sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul

Wings Over Scotland


Irreconcilable differences

Posted on February 05, 2013 by

Unionists often like to talk about independence in terms of a “divorce” to try to tug at our heart strings and make us feel like we’d be leaving a much-loved partner. The implication, of course, is that divorces are always bad, with losers on both sides.

They get very huffy when independence supporters suggest that it’s more like an abusive marriage, despite our relationship with England being far more like Stockholm Syndrome than they would like to admit. (Something their own “it’s a big, bad world out there, you’ll never survive without us” rhetoric suggests is the case.)

But if we take the metaphor of the United Kingdom being a marriage at face value, then what kind of marriage is it? And more to the point, is it worth saving?

(Note: we’ll take this to be a marriage where Scotland is the wife, and England is the husband. After all, gay couples are not yet able to marry, and having gone out with a girl six inches taller than me for a while a few years ago, I think I can safely say there are sound reasons why the bigger partner in a marriage tends to be the husband.)

It certainly wasn’t a fairytale whirlwind romance that brought Mr & Mrs UK together. The “marriage” of the two Kingdoms of Scotland and England didn’t come about because of mutual love and respect – if you want to be generous, you can say it was a marriage of convenience due to Miss Scotland’s poor finances, but the reality is a story of corruption, bribery and coercion, as the riots all over Scotland demonstrated.

But that’s all history now, and it’s not unknown for marriages of convenience to develop into ones where the couple grow to love and respect each other as equals. So is this where we find ourselves today?

No, it’s not. Both partners earn a living, but the wife has to hand all her earnings to the husband, who then unilaterally decides the best way to spend the majority of it, before somewhat grudgingly giving back “housekeeping” money in the shape of the block grant, from which she has to look after essential things like health and education.

Already, we can see that this is no modern marriage of equal partners – who would accept this lop-sided scenario in the 21st century? To make matters worse, the money the husband spends goes on boys toys (Trident), foreign adventures to exotic lands (Iraq, Afghanistan) and handouts to his rich friends that he hangs about with in some gentleman’s club called “the City”.

Most of this is a simple case of trying to keep up with the Joneses, but there’s more than a whiff of over-compensation for something too, as if something’s missing from his life. To top all that off, the amount of housekeeping she gets is declining, thanks largely to all the gambling debts he ran up and had to pay off.

If that’s not enough, Scotland is told who she can and can’t see. She can’t be friends with our neighbours in the EU because the husband thinks she should stay at home while he goes and acts the big man on the global stage. To make matters worse, he’s in the process of having a big fall-out with them, and threatens to move us away somewhere isolated unless the neighbours promise to let him dictate what happens in the whole street.

We can’t invite people to come and stay, because the husband decides who can and can’t come through the door – a problem compounded by the fact the husband is more than a little bit paranoid about foreigners (and even, dare we say it, a little bit racist). Rather than settle disagreements with a bit of diplomacy, he prefers to shoot his mouth off and, in some cases, start shooting other things too. Will Mr Iraq ever forgive us for smashing his home to rubble looking for our lost cat WMD, who turned out to have been sleeping in our shed all along?

But that’s not the limit of his bigotry. He hates disabled people, thinks the poor should choose between starving to death or freezing to death, and he’s cruel to children. She can see what he’s like, but she’s scared to leave because the years of verbal abuse she’s endured have sapped all her self-confidence:

“You’re a scrounger! You couldn’t survive in the big, bad world without me! If you walk out that door, there’s no coming back… but you’ll come crawling back on your hands and knees anyway! Nobody else wants you! The neighbours won’t let you stay in the EU club! How can you even contemplate this after all I’ve done for you? You can’t leave, there’ll be loads of forms to fill in!

She’s tried and tried to make it work, but it’s time to admit that this is a marriage of (in)convenience between two people who want totally different things in life. Divorce may seem sad for those looking on from the outside, but it’s a far kinder outcome than forcing two people who have grown apart (if they were ever close in the first place) to remain shackled to each other.

Hopefully they’ll be better as friends – after all, he seems to get along with most of his former wives now. (Did we mention he’s a bigamist?) Miss Canada, Miss India and Miss Australia are doing great on their own, and although our good friend Miss Ireland – now THERE was a messy breakup – is having a pretty tough time of it at the moment she’s still much happier without him. This seems the best way for everyone.

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120 to “Irreconcilable differences”

  1. patronsaintofcats says:

    Spot on.  I’ve always felt the failed marriage (due to abuse) is the best analogy for the relationship between Scotland and England.  As a woman who left that kind of marriage, it can take years for the epiphany, but when it happens there is no going back and getting out becomes an all consuming effort.  Yes, it’s scary.  It feels like jumping off a cliff.  But the alternative is no longer tolerable.

    This is also language that will appeal to women, who still lag in their support for independence.  They must understand that it is not just about the women but the children (if they have any) and the health, well-being and quality of life for all of them going forward.  Being trapped in a bitter and divisive relationship is utterly destructive.

    Thanks for articulating this so well.   

      

  2. Adrian B says:

    Another good piece Doulas, succinctly put as always.

      

  3. Willie Zwigerland says:

    “He hates disabled people, thinks the poor should choose between starving to death or freezing to death, and he’s cruel to children“ 
    Rev Stu, I see your contributors are starting to believe your own progaganda….

      

  4. ianbrotherhood says:

    …another Willie. This must be where the big knobs hang out…

      

  5. Doug Daniel says:

    Willie – I think you’ll find most of us understood what the British State really stands for long before Stu’s site even existed!

      

  6. Ysabelle says:

    Doug Daniel, your article pretty much sums up how I feel about the whole situation. Well said.

      

  7. Ysabelle says:

    I just want to add that sadly there are a lot of people south of the border who are not happy with their government either. I’ve noticed an increasing number of them saying we’d be fools to pass this opportunity up, even though they don’t really want us to leave. I think a lot of them would like to leave themselves. Well at least they’d have somewhere to go that doesn’t require emigrating much beyond a few hundred miles at most.

      

  8. Doug Daniel says:

    patronsaintofcats – “This is also language that will appeal to women, who still lag in their support for independence.”

    It’s interesting that you say that, especially as it was a female MSP (Joan McAlpine) who was criticised for using such terminology. Could it be that the overreaction to her Daily Record article last year was not so much about the usual faux-offence, and more to do with a worry that it would actually hit home with a group that has thus far remained sceptical of indy?

    Surely not?!

    Incidentally, I must admit that when I started writing the article, I had no intention of making it describe an abusive marriage so much – it was just going to be about a slightly old fashioned one. But once you start such an article, it pretty much writes itself…

      

  9. Ysabelle says:

    I just ran my cursor over the photos. Nice hidden jokes there. Sadly, the last one is all too serious.

      

  10. Alastair Hutchison says:

    Great Article. 

