Saturday, 6 September 2014

Say No To A Vote From The Gut.


Scottish voters are due to vote, as is their democratic right, on independence in ten days time. The arguments on the virtues of the SNP's independence plans have been argued and re-argued. By now, if you're not convinced that independence along the lines that Alex Salmond is proposing makes little or no sense, that it will result in economic turmoil, in a country using another's with no say in how its run, in a Scottish exit from the EU, in bad blood, and the end of the most successful union-state, there's little that can be said to change your mind.

The heavy negative impact of independence was why the clear lead the 'No' camp had up until last week made sense, and why the progress 'Yes' has made in recent days in the polls is so bizarre and shocking. My feelings on the issue are much the same as Will Hutton's here:
Without imaginative and creative statecraft, the polls now suggest Scotland could secede from a 300-year union, sundering genuine bonds of love, splitting families and wrenching all the interconnectedness forged from our shared history.

Absurdly, there will be two countries on the same small island that have so much in common. If Britain can't find a way of sticking together, it is the death of the liberal enlightenment before the atavistic forces of nationalism and ethnicity – a dark omen for the 21st century. Britain will cease as an idea. We will all be diminished.

Hutton is right about the character of the feelings pushing some Scottish voters towards voting for independence when arguments based on the facts weigh so heavily against it. He's also right about what the cost would be. I personally will never be able to think of my family in Scotland as foreign, or Scotland as another country, and for me interposing a border between us would be a monstrous act.

There's still hope, of course, that this is all just a blip, that cooler heads will prevail, and that the Scottish people will decisively say 'No' on the 18th of September in the same way they were planning to up until last week. It should also be pointed out that there will be Scottish elections in May 2016, and that whilst Alex Salmond has set a deadline of March 2016, he has no more right to demand such a deadline than he does to demand the currency union that British political leaders have decisively rejected. A win for Unionist parties in 2016 could therefore theoretically render a 'Yes' a dead letter - but this is a slender reed to grasp.

I hope that in time Britain can look back on this much as Canada looks back on the Quebec vote of 1995, where independence also took the lead in some polling before a razor-thin vote against it, and where now the prospect of a split is further away than ever after BQ (the main pro-independence party) was soundly defeated in the last election..


25 comments:

Michael said...

I hope Scotland becomes independent, and I hope same for Wales. There's no point to continue with UK as it is now, it should fall apart like Czechoslovakia or Yugoslavia, because UK is a colonial relict, it should've died right after WWII.

Anonymous said...

Jsem československý voják, doufám že Anglie a Skotsko zůstat spolu, protože rozdělení Československa je jednou z největších tragédií v dějinách světa. Komunismus vyhrál, Havel se mýlil.

Vacek

Afinabul said...

Ahoj! Váš blog byl rozdělen na naši skupinu na Facebooku, je to zajímavý článek, ale myslím, že Poláci nerozumí dobře česky, a tak jsem se přepne do angličtiny.

Ahoj! Your blog was shared on our Facebook group, it is an interesting article, but I think Poles don't understand Czech well, so I will switch to English. I believe it is a difficult decision in either direction, Scots do have the right to decide freely to exit, however problematic UK is today, it cannot be compared to Czechoslovakia in early 1990s. I would like to quote Mr Havel:

"Hope is definitely not the same thing as optimism. It is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out."

Anonymous said...

Atavistic forces of nationalism and ethnicity...

You have become a hod carrier for the fright brigade.

Drivel by Hutton and if you recall any Scottish history, the Scottish enlightenment well and truly preceded its counterpart in England, and the English industrial revolution would not have taken place without Scottish advances in the engineering and chemical sciences.

England has become little more than a grubby little name brand for tourists, a critical mass of lumpen prole urban squalor as well as a repository for Islamic jihadists.

KT

Anonymous said...

Not to forget systemic failure of government at all levels in regard to Muslim rape gangs - Rochedale, Derby, Oxford and Rotherdam.

