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Thursday, August 30, 2012

"Open Unionism"......

is a British political blog dedicated to sharing perspectives on the preservation of the UK. And, just recently, I was invited to contribute to it. To be able to write alongside the Brits on this issue has been a great honor for me, and I thank them for their willingness to let me express my opinions on the union as seen from afar.

    The United Kingdom has always held a special place in my heart because of the sheer richness and complexity of her cultural heritage. I deeply admire her historical strivings towards individual liberty, the supremacy of law, political stability, and national unity. But my interaction with the British people has made the keenest impression of all on me. Caring, frank, intelligent, and hard-working, they also display a patriotism that is level-headed and sincere. Obviously, I have been blessed to befriend the cream of the Brits, those marvelous people who acknowledge what they are and make the most of it.

    However, I’m afraid the UK is currently plagued with those who would prefer to disown their heritage and go in search of a manufactured alternative. To exchange flawed wood for smooth-looking plastic seems to be their motto. It is the wail of spoiled children in search of a new toy, and the cry of adolescent rebels in search of a worthwhile cause. The sense of community and common purpose that should be the backbone of all nations seems to have been fractured in their minds, and they have instead adopted a narrow vision of “home rule” patriotism to make up for it. This, I believe, is directly connected to a profound sense of disillusionment that is becoming a national identity crisis in Britain.

    The entire platform of the Scottish Independence Referendum rests on the presumption that the British identity is either non-existent in Scotland or so trivial that it can be easily discarded. In fact, it has been a valued part of Scottish life for generations, welded by blood, sweat, and tears. It is an indisputable fact that Scotland has gained many benefits from her place in the union, including sound finances, military strength, governmental stability, travel convenience, and cultural development. Moreover, she was able to achieve all this without ever abandoning her major institutions or distinct identity. This, I believe, is something that all Scots should be rightly proud of. It is proof that compromises can be successful, and that unity in conjunction with healthy diversity is possible. For this Scotland does owe respect and loyalty to the union of her own making.

    In recent decades, it has become common practice to slander Britishness because of its inextricable association with Imperialism. It’s a modern trend that enables British people to disassociate themselves from shameful incidents in their national past. This, in great part, makes the dissolution of the UK appealing to some who see it as “the death throes” of British tyranny. This attitude purports that Scotland is, in fact, a colony from the old Empire, chafing beneath its chains and yearning for self-government, rather than a free member of a democratic, constitutionally sound union. In some circles, the United Kingdom has been made to sound like an equivalent of the Soviet Union. Of course, no union of mortal creation is without flaw, but by and large, the UK is functioning admirably well as a modern democracy to this day.

    Arguments have been put forward by the Scottish Nationalists indicating that independence will be a type of “escape” from fighting in unpopular wars, dealing with governmental cut-backs, and having nuclear waste dumped on the land; furthermore they claim that Scotland will grow more prosperous by gaining further access to oil reserves in the North Sea. In addition to these points, some overly analytical minds are taking forays into the medieval land-grabs and romantic lost causes, simplifying their complicated motives to the point of silliness, and applying them to the present political situation in order to champion a new order of would-be fragmented Republicans. The shallow glitz-and-glitter media hype by celebrities of every stripe is sickening. More often than not, the whole current of events is being painted as a David-and-Goliath-type conflict in which the underdogs are the Scottish Nationalists, “yearning to breathe free”.

    First of all, the problems of modern society involving wars, budget cuts, and nuclear waste are being dealt with UK wide, and not just in Scotland, making the Nationalists arguments take on a whiney, “poor me” dimension. All modern nations of any power on the world stage must face such things. Bailing out on the union to try to get rid of them is not only immature, but also shockingly self-interested. The claim that Scotland will have better access to North Sea oil is questionable at best, and the potential for financial collapse while embarking an independent experiment is far more probable. Secondly, the two-dimensional view of history is not only a slander to the UK but also a disservice to the world of historians. Trying to apply modern standards to past events while at the same ignoring whole chunks of meaningful history in order to forward an agenda is despicable. Also, to ignore the process of development present in all cultures is to lose track of the ebb and flow of the human story.

    In conclusion, I see no substantial reasons why Scotland should break away from the UK and no proof whatsoever that she would be better off as an independent state. In fact, what evidence there is leads me to draw the opposite conclusion. As one of my Scottish friends put it, it is a choice between being part of a country that shaped the world, or becoming a country shaped by the world. In my opinion, the Scottish Nationalists are perpetrating the worst type of betrayal. It is a betrayal against all the years they have reaped the benefits of British citizens. It is a betrayal against their ancestors who fought and died for Britain. It is a betrayal against all the pain and labor that went into making her a success. I write this as the citizen of a union that nearly split up and disintegrated several centuries ago, with the full realization of how blessed we Americans are that the USA remained united.