    Abuse comes in many shapes and forms.  I think it is fair to say Scotland has not been abused physically by England during this marriage (well apart from the say first 50 to 100 years) but on the whole England has acted like a gentleman towards Scotland.  Dare I say it “taking care” of her over the years…….
     
    What I mean by that is that it is England who makes all the decisions, who our friends are, who we squabble with, what we spend and how we earn our money.  Yes we can talk it about and if we agree great…. but if we don’t we do what England thinks is best.  That is not an equal partnership that modern marriage should be.  It’s a marriage from the 18th and 19th Centuries.
     
    Maybe in the 1970s when Scottish Independence first reached the political mainstream some kind of Federal Solution could have saved the marriage.  We could have lived our own independent lives and still come together on certain issues, but that ship sailed.  To put it another way and to link it to the previous article.  We needed a Starship in the 1970s what we got was a Frigate in 1999.  Far too little too late.
     
    I can’t wait till March 2016 when we can head to bar with Miss Australia, Miss New Zealand, Miss Canada and Miss Ireland have cocktail and talk about the future.  Who knows…. we might invite Mr England along as well?
     
    Alastair  
     

      

  11. Steve says:

    You could add that he has a conscience that keeps nagging away at him (in the form of the northern regions of England) but his addictions never allow him to face up to his true responsibilities.   His wife would like to appeal to his conscience but feels the only way to really get through is to set a good example and hope that his conscience gains the upper hand over his more degenerate tendencies.
     

      

  12. muttley79 says:

    Good article Doug.  I think the Yes campaign should maybe think about using this type of an analogy as it accurately describes the union.  I think the unionists understood the power of this argument when Joan McAlpine wrote that article.  The misrepresentation of it was designed to divert attention away from the central argument. 

      

  13. Pa Broon says:

    In terms of propaganda, there are few countries, let alone people who can hold a candle to what the union get up to.

    Perhaps mistaking corrections & truth for abuse & propaganda is the positive case for the union after all.

    Good luck with that.

      

  14. Bert says:

    Brilliant ! Perfect analysis. Easy to understand , even to the non politically minded. I will distribute this article to all in my mailing list.
     

      

  15. Doug Daniel says:

    Ysabelle – the British State needs to be dismantled completely. I read something recently (could it have been a WoS article?) pointing out that many of the institutions of the British State were created for servicing the Empire, when the aim was to pull the wealth into the centre (i.e. London), and these have never been properly reconstructed to adapt to post-imperial Britain. Even if all four nations of the UK became independent, there would still be an awful lot of work to be done to turn England into a state befitting the 21st century – if it continues along its current path, England will become nothing more than a support system for the city state of London.

    Scotland becoming independent and proving that proper social democracy can flourish on these isles will go a long way to helping them change their destiny. At the moment, we’re merely enabling them. As I say in the article, this “divorce” is a necessity for both camps, not just Scotland.

      

  16. Doug Daniel says:

    Steve – “but his addictions never allow him to face up to his true responsibilities.”

    Would that addiction be “voting Tory” by any chance?

    He went cold turkey for 13 years, but unfortunately he relapsed, and you can be certain he’ll keep relapsing until he gets a proper jolt to the system… 

    Actually, scrap that – he didn’t go cold turkey, he went on the New Labour Methadone treatment plan.

    It didn’t work. 

      

  17. patronsaintofcats says:

    @Alastair Hutchinson:

    Abuse comes in many shapes and forms.  I think it is fair to say Scotland has not been abused physically by England during this marriage (well apart from the say first 50 to 100 years) but on the whole England has acted like a gentleman towards Scotland.  Dare I say it “taking care” of her over the years…….

    Sustained verbal and psychological abuse is pernicious, and I daresay the Scottish cringe is symptomatic of it.  In my own case I was willing to tolerate it because I had come to believe over many years of such abuse that I wasn’t worth much (sound familiar?)  Having a chronic illness for many years only compounded the problem and made the relationship even more imbalanced.  The wake-up call came when the ex started the same routine on my teenage daughter.  It was like a I had been in a darkened room for years and a light was switched on.  I couldn’t get away fast enough once I finally had that moment of utter clarity.

    The hesitant voters need a good reason to choose a position of change.  The No campaign isn’t offering them anything but many voters (especially women) feel that they must cling to the known and comfortable.  We must help them understand that doing nothing (i.e. voting for the status quo – or worse) is not in their long term best interests and help them to imagine a different future.  Perhaps difficult to do in the confines of a relentlessly positive campaign, but I’m confident it can be done.  I hope articles like this one, so clearly articulated, will help persuade them.

     

      

  18. Barontorc says:

    Going along the abusive marriage line Doug – I’ll bet there’s in-laws somewhere beside themselves with fury that this crassly stoopid, abusive partner just didn’t give a shit about how their property’s gonna be stuck in the abused wife’s garage and worse, she’s telling the abusive husband to move it out pronto and there’s no place to put it!

    This was not in the grand plan and it’s got to be screwing-up some bigger plans and you better believe that the said abusive twat is gonna get it in the neck!

    How could you take a perfectly one-sided and controlling relationship that’s meekly accepted by the wife, as, as good as it’s gonna get and then screw-it up so badly she’s turned into a shrew, is  totally committed to dumping you and is hell-bent on paddling her own canoe from now on. OOPS! What tosser’s responsible for this?

      

  19. pmcrek says:

    Pa Broon
    Too right, its always confused me how the left in the UK could support the Union and yet profess to be progressive. If we vote yes there wont just be celebrations in Scotland,the UK has done more than most states which have ever existed, to oppose Social Justice and promote aggression and imperialism around the globe. This is after all one of the few states in existence to ever have commited genocide let alone to have attempted it on three seperate continents. And this isnt just a skeleton in the closet, something best forgotton about, the unionist left can turn the news on any time of day and witness this behaviour still going on in 2013.
    I have no doubt Socialist and progressives all around the world will celebrate the end of the UK if we vote yes, its only the Champagne Socialists and Fabian Society Empire apologists in the UK that would be baw’ing about it.
    Oh and this Article is hilarious btw.

      

  20. Cuphook says:

     
    Don’t forget the children. Every so often I come across people insisting that we take Northern Ireland with us.
     
    And if you would like to pass judgement on the signing of the ‘marriage certificate’ the room used is now the female toilet in Bella Italia on the corner of North Bridge and High Street, Edinburgh.
     
     
    @Willie Zwigerland
     
    You’ve previously said ‘I will try to add more value with any future comments’. You don’t seem to be trying all that hard. How do you see the UK government’s attitudes towards the vulnerable groups mentioned? Surely you have an opinion that you’d like to discuss rather than just being dismissive of those who express theirs.

