SNP & Independence

! This post hasn't been updated in over a year. A lot can change in a year including my opinion and the amount of naughty words I use. There's a good chance that there's something in what's written below that someone will find objectionable. That's fine, if I tried to please everybody all of the time then I'd be a Lib Dem (remember them?) and I'm certainly not one of those. The point is, I'm not the kind of person to try and alter history in case I said something in the past that someone can use against me in the future but just remember that the person I was then isn't the person I am now nor the person I'll be in a year's time.

The Scottish National Party has caused a bit of an upset both north and south of the border by pressing ahead with its manifesto promise of holding a referrendum on Scottish independence.

All the other parties in the Scottish Parliament with the exception of the Greens who are in coalition with the SNP, have promised to jointly fight the proposal and the British establishment is similarly horrified that democracy might actually take place on terms that are not favourable to their agenda.

The British government have actually claimed that the Scottish people do not want independence, citing a survey saying that only 30% of Scots want it.  Which is presumably why more people voted for the SNP than any of the British unionist parties, including Liebour who have controlled Scotland for 50 years.  The survey they are quoting should be treated with a pinch of salt as well.  They claim that English people don’t want an English Parliament because their years old survey says so even though every poll for the last few years has shown increasing and consistent majority support for one.  They also claimed that English people wanted regional government, particularly in the North East euroregion, where it was rejected by 78% of residents in a referendum.

There is a convention in Westminster that any manifesto pledge will travel through Parliament unopposed and unmolested.  The Scottish Parliament is far too young to have established such a precedent but one would have assumed that it would have adopted this basic Parliamentary convention.  Whether it has happened until now I couldn’t say but it clearly isn’t going to happen now that the SNP is in power.

We all know what independence means for Scotland but what about for England and Britain?  Well, Britain is a dead duck and I think we all know this – even the British politicians and our faux-British no-mandate Prime Minister who seem intent to cling on to the last shreds of Britishness rather than let it die with dignity.  It is clear that Britain cannot continue for long without Scotland.  It may only contain less than 8% of the population and cost the English taxpayer billions in subsidies but it constitutes about a quarter of the land-mass and a disproportionate amount of the ruling elite, hence the term “Scottish Raj”.  With Scotland gone we would be left with a “united” kingdom consisting of England, Wales and Northern Ireland.  Both Wales and Scotland already have a degree of self-government, independence is only a small step from devolution when you’ve had the trappings of statehood for several years.

But I don’t think it will be down to Wales and Northern Ireland to dissolve the union – that honour, I believe, will fall to the English.  There is a growing feeling of disappointment amongst the English that they have been left out of the devolution process whilst the rest of the UK get to rule themselves and England.  The British identity is declining rapidly as more and more people identify themselves with an English identity instead.  It will take a few years before independence actually happens, even if the referendum takes place and gives the right answer, by which time the British identity will pretty much exist only in Westminster.

So why are British politicians so keen to keep the union together?  Simple really – how can you be a British politician if Britain doesn’t exist?  An MP elected in Scotland couldn’t be a Minister of State if Scotland wasn’t in the UK any more could they?  No Mandate Brown couldn’t be Prime Minister if the country he was elected in was no longer in the union and how would Liebour keep their majority if they didn’t have their Scottish MPs to rely on?  I’m not sure what the motivation of the Tories is for maintaining the union other than the fact that they’re the Conservative and Unionist Party and that Dave the fuckwit Cameron is clinging to the vain hope that the Tories will ever be electable north of the border.

The british government still insists that devolution has strengthened the unioin despite the fact that nationalists now control Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland thanks to devolution and it is because of devolution that the SNP is in a position to hold a national referendum in Scotland on independence.  The lack of devolution to England, coupled with Liebour’s loss of the Scottish and Welsh devolved governments means that the union is on its last legs.  The only saviour of the union is federalism – a federal British government with all four home nations as equal partners is the only way the UK will survive and even then it’ll only be a sticking plaster.  By the time my kids are my age I don’t expect there to be a United Kingdom at all.


  1. Guthrum (5 comments) says:

    Even Northern Ireland has devolved Government as does the Isles of Man,Jersey and Guernsey. Only the English suffer from this democratic deficiet.

  2. wonkotsane (1133 comments) says:

    The Isle of Man and Channel Islands are a different case because they’re not part of the UK but the principal still stands.

  3. John (37 comments) says:

    “With Scotland gone we would be left with a “united” kingdom consisting of England, Wales and Northern Ireland ”

    Wonko , a point of detail . England , Wales and Ulster are not the United Kingdom or even a debased form of it . The UK refers ONLY to the Union of England and Scotland of 1707 . If one or other of those two partners decides to end it – not leave it , end it – then the UK is over and what is left is England plus some appendages .

    O don’t think I am being pedantic here . It is an important point which we need to bang on about .

    The ignorant journos need educating !

  4. Calum (183 comments) says:

    You cite how more people voted ofr the SNP than for any unionist party, but overall more people voted for uninist parties than voted for the SNP.

    Furthermore, not all SNP voters wanted independence, many SNP voters supported their other policies, such as more power for hollyroot plus their abolition of the local council tax replacing it with a local income tax. Additionally, many simply wanted a chance to reject independence in a referendum, many scottish voters voted SNP as they wanted a referendum, not because they wanted independence. Support for independence is around 25-30%, yet this would probably fall in any referendum.