    To British readers, especially in Scotland: Remember, you have a priceless heirloom in your country, and I believe it would be deeply tragic to misuse it. Polish it till it shines; don’t smash it. Many thanks to Open Unionism for the invitation to write for them and their support.


(A version of this article was posted on “Open Unionism”: http://www.openunionism.com/the-union-as-seen-from-afar)

  
 
Good Advise for Any Occasion






31 comments:

  1. Most Excellent Pearl,

    Your essay is brilliant, balanced, and well-developed; I hope it will be widely distributed.

    Scotland is a great and ancient State, and her kings were the first kings of a truly GREAT Britain. I pray she will not sell out her ancient heritage for a (metaphorical) mess of pottage as some sort of socialist-tourist republic of inward-looking navel-gazers.

    - Mack in Texas

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  2. The Beggar at Canterbury Gate

    The beggar sits at Canterbury Gate,
    Thin, pale, unshaven, sad. His little dog
    Sits patiently as a Benedictine
    At Vespers, pondering eternity.
    Not that rat terriers are permitted
    To make solemn vows. Still, the pup appears
    To take his own vocation seriously,
    As so few humans do. For, after all,
    Dogs demonstrate for us the duties of
    Poverty, stability, obedience,
    In choir, perhaps; among the garbage, yes,
    So that perhaps we too might live aright.

    The good dog’s human plays his tin whistle
    Beneath usurper Henry’s1 offering-arch,
    For Kings, as beggars do, must drag their sins
    And lay them before the Altar of God:
    The beggar drinks and drugs and smokes, and
    so
    His penance is to sit and suffer shame;
    The King’s foul murders stain his honorable
    soul;
    His penance is a stone-carved famous name
    Our beggar, then, is a happier man,
    Begging for bread at Canterbury Gate;
    Tho’ stones are scripted not with his poor fame,
    His little dog will plead his cause to God.


    1Henry VII, who built the Cathedral Gate in 1517, long after the time of Henry II and St. Thomas Becket

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  3. Many thanks, Mack, for you support and compliments. I would greatly appreciative if you would also post your comments on the "Open Unionism" site. Also, would you care to exchange emails?

    I too am stupified that any Scots would even consider selling out their priceless heritage for a metaphorical "mess of pottage"! I've heard from reliable sources that the majority is on the side of reason for the time being. Pray God things stay that way through 2014!

    Judging from your lovely poem, am I correct in assuming you are a Yorkist sympathizer when it comes to the War of the Roses? Hmm....I guess Laurence Olivier's "Richard III" wouldn't be your cup of tea then, LOL! May I post this new poem up with your other one about little boys drilling in tin-foil hats?

    God Bless,
    Pearl of Tyburn

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  4. Oh my god. I don’t think I have ever read such unadulterated, keenly misinformed drivel in my life.

    Listen very clearly. I am a Scot. If you knew *anything* – anything whatsoever – about Scotland’s ‘sense of community and common purpose’ you would quickly realise that London’s Westminster pro-Nuclear, pro-Cuts, pro-Privatisation agenda is so alien to our sense of Community as to beggar belief.

    Politically Scotland has more in common with many Continental / Scandinavian nations than it does successive Blue or Red Tory Govts. in London. Hence through DEMOCRACY the people overwhelmingly voted in a devolved Parliament and through DEMOCRACY we overwhelmingly voted in an inclusive, pro-immigration, idealistic, pacifist, green Civic Nationalist Party.

    I truly feel for you, if you believe that we should just take things like ‘war, budget cuts, and nuclear waste ‘ on the chin for Westminster – but hey, believe or not, as a small nation we’ve every right – like many, many others – to turn around and say ‘No’ we do not want to decimate our regiments whilst London sends them to die in foreign wars, ‘No’ we do not want to invest in unsafe and entirely necessaries Nuclear power stations in Scotland, when our Nation simply does not require them and NO we do not want to spend precious BILLIONS on real weapons of mass destruction when the money could be used elsewhere.

    For a nation of 5.5 million this is political common sense. Those reasons in and of themselves constitute the tip of the Iceberg.

    You have a crushing lack of grasp on what’s going on in Scotland at the moment. Frankly, when you cite ‘travel convenience’ as a benefit of staying in the Union and draw parallels between the American Civil War and Scotland’s drive for Political Independence, well, you best try talking to some Scottish Nationalists and the hundreds of thousands who voted in a majority SNP Government to protect us from the politically alien cretins in London.

    If you want to test your distant adolescent theories why not bullet your questions/assumptions and post them in a Nationalist forum? Unlike the rabid reiterations of many a Unionist blog, we can, I can assure you, answer each and every question you have clearly, coolly, and with evidence.