      

  21. Prayersaint says:

    As one of the ‘Unionists’ who has interpreted proposed independence as a divorce, at last a response that takes the analogy seriously.  Thank you.  And well-written too.  I hope that most don’t feel this way, however if most do (based on either facts or feelings) and have no further patience for working at the relationship, then that must be respected.

      

  22. Iain says:

    It is a great metaphor, particularly as the Togetherists in their blinkered way thought they had sole ownership of it.
    You forgot the splitting of the music collection; according to that Darling man, hubby gets to keep the Stones and Beatles CDs. I guess we’ll be left with Lena Martell and Sydney.

      

  23. Grahamski says:

    If only the YESnp campaign would use arguments like this then we’d all be a lot happier…

      

  24. Christian Wright says:

    Doug Daniel says: ” .  and having gone out with a girl six inches taller than me for a while a few years ago, I think I can safely say there are sound reasons why the bigger partner in a marriage tends to be the husband.”

     This could be the basis of an interesting sequel article too. Perhaps the detail could be harnessed for use as political metaphor, undressing issues of who has the whip hand, constraining the captive nation, emasculating it, and plundering its crown jewels.

    I look forward to this next installment, Doug. 

      

  25. Adrian B says:

    Grahamski,

    Its the Unionists that think this marriage is all spring meadows and 1950s street parties, decked out with Union Jacks. That plainly isn’t the reality now is it? 

      

  26. Grahamski says:

    Mr B

    I don’t think the UK is a marriage.

    it’s a crass metaphor whoever uses it. 

      

  27. Craig M says:

    Re Grahamski says:
    5 February, 2013 at 4:31 pm

    If only the YESnp campaign would use arguments like this then we’d all be a lot happier…

    Is there a sly dig in your comment somewhere?
    Actually, I only vote SNP because they advocate independence.
    If Labour or the Lib Dems advocated Scottish independence then I would be spoiled for choice. Just think, three progressive parties who wish to see the relationships within the British Isles reformed for the benefit of all. I think that the greatest sadness about the independence debate is not the prospect of breaking up the UK, it’s the way in which it highlights the almost total lack of intellectual and progressive thinking within the Labour, Lib Dem and yes, the Tory party. How ill served we are as voters.

      

  28. Adrian B says:

    “I don’t think the UK is a marriage.
    it’s a crass metaphor whoever uses it.”

    Sadly, The BBC quoted Tony Blair back in 1999. See link

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/273199.stm

      

  29. Seasick Dave says:

    Grahamski

    That’ll be Tony Blair then…

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/273199.stm

      

  30. scottish_skier says:

    On the topic of the UK and looking after the disabled:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-21337785

    Holyrood hears benefit changes are ‘heartless’

    A group of people with disabilities have told a Holyrood committee changes to the benefits system are “heartless”.

    I’d quite agree with that opinion. I’m not disabled and pay a considerable amount of tax. I’d rather that tax was used to help those less fortunate than I as opposed to e.g. being spent on WMDs, foreign wars, paying bonuses to failed bankers and keeping political elites in the style to which they’ve become accustomed. 

      

  31. Grahamski says:

    Mr B

    You don’t think Tony Blair was above using crass metaphors? 

      

  32. Castle Rock says:

    Sorry to go off topic Doug but it looks like Foulkes from the British Labour Party has been on the sauce again with the LibDem guy egging him on:

    “Scotland’s first minister Alex Salmond was accused in the Lords today of “lying to parliament and other transgressions”.

    http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/home-news/lord-foulkes-accused-alex-salmond-of-lying-to-parliament.1360081795

    Wee Wulie Rennie will be dead chuffed.

    They just can’t help being abusive can they, no wonder we want a divorce.
     
     
     

      

  33. Grahamski says:

    Mr M

    No dig at all and it’s a win win situation!

    We both want the YESnp to use the arguments above, what’s not to like?

    Incidentally, the idea that you can’t be against separation AND be progressive is quite frankly nuts. No offence, like….  

      

  34. Doug Daniel says:

    Prayersaint – to be honest, I still don’t think the marriage/divorce metaphor really holds much water. I think independence is more akin to leaving the family home for the first time, to go and make your own mark in the world. It’s certainly a more attractive and positive metaphor.

    But all I’m saying is, if that’s the metaphor folk want to choose, then they should perhaps consider what kind of marriage really describes the situation. 

      

  35. Adrian B says:

    You don’t think Tony Blair was above using crass metaphors? 

    He didn’t stop there, read down a few and the BBC wrote 

    “Mr Blair accused the nationalists of treating social justice as secondary to national identity, and of “proclaiming patriotism” instead of policies.”

    Some others (Non SNP I note) weren’t listening however about proclaiming patriotism more recently.

    Incidentally, the idea that you can’t be against separation AND be progressive is quite frankly nuts. No offence, like…. 

    No offence taken and no proof given I note.

      

  36. Seasick Dave says:

    Adrian B

    You’ll be waiting a long time for proof from Grahamski as he’s just here to be contrary.

    No offence, Grahamski.

      

  37. Christian Wright says:

    You know Doug, this article could be the framework for an animated feature – let’s call it Brave.

    It has the great virtue of being an efficient conveyor of truth, with the strength of a narrative to which many women (a demo wherein we badly need to improve support) can relate to viscerally. 

    The reason Unionists were all over Joan McAlpine like a cheap suit for her article using the same metaphor, was because it was gut-effective in making the point – you felt its truth.

    The Unionists well knew this and tried to delegitimize the metaphor and the use of narrative in polite company (and for the most part succeeded).

    We need raise it again and bring it into the public space where it rightfully belongs, for it is a meme that can be quickly inculcated and will reach and be readily understood by that most vital demographic, the low-information-voter majority cohort, women.   

      

  38. Iain says:

    ‘Incidentally, the idea that you can’t be against separation AND be progressive is quite frankly nuts.’
     
    Of course it’s nuts. As long as progressiveness is subordinate to the Union we’ll always have loads of ‘progressives’ blathering on endlessly about social justice, nuclear disarmament, ethical foreign policy, full employment etc, while knowing full well the parties they vote for will do fckall about any of them.
    Ideals without responsibilty, the prerogative of hypocrites down the ages.

      

  39. Adrian B says:

    Seasick Dave,

    Well aware of the quality of his more recent work. Thats exactly why yesterday I posted this for him.

    http://wingsland.podgamer.com/blair-mcdougall-is-a-liar/#comment-262958

    As someone who was clearly brought up with the values, aspirations and battles for justice of the working class. I find your modern party orientated future vision sad.
    I think its time that you had a long hard look deep down into your conscience and soul to realign your faith and values of the people in the area around you.
    Your dogged approach to bluster and misrepresentation have not suited you for some time. I certainly do not believe that this is a situation that you feel at home with, rather one which your modern party follows. Sad that your party does not share your morals, they certainly do not feature in your comments.    

