Sunday, 19 October 2008

The end of Scottish dream of independence? [Sfârşitul visului scoţian la independenţă?]

As someone who felt very good in Scotland, without necessarily becoming a fan of the Scottish separatists, I wanted to start a whole new serie dedicated to this theme. As a ‘neutral’ foreigner, I honestly couldn’t take sides, although I am – theoretically – against separatist movements.

Could an independent Scotland be a viable state?... Would it be accepted as the 28th member of the EU?... What an interesting PhD research would make to compare Kosovo’s independence with that of Scotland, wouldn’t it?... Would all Scottish regiments be withdrawn from UK military operations abroad?... How would the English and the Scots share the revenue from the oil in the North Sea?... What would happen to the Scots in the Westminster Government or to the English people living as far northwards as the Scottish Highlands?...

I would have had dozens of questions like these, if the UK Government hadn’t bought and important percentage of shares from the Royal Bank of Scotland and Bank of Scotland/Halifax. Many people say (click here, here or here) this is the demise of the Scottish (foolish?!) dream of independence, that we are now witnesssing a dead cause which is awaiting burial.

If only some of my Scottish friends (of whom I know only one who regularly checks this blog :-) could post their opinions here! A full series of posts regarding a (possible, yet not very likely even before the current crisis) independent Scotland seems to have died… But did this political ambition also suddenly die, once these two banks were taken over? Or was it stillborn from the start?

Is the Scottish motto – seen in the image above at the entrance of Edinburgh Castle, and which could be translated as ‘No-one provokes me with impunity’ – but a memory from times of yore? I am personally afraid so… but let’s see if any Scot would post a comment here, trying to prove that Scotland will fight back :-)

[For all the posts on this blog go to/Pentru toate postările de pe acest blog mergi la: Contents/Cuprins]


Gregor said...

Dear Bogdan

I heard once that the post-Soviet Latvians rejoiced when their economy suffered badly, because they hoped that the ethnic Russians would leave their country.

Maybe it is an apocryphal tale, but it is an interesting story demonstrating that material wealth is not always good for a country.

I admit that I know very little about economics, so my political opinions are maybe not very relevant to the current crisis.

However, am a 'social democrat' who believes that state intervention can actually result in a more benign state. Greece has strong state involvement in the economy, yet the people are both less dependent upon and trusting of the state.

Being a social democrat does not mean that I strongly disagree in principle with economic liberals, but rather that I believe they are mistaken in thinking that a weak state is unintrusive. The Greek state runs the transportation and employs a vast amount of people, but Greece is not under constant CCTV surveillance.

So from my perspective (which I do not claim is unbiased or accurate), there is a paradox about the banking crisis (as far as I can see) which is that a lack of government regulation resulted in banks being reckless in their borrowing and this resulted in the state 'nationalising' the banks.

However, I believe strongly that Britain needs to reduce its central government in favour of Federalism. Whilst the process would be very complex, I would support Scottish Independence because:

1) Like myself Alex Salmond is an isolationist who is sceptical about states using military intervention. England seems run by a socialist style idea of perpetual revolution to bring human rights to countries which have no history of liberal democracy.

2) Scotland is a country with great natural beauty and some of the most ancient archaeological sites in the world. Yet the Scots have no interest in tourism, and Scottish tourism is singularly unimaginative. Instead of focussing on our soaking summers where ugly succulent plants choke the scenery, I think Scots should draw more attention to our wonderful autumns.

3) England is an endemic surveilance society almost on a level with Communist China:[347]=x-347-559597

For me this is very disturbing, and I would rather live in a poor but free country than a wealthy 1984 type society.

4) Scotland has traditionally had a good education system that they should focus on.

5) I know we'll disagree on this ;) but I am a big fan of the EU. That is not to deny that it is wasteful and bureaucratic, but I think it has achieved a lot in freedom of travel, trade and human rights. I think if Scotland became an EU state and adopted the Euro, it would achieve a lot.

6) The Jean Charles De Menezes shooting really shocked me. That British police can shoot someone through the head four times without reason, get the newspapers to repeat their lies and then escape prosecution really terrified me.

I am certainly not anti-English, and dislike nationalism. However, I think Scots need to stand on thier own feet and find their own identity.

I would also add that there is one thing that I think is very English, and that is a cynicism that ironically leads to naivety. Whenever I point out the way civil liberties are going in England, they always act with scepticism but I think they are really being naive in thinking they will always have benevolent leaders.

Sorry this is very rushed, it is a busy time for me. Hope it is of interest.

MunteanUK said...

Dear Gregor,

I'm always pleased to find on my blog comments which are much better structured that my few lines that generated it :)

Your ideas about 'why' Scotland would be better off on its own, as an independent state, do not answer one of my main questions: is indepednence still possible?... given the changes in the economical landscape that the current crisis brought?...

I agree that the idea of a completely 'free market' that will self-regulate failed. But will those people imposing new rules, on behalf of the State, prove more ethical than the shameless bankers, brokers and investors?

