Saturday, 14 January 2012

Is independence for Scotland a question just for Scotland, or ...

... should the question be put first to all the peoples of the UK, thus asked Matthew Parris in today's Times.
"Scottish independence would create two new countries. The whole of the UK must be consulted before it happens."
... he continued:

Iam a citizen of a country called the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, whose borders and territorial waters answer that geographical description. This United Kingdom — not England, but the Union of which England is a part — is where I vote. This United Kingdom’s Armed Forces are recruited from all parts of the Union and defend all its borders. This United Kingdom decides and raises taxes across the whole country, and disburses them for all parts of the country. I vote in elections for the administration that determines all these policies — the British Government at Westminster.
It’s our country. In an important sense, we run it.
And now some people are proposing that the union that created it should end, and our country split.
... and more:
“Split” is the word. This is not an amputation: lopping off an extremity and tossing it into the North Sea. Scotland wouldn’t be “going” — going anywhere — but staying put, reconstituted as a new state. England, Wales and Northern Ireland will no more be divesting themselves of Scotland than Scotland would be divesting itself of England, Wales and Northern Ireland. This would be a proper divorce, not an offspring leaving home. There would have to be a tussle about possessions.
For we — the other parts of the UK — would become a new state too. With Scotland gone, the phrase “United Kingdom”, the whole concept, takes on a new meaning: not just for England but for Wales and Northern Ireland
This idea of Matthew is important, because it signals to everyone in the UK that the time has come for a conversation that determines where we will be when our children become adults.  It is not a question that would deny the Scots an opportunity to create a separate state, we are democratic after-all, not some single party state that suppresses freedom of expression.  Such a conversation is in danger of suppression by the proponents of separation who label it "scaremongering tactics".  I for one want to know exactly what will be the effect of separation, as I am sure, do many others in these sceptred isles.  Amongst the constituent parts of the UK there is only a very small minority that look constantly for the greener grass of post independence, today the door is opening for a realistic view of this in a way that everyone can understand.  The four areas I am interested in gaining an insight are ......
  • Currency, how can Scotland consider remaining with Sterling with policy affecting it being set by others.
  • Armed forces, would we extend the policy that allows certain foreign people serving in our various arms, how soon before we relocate southwards our submarine forces.
  • Our BBC, much despised by nationalist commentators north of the border would be divided, but how is talent divided.
  • The EU, might take the opportunity to divest itself of these turbulent isles, forcing the new countries to re-apply, an opportunity the French might relish.
In conclusion Matthew wrote ...
So ask us all and, if we all agree, then ask Scotland. And before Scotland is asked, take time to give the Scots clarity on what is being proposed. Saltires and bagpipes, Union Flags and British bulldogs, are not enough.
A comment left at the Times ...

Michael in France

January 14, 2012 12:51 PM
Excellent summary Matthew. Of course we are all part of that Union and anyone's departure clearly affects us all. We should all have a voice
As for San Toi's egotistical "on behalf of the Scots - "It's not yours - it's us." How then would he respond if the rest of the UK (90 odd percent) were indeed to hold such a referendum and decided we wanted no more of Scotland?
As an Irishman, who has spent most of his life in England, now in France, I have always found the English tolerant, civilised and welcoming.
But I and most of the people I know are fed up to the back teeth with this perpetual Scottish whinging
 Interesting times, interesting ideas ........ myself, I'm planning the farewell party !


  1. Matthew Parris himself uses the divorce metaphor. Let's go with that.

    If a wife decides that she wants a divorce, the law, and society in general, doesn't insist that the husband agrees to that divorce. It is much less messy if both parties do agree, but it would still go ahead if only the wife wants it. The husband has to accept that the legally binding relationship is coming to an end because that's what the other party wants, even thought it would mean that his life, legal situation, financial situation, is going to change without him wanting that change.

    It takes two to tango!

    Iwan Rhys

  2. Both have to fill in the forms for a divorce, just to keep the party clean, other than that, hire the disco for the party ............ it is the form filling that will, I believe, be interesting.

  3. I wonder how many of the former Soviet union states would have obtained their liberty had it depended on the o.k of Russia? If the people of Scotland want freedom from an increasingly right wing bigoted UK state they should be allowed to do so. Even a true wales supporter like you should acknowledge the right of a people like the Scots to decide their future.

    The Scots want their freedom because they realise that being a subordinate part of the UK is not delivering. Wales will no doubt realise the same in the not too distant future!

    1. ... Brit, you make it sound as if Scotland is in chains much as the slaves of the US cotton fields, nothing can be further from the truth.

      This is politics first and last, some Scots see an advantage swimming in a small pool as a large fish, no problem, that's life, but I think there is a less than honest conversation being had just now, I would like Salmond and friends to answer the question ...

      "... explain the problem for which independence is the solution".

      There are similar questions for opponents to independence.