    Rather than apparently toeing the party whip line on all this pertaining to the Labour party, perhaps Grahamski should look to the values that many in the Labour party actually hold dear. This systematic shift is alienating the very people the party once stood for. I want start going on about Tony Blair.   

      

  40. Henry Hooper says:

    Great article. Great analogy. Shame about how true it is.
    All the newspapers in the street take the husbands side

      

  41. Christian Wright says:

    “I still don’t think the marriage/divorce metaphor really holds much water. I think independence is more akin to leaving the family home for the first time, to go and make your own mark in the world.”

    Well Doug, I think you just wholly undermined the great work you did with this article, by the posting of the statement above. If you do not think the article’s narrative holds much water, why did you use it? 

    Scotland is NOT a child leaving home for the first time, and breaking away from its parent (England). It serves our cause naught, to infantilize this nation and its people. 

    Scotland is a mature society and to depict it as an adolescent leaving home for the first time is the height of Scottish cringe.  

      

  42. Craig P says:

    It’s not Mr England that is the problem, it’s Mr Britain. Anyways, will be nice to finally get control of the TV remote :)

      

  43. Adrian B says:

    Christian Wright,

    The reason Unionists were all over Joan McAlpine like a cheap suit for her article using the same metaphor, was because it was gut-effective in making the point – you felt its truth.

    Its these very same Unionists that have been banging on about this D-I-V-O-R-C-E in the first place – if they hadn’t then we wouldn’t be commenting on it. Thats something Grahamski doesn’t like. 

      

  44. Ysabelle says:

    I have to agree with Christian. It’s not appropriate for a country which is very old and which has been independent longer than it’s been in this union to be compared to someone leaving home for the first time. I think the article is closer to the truth, but obviously it’s more complex in reality. 

      

  45. This metaphor is visionary, ingenious and not at all plagiarised from me! http://bit.ly/YRcDiJ
    Great article though, obviously I disagree with none of it.

      

  46. Alastair Hutchison says:

    @ Craig P

    I agree.  Once we are divorced Mr Britain will be no more.  Miss Scotland and Mr England can then go on and be the best of friends.  We might even hold hands on occassion.

    Alastair   

      

  47. Craig P says:

    Right, here’s another take on it for you: ‘The Parable of the Oak Tree
     
    One day an acorn fell and took seed. It started to grow. Next to it was a larger oak. “It’s stormy up here,” said the large oak. “Let me shelter you. You can grow in my shade.” The young oak agreed. It was glad to be protected from the winds. But the large oak also took most of the sunshine. Birds and other creatures preferred the large oak. People carved their names on its side. It was hard for the young oak to grow very well. But it didn’t complain. It was only a tree.

    One day a great storm came and the large oak fell. And all the small oaks it was sheltering flourished. 

      

  48. Craig P says:

    Alastair, I quite like the idea of it being Ms Scotland and Ms England getting shot of Mr Britain… makes the whole metaphor a bit too complicated though!

      

  49. Seasick Dave says:

    Adrian B

    I’m sure that Grahamski is a decent stick; feeds his budgie, says hello to the neighbours and all that but, in all the time he has been hanging around, he has not had one positive or visionary idea for Scotland.

    His whole tone is either negative or mocking.

    I too, asked him a question over on the Blair McDougall thread but he didn’t have the decency to respond. 

      

  50. Doug Daniel says:

    Actually, I think the fact you guys think it was a good article when I’m not really a subscriber to the marriage metaphor just goes to show you can take any metaphor you want and find things to make it fit. The truth is we’re talking about a country regaining its independence, not a human being escaping a bad marriage or a teenager leaving home. All the metaphors do is try to play on people’s emotions.

    The main reason I wrote the article was because I keep seeing unionists trying to play on people’s emotions, guilt-tripping them into making a decision that requires cold, hard logic and a proper assessment of facts, rather than “ooh never mind all that, isn’t it a shame that we’re getting a divorce? Divorces are sad, don’t make us get divorced.”

    Hopefully folk can use the article to say “stop speaking pish – if you want to turn it into a marriage analogy, then let’s examine it a bit closer…”

    (Maybe one day I’ll do a complimentary piece comparing the union to a 35 year old man scared to leave home if folk are offended by the teenager analogy!) 

      

  51. Alastair Hutchison says:

    @ Craig P

    So Ms Scotland and Ms England were Roadies for the Osmonds……… you’re right this is getting messy. 

      

  52. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “I too, asked him a question over on the Blair McDougall thread but he didn’t have the decency to respond.”

    Grahamski doesn’t do answering questions. Would require, y’know, having answers.

      

  53. andrew_haddow says:

    Alistair Darling doesn’t like answering questions either – even from Gary Robertson! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=500CeyJI6Hw&feature=share

      

  54. Craig M says:

    Grahamski doesn’t do answering questions. Would require, y’know, having answers.

    Oh, I  don’t know, he riposted (is that the term) to me earlier on in the thread. Grahamski, tell us something progressive that the Union brings to us all, please?

      

  55. Christian Wright says:

    Doug Daniel wrote: “Maybe one day I’ll do a complimentary piece comparing the union to a 35 year old man scared to leave home if folk are offended by the teenager analogy!”

    Consider Denis Healey’s First Law of Holes:

    When you’re in one, stop digging. 

      

  56. Doug Daniel says:

    Alas, one of my nicknames at school was “The Mole”, so digging is in my nature!

      

  57. Vronsky says:

    Grahamski is here for therapy – for him, it’s a sort of spa.
     
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning%E2%80%93Kruger_effect

      

  58. H Scott says:

    The analogy is excellent and DD shows how it operates in a number of ways. Of course unionists don’t like it because they are in denial about the nature of the Union.

      

  59. Christian Wright says:

    “. . the miscalibration of the incompetent stems from an error about the self, whereas the miscalibration of the highly competent stems from an error about others”.

    QFT

    Kruger, Justin; David Dunning (1999). “Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One’s Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments”. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 77 (6): 1121–34

      

  60. Grahamski says:

    Mr M asks:”.. tell us something progressive that the Union brings to us all..”
    The NHS 

      

  61. Alastair Hutchison says:

    @ Grahamski

    How can anyone prove an Indy Scotland would not have created a version of the NHS, or how it would have fought in WWII, IT MAY HAVE ENDED SLAVERY before England etc….. maybe an indy Scotland would not have closed its rural rail lines and condemded so many small towns to isolation. 

    Any side in this debate can make silly claims about the past…. it is the future of this country that we should be talking about.

    Alastair   

      

  62. muttley79 says:

    Grahamski, please tell me you’re joking about the NHS?  The NHS in England is being privatised at the moment.  In addition, Labour MPs have signed a motion in the Commons supporting market involvement in the NHS.  There were Scottish Labour MPs who signed this motion.  The Tories are now taking a hammer to the Welfare state.  When are you going to open your eyes and acknowledge the state you want to remain in is rapidly careering further and further to the right in the political spectrum? 