As for your points:

- I completely agree with 2) and 3), plus I understand your fears expressed on 6)

- in relation to 4), I can say I found some evidence that there are many well educated young Scots, both in Scotland and England. And maybe the brightest of your fellow country men have already moved to sunnier places, like Australia. You could move to Greece, a sunny place as well, couldn't you? :)

- 1) about you being an 'isolationist' seems to contradict point no. 5), about the EU having achieved a lot in the free travel of people, goods and values (human rights).

I'd be curious to know if you think the EU is really that far from the 'interventionism' that everybody relates to the George W. Bush era' - I think that, little by little, the UE grows into a uperstate which would need a Big Brother... for instance, a MEP (from a former Communist state) recently proposed a compulsory 'registration' of all blogs in the EU. The proposal was rejected, but for how long will it stay rejected?

I'm not necessarily 'anti-Eu' - all I say is that we shoud be careful with this superstate and what it's turning into :( British democracy started with 'generous ideals', so did the American Reolution, and then this whole modern myth about human rights...

...only to see them now used as a weapon to annihilate fredom of speech. today, if one says that 'abortion is murder,' and 'homosexuality is a sin' is deemed as 'intolerant'...

Well, that would be an issue worth debating, but I'm afraid that 'tolerance', 'understanding between people' and other humanist ideals have nothing to do with Christian love. Who loves us more than our Maker, our Lord Jesus Christ? Of course, nobody else does! Yet, in spite of His boundless love, He never condones our offences, He never says to us 'alright, keep sinning, I respect you'...

It's true that He respects our freedom of choice, and forgives those who want to be forgiven, of course He values each human being, apart from all the burden of sins on that soul, but His love has nothing to do with humanist 'tolerance.'

There's nothing wrong with 'human rights' as such. However, as my Spiritual Father once said to me, 'only God truly respects human rights, because it is He the One Who made man.' Unfortunately, many other people cling on to the generous idea of 'human rights' only to hide their inequities, to 'respect' the 'right' of others to fall into the same sins as themselves.

Obviously, I would like everyone to respect 'human rights' - but I'm afraid that people living in humanist societies simply don't have the 'spiritual backbone' to respect any fellow human being. They can only respect what a soulless law/regulation says should be respected, but hardly anyone (as a human being brought into existence by God) respects another human being.

Gregor said...

Dear Bogdan

I am not certain if Scotland can become independent yet, but I do not think that economic circumstances would prevent it. After all, Brown has also injected vast amounts of money into Iceland's economy.

'I agree that the idea of a completely 'free market' that will self-regulate failed. But will those people imposing new rules, on behalf of the State, prove more ethical than the shameless bankers, brokers and investors?'

The simple answer is, 'I don't know'. I suspect they would be, because they would not have the same self-interest, but politics is always a shot in the dark.

As for the idea of the self-regulating free market, this is not something that we have here. One of New Labour's most foolish decisions (I think) was the introduction of the minimum wage of over £5 an hour. This probably contributed greatly to unemployment here, simply because small businesses cannot afford to pay this amount.

Maybe I misused the term 'isolationist'. I meant more that the idea of governments intervening in conflicts is very dangerous.

The EU is different because in theory it is democratic. In reality it is not as democratic as it should be, yet instead of voting for reform, it seems the majority of EU citizens just express anger at the EU's shortcomings.

Still, whilst to you the EU may be secular (compared to Romania) I think religion is resurgent in Europe. Sarkozy is the first devout French leader in several decades. Germany is also also run by a member of the Christian Democrat Party.

Obviously, for a Briton, my perspective is somewhat different from yours. The only religious beliefs a British leader would express would be the creepy statist beliefs of someone like Tony Blair: 'I believe X, I lead the state, the state will do God's work based on what I believe God's will to be'. There is no concept of introspective faith and no concept of looking to higher spiritual powers (never mind the scriptures).

As for civil liberties, again, a Brit would see the EU in a different light to a Romanian. An MEP wanted a weblog database and it got rejected? A British minister says that in future our government is going to RECORD EVERY WEB ADDRESS THAT EVERY BRITON VISITS!!

So you can see why a Scot might want to be a part of the EU rather than Britain?

As well as being abysmal for human rights, this also shows the weird priorities that the government has with spending. Our soldiers are sent off to Afghanistan and Iraq with abysmal equipment and flown around in creaking helicopters. Yet as soon as the government has a big brother scheme, CCTV, web databases, the chancellor will pour fountains of cash on it.

The worse thing is that there is no acual opposition, none at all. The Tories may make speeches opposing some of these schemes, but they vote for them anyway. I saw one witty comment by an American that a two party democracy has one more party than Soviet Russia ;-)... sadly I don't find it so amusing when I see the Tories and Labour trying to outdo each other on removing civil liberties.

One last point is that Brits have all sorts of weird pseudo-scientific bullshit (forgive the expression) going about in the press. Whilst I think that carbon emissions may be dangerous, here they are being blamed for every freak weather incident when there is no scientific proof. Hurricanes? Carbon emissions. Early snow? Carbon emissions. Hot weather? Carbon emissions. Rain? Carbon emissions.

I don't have any knowledge of what causes these, but I think God is punishing us for our materialism and statism: our worship of false gods. We will experience a lot more of this until we free ourselves. I think if Britain was impoverished and broke apart, then we would have more chance of finding a more spiritual identity. Then maybe reconnecting over shared values?

With love in Christ