England is a creaky wreck held together by Premier League (made viable by os mercenaries) and the City of London money laundry for foreign despots and kleptomaniacs.

In another 10 years you wont be able to differentiate it from Transnistria.

King Tubby

Ji Xiang said...

Right anonymous, because Scotland is so much better. No "lumpen prole urban squalor" in Glasgow, hey?

Anonymous said...

@ Ji Xiang. I provided a handle my friend, and never claimed that Scotland was minus its lumpen prole element.

Furthermore, I wouldn't think of retiring there because the weather is disgusting and the locals use an incomprehensible dialect.

However, they (like the Catalonians) have every right to making their windy land an independent entity.

Hey. You are welcome to abuse me on my own site.

www.kingtubby1.wordpress.com

Anyway, I'm sure Foarp will have his own harsh words to add, now that he has settled down and hocked his future for a house and a car.

KT

Ji Xiang said...

That's ok "King Tubby", I have just had a look at your blog, and it begins with the usual totally gratuitous, ignorant and overblown rant against the Jewish people and the State of Israel, with the usual trivialization of the Nazi holocaust thrown in. Not original, not intelligent, not interesting and more than a little bit prejudiced.

I am not going to dignify your blog by commenting on it.

Anonymous said...

@ Ji Xiang. That's your right. But if you bothered, it was the first part of a rant against all three monotheistic religions.

Furthermore, if you had read half carefully, you would have noted that the Jewish component quoted Israeli sources and none of that old rubbish nineteenth century anti-Semitism which abounds on the internet.

Did you take on board the views offered by a number of Holocaust survivors which I linked re: Israel's present day treatment of the Palestinians

Clearly, you are challenged in the reading comprehension department. I certainly hope you aren't teaching IELTS.

Furthermore, esl teacher, I took my points off BBC which I listen to most nights.

KT
Apol Foarp for using your site, but I wasn't going to let this nitwits remarks pass unanswered.

Ji Xiang said...

You go on a typical anti-Israel rant, accusing Israel of doing the same things the Nazis did (because of course "a complex and degrading system of passport controls" really was one of the defining aspects of Nazism, wasn't it?), calling Israel's actions "a genocide", and ranting against the Jews because they consider themselves the "chosen people", which has always been a mainstay of Christian antisemitism (I am not especially fond of the concept of a chosen people, but it is not supposed to mean what anti-Jewish polemicists like you presume it to mean, and it is certainly not a motivation for Israeli actions). But then you claim that you are not motivated by antisemitism, of course you quote "Jewish sources" and hate all monotheisms, so that's fine then.

The "holocaust survivors" (mostly descendants of holocaust survivors in fact) who you quote are seriously misinformed if they think the Jerusalem Post is calling for genocide, or that right-wing Israelis are adopting Neo-Nazi insignia. Or more likely, they are just more people jumping on the bandwagon of anti-Israeli hysteria to gain attention.

In sum, there is no reason to make overblown claims about Israel committing genocide or being like the Nazis (this comparison with the Nazis cheapens and trivializes what the Nazis really did, and its real goal is to take the most terrible event in Jewish history and use it against the Jews to shock and provoke a reaction). People who engage in this sort of rhetoric are contributing to the demonization of Israel and antisemitism, which of course go hand in hand.

FOARP said...

@KT - As I said in the piece, I have always thought of myself as British first, which makes me wonder why you spend so much time dissing on the English. I find Scottish nationalism no more palatable than I do English nationalism.

Yes, the Scottish have contributed to the Union, as well as receiving the contributions of the rest of the Union - that's rather the point, no?

@Jixiang - The Israeli issue is bit OT, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

@ Ji Xiang. You wrote: The "holocaust survivors" (mostly descendants of holocaust survivors in fact) who you quote are seriously misinformed if they think the Jerusalem Post is calling for genocide, or that right-wing Israelis are adopting Neo-Nazi insignia. Or more likely, they are just more people jumping on the bandwagon of anti-Israeli hysteria to gain attention.