      

  63. Adrian B says:

    Grahamski,

    The Scottish Government is another good example. 

      

  64. Grahamski says:

    Mr Hutchison and Mr 79,

    I was asked to name something progressive brought by the union.

    Don’t you think the NHS – created by the Labour Party – is progressive?

     

      

  65. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Mr M asks:”.. tell us something progressive that the Union brings to us all..”
    The NHS “

    Got your tenses muddled up there as well as your facts, dear.

    http://wingsland.podgamer.com/why-only-independence-can-save-our-nhs/

      

  66. Grahamski says:

    Mr B

    Indeed, devolution is another example of the UK being progressive.

    Thank you. 

      

  67. Seasick Dave says:

    Finally, Grahamski ends up on the hard shoulder with four burst tyres and his exhaust hanging off.

    That was possibly the worst answer you could possibly have come up with for a progressive reason to stay with the Union.

    You are one big bawheid and the BT lot are lucky to have you. 

      

  68. muttley79 says:

    Grahamski, Seriously there really is no point in debating with you, or responding to your nonsense.  Why you think this type of trolling is doing you any good is beyond my comprehension?  You are coming across as a blinkered fanatic, who is unable to see the reality of the political situation.  You are destroying your own credibility in the process.  Bringing up the NHS when it is being privatised in England is utterly ridiculous.  However, it is fully in keeping with your internet persona.   

      

  69. Seasick Dave says:

    From the bawheid’s very own website we have the following description:

    Grahamski is a member of the Labour Party.
    He is old enough to know better.
    All the opinions in this blog are his own as are all the mistakes.

    I don’t think that we need to say anything else.

     

      

  70. Iain says:

    Since the Highlands and Islands Medical Service preceded and was to some extent an inspiration for the NHS, it might be said Scotland in part brought the NHS to the Union.

      

  71. Castle Rock says:

    Sorry Muttley, he’s never had and credibility, anyone who has had the misfortunate to read some of his rantings on the Hootsman will testify to that.

    He’s a silly bitter wee unionist who gets his rocks off by trolling.
     

      

  72. Christian Wright says:

    I various fora over an embarrassingly l-o-n-g period I’ve asked “Grahamski” (whose true identity I am not at liberty to herein divulge), again and again and again, to answer the only question we need ask any Unionist – I’ve yet to receive a reply.

    WHAT IS YOUR SUBSTANTIVE POSITIVE CASE FOR SCOTLAND REMAINING IN THE UNION? 

      

  73. Adrian B says:

    I find it rather odd that he chose the NHS, the Scottish Government would seem more relevant, up to date example.

    Offering the Scots Devo Jam after swiping it off the table last year just makes further mockery of the electorate from the NO side – and imagine vote NO we will give you more powers.

    Ohh wait, wasn’t that March 1979? 

      

  74. Seasick Dave says:

    Christian

    Why are you not able to divulge the gentleman’s true persona?

    Is it a wee secret? 

      

  75. muttley79 says:

    @Castle Rock
     
    I don’t really read the Scotsman comments because most seem to be garbage (although Peter Bell leaves good comments, and am sure there is others).  I know he was predicting that Ian Gray would be First Minister in 2011 right up until the results were announced.  I am not going to respond to him at all because he seems to have the mental age of a five year old, and it just seems a pointless endeavour trying to get any sort of a sense out of him.

      

  76. Grahamski says:

    Mr Wright

    Scotland is better in the union for pretty much the same reasons that Scotland is better in the EU. 

      

  77. Grahamski says:

    Mr B

    You’re actually trying to give some contemporary relevance to something said by a guy who was born in 1905?

    You’re a century too late… 

      

  78. Doug Daniel says:

    Grahamski, kindly stop littering the comments of my fabulous article with your pish.

    Ta muchly. 

      

  79. Stevie Cosmic says:

     
    Grahamski says:
    5 February, 2013 at 7:41 pm

    Mr Wright
    Scotland is better in the union for pretty much the same reasons that Scotland is better in the EU.


    So, using your very own logic then, Scots should vote YES in 2014, because if they don’t and Cammy gets his referendum in 2017, it is nothing les than HIGHLY likely that the overwhelming majority of English voters will take us OUT of the EU.

    That’s a great argument, and an asset to the YES campaign. I’m sure a thanks will be in the post soon.

      

  80. muttley79 says:

    Steve Cosmic,  I would just ignore him.  His arguments are awful and engagement in debate with him is futile.

      

  81. Stevie Cosmic says:

    Still Muttley, it’s fascinating ‘debating’ with someone who appears to be online 24/7 making BTL comments. What a job!

      

  82. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    “Scotland is better in the union for pretty much the same reasons that Scotland is better in the EU.”

    I wasn’t aware French people kept electing Tory governments for us. I might have to change my view on the EU now.

      

  83. Craig M says:

    Can I thank Grahamski for bringing some debate to this thread and thank you for answering my question, much appreciated. Grahamski does have a point about the NHS though, and it being shall I dare say, a Union dividend. But isn’t the irony delicious, when it’s the Scottish Government that is preserving the NHS, not the Westminster parties? And I think Grahamski may have unlocked a pandora’s box of interesting thought. It will be Scotland that preserves the good things that the Union brought to us all, like the NHS. How utterly ironic that the strengths of the Union will be preserved for all to see in the very country that dares to break that union, and for the reasons, strangely enough, that Grahamski and others almost, but don’t quite recognise; for a nostalgia and longing for the good things in society that they don’t wish to see go away and that are being eroded and cut down by Labour, Lib Dem and Tory hatchet bearers. Thanks Grahamski, you’ve opened my eyes to an argument that had quite passed me by. Strength to your elbow and keep on blogging.

      

  84. andrew_haddow says:

    @Craig M
    To paraphrase “We didn’t leave the union, the union left us.” 

      

  85. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    The analogy between Scotland in the UK and the UK (or Scotland) in the EU is a false one though greatly favoured by the superficial tribunes of the union.
    In the EU the UK sits as an equal independent member and an independent Scotland would have that same status in the EU.
    In the UK Parliament Scotland has no formal status whatsover and the UK does not have any arrangement of independent component parts.

    O/T

    All night I have listened to the BBC ,on its news bulletins with film copy of Alex Salmond, saying “If the SNP wins the referendum……”
    The SNP is not standing in the referendum and this deliberate distortion is unacceptable in what purports to a national broadcaster.
    This indicates however that they believe they cannot afford to waste the huge political capital they invested in damaging Alex Salmond in the hope that this will defeat the YES vote. 
    The destruct effort has now moved onto Nicloa Sturgeon and efforts to paint the NHS in Scotland as a disaster 

      

  86. pmcrek says:

    Grahamski
    “You’re actually trying to give some contemporary relevance to something said by a guy who was born in 1905?”
     
