"... financial perspicacity and political perspicacity are inversely correlated.
Long run salvation by men of business has never been highly regarded if it means disturbance of orderly life and convenience in the present. So inaction will be advocated in the present even though it means deep trouble in the future. ---
It is what causes men who know things are going quite wrong to say that things are fundamentally sound."
J.K. Galbraith - The 1929 Crash
"The power and almost the memory of the Picts have been extinguished by their successful rivals:" (the Scots) "and the Scots, after maintaining for ages the dignity of an independent kingdom, have multiplied, by an equal and voluntary union, the honours of the English name."
Volume III of the OUP Gibbon, Henry Frowde edition by the Ballantyne Press
Here’s what I said in the spring 0f 2009, mid-term in the SNP’s first government, and just two years away from their decisive endorsement by the Scottish people on May 5th, 2011. I hold to all of these ideas more than two years on …
MRIDURA BLOG - Saturday, 18 April 2009
Scottish independence and the UK. We know why we want to go? Why do they want to keep us? Why do many Scots want to stay in the Union?
To answer these questions, we must distinguish between why the Labour Party wants to keep Scotland in the UK, why any British Government wants to retain its control over our little nation, and in the process of answering these questions, examine how the people of the UK view the independence question.
Let's dispose of the Labour Party quickly, as I hope the electorate will dispose of them sometime in the next year.- (It did, decisively on May 5th 2011) - This failed, corrupted, amoral, values-free political entity wants to hold Scotland because it cannot survive without its Scottish power base.
This is, and always has been the electoral reality for Labour. We can be sure they are not motivated by any sense of affection for, or loyalty to the birthplace of the Labour movement, since the first impulse of any really ambitious Labour politician has been to escape from his or her native land into the Palace of Westminster and the heart of the empire, such as it is.
The reasons why the United Kingdom - and therefore any British government - wants to hold on to Scotland are more varied and complex than Labour's narrow little agenda.
Firstly, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are the last remnants of the British Empire, and the self-image of the British establishment is almost totally dependent on the maintenance of that rump of Empire, with Scotland being the most important component by far. The whole panoply of the Crown, the ceremony, the pageantry and the patronage depends heavily on that nostalgic, romantic image.
What is an empire without its subject nations?
There must be someone to patronise, someone to bend the knee, to doff the cap, to pull the forelock. And Scotland, as a subject nation, supplies an essential component of that romantic and nostalgic image, especially as presented to the former colonies of Empire, the United States and Canada in particular, with a significant proportion of their people claiming a Scottish heritage. Scotland can be treated with sentimental paternalistic affection when it suits, and patronising contempt when it doesn't.
(Spluttering knights of the shires and Tory backwoodsmen, in the unlikely event that any of them read this, will be reaching for their P.G. Wodehouse quote about not mistaking a Scotsman with a grievance for a ray of sunshine. As a huge admirer of Wodehouse, I freely acknowledge - with a smile - the accuracy of his insight.)
REALPOLITIK ARGUMENTS BY THE UK
Let's look now at the hard, realpolitik arguments of a UK government for retaining the UK. The UK has a population of maybe 61m at the moment (60,587,600 in mid-2006), and of that, Northern Ireland accounts for about 1.75m, Wales almost 3m and Scotland 5m. The loss of Scotland would mean a 8.2% reduction, and if all three departed, a loss of about 16%.
No empire, however shrunken from its glory days, can contemplate such a loss with equanimity.
From a defence standpoint, the case can be made that the loss of its northern frontier on the island of Britain is intolerable, especially because of the size of the Scottish coastline. To a nation, the UK, that exalts and celebrates its militaristic identity and its military role in world affairs, one that is paranoid about threats to its security - for paranoia is a necessary component in a state whose organising principle is war - an independent Scotland is intolerable.
And of course, the critical consideration is the requirement to continue basing the monstrous and irrelevant Trident in our Scottish waters, weapons of mass destruction that serve no purpose whatsoever, other than to allow our demented UK government ministers to strut and posture on an international stage, drawing a form of credibility from their possession of these nightmare instruments of mass murder.
Trident 'increases threat of nuclear attacks on Scotland'
Published Date: 04 February 2009
A LEADING authority on international law has warned that nuclear weapons in Scotland increase the risk of a nuclear attack on the country. Judge Christopher Weeramantry, former vice-president of the International Court of Justice, told a conference in Edinburgh that the issue could not be left in the hands of Westminster. While agreeing that international relations were reserved to the UK Parliament, he insisted the Scottish Parliament must uphold international humanitarian and legal obligations.
SNP defence and foreign affairs spokesman Angus Robertson said: "Judge Weeramantry's comments add further weight to the argument for removing Trident from Scotland."
Lastly, the rump of the United Kingdom (England, Wales and Northern Ireland) - given the present mindset of its politicians - cannot tolerate an independent nation on the island of Britain that is highly likely to be culturally and economically dynamic and successful. The British Establishment were prepared to go to any lengths (see 'Diomhair') to stop Scotland having control of its oil, were prepared to misrepresent, to lie, to re-draw the borders of international waters to achieve their ends, not just because they wanted the oil revenues, but because a rich, successful, independent Scotland would have represented an intolerable comparison.
Of course, none of the above reasons can be advanced to Scots to persuade them to remain in the UK, except perhaps some appeal to nostalgia and the fading image of empire. So the Scots must be infantilised, persuaded of their inadequacy, of their dependency, of their inability to manage their own affairs competently. They must be persuaded that they need the Union to survive, to be secure, to be protected from nameless threats, to have status in international forums.
And the powerful state weapon of patronage must be deployed ruthlessly. Ambitious and capable Scots must be courted, flattered, bribed with the prospect of honours, promotion and preferment, and subtly led to despise their nation and their heritage, their language, their accent and their culture.
All of the above criticism I apply to political leaders in the Westminster Parliament and the British Establishment.
But I maintain a vital distinction that must always be maintained between the current corrupt leaders of a nation state and the people of that nation.
When the world condemned the America of Bush, Cheney and the neocons, they were not condemning the American people, and now the people of America have thrown off that pernicious leadership and have embraced a new vision of America and its world role, personified in the new presidency of Barack Obama.
When I condemn Blair, Brown, the Labour Party and the British Establishment, – (and now in 2011, Cameron, Clegg and Miliband) - I do not condemn the people of England, the true heart of a great nation, with a fundamental instinct for justice, freedom and real democracy rooted in its history and traditions. I believe that the English electorate want England to be independent, to stand free and proud as a nation, a nation that will celebrate its history and culture without the trappings of empire, and a nation that will co-exist happily with its northern neighbour and long-time friend, Scotland.
If England can have a special relationship with its former colonies, with Canada, with America, with India, with Australia, with Africa, it can certainly live happily with its Scottish brothers and sisters.
England, you have nothing to fear from Scottish independence, and everything to gain.