Thursday, May 03, 2007

Vote Early, Vote Often

Three hundred years ago the United Kingdom was formed. Ten years ago the party and the leader who were to destroy it came to power.

I was a Guardianista then. What a happy day that was. But soon I was to be wringing my hands.

The general consensus seems to be that if the SNP win power, they'll ramp up and magnify every difference with Westminster - and there'll be plenty - hoping to win a referendum on full independence a few years down the road.

In the end, "it's all our fault". As I wrote a few months back :

While there was some metaphorical sniping from the political sidelines, the settlement endured - as long as England had self-belief. Sadly that English self-belief was just one of the things what went down the tubes during the cultural revolution.

At which point we entered a different ball game. When England believed in herself, there was no need for concessions to Scots and Welsh Nationalists (Ireland being a different and bloodier story). When it becomes the done thing for educated Englishmen and women to criticise, deride or hate their country, no amount of subsidy and concession can be enough - indeed it will only stimulate further demands. The squirrels in our garden can tell if a hazelnut is rotten inside just by looking at it - and Scottish nationalists are very like squirrels, casting a jaundiced eye on the rotten husk of English identity.

So in one sense it's wrong to blame it all on Blair. He's a symptom, not a cause. But had he left well alone, the moment might have passed. We're off down the slope now - and not all the Seaforths and Camerons will drag us back up it.


The thing that's less predictable is what effect this will have on the English. So far the West Lothian question has so hacked off the English that they're keener on Scottish independence than the Scots. What will be the consequences of English self-government ? That remains to be seen. Interesting times.



(I claim copyright on the 'tectonic plate shift' analogy btw, first used in this 2004 post.)

7 comments:

Voyager said...

When England believed in herself,

It was a Protestant nation - that self-belief was essentially Post-Reformation Anglicanism - it was the Calvinist streak in the Anglican Church.

The Generals were Protestants, often Anglo-Irish - many of the major figures like Cecil Rhodes were the sons of Anglican clerics.

It was a world of core beliefs and allegiances to House, School, Regiment, County, Country

Dave said...

I do blame New Labour, after 18 years they were desperate for power and would do or say anything to get it including risking the breakup of the country.

Anonymous said...

Scottish independence is not nearly as popular in Scotland as the media would have us believe. So why is that impression gained? Well, as LT alludes to, the British/English led media are so full of self-haters I dont think they can comprehend that anyone might retain a belief in Britain. Thats why they dewspise the Ulster Unionists so much and their 'false consciousness'.

Anonymous said...

That would be 'despise' not 'dewspise' in case anyone thought I had invented a crazy new word - though maybe I have?!

David B. Wildgoose said...

The interesting thing is that Scottish Independence is more popular in England than in Scotland - and this has been shown to be the case in the last 4 polls to ask.

And yet 10 years ago nobody would even have thought to ask the question.

The Union is finished, and NuLabour have killed it. It's only a matter of time now.

alex zeka said...

Drop the romanticism, Laban. The Scottish feel no particular fondness for the English, and the English are starting to reciprocate. Do you remember the World Cup, and all those Scots celebrating Trinidadan victories, just to spite England. They didn't just fail the Tebbit test, they absolutely murdered it.

Yes, supporting a sports team is trivial, but so are most people and can be best understood by looking at the trivialities. These people think patriotism is about hollering for the right bunch of sportsmen, and in this case are choosing anyone but England.

What the Union is is a way to transfer payments from one ethnic group to another, the latter which couldn't give two hoot mons for their benefactors. Its dissolution will only make the Scots take charge of their own affairs and stop blaming the events of three centuries ago for their every misfortune. It will also remove one of the main white constituencies for uncontrolled immigration in the UK. Helping the Union dissolve has been one of the best things done by NL.

But lemme guess - you support the Union 'cose of what Mary, Queen of Scots, promised Elizabeth I in 1586 and 'cose of how James I sat on the Stone of Scone?

Anonymous said...

Scottish nationalism is a funny beast judging by many of its pratitioners. Hot on independence, yet hot on rule by the EU. Pro-Scottish yet gagging for mass immigration from the 3rd world.