    Einstein was born in 1879, Marx 1818, Plato around 424/423 BC, is it just 1905 you have a problem with or are you just being a bit silly?
     

      

  87. DonUnder says:

    This contribution reminds me of this:
     

      

  88. Baheid says:

    DonUnder says:
    <a href="#comment-265371" rel="nofollow"

      

  89. creag an tuirc says:

    “Scotland is better in the union for pretty much the same reasons that Scotland is better in the EU.”

    Mmmm, let’s see.

    1) Will an independent Scotland give all it’s revenue to the EU and recieve a block grant in return?
    2) Will an independent Scotland have substatial powers reserved to the EU?

    If the UK had the same deal with the EU that Scotland has with the UK, would Grahamski be happy with this deal? Would he buy into the EU telling him that we are better together?

      

  90. Chic McGregor says:

    A particularly well done contribution to a recurring theme in cyberland though regrettably one which has yet to ever be voiced on the MSM.  I remember describing the relationship as being like an abusive marriage, oh must be about 20 years ago now, back in Scotpol forum days (newsgroups).

    Here is another well done article from a couple of years ago by Paul Kavanagh on Newsnet Scotland.  It is in satirical mode so some of the contemporary references may be faded in memory already.

    http://newsnetscotland.com/index.php/scottish-opinion/1430-scotland-westminster

    Here is a more modern take by Stanley Odd.  Maybe this is the way to get the message out there?


     

      

  91. Paul Wright says:

    This is not about a marriage, this is about two countries that had an historical union that is no longer fit for purpose, lets have a proper political understanding.

      

  92. Keef says:

    Has anyone mentioned the huge ‘trust fund’ that was set up by Mrs. Scotland’s mother (nature) and how Mr. Britain had a private detective (McCrone) snoop around to see how much it was worth and then kept the real value to himself.  Mr. Britain has since been syphoning off vast amounts to spend on feathering his old nest when he was single (M25, New Wembley and London in general).
    Meanwhile, the kids have been left with barely a crust to eat and their arse hanging out of their well worn trousers. How she must be fuming when she sees how well off Mrs. Norway is since her divorce and sees how confident and happy her kids are looking. Mrs. Norway of course was able to access the trust fund her mother had left her well before any greedy husband had got their hands on it. When she sees Mrs Norway and her healthy looking kids at the mall, Mrs Scotland realises Mrs Norway has made far better use of it. She’s even copied her mother and set up a trust fund for her kids that will keep them financially secure well into their future. The kind Mrs. Norway has even whispered in her ear that she’d be happy to give her a few tips on how best to administer her trust fund, once she’s shot of Mr. Britain.

      

  93. Dave Smith says:

    Doug. I have to say this is one of the best things I’ve read this year despite 2013 still being in its youth. I’ll admit to having considered the ‘abused wife’ parallel myself but there’s no way I could have articulated quite so well. Nevertheless, you were obviously thinking what I’ve been thinking.
    Great work – even if Mr Britain is increasingly behaving like Trevor from old episodes of Eastenders towards Scotland’s ‘little Mo’! (embarrassing admission of historic TV watching there – no Britnat stereotypes in that old scenario of course! ;-)

      

  94. Doug Daniel says:

    I’ve got to admit, that Stanley Odd song popped into my head more than once while writing this. Great lyrics – Chuck D himself would be proud I reckon. 

      

  95. Doug Daniel says:

    Paul Wright – I agree with you, although perhaps I’ve not really made it clear enough in the article what the point of writing it was. The pertinent line which I think everyone has glossed over is “if we take the metaphor of the United Kingdom being a marriage at face value”, which is all I was doing. The point of the article is not to state categorically that the marriage metaphor is the correct one, or even that any metaphor is truly appropriate to the referendum question – it was simply to say “well if you’re going to insist on calling it a divorce, let’s examine what the marriage is really like.”

    Folk can use whatever metaphor they like I suppose, and despite my protestations and attempts to be scientific and logical about it, I can’t pretend I don’t occasionally use metaphors in indy arguments myself (actually who am I kidding – I fucking love using metaphors in political arguments, although more to make things easier to relate to non-politicos rather than to play on emotions). It’s only when the metaphor is complete nonsense – such as the unionist version of the marriage metaphor – that there’s a problem.

    Luckily, there’s an army of us to set them straight! 

      

  96. deewal says:

    To all who read this great article and followed it’s links AND the links within by the Rev. Could you possibly sign this http://wowpetition.com/
    Thank you. 

      

  97. Craig P says:

    It was a marriage of convenience – we got to exploit the empire, they got security on the northern border during a war with France, both sides got to guarantee a Protestant monarch. 

    Those reasons have long since ceased to matter to all but the most traditionalist Orangeman. What compelling reason is there now to preserve the union?

      

  98. Keef says:

    Doug.

    A friend e-mailed me this back in June 2011. Was wondering if you had seen it. 
     
    Dear Westminster,

    There was a time when you wooed me.  Once you promised me the delights of India and the magic of Hong Kong, but these days all you do is sit on the sofa with your American pal playing war games.  You’ve squandered all our money on expensive toys and presents for your mates in the City.  Now you tell me you’re cutting the housekeeping money but you’re still buying two aircraft carriers, only there are no planes to put on them.  You even had the cheek to tell me you were doing me a favour by letting me assemble the airfix kits.  And don’t start me on those bloody submarines.
     
    You treat me like you’re ashamed of me.  You never let me leave the house alone.  Are you afraid that I’ll say something to embarrass you if I was to meet up with some other countries without you being there?  I was really upset when you didn’t let me go to Copenhagen to that workshop on climate change, especially because you know how much work I did installing wind turbines in the back garden and got all those books about tidal energy out the library.  It was hurtful and unthinking.  Does the term ‘control freak’ mean anything to you?

    I always knew you were never faithful.  I never mentioned your thing with Wales, you know, the other woman, your kidnap victim from a previous relationship.  I was even your biggest supporter when you wanted to start that ménage-a-trios with Ireland.  You know as well as I do how much that particular little escapade ended up costing in therapy sessions and broken crockery.  I can’t believe how naive I was.  It’s all water under the bridge now, but I’ll never have a proper relationship with my own family until you stop claiming the right to speak for me.

    I bumped into Norway the other day, she’s looking good and doing so well for herself.  I remember her when she worked in the fish factory and didn’t have two kroner to rub together, then she divorced Denmark and rushed into that rebound affair with Sweden which ended in tears.  Well that’s all changed.  She was just popping off to some important do at the UN and was looking very stylish.  And there was me in an auld coat and head-scarf like the depressive suicide risk in an Ingmar Bergman movie because you say I can’t afford nice things.
     