    I think there should be a referendum in Scotland, as independence would be rejected, this would nullify the SNP as a true political threat as their main policy would be rejected, and they would be a party without a cause as the people would soundly reject their political philosophy. Salmond couldn’t simply keep holding referendums in the hope that eventually he would win, that would be idiotic. I think there should be a referendum, independence would be rejected and in the end we may be able to shelve the whole devolution project, returning all powers to Westminster and ending devolution. Devolution has merley damaged the Union, ushering in the collapse of our great nation. Collapse is avoidable, but only by shelving devolution or alternativley creating a federal UK, where every member state would have some limited powers, yet not as much power as the devolved assemblies have. Following the US model of federalism is an option Yet i prefer the return to unitary governance from Westmister, not least because federalism would be unconstutitional, with the unitary state being one of the key tennants of the British constutition.

  5. wonkotsane (1133 comments) says:

    You can’t have a federal state without devolution.

  6. Calum (183 comments) says:

    Devolution and federalism are very different. I oppose a federal UK, equally i oppose devolution because i think that westminster offers ample representation for all citizens (technically subjects sadly) of the UK. Devolution is unnecessary and merley damages our great unoin.

  7. wonkotsane (1133 comments) says:

    Explain to me how you would have a federal system of government without devolution to the component parts of the federation.

  8. Calum (183 comments) says:

    The creation of a federal UK would require total constutitional upheaval. Any federal UK would be more a quasi federal state, with each nation having powers akin to those of the devolved instutitions, yet not as far reaching as those of say hollyroot.

    But i oppose a federal UK, not only because its creation would be unconstutitional, but also because i don’t think it would be a good idea. I think that we need to reconsider the whole process of devolution, and return to the single westminster parliament.

  9. Tearlach (1 comments) says:

    A key issue that almost everyone manages to ignore – or simply miss – is that the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (to give it its Sunday name) is pretty unique in the world of nation states. That’s because it’s not a Nation state, in the sense that anyone else would understand. It’s only accepted because it’s been around a long long time, and most other countries find this Britain/England/Scotland thing something for the too hard box.

    The UK is a political assemblage of two Kingdoms (England, Scotland), a Principality (Wales) and a Province (Northern Ireland). It used to be three kingdoms and a Principality, but Eire chose to dissolve its political ties to the rest of the UK over 80 years ago.

    The best way of looking at the UK is that it was a very early form of the European Union – formed in 1707 – and then added to in 1800, as an economic and political union to do two things – prevent war, and promote free trade through a single currency. Sound familiar? Yep – Jean Monet was 250 years late in coming up with the idea of free trade zones and economic growth through free movement of goods, services and people.

    And what’s the Pound Sterling – a 300 year old version of the Euro.

    But the key issue is that Scotland – and England – remained – and remain – separate nations within a political union. Quite unlike anything you would see in the USA, although US states have many more political and economic powers over their affairs than anything that the current Scottish Parliament has.

    There are a couple of crucial differences though – Law – quite separate, its Scots Law, and English law (no such thing as British law), and religion. Scotland and England have different National religions, which define both their outlooks on life. An the fact that the core bit of the UK (unwritten) constitution is the 1707 act of union, which defines the two nations separateness, at the same time as combining them politically.

    To the chagrin of quite a few Jacobites – both then and now – in many ways Scotland benefited from the Union on the 18th and 18th century – it had access to huge markets for goods and service, free movement for its labour and the ability for its politicians to drive the growth of an empire without having to take full responsibility for its serious downsides.

    However many of the old supporters of the Union – for the reasons above – are now questioning the need for the UK in a modern 21st Century Europe. The sort of benefits that the UK used to supply – especially access to markets and capital, and free movement of labour have long gone, subsumed within a much wider European trade zone.

    It’s also clear that smaller EU nations – such as Ireland, Finland, Sweden and even Iceland have many more fiscal and economic tools at their disposal to ensure that their populace are ready to face up to the challenges of developing modern, open, knowledge based economies than anything that can be seen coming out of Westminster. Look at some of these Nations – Finland, 600 years under Swedish rule, then Russian, then existing almost as a Soviet satellite – now one of the worlds most progressive countries. If you follow the logic of UK Unionist politicians it should be clamouring to for full economic and political union with Sweden, or Russia.

    If you follow that same reasoning Canada and Mexico should also be beating at the doors of the White House, desperate for membership of the US. Oh, and not much evidence of Ireland wanting to re-join the UK.

    As we say in Scotland – Aye Right.

    That’s what is really annoying more and more people in Scotland today. The argument that Scotland needs to remain in the Union to ensure that we get the cash that the Union brings, and that Independence would bring fiscal ruin.

    This same Union that has ensured that Scotland has lower growth, lower GDP and lower population growth than any comparable northern European country! Some benefit – particularly on the back of 30 years of oil revenues that have been pissed away supporting UK political agendas (how else did Margaret Thatcher manage to “restructure” the UK’s economic base in the 80’s). Look at what Norway has done with its resources over the same time frame. Or look at what Iceland has done without Oil – a country so poor 50 years ago that most people were simply focused on simple subsistence…

    The basic point here is that the vast majority of folk within Scotland consider themselves Scottish before British (and have increasingly done so since WW2 – the last time people felt “British”), and they more and more are starting to wonder as to the real advantages that the Union brings.

    One final issue. Someone earlier in this discussion mentioned Scotland seceding from the UK. That’s wrong. In order for Scotland (or any other part of the UK) to leave the UK, the Treaty of Union would be revoked. That would mean there would not be a UK anymore, just the kingdoms of Scotland and England, the principality of Wales and the Province of Northern Ireland. No secession, just successor states……….

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