Saturday, May 16, 2015

Scottish Nationalists!


(Moscow, Russia) - 'A semiotic shift', 'an earthquake', and 'a senasation', is how many observers described the General Election results in Scotland. In deed, the results even surpassed the expectations of the Scottish nationalists themselves. For on 7th of May 2015, as many as 50% of Scots voted for the Scots Nationalists. 

             The Scottish National Party, took 56 of the 59 seats. They gained 50 more seats in what undoubtedly represents an unprecedented victory. It was a stunning humiliation for the complacent Labour politicians who have only been left with two seats!  This is a unique outcome because usually the nationalist share of the votes has hovered from around
32 to 38 % of the vote in recent years. At the referendum
on Independence held last year the Independence vote
climbed to approximately 45%.  Most voters were against
independence. But the latest General election results
indicate the question of independence has not gone away,
and, if anything, the question is becoming more, not less

             It was once thought that if Scotland obtained Devolution (limited authority where Scots have their own parliament and more control over domestic policies,) then the Scots would be appeased and calm down a little. A labour
politician, George Robertson, who once invited and hosted
President Putin in Scotland, once predicted that Devolution
would kill Scottish Nationalism stone dead. This now seems
like wishful thinking. The Historian Tom Devine more
accurately wondered if the genie of Scottish nationalism
had been let out of a bottle which could not be simply put
back. Nationalism, often retains a seductive appeal. It can deprive even the wisest person of his reason.


             Why are the Scots so dissatisfied with their influence over affairs? They have had  a new parliament since 1999, they have their own separate law, church and educational system from England. Some say, Scottish politicians run Westminister.

             Gordon Brown, a former prime-minister is Scottish and Cameron is a notorious Scottish surname!

             The reasons are clear. Scots, compared to the English, tend to be left of centre and cherish the principles of free education, free medical care and generous pensions. Many have been implacably opposed to the austerity policies of David Cameron who has cut welfare benefits. The labour opposition are viewed as 'red tories' who also support austerity as well as the invasion of Iraq in 2003. The new Conservative government have announced a 30 billion pound austerity package and 12 billion pound cuts in welfare! This represents a savage attack on the poor or 'Thatcherism without Thatcher. '

              The Scottish Nationalist Party opposes 'the pro-austerity consensus 'of the Liberal Democrats, Labour and Tories whose policies appear identical. Just as Americans find it difficult to discern the differences between Republicans
Democrats, then Scots can't spot the differences between
Labour and Tories. The labour party has become immersed
in ugly corruption scandals. Glasgow municipal politics is
pervaded by corruption on a scale comparable to Chicago.

              The British government have long lost their genius at using tactful compromise, consensus and an ability not to step too heavily on Scottish toes. For instance, Margaret Thatcher refused to even consider discussing, never mind granting a referendum on devolution. The more recent Tory
Government has also not been prepared to listen or           negotiate with the Scots as equal partners. Instead, they
continue to attempt to impose unpopular and antagonistic
austerity policies which strongly alienate most Scots. The
Tories have become so despised in Glasgow pubs that if
you mention you are a Tory to a drinker you can provoke his
or her wrath. I used to wind drinkers up as a joke until I
learnt better. It proved too dangerous!  However, the rise in Scottish nationalism may well be influenced by longer social trends which go back decades.


              One of the best and more perceptible accounts of why nationalism may be on the rise in Scotland is presented
by the historian T.M  Devine in his work, 'The Scottish
Nation', 1700- 2007). Devine suggests the following factors
which have been eroding a strong core British Identity;           Protestantism, which was once the ideology which cemented
the union, has been declining, the British empire has faded
away, Britain is now a second rate power, there has been
a decline in British authority and the Monarchy has been
held in less respect but there has also been an absence of
a clear external threat or enemy. It has become increasingly,
if not almost impossible, to persuade Scots that Russians
remain their enemies despite the war in Ukraine and attempts to foment such hostility from N.A.T.O. However, despite all those factors, Devine states, 'Mrs Thatcher has an infinitely greater claim to be the midwife of Scottish devolution than the factor of imperial decline'. Mrs Thatcher won the title hammer of the Scots', for closing down Scottish mines, shipyards and her unwanted experiment of the poll tax.

              Many Scots view the austerity policies of David Cameron as a continuation of Thatcherism for another five years.

              Politicians south of the border never seem to learn!
Another five years of austerity might well be enough to     finish off a Union which has lasted for just over 300 years.

              Given the examples of how Portugal broke from Spain, and Norway from Sweden, it is a miracle that the union between England and Scotland has endured. For the
Union to continue might require a further miracle. But asking
Scots to agree to austerity is like asking them to endure the unendurable !

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