    I see the banks are Scottish again.  That’s nice.  For years you’ve insisted on controlling all the pursestrings, and now the pursestrings are flapping around your ankles like snapped knicker elastic all of a sudden the empty banks are Scottish and a reason I could never look after myself.  You’re like a wean that breaks a toy then gives it back saying it was broken when you got it.  Funny how you managed to play with the banks for years without noticing how broken they were.

    You say the oil money is spent and gone, and you always said that it was never a significant sum anyway.  Well now I’ve discovered the truth that you’ve been trying to keep from me for the past 30 years.  For all that time you’ve known that I could be very wealthy, but you kept schtum so you could spend the money on things for yourself.  

    I don’t know what’s more hurtful, the fact that you kept secrets from me and stole from me, or that you didn’t trust me enough to be honest with me in the first place.  Just what other dirty little secrets are you keeping?  You know what Oprah Winfrey said, when trust breaks down there can be no marriage.  You’ve ripped up my trust, thrown it away, and trampled it in the gutter.  You’ve only got yourself to blame for that.

    Then there was thon weirdo Thatcherism cult you got seduced into joining.  You gave away all the family silver and kept chanting that mantra about obeying the market.   What a nightmare that was.  You went all wild-eyed and starey and really scared me.  Remember Jack Nicholson in the Shining?  I was Shelley Duvall cowering in terror while you took an axe to everything.  I’m still not entirely convinced you’ve got over that little episode, and there is no power on Earth that would force me to endure another bout of it.  You’ve not done a great deal to boost my confidence on that score.

    I’m under the doctor now.  You don’t care, you just mutter about Celts and alcoholism and tell me it’s all my own fault because I’m feeble and useless.  But the truth is I have cancer, the media and political parties that you support have turned against my body, poisoning my system.  They make me weak and cause me to doubt myself and lose my self-confidence.  They eat away at me from within.  The doctors have diagnosed it as Unionosis, it’s caused by a loveless and one-sided marriage.

    What makes it worse is that it’s you who is feeding the disease.  I’m not saying you’re doing it deliberately – that would imply you have a degree of self-awareness I don’t think you’re capable of – but I can’t rid myself of the dark suspicion and you don’t help by refusing to accept that there’s a problem.  It keeps me awake at nights and I’ve been drinking more than is good for a person.  

    All you do is to accuse me of having a chip on my shoulder.  Well that’s true, and guess what honey – you put it there.  You aren’t just a chip on my shoulder, you’re a whole fish supper with extra sour vinegar all wrapped up in a copy of the Hootsmon.  And frankly the fish smells pretty rank.  Chip.  I’ll gie ye bloody chip.

    Anyway, the only cure for Unionosis is to root out the problem at source, and that means leaving you.

    We don’t have any reason to stay together.  The children are all grown up.  Australia and Canada are doing so well for themselves.  I used to worry about Canada living in that bad neighbourhood, but he managed to avoid getting led astray by that neighbour of his.  Such a sensible and level-headed child.  He gets that from me you know.  Even little New Zealand has done us proud, and you know how I used to fret about him being so far away with nothing but sheep for company.  It’s worked out well for him, and I’ve learned not to judge who the children choose to spend their lives with.

    I know you’re angry.  No one likes to be told they’re a failure, and it’s hard for you to hear you’ve been a failure as a parliament and a partner.  But you react either by screaming abuse at me or by telling me I’m worthless and would fall apart without you.  I don’t believe you anymore.  You’re acting every bit the spurned lover.  You’re acting exactly like you’re always accusing France of behaving, and I only broke off my engagement with him because you convinced me he was possessive and jealous.

    We’ll always be close, we still share so much and I want us to be friends.  But until you can learn to have adult relationships with the other nations in these islands, and treat us like equals and not as your harem, there’s no hope for us and there’s no hope for the people of England.  People in England deserve a proper parliament and not the pretendy wee excuse for patronage, privilege and dressing up in fancy costumes that you’ve become.  It’s time you got your fat lazy arse up from resting on your Mother of Parliament laurels and went and took a long hard look at yourself in the mirror.  You’re very good at looking after your own interests,  In time you’ll realise that this is in your best interests too. 

    Meanwhile I’m taking a leaf out of your book and putting my own interests first.  So I want a divorce.  There, I’ve said it.  There’s not much love anymore, I think you know that as well as I do, and it’s time we learned to live our own lives before what’s left of our feelings for one another turn into hate.  Being in this marriage has made both of us lose sight of who we are, and we need to find ourselves again.  I’ll still stand beside you to defend what we have in common, but I won’t be under your thumb.

    xx

    Scotland
     

      

  99. Deochandoris says:

    @ Grahamski, are you the one and the same from the Scotsman I hope you will behave a lot better on here than you do on there?  Please keep it respectful and if you cant do that please take any vitriol with you on the way out. Thanks. Oh, and by the way would you mind closing the door?

      

  100. Seasick Dave says:

    Keef

    That’s first class and needs a wider distribution! 

      

  101. Keef says:

     
    Thanks Dave.

    Im too old to work the technical ins and oots of twitter (I joined last week believe it or not).
    However, if you wish to disseminate it further feel free.
     

      

  102. Doug Daniel says:

    Keef – I’m sure I recognise that, particularly the “I see the banks are Scottish again” line. Is that from a blog originally?

      

  103. Keef says:

    Doug.
    Not sure. A friend e-mailed me it almost two years ago. I kept it as I thought it should be ‘broadcast’ closer to the referendum for the LIV/uninformed/information starved voters. When I read your article, it sprung to mind and I wondered if you had seen it before. It’s a cracking read and captures the ‘vibe’ of how a typical Scottish Wife might see the whole unfolding scenario. I’m non the wiser where it originated from though. 

      

  104. Christian Wright says:

    @Paul Wright – This is not about a marriage, this is about two countries that had an historical union that is no longer fit for purpose, lets have a proper political understanding.

    Oh I think we’re understanding it alright. A marriage is a union, and divorce occurs when that union is no longer fit for purpose. It is a fine exemplar.

    Simply asserting, “it’s not about a marriage” advances neither understanding nor the debate.

    And I am at a loss to fathom how this use of this parallel hinders a “proper political understanding”.

    I guess my question is – what are you talking about? Can you put flesh on the bones of the assertions and detail the rationale that leads to your conclusions?

    By the way . . we’re not related, are we? 

      

  105. Ysabelle says:

    Keef, I found this from the 22nd March 2011. Looks like Paul Kavanagh at NNS wrote it:

    http://newsnetscotland.com/index.php/scottish-opinion/1430-scotland-westminster 

      

  106. Keef says:

    Many thanks Ysabelle.

    Well done Paul Kavanagh. What a clever piece. 