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  5. However, I’m afraid the UK is currently plagued with those who would prefer to disown their heritage and go in search of a manufactured al
    ternative. To exchange flawed wood for smooth-looking plastic seems to be their motto. It is the wail of spoiled children in search of a new toy, and the cry of adolescent rebels in search of a worthwhile cause. “”"”"”"”"”"”"”

    Uninformed, historically invented, misinterpreted blinkered tosh.

    The identity of ‘British’ is a manufactured construct – a product of a union of the crowns after a dissolution of the Scottish parliament against the will of the Scots. Great Britain is a deeply divided society both racially and socially and by ‘Great Britain, you mean England since the 5 milllion population of Scotland makes up only 8.4% of the UK population and cannot truly be counte in that reality. Scotland itself however, has an ugly undercurrent of religious sectarian bigotry that only survived because of the union of the crowns.

    The Scots demonstrated violently against the union of parliaments 300 years ago and to this day 1/3rd of the population desire independence at any cost. As it happens, the UK government is broke, flat broke and is imposing huge spending cuts on services hurting the disabled and weakest in society. “Great Britain’ was a huge miltary empire built on the invasion and conquering of peoples. Millions died and slavery flourished in this empire building. The empire crumbled post WWII as these countries kicked out the Brits following the second world war and not single one of those countries has asked to be goverrned by the Brits again.

    British nationalism is wooden alright but Europe’s oldest nation — Scotland is older wood still and that country called Scotland has a right to choose its destiny as an independent nation should it so desire. It is entirely evident to the Scots that the wandering, nostalgic British nationalism present in your blog is the plastic — without foundation in reality and without any sense of the politics of the UK, or of Scotland.

    Scottish politics opposes the cold business steel of the UK sword and instead embraces a caring desire to look after the weakest in society and to improve the lives and economy of the Scots.

    Congratulations for having produced the most out of touch Brit nat blog I’ve ever read.

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  6. The SNP is a mature political party. It believes, inter alia, in civic nationalism. You may wish to see what it has to say for itself by visiting this page on it's site:

    http://www.snp.org/vision

    We, I am a member of the SNP, believe utterly in a democratic transfer of power through a referendum. You are quite correct in assuming that we have not persuaded the majority of Scots to make the leap, however we are working on it. iT seems extremely likely that that referendum will be held in the autumn (fall) of 2014.

    You are interested in history. Scottish history did not start with the Union of the Crowns in 1606, it goes back a lot further than that. Some say, I am not entirely convinced, that your own Declaration of Independence owed quite a lot to the Declaration of Arbroath. Perhaps the most stirring part of it is this:

    "...for, as long as but a hundred of us remain alive, never will we on any conditions be brought under English rule. It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom – for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself."

    But it did not end up like that. After a calamitous attempt at establishing a Scottish colony in Darien, the nobles sold out the Scottish Parliament to England in 1707. Riots ensued for months. Given that there was no true democracy, what other option did the people have? Burns said:

    "We're bought and sold for English Gold,
    Sic a Parcel of Rogues in a Nation"

    The foundations of the nation state you so admire were formed by bribery and corruption. Scotland at borough level was cash rich, not so for the nobles who had made the disastrous investment and were easily manipulated by Westminster.

    Anyway that is all in the past, and in the past it must remain. We have a forward looking agenda for Scotland which has knowt much to do with ancient history.

    Best wishes,

    douglas clark

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  7. Hello, Alba, Stevie, and Douglas Clark.

    Thank you for taking the time to read and comment on my article. How did each of you come to locate it? Was it through "Open Unionism", or the notice I posted here on my blog?

    I'm sorry we're having some serious misunderstandings. I assure you, I meant no personal insult, but I firmly believe in the veracity and worth of the UK. To answer all your arguments would take more time than I currently have, so I'll just have to address the biggest ones.

    The fact that the SNP won the last election does not necessitate that the Scottish people will be in favor of independence. There were other issues that the SNP included in their policies for the people to consider. I can only hope the end result of the referendum will prove that the "other issues" were the main reason why the SNP came to power.

    I believe in a British sense of community and common purpose because I have experienced it, both sides the Tweed, and nothing that anyone says will make that any less real. You say that I'm "out of touch", but I say there were and are many Scots who are proud to be British, and they are my witnesses. Yes, the UK is and has been an imperfect institution, like all governments, but it is a part of who these people are, and they desire to improve it, not tear it apart.

    The bribery present in the inception of the union does not in any way disqualify the entire history of the UK, nor the benefits reaped by Scotland through it. Neither does it do anything to erase the British identity in Scotland and beyond. By the way, Mr. Burns also wrote this verse:

    "Be Britain still, to Britain true,
    Amang ourselves united,
    For never but by British hands
    Maun British wrangs be righted!"

    Nothing personal against the man, but he was just about as reliable as the weather, especially when it came to politics and women. That's just the facts!

