, this Scottish independence movement doesn’t seem to about real independence or even local sustainable governance at all. It appears to be all about cozying up to the EU and selling their soul to the Eurocrats: to being subservient to the very global  powers that they chastise Westminster for selling out to.
I do believe that a truly independent Scotland could be possible: that it could thrive economically and be a showcase to the world on how small nations can: with creativity, determination and hard work; be truly independent and self-reliant.
But, such an independent state would need the support and commitment of a considerable majority of its citizens who fully embraced the ideology of that state. It would also be helpful if that independent state had the blessings of its closest neighbours.  An independent Scotland won’t have that support as a large percentage of its population will be seriously resentful and hostile to its very existence. Its closest neighbours will also be seriously resentful for the hardships and hassles that the break-up of the United Kingdom will have meant to their lives: resentful of the divorce that was forced upon them against their will.
The problem for the YES movement is that its strongest advocates have different reasons for their enthusiasm.
 There are the political opportunists with their team of professional analysts providing expert information on why independence will be so beneficial for the Scots. What their experts fail to communicate to the common folk however is that it will just be a select few who will get richer and the majority will get any crumbs left over: in the rare case where there might be crumbs left over. Oil might bring in some immediate revenue to an independent Scotland but how sustainable is that? 
Outside of the pragmatists and opportunists there are of course those driven by their hearts rather than their heads: and not necessarily a bad thing to have such enthusiasts on board for any revolution. What the leaders of the YES movement are in denial about is the scale of this heartfelt enthusiasm for separation from the United Kingdom. In some cases it’s about genuine Scottish patriotism: those who grew up with Braveheart and who have watched that Hollywood movie so many times they know every word off-by-heart. They seem to believe that it’s all true.
Then there are the Jacobites: the Bonnie Prince Charlie romanticists. There are those of Irish descent: tens of thousands of Irish nationalists who took their resentment of the English and the British establishment with them to Scotland. There are Irish republicans and Scottish republicans There are extreme Lefties, extreme right wing nationalists, anarchists and miscellaneous others who for various reasons would cherish the collapse of the UK. They are all in the one bed at the moment but how sustainable is that? 
What seems so surprising to us outside observers is that the extent of uncertainties about this proposed new independent nation. It seems that the passions of the heart have fogged-up the vision of many Scots.  What would its currency be?   Would it be in or out of the EU?  Would it be in or out of the British Commonwealth? Would it have an army, a navy and an air force? What about the borders?
I believe the Scottish National Party’s view is that there is no need for a border. They no doubt will make reference to the border that divides the smaller of the two large islands in the British Isles. All seems to be fine and dandy with the border that divides the island of Ireland at the moment. What they don’t realise is that there is a whole underground economy thriving along either side of that border. A separate economy that doesn’t pay taxes to either state: that gets played down in the interests of keeping former terrorists happy. This is not of major concern however as the shortfall is well compensated for by the kind donations of the people of Southern England: via their taxes and generous contributions to the EU.
What the Scottish nationalists should also take on board though that the open border in Ireland is fine as long as immigration to either state doesn’t get out of hand. What’s developing in England is that the government’s immigration policy has become seriously imbalanced. Any sensible person can understand that a certain level of immigration is healthy and beneficial but unless the policy changes very soon there could well be the situation where the English could soon be a minority in England.  This policy seems to be all part of the strategy of the super powers to get even richer at the expense of the common folk: by importing cheap labour to maximise their profits. The English are rebelling against this and it will probably lead to the UK pulling out of the EU.
The Scottish nationalist over-lords on the other hand seem determined to accelerate their  immigration policy as a means for them to get richer quicker. Regardless of who’s in and who’s out of the EU a sealed border would appear to be the only means to control further excessive immigration into England via Scotland.
When I first began to think about the possibility of Scotland causing the break up of the UK as we know it, I was naturally concerned but also hopeful that there could be light at the end of the tunnel. I was hopeful that it could lead to an opening of creative minds: an opportunity for all of us in the British Isles to imagine a new and more sincere form of local government. Perhaps a federalisation of the British Isles, to include the Republic of Ireland, was something for all to consider and perhaps work towards. The apparent negativity that the calls for separation initially generated I thought perhaps could somehow lead to positive and harmonious change for us all. How ridiculously naive was that of me? I must have momentarily forgotten what world I live in: that selfish lust for wealth and power drives politics in Scotland as well as everywhere else.
No, the venomous way that this referendum campaign has been conducted has meant that divisions have been created among the people of Scotland that haven’t existed since Bonnie Prince Charlie took off to the continent. It has caused divisions within the rest of the UK that haven’t existed since the Battle of Bannockburn.
It doesn’t really matter if it’s a narrow victory for YES or a narrow victory for NO it will take a long, long for the dust to settle and for all the wounds to heal. It’s not looking good at all : neither for the Scots nor the rest of us common British folk that some Scots seem determined to abandon.
  We can only hope that the spirit of the true hard-headed Scot, the canny Scot, the thrifty Scot, the thran Scot: will bring them out on September 18th to save the day with a resounding NO bellowed from the mountain top that will echo across glen and loch and  through streets of village, town and city.  Anything less and I think the Scots will have pressed the self-destruct button.  

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