      

  107. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    Yes
    Paul Kavanagh has a terrific A to Z of unionist myths on NewsNet

    They make up great pamphlets

      

  108. Ysabelle says:

    More austerity after 2015 general election owing to extra borrowing in this parliament:

    It (IFS) said on current plans those departments not protected by the government’s ringfence would see their budgets fall by a third in real terms between 2010-11 and 2017-18.
    Public sector employment would fall by 1.2 million over the same period, it added. That is 300,000 more lost jobs than the 900,000 figure produced by the Office for Budget Responsibility last December.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2013/feb/06/ifs-uk-borrowing-budget-cuts 

      

  109. Commenter says:

    To Christian Wright

    I read here on this site a few weeks back that Grahamski is in fact that paragon of virtue from Falkirk known as Eric Joyce MP. Anyway whether he is or whether he is not, most people on most sites I visit think he is.

      

  110. Rob Scovell says:

    Hmmmm I start to feel a bit more supportive of Scottish independence and then I see my country being likened to an abusive husband and I’m turned off again. This is too much like the kind of rhetoric that turned me against the SNP when I was a student 20 years ago. 

    When it’s at the level of “we Scots are nicer people than you English” you’ve lost me I’m afraid. 

    So now I’ve read the comments and the “Scots good, English bad” sentiment is still alive and well among nationalists. This article has just undone much of the work the ‘civic nationalists’ have done in warming me towards the independence cause. Well done. I take back what I said in my comment on the Guardian article.

      

  111. Rob Scovell says:

    Regarding the illegal war in Iraq: this was instigated by the Labour government. Even so, Scotland still gave massive support to Labour in the 2010 Westminster election. You can’t associate “England” and the English with the actions of the Westminster parliament. This comment is from an Englishman who was an active member of Helensburgh CND and stood outside Faslane protesting against nukes on many occasions. I still would if I still lived in Helensburgh.

      

  112. Dave McEwan Hill says:

    Rob Scovell
    I can see nothing in the article to justify your comment. The people of England are at no point traduced in it. The UK Government with its measure of Scots in it is 

      

  113. Rob Scovell says:

    I hope that’s the case. I took exception to this: ‘But that’s not the limit of his bigotry. He hates disabled people, thinks the poor should choose between starving to death or freezing to death, and he’s cruel to children. She can see what he’s like, but she’s scared to leave because the years of verbal abuseshe’s endured have sapped all her self-confidence …’

    *England* hates disabled people etc??? The land can’t hate disabled people so the implication is that the English hate disabled people. This article talks about England, *not* the current Westminster government. 

      

  114. Rob Scovell says:

    This article accuses the English of being bigoted, hating disabled people etc etc, almost making us out to be as bad as the Nazis … can’t you see that?

      

  115. Rev. Stuart Campbell says:

    It doesn’t. It accuses the UK Government. Independence won’t “separate” us from our friends and family in England, only from their government.

    I wouldn’t have run an article I thought attacked the English people. I live in England, and have done for a long time, and they’re a fine people. But at some point you have to acknowledge that they keep electing evil governments – so much so that Labour had to become barely distinguishable from Tories to get elected – and ask why so many of them still keep telling pollsters that they support what the (blue) Tories are doing to vulnerable people.

      

  116. Rob Scovell says:

    (In response to Rev. Campbell’s response to my comment.)

    My view is that Labour had to reject socialism to become electable. That path had its symbolic starting point with ‘That Speech’ by Kinnock at the Brighton Conference in 1985 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bWLN7rIby9s) which still gives me goose pimples. What Kinnock says in that speech sums up why socialism had to go. It always starts with high-sounding principles. It always, always ends in croneyism, increasing state control of people’s lives, and massive debt. A socialist response to any problem is more state control. But the problem is that (a) the state cannot possibly understand every variable in a problem and (b) apply the controls it deems necessary. Look at Venezuela’s problems this week as yet another example of the falling apart of a socialist  programme. The English people rejected Socialism whereas the Scottish people did not. That doesn’t make the English people evil (which is kind of implied in your response). It is simply a continuation of the tradition going back to the Peasant’s Revolt and Magna Carta that values freedom for the ‘common man’ from attempted control by the State.

    I can’t remember which 20th Century writer said this (Peter Ustinov I think but I might be wrong) and I’m paraphrasing. He said that a Utopia cannot exist because it would require perfect freedom and perfect equality. The basic political choice is one or the other or various attempts to balance the two. The historical English instinct is to prefer freedom but I think at present the Scottish instinct is for (economic) equality. 

    Ironically, I am starting to think that Scotland *should* be independent, not because it will give socialists free reign to attempt to implement their ideals, but because I think it will give Scotland the chance to develop a tiger economy based on economic liberalism without the feeling that such liberalism has been imposed by evil Tories from the South. 

      

  117. muttley79 says:

    @Rob Scovell
     
    I think when the article talked about the ‘husband’ it was talking about the British state, which is of course completely different to the English people as a whole.  On your point about Labour having to reject socialism, I am afraid in the last 30-40 years they have rejected not only Socialism, but social democracy itself.  This has led to a race to the bottom with the Tories in England, and their rejection in the last few elections in Scotland. 

    You also said you wanted Scotland to be independent so that it could become a “tiger economy”.  With the memory of what happened in the Republic of Ireland, Iceland, as well as to the much larger economies of the UK, and the USA still fresh, I would view that prospect with horror.  Financial deregulation and the growing social inequalities it produces would be a disaster for an independent Scotland.  We would be far better trying to aim for the Scandinavian model.  We might not reach their levels, but we would still have a far more cohesive society.   

      

  118. Rob Scovell says:

    @mutley79 I sincerely hope that the article was aimed at the British State and I’m prepared to cede the benefit of the doubt on that one. (I really liked the email to Westminster from Scotland by the way. I feel the same about Westminster: it is an out-of-control monster dominated by corporates.) I admit to a bit of touchiness on the issue, being English, and having known some anti-English SNP-ites at uni 20 years ago. I’m prepared also to cede the benefit of the doubt to the SNP that they’ve moved on from that.
    With regard to the tiger economy vision — I would prefer to run the risk of being another Ireland/Iceland (with the potential reward of being another Singapore or Taiwan) than the surefire downward spiral that socialism always brings, despite its promises. Prosperity never comes from clamping down on economic activity and frustrating people’s ambitions.

      

  119. Rob Scovell says:

    Also, Ireland’s recovering pretty well right now and attracting a lot of inward investment into its technology sectors due to its low corporation tax and business-friendly policies. I don’t think we’ve seen the last of the Celtic Tiger … plenty of roar in it yet …

      

  120. muttley79 says:

    @Rob Scovell
     
    I would still prefer to aim for the Denmark, Sweden, Norway model than the Republic of Ireland, where their public services were not the best (to say the least) and also the massive social inequalities that the Celtic Tiger produced.

      



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