    As for my statement about "travel convenience" being one of the benefits of the union, well, it's true. Also, my comparison of the Scottish Independence movement and the Southern Independence movement in 19th c. America has many things in common. I never said it was a dead-ringer, but there are enough similarities to appreciate my point.

    Frankly, I thoroughly disagree with many of the causes you are claiming your independent Scotland will champion. They are strikingly liberal, and I am a conservative. But besides that, smashing up your government just because you don't like current policies is like burning down the house because of termites!

    Again, I appreciate the time you've put into my blog, and I respect your opinions, however much they may differ from mine and many others. In saying that my writing is "the most unadulterated, keenly misinformed dribble", and that I have produced "the most out of touch British Nat blog", you are paying me unintended compliments because I have heard the same things said of some of my favorite Unionism bloggers.

    On that note, I bid thee adieu, and may God Bless you!

    Best Wishes,
    Pearl of Tyburn

    P.S. I almost forgot….Thanks for not making fun of Beatrix Potter and my friend, Mr. Dolphin! ;-D

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  8. Pearl:

    As a Scottish blood relative of John Paul Jones, the Scotsman whose naval expolits on behalf of the USA, helped the achievement of US independence, I regard your opposition to Scottish independence as hypocritical. I bet you are in favour of Irish independence as was my late Irish mother who voted SNP for decades until her death in Scotland in 2005.

    Among other issues, JPJ was inspired to resist British rule, as he wrote,because of the ill treatment of Scots (close to, perhaps actual genocide) after the 1745 Jacobite rebellion. Many other Scots sought their freedom from such treatment by joining the cause of American independence.

    If you are so opposed to Scottish nationalism I expect you to petition for a return to rule by Westminster, and a recantation of the USA's separatist, traitorous, republican ways :-)





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  9. Hello Pearl!

    Getting a distinct sense of déjà vu here... the Union seems to bring the best and worst of all positions (and abilities to argue a point!) to a blog. Anyway, I've posted an opinion to 'Open Unionism' (which I won't cross-post here, I'm sure once is enough). I really enjoy your writing, I'm so pleased for you that other blogs are inviting you to contribute to them!

    ~ Sasch

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  10. Thanks for taking the time to reply. I quoted Burns merely because he was a commentator of the time. He expressed something that was widely felt.

    For information your post at "Open Unionism" was commented on in a thread at "Wings Over Scotland". From there to here. It's a small world.

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  11. Alba and Stevie, insulting someone and their opinion is a great way to show Scottish Nationalism at it's *finest*. Any realistic person would know that the majority of people in Scotland are more focused on the economy than independence. The funny thing is that if that did happen, you would still come to the United Kingdom, oh sorry England since you believe it's the only other one in the Union and borrow money to fund this "experiment".

    But let's just see if you did leave. (Few seconds later) You would join back quickly and that would put the end to this ridiculous theory that you could survive without the Union. Even if you did, my money is on that you would join the European Union and look how that is holding out.

    So how about you *fine* nationalist stop going on Unionist blogs (Trolls) and watching that terrible lie of a movie Braveheart and lets try to get a referendum very soon, but with the Jubilee and Olympics, I don't think any Scottish person would want to leave the Union now.

    Good day,
    James.

    P.S. To all future posters for Nationalism on this blog, how about you go to your own blogs and talk there. Trolls are so childish.

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  12. Oh dear. You really need to read a little more, and perhaps get to grips with the fact that, yes, much of what you said [and as a non-Scot] is deeply offensive. With the greatest of respect, you need to address you own [obvious] hypocrisy and perhaps understand, afresh, what 'democracy' actually is.

    You just don't get it. The Union wasn't a partnership in it's inception, decided 'by the people, for the people'. Neither does it bear *any* kind of resemblance to a 'partnership of equals' today.

    And - between those points - there is tangible and indisputable evidence to show that it is little less than *laughable* to suggest said partnership, even in modern times, strives to represent the people of Scotland [including the signing of the Scottish Covenant in the 50's which was simply ignored by Westminster, despite being the express wish of the people!]

    The fudge of the 70's referendum?? The cover-up associated with our oil - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g8amY2xHjCs

    The Union, at it's most basic level, is about a small, politically left, resource rich, land rich, water rich nation which shares a border with a right-leaning, large, resource poor nation who are *insisting* on Britishness as an 'Identity' as opposed to a Geographical association - which is utter hogwash.

    What always surprises me is that Unionist comments invariably ignore the fact that this is a political movement. Scotland *is not* going to float away into the Sea. The ties that bind the nations on the British Isles are not going to dissolve, as shamefully suggested by Unionist politicians who have nothing to offer 'the debate' whatsoever. Worse, Gordon Brown - and he should be ashamed of this - likened the civic nationalist movement in Scotland to one that lead to the Balkanisation of the Island. Shame shame shame.

