Blogging from the Highlands of Scotland until I return to the Murcia region of Spain in the Autumn for a month or so
'From fanaticism to barbarism is only one step' - Diderot

Tuesday, 8 March 2005

A spat among the 'kiddies' - about Scottish 'independence' forsooth!

I have derived some .... amusement, joy, sickness in the base of my stomach, despair, feelings of sadness (take your pick) .... from this it wisnae me post by Stuart at his 'Independence' blog. I generally enjoy reading what he writes (even if I agree with not a lot of it - it is good to be stimulated), but this example:

"It was such a childish and flawed piece of writing, so devoid of fact and replete with animosity, that the intelligent commentator barely knew where to start, so I decided not to waste my time. Suffice to say that I hope Shuggy takes this opportunity to make it crystal clear that he is not accusing me personally or my SNP colleagues of racism; that he acknowledges that the Scottish National Party also bases its case for Scottish independence on civility rather than ethnicity; and that he acknowledges that it was not his defence of the Union on economic grounds that attracted my charge of cultural cringing."

- may just cure me of my 'addiction' to what he writes. Puhhlleeesse! As for Shuggy's post itself, I read it soon after it was written in the early part of February and found a great deal in it that I agreed with. I am not someone who haunts the 'comment' areas of other blogs, I tend to comment occasionally when I think I have something to contribute and am content to leave it to others if not.

Now it is no secret at all to anyone that I am not in favour of Scottish separation (aka 'independence') from the rest of the UK. I would far rather that devolution had never happened. But it has, and the likely political reality at least for the rest of my lifetime, and probably long after that is over, is that the status quo ante is never likely to be restored, so one must accept that we now do have a Scottish Parliament. It has always struck me, however, that the current disposition is not sustainable in the longterm, without the acquiescence of the majority inhabitants of these islands, 'thae English', and there are increasing signs that Sassenach complacency is getting closer to being tested to its limits. What I am saying is that, to make it clearer, there is all to play for so far as Scottish separation is concerned politically, if not necessarily economically. Some of the policies supported by the SNP strike me as eminently 'sellable' to a wider Scottish constituency, but the harsh reality is that there are wilder elements within the movement (some of whom are not on the periphery) who if they had their way would make the current pretty 'clean' official stance of the Party look tame. Of course the motivation of Labour in creating the Scottish Parliament was to attempt to defuse, permanently, the threat that the SNP poses to Scotland's continuance within the UK; so far it has succeeded in this aim. To make it even clearer, I have no visceral objection to Scottish separation/'independence', as we already are independent within the UK and I obviously have no objection to that. What does bother me is the likelihood that a separate Scotland would sail off down a path to some mythical socialist paradise, fuelled by massive public debt, high(er) taxation levels and a continuing exodus of brighter Scots to places where they can profit from their own efforts. The only aspect of SNP policy that has ever 'attracted' me is the concept of 'Independence in Europe', as I am a fervent supporter of our continuing full participation in the EU, whether as part of the UK or otherwise.

As we are now in the run-up to an anticipated general election in May, various political parties are holding their Spring conferences - this coming weekend it will be the turn of the SNP itself. A few comments about the website though - there is no mention there, so far as I can see at the time of writing, of the forthcoming conference (which I know about only from having purchased next week's Radio Times this morning), and the website still talks about the 2003 Scottish Parliament elections as being in the future, rather than almost two years ago; whoever maintains their website is not doing it very well (in my humble opinion). Probably sums up the malaise being suffered by the SNP generally.

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