Monday, June 15, 2015

Ok I Think I Understand the Push for Scottish Independence Now

     I looked at this question this morning.

     However, I think I finally get why the Scots after being part of Britain since 1707 suddenly have this itch for independence. As this writer frames it, is hard for us from the outside to get what this is about:

     "Seen from afar, the UK looks like a happy family. Why on earth would the Scots want to break up a union that’s existed for more than 300 years? Are things really so bad? Since 1999 we have even had our own parliament in Edinburgh, taking decisions on a whole range of matters, from education and health to agriculture and justice. Even in England most people fail to understand what is driving an independence movement that could be on the brink of victory."

      As I told you this morning in my piece linked above, I am a natural Brit, though we moved to the States when I was 3-I have a dual citizenship-and what I think has to strike you is that Scottish independence would be bad for Britain. 

     "There are obvious reasons why the UK doesn’t want this to happen. But here’s why President Obama has also gone on record as saying he would prefer to see the UK remain “united.” A clear majority of Scots is resolutely opposed to the presence of the UK’s nuclear missiles and submarine fleet, currently based a few miles west of our biggest city, Glasgow. An independent Scotland will demand that the London government remove them."
    "The UK would face a stark choice: build a whole new facility for its nukes somewhere in England, or unilaterally disarm. That would critically affect the UK’s position as the United States’ most loyal ally — and cast doubt on Britain’s right to a permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council."

     It turns out that what's driving Scottish independence less than any abstract demand for national self-determination is this: the Scotts hate conservative British polticians. 

     In my view — and in the view of most Scots who will vote Yes on Thursday — independence is not about erecting barriers. The Scots and English would still be closest friends and allies. But we do have our own identity. Over the centuries of union with England we preserved our culture, music, literature, dialects, customs, laws and church . . . and all of that has created a unique set of Scottish values."

    "By our upbringing most of us echo our national poet, Robert Burns, in our scorn of privilege and our pursuit of fairness. We would rather spend taxes on schools and hospitals than cosset bankers or project our might around the world like some latter-day superpower. Independence would give us a chance to build a country that better reflects those priorities."
    "The trouble for many Scots — and this gets to the heart of why so many want independence — is that those values rarely seem to guide the governments we get lumbered with in London. In national, UK-wide elections, the Scots consistently vote for left-of-center policies, but very often (about half the time) we end up with right-wing governments in London. Scots have never forgotten how Margaret Thatcher imposed unpopular right-wing policies on Scotland for 12 years as prime minister."
     "When Labor’s Tony Blair became prime minister in 1997, he was at first immensely popular in Scotland — but then was seen to follow Thatcherite economic policies, and even worse, followed George W. Bush into a disastrous and illegal war in Iraq. It was he who gave Scotland its own parliament, with limited powers, but that only whetted the appetite for more."
    "Now we have a London government led by David Cameron, whose Conservative Party has only one MP (out of 59) in Scotland. Like Thatcher, he has imposed taxes that are universally detested here. Cameron did not dare to make a public appearance in Scotland during the referendum campaign. Never before has the rift between Scotland and the London “elite” seemed so wide."
     I can't blame the Scotts for hating conservatives. How about this as a solution? Britain agrees to put Labor back in and no independence? Sounds like a winner to me. 
\     P.S. The irony is that the Conservatives in Britain are the ones that get most hysterical about the SNP, yet arguably ,if Scotland leaves this helps the Conservatives a lot. It is quite arguable that it would at least significantly push politics in Britain further to the Right-which may end up alienating Wales. And if the Welsh left this would push 'Britain'-though by now it would basically just be England with the Northern half of Ireland-even further to the Right. 
    The Liberal Democrats are done and Labor is the one really threatened by SNP whether it succeeds in its aim of Scottish independence ultimately or not. 

No comments:

Post a Comment