    And - yet again - I see no substance AT ALL in the Unionist argument. What is being brought to the table exactly, other than hollow, meaningless sound bites? Can you actual answer nationalist assertions, evidence in hand? Apparently not. The Campaign thus far insist that we are 'Better Together' without offering one shred of common sense example as to why that is the case.

    Why? Because there *is no* good argument to stay in the Union.

    Your points in turn, themselves the same tired old chestnuts Nationalists have been answering for years....[cont.]

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  13. History: We have 300 years' of history in the Union, we shouldn't throw that away.

    Just how do you throw away history? Put David Starkey in the bin? That idea does have a certain appeal. But history, there's a clue in the name, is already in the past. The Union will remain a part of Scotland's history.

    Scotland will continue to make history with England after Scottish independence, but we'll be making history as equals, and not as a semi-forgotten outpost of the Westminster Parliament. Independence is about the future, not the past.

    Positive case for the Union: The anti-independence parties will make a positive case for Scotland remaining within the Union.

    If the anti-independence parties had spent a fraction of the time and energy finding a positive case for the Union as they have telling us scare stories about how Scots would all die of the plague the day after independence, we'd probably not be having this debate now. But in reality a positive case for the Union is the biggest myth of all. There's more evidence for the existence of monsters in lochs than there is for the existence of the positive case for the Union. Photies of nuclear submarines in the Firth of Clyde count as evidence for monsters, in case you were wondering.

    All the anti-independence parties have promised that they will make a "positive case" for Scotland remaining under Westminster government. It's always that they're "going to" make a positive case for the Union, or that they're "about to", or "watch this space it's coming", or "those nats better watch out because we'll be doing it really really soon, honest". But they never seem to get round to it. They're too busy making up scare stories to find the time.

    The closest we've come so far was when Davie Cameron attempted to give what he believed to be a positive case for the Union while on a trip to Embra in February 2012. But as is well known north of the Border, Davie struggles with the Scottish vernacular. When yer average Scottish punter says "positive case for the Union", what is meant is that Westminster politicians spell out in detail exactly how Scotland benefits from being ruled from the banks of the Thames by a Parliament dominated by Tory MPs.

    But what Davie thought the phrase meant was spelling out how Westminster benefits from having control of all of Scotland's resources and economy. But we all know that already, and it's because we can see how Westminster benefits at our expense that we want to know what Scotland gets out the deal. Tory Prime Ministers are incapable of articulating that, because there is no positive spin that can be put on the situation.

    What is occasionally presented as a positive case for the Union falls into one of three categories: 1. The irrelevant 2. The outright falsehood, and 3. The delusional.

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  14. 1. Irrelevant: There are legions of examples, like waffle about fighting Hitler together. We didn't fight Hitler in order to keep George Foulkes and Michael Forsyth in well paid jobs where they can influence legislation despite no one voting for them. Also irrelevant are claims about family and cultural ties - we have those with Ireland too - Irish independence didn't break them. We don't need Westminster to tell us who our nearest and dearest are. And Irish people still speak English.

    2. The outright falsehood: There are legions of these too. Subsidy junkie myths, alarmist scaremongering about defence, challenging those is what this A-Z is all about.

    3. The delusional: Anything uttered by Michael Forsyth.

    There's no sign of a substantive positive case for the Union coming along any time soon, nor indeed, ever coming along at all. Let's be honest here, if the positive case existed, we'd all know all about it by now. BBC Scotland, the Scotsman et al. would have been sure to mention it, repeatedly. It would in fact be given about as much publicity as the London Olympics.

    The silence speaks volumes.

    International influence: The Union allows Scotland to punch above her weight internationally.

    This myth gets trotted out as often as often as mentions of the London Olympics on the BBC. In the anti-independence parties' private universe, Scotland is punching so high above her weight that the country has shot off into space and is currently orbiting around Westminster's Uranus. Back on planet Earth, the Union makes Scotland absent from the international scene.

    No one ever argued that being a member of the Soviet Union allowed Estonia to punch above its weight internationally. During the Cold War, the usual colloquial term for the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was "Russia". Equally, in furren pairts the colloquial name for the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is "England". The usual term in German for Scot literally translates as "I think you'll find you're really English".

    Scotland currently has zero international influence. Westminster has international influence. Westminster does not represent Scottish interests - it represents Westminster interests. The only way Scotland will have any international influence at all is for us to take up our own party invites to Norway and Finland's cheese and home-distilled-rocket-fuel parties, instead of allowing Westminster to represent us.

    There you have it. I *countered* some of the rhetoric. And now I expect you to show some evidence why we're better off NOT being able to decide whether Scots die in foreign wars, NOT being able to reap our our marine taxation and oil [and whisky, and land estate], NOT being able to drop-kick disgusting weapons of mass destruction from our OWN shores, even though the nation is opposed to such weapons, and that across political parties.

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  15. Methinks the U.S. Founding Fathers would have shaken their heads regarding the drivel you have spouted regarding the Scots seeking self determination.