Really torturous reasoning here pal, considering the evidence provided.

How long did it take you to memorise the script? (You don't need to take a Europeon heritage tour, you are perfectly formed already.)

And also a perfect example of the social pathology of the US Jewish diaspora today as discussed by Peter Beinart (cf my post).

And Israel needs to be demonised for its treatment of Palestinians generally and Gaza in particular.

As for your initial claim that I'm a Holocaust denier, probably read more history on the subject that you know exists.

Whatever, you get the free set of steak knives and will be the subject of my next post, thnx and finished with you on this site.

KT

Anonymous said...

And since you don't provide an email contact on your site, some challenging reading for you:

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/12/israeli-intelligence-reservists-refuse-serve-palestinian-territories

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/11/world/middleeast/gaza-strip-israel-criminal-investigation.html?_r=1

http://time.com/3340634/yale-chaplain-bruce-shipman-israel-anti-semitism/\

Continue this discussion on my site, you ignorant little twerp.

Ji Xiang said...

Yes sorry FOARP, Israel is indeed off topic, but I just felt a compulsive need to comment on the ridicolous anti-Israel rant which is currently the top post in "King Tubby"'s blog, and I didn't want to comment on his blog, something which he desperately wants me to do.

Anyway I'm not taking the argument any further. I've made my point. Anti-Israel fanatics are not amenable to reasoned argument anyway.

justrecently said...

No need to get personal. KT has strong views on many things, not only on Mideastern issues. (I disliked his post profoundly and therefore didn't comment, but that was that.)

I'm an outsider to the Scottish and British referendum campaigns and issues, but I think I can see the point of the "Yes" advocates. Scotland wouldn't have voted Thatcher in, for example. Scottish economic policies might have been quite different from all-British policies.

And, maybe, Scots would also find a Scottish political class more accountable to the constituencies than what the British political class is. Maybe.

So, I'm not hoping for Scottish independence, and I'm not actually expecting it to happen, but can't see either how bonds of family or old love could be severed by Scottish independence.

Unless either side, England or Scotland, wants to become destructive, like in a war of roses. Just like the Czech and Slovak republics, rule of law should be strong enough to guarantee civil norms - no matter the outcome of the referendum.

FOARP said...

@KT - Why don't you save it for a post on Israel, eh? No need for calling people a "little twerp" either.

Gotta be honest, the fact that the Scottish debate has devolved to a level not all that different to the one you see on Israel/Palestine is depressing. I only hope that it's a 'No' next Thursday, not least because the fall-out from a 'Yes' would be an out-pouring of bile lasting throughout the negotiations and into whatever came after them.

FOARP said...

@JR - Sorry your comment was caught in moderation. CDE's started trolling this blog again (he seems particularly angry that I am now happily married) so I'm screening comments. The man needs help.

I honestly believe there'll be a lot of bad blood between an independent Scotland and the rest of the UK. Not violence, but endless sniping and one-uping, that will set the two people's against each other. The main reason is what's been promised - a currency Union that no-one in the UK wants, a threat of Scotland not taking its share of the debt, EU membership on special terms which the UK will have to negotiate for Scotland before independence. At every suggestion that these aren't achievable, the SNP's response has been to blame the UK, and this would only get worse after independence.

Eire and the UK now get on fairly well, but we went through a decade-long trade-war, and many decades of hostility after that, including a derranged even-handedness between the UK and Nazi Germany during the second world war (de Valera even sent a message of condolence on hearing of Hitler's death). No-one would reasonably want to see the same situation arise with an independent Scotland.

In the end, it comes down to what Scottish people want, but I do not believe the SNP has been honest with them, and I do not believe that this vote is being driven by reasoned arguments.

FOARP said...