    Had the war for independence failed, you might to this day, still be seeking self determination from a heartless, greedy parcel of rouges.
    sincerely,
    Flyingscotster

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  16. Disappointing to see that you seem unwilling to publish further responses your poorly researched post has doubtless generated. That's a shame. Those who are not able to converse or respond to the opinion of other people living through the political changes in our country obviously have little argument to make. If it helps, you do at least simply join the ranks of countless other Unionist blogs who have little to offer other than empty sound-bites and, as in your case, very little actual grasp on what constitutes 'Britishness' and the manner in which political Britishness continues to harm cultures throughout these islands, be it Gaelic, Cymraeg or Doric.
    I at least thought you may have some courage on the back of such wildly misguided convictions....

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  17. Iain Mac a' GhobhainnSeptember 1, 2012 at 11:12 AM

    http://www.scotlandsaysyes.com/2012/08/how-late-it-wasntfor-self-respect.html

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  18. Sorry, but I have a very difficult time believing an American wrote this "Seen from Afar" article. America never wanted to be an English colony. American history documents tyranny when the country was controlled by England. Famous Scots wh
    o are known in America, such as actor James Connolly, have always expressed their deep desire for an independent Scotland. One doesn't not have to be a student of history in America to be aware of Scotland's history. All have seen the movie Braveheart, and further understand how Scotland fought for sovreignty. The American people, as a whole, are not imperialistic, although actions of the government have been. The people in America came to the country from all across the world, seeking freedom. Many of the early immigrants from Scotland and Ireland came as a direct cause of England's actions in those countries. Americans understand the need for one's own self determination. As far as "romanticism," for the cause of freedom, I find that statement obnoxious. There is nothing romantic or idealistic about wanting an independent country, controlled by the people of that country.

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  19. Howdy, Partners! (ain't this fun???)

    @JPJ2: First, that's interesting about being related to John Paul Jones. Unfortunately, however, I have never really felt much admiration for the man. To me, he was a traitor to his country, just like Thomas Paine, and was more than willing to lead a raid of his native Edinburgh. There is a very interesting story relating to this incident and the Anglican Bishop of the city, but I'll save that for another post.

    As for the Jacobite Rebellions, the majority of Scots remained loyal to the House of Hanover. The atrocities committed by government troops were not against "the Scots" as a race, but rather against the "rebel" Highland clans.

    @Sasch: Deja vue, indeed, my friend, or to quote Willie Nelson: "On the road again..." ;-P Thank you for posting your kind and supportive comments on "Open Unionism". They are much appreciated and actually make sense!

    @Douglas Clark: Thank you for being polite in this debate. Unlike other more hot-headed variants of your party, you are able to disagree without resorting to personal bashing. So I was mentioned on "Wings Over Scotland"? Is that Unionist, Nationalist, or neutral?

    @Jamie: Pal, you're one in a million! ;-)

    @Alba: I must ask, what's the difference whether I'm a Scot or not? The arguments I'm making have already been made in the past by Scots who believe in the union. As you so delicately put it, they're nothing new.

    Friend, democracy as we know it tody was virtually non-existant in 1707! The aristocracy weilded the most power, with some weight being punched around by a rising middle class of businessmen. How can you possibly expect that the union of Scotland and England would have been a decision "for the people, by the people"?

    Can we not at least agree on the fact that the British identity is real? Whether you like it or not, whether you think it should last or not, whether you think it is relevent or not, can we not at least agree that it did and does exist and that there were/are many Scots who were/are proudly British? Anything less is indeed dillusionary.

    I never said Scotland would "float out to sea". I said she could be economically shipwrecked!!! And you better hope "Nessy" is really out there; tourist money might be your only hope of keeping your independent project from sinking upon inception!

    To be continued.....

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  20. Continuation of yours truly.....

    Alba, I am trying to make a positive case for the union! The trouble is that our perspectives on history and what is "irrellevant" "false" and "delusionary" are wildy different.

    I believe that a history which binds different people together to the point of having a joint identity is sacred. Obviously, you can't "throw away" history, but you can dismiss the work of past generatios thoughtlessly. I believe the past effects the present profoundly, and that the phrase "this isn't about the past - it's about the future!" is quite silly.

    @FlyingScotster: I am sorry if the Founding Fathers are ashamed of me, but frankly, I strongly believe that if I had lived at the time of the American Revolution, I would have been a Loyalist. We can argue about that issue another day. The Scots have representation in the Westminster Parliament; they are not being supressed. I am not seeking to deprive anyone of anything, merely to speak the truth as I see it. It is all I can do.

    @Mr. Anonymous: My lack of intstant response had to do with the fact that I went out during my free time to have a slice of pizza with my dad and a friend! Also, I am rather pressed with my studies and cannot spend my entire life debating this issue. What type of "courage" are you advocating I should back up my arguments with? A broad-sword duel? A Robert Burns singing contest? My courage is to stay in the ring, which I intend to do to the bitter end!

    What do you mean "America never wanted to be an English colony"? America started out as a bunch of English colonies, loyal to the crown and the mother country. I am a Marylander and very proud of my English roots. She gave us many of our laws and customs and religious ideas.

    Celtic culture within the UK has not be stomped out; true, aspects of it were supressed at different intervals, but it was eventually embraced on many levels. I should know; I'm taking Welsh!

    As far as "Brave Heart" and the Hollywood heroes of an independent Scotland, you and I both know they are as artificial as the make-up they wear. Let 007 come out of tax exile in the Bahamas and face the world; let Mel Gibson learn to leave behind his anti-British facade and check out Scotland's real history.

    I never said it was "romantic" to seek freedom and self-determination - when there is a genuine need to do so. I see no genuine need in the case of Scotland. I see no substantial reason. I believe in the United Kingdom and the British people, and believe they have the tenacity and integrity to solve their current problems without fragmenting.

    Thank you for your time, and thank you for hearing me out.

    God Bless,
    Pearl of Tyburn

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  21. One of the rules of political debate or argument is that you never, ever convince an opponent over to your way of thinking. The second is that in most cases there isn't an objective answer (ie one proven by statistics) to issues concerning national identity and constitutional matters.

    So... the task then is to convince the middle ground, the not-too-bothered either way-ers and indeed "sell" you case further afield.

    I think the pro-Union "side" in Scotland has the advantage of "incumbency" in that regard and the nationalist side needs to be doing a lot more work persuading that "middle". Where they slip up in that regard(imo) is that they too often believe they are talking only to their own supporters or their opponents- you are not just replying to Pearl of Tyburn when you post on here, you are building up an image for (I guess) a largely American audience. Some (eg Douglas) have grasped that fact better than others...

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  22. Really Anonymous? (Facepalm) I'm pretty sure that Pearl is an American. Also how about you give a real name, not Anonymous and you had to use Braveheart? That *movie* is complete garbage, I'm sorry to hear that you seen it.

    Alba, oh silly, silly Alba. Fighting for independence, something that will not happen. I will say this. I'm not going to put up an argument, but a suggestion. How about you go outside, and convince people to support Nationalism? Better yet, focus on the real matters, the economy, the weather, etc. Ha ha, I wouldn't be surprise if you sided with the Argies about the Falklands.

    JPJ2, All I can say is *cough*bullocks*cough*. How about you give some proof that you're related. But if we are saying who we are related to, I'm a *blood relative* of Captain America! Ha ha, NO!

    flyingscot, what are you a Neanderthal?

    Well I believe my work here is done, looking at my Open Unionism comment, well people are angry at me. Oh, what a shame. I guess I'm hated by the Nationalist community, I will forever more, be forever alone. (Google the picture if you don't know what I mean)

    Good day,
    James.

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  23. Pearl writes "@JPJ2: First, that's interesting about being related to John Paul Jones. Unfortunately, however, I have never really felt much admiration for the man. To me, he was a traitor to his country, just like Thomas Paine, and was more than willing to lead a raid of his native Edinburgh. There is a very interesting story relating to this incident and the Anglican Bishop of the city, but I'll save that for another post."

    I see you identify yourslf as a would be Loyalist and, of course, the "Open Unionism" site is of the Northern Ireland type of unionism which is not the same as Scottish unionism.

    From your disparagement of John Paul Jones and Thomas Paine, I can only conclude that your logic leads you to be a great admirer of Benedict Arnold :-) Perhaps I am talking to a true eccentric, and indeed to someone who regrets USA independence-perhaps you refuse to celebrate American Separatism Day as it should surely be called :-) that must be a popular view in the USA :-)

    As you seem to be an outspoken traditional Catholic, could I (as someone educated by Jesuits) just remind you that the Catholic Church recognises Scotland as independent of England and Wales for its own religious purposes and that John Paul 11 acknowledged this when arriving in Scotland by kissing the airport tarmac in recognition of the Scottish nation (an action only undertaken when he visited a nation).

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  24. Interesting arguments all 'round.

    As a descendant of a a McDougal who was sent to to America in indentured servitude after the '45, the Island is small, and the enemies are no longer the kings of Norway or pirates from Normandy, but rather the huge, shifting international combines that respect no one's past. All of us whose sense of history extends past last week's episode of DANCING THE KHARDASSINS OFF THE ISLAND really should stick together.

    - Mack in Texas

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  25. But say, if there is a parting, who gets Hadrian's Wall?