PS - If you want sample of what I'm afraid of, Jim Sillar's threat of a "Day of Reckoning" with banks and businesses that issued statements about the harm that would come from a 'Yes' vote after independence is pretty representative. Far be it from me to agree with Nigel Farrage, but yes, there is an anti-English undercurrent in much of what is coming from the 'Yes' campaign. Of course, Farrage himself should know as he is a past-master of blowing a dog-whistle for racists, a tactic originally introduced to UK politics by KT's countryman, Lynton Crosby.

Anonymous said...

@ JR. In 114 posts on wordpress, that is the first time I've mentioned the Middle East or Israel for that matter, whereas your 03 04 comment would suggest that I regularly scribbled on such matters.

Furthermore, most blogsters have strong views and most of mine are harmless (revolving as they do around music, surfing and Mali). That's why they have blogs.

@ Foarp. If being called a Holocaust denier is not getting personal, by an individual who refuses to acknowledge facts reported by Israeli media - I don't know what is. My use of the term little twerp was pretty small beer in comparison.

(I do acknowledge using a bit of hyperbole/caricature when discussing England and Liverpool FC.)

Thnx.

FOARP said...

@KT - I get what you're saying, but we're not talking about Israel here, are we?

Lynton Crosby's effect on British politics has been bad - the whole "dog-whistle" politics thing has spread to every corner. Salmond, Farage, and - yes - the Tories and Labour, have all launched their own "We're not racist but if you are racist and want to vote for us because you like the sound of the things we say, be our guests" policy.

Anonymous said...

@ Foarp. I had hoped that my last post clarified things, and I will certainly be updating my Israel post when time permits.

Suffice to say that political opinion - on Palestine and other social issues in Israel - is not a monolithic entity. There are many minority dissenting voices/organisations, but they are largely ignored or simply drowned out by a well oiled media machine populated with American accents.

Re. Lynton Crosby. A gun for hire who would work for Putin/Assad if the money was right. Had no idea he was flogging his wares in Great Britain.

Whatever, party politics there must be every bit as depressing as here. Constipated would be a good descriptor. And therefore to be ignored, aided by a tv free existence.

Anyway, my cloud categories point to a consuming interest in aspects of African cultures and things Japanesy.

I really resent the charges this creature has levelled at me.




Ji Xiang said...

@justrecently:

yeah, it's just that people's strong views often tend to involve that little Middle Eastern country, and the less they know about it, the stronger their views are.

By the way thanks for recommending my blog on your one.

@KT: I did not call you a Holocaust denier, I said you trivialize the Holocaust, and I stick by that statement. If you don't want people to call you that, then stop doing it.

justrecently said...

@Foarp

I honestly believe there'll be a lot of bad blood between an independent Scotland and the rest of the UK. Not violence, but endless sniping and one-uping, that will set the two people's against each other.

Yes, but I'm afraid you'll have that either way. ;-)
(That said, sniping across an intra-union border should be preferrable, in my view. It's just that I'm not a Scot, and my advice doesn't mean a thing. It's a matter between them (the Scots) and you (the English), obviously.

@KT

In 114 posts on wordpress, that is the first time I've mentioned the Middle East or Israel for that matter, whereas your 03 04 comment would suggest that I regularly scribbled on such matters.

Can't see where my comment suggests that, KT. I referred to that particular post. One piece of shit, if you like. If you write another of that kind, it will be two pieces of shit. Etc. You can have a quarrel with me if you insist. But be careful what you wish for.

@jixiang

yeah, it's just that people's strong views often tend to involve that little Middle Eastern country, and the less they know about it, the stronger their views are.

They often do. However, KT rarely does - one time so far, if I'm not misinformed.

By the way thanks for recommending my blog on your one.

You're welcome.

justrecently said...

CDE's started trolling this blog again (he seems particularly angry that I am now happily married) so I'm screening comments.

Understandable. Glad that I don't have to read those bizarre outbursts all the time.

Anonymous said...

@Ji Xiang. It is how we get caught frozen in time, which tells a lot about the mind-set in question. And you are the one running around the piney woods in China posturing with some sort of military weapon.