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  26. Mack Hall, HSG,

    Perish the thought but a heck of a lot of nations have been established since, say, 1945. I'm willing to stand corrected, but of those that have become established - UN seat, etc - none have been re-absorbed by their previous masters. (So, Tibet doesn't count.) Even Eastern European nations had the fig leaf of national identity. In a local context, would you suggest that Eire should come back under the crown? Perhaps you should go to Dublin and conduct a survey. Perhaps not.

    There is no particular reason that an Independent Scotland couldn't or wouldn't enter into a NATO Partnership for Peace agreement. Because that would be far more likely to provide us with security against these un-named threats you appear so worried about than a military that is dreadfully extended overseas and cannot provide homeland security. Indeed the SNP are currently discussing their policy on NATO. By the way,the only threat that we have heard of from anyone to an independent Scotland is from the House of Lords where it was (seriously?)suggested that Scottish Airports might be bombed in the event of an invasion of the British Isles from the North!

    Hadrians Wall is in England. It runs from Bowness on Solway in Cumbria to Wallsend on the Tyne. Sometimes some of them do say that they would prefer to run by Edinburgh rather than London, but I think it's a bit tongue in cheek!



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  27. James " Ha ha, I wouldn't be surprise if you sided with the Argies about the Falklands."

    The only MSP (Member of the Scottish Parliament) who fought against the Argentinians (he took part in the first phase of landings on the Falklands) was the Scottish National Party's minister Keith Brown.

    You comments are sufficiently comic that you may indeed be related to Captain America :-)

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  28. JPJ2
    "I see you identify yourslf as a would be Loyalist and, of course, the "Open Unionism" site is of the Northern Ireland type of unionism which is not the same as Scottish unionism."

    It originated in NI but now we have 2 Scottish writers, 1 English and 2 from Ulster. The majority of the posts at the moment would be concerning Scotland.

    Also NI Unionism is not (or at least, no longer) a homogeneous beast with all of us singing from the same hymnbook (as it were). One of the welcome side-effects of the Belfast Agreement

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  29. Dear Douglas (and what a fine Scots name!),

    Sorry about misplacing Hadrian's Wall; even a mere Yank should know better.

    If Scotland chooses a divorce, I pray she will have the great good sense not to involve herself with such entanglements as NATO. Indeed, independence from the Union should also mean independence from the Belgian Empire.

    Regards,

    Mack

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  30. JPJ2, thank you for that interesting fact, but the question was not addressed to you. It was addressed to Alba, I don't know what you were trying to achieve by telling me that...

    But I will give you marks about my "comic style comments". Touche Mr. JPJ2, touche.

    Good day,
    James (CA2)

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  31. 1. Dear Readers,

    Thank you once again for taking the time to analyze my article. I never expected this much response, and I suppose that is what all writers crave. I can only hope my little post has done some good somewhere.

    As oneill pointed out, the main audience is really those who are undecided in the debate. They will be the ones to swing the vote one way or the other. I can only hope that my appeal has made some impression, and that I have done my small part to aid the Unionist cause. At the very least, it stirred up a vigorous discussion on the subject, and I thank "Open Unionism" for giving me the opportunity to speak my mind.

    These are my concluding remarks, for the sake of closing this debate and moving on with all charity:

    JPJ2: I'm afraid have been badly misunderstood! I said "if I lived at the time of the American Revolution" I believe I would probably have been a Loyalist. That does not in any way diminish the patriotism I have towards my country now, nor the acceptance of the Revolution as a part of our history. Furthermore, I have no particular fondness for Benedict Arnold or any "traitors", including JPJ and Thomas Paine!

    If you want some Scottish heroes from the American Revolution who actually fought for their country, check out Major John Pitcairn, Major Patrick Ferguson, Major John Small, and General Simon Frazer. Also, there is a beautiful poem called "Donald and Flora" dealing with Scots who fought for Britain during this conflict. I'll post it soon.

    With regards to the Pope John Paul II’s visit to the UK, I thank you for your input about the tarmac incident. As it is, I can only say that it was a personal action on the part the late pope and in no way binding to the faithful. Also, it was not an official state visit. The most recent papal visit to the UK by Pope Benedict XVI was the first official one to be made in the UK. While there, he spoke highly of the British people and their joint heritage and blessed their land. The faithful celebrated UK-wide.

    Indeed, the ecclesiastical territorial divides are made for various religious reasons, but that has absolutely nothing to do with the existence of the UK as a governmental state.

    With regards to Northern Irish Unionists, frankly, I believe that Northern Ireland should stay with the UK. I loathe the sectarian hatred between Catholics and Protestants, but I believe both are capable of coming together as upstanding British citizens. Don't forget, the former British ambassador to the Holy See, Francis Campbell, was Northern Irish, and proud of both his national identities.

    Once again, thank you for all your time and effort. No matter the result of this referendum, I will keep you all in my prayers and hope for the day when we will meet in a better place when all past quarrels and injuries will be forgotten.

    God Bless,
    Pearl of Tyburn

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