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Monday, October 13, 2014

We won the battle...

Now we certainly can’t afford to lose the war. And there’s no logical reason to predict that we’re going to, not if we keep faith with our own ideals and keep a keen grasp on the ways in which we can secure them. We won by 10%; maybe not the largest margin in the world, but certainly not the smallest. I personally thought the outcome would be more along the lines of Quebec, which turned out a 2% lead for “No” in their independence referendum.

    And while Parti Quebequois may hem and haw over having a re-match someday, they haven’t managed it for some 20 years and it looks unlikely they’ll get another chance any time soon. Frankly, aside from the hardcore secessionist die-hards, most people living there don’t want it, even if it was offered to them. Too many economic concerns, with companies pulling out for fear of independence. Too many emotional concerns, with families and friends put at odds over the issue.

    Scotland made her decision on the 18th, and chose her destiny to remain a part of The UK. Indeed, as our nationalist friends insisted over and over again in the course of the referendum, “This is democracy in action.” So let’s be practical. If things had gone the other way, even by the slightest of margins, can you imagine how the Salmond regime would have handled us Unionists if we started clamoring for a re-match? There’s no question about it, we would have been branded as neo-fascists refusing to accept self-determination and subverting the will of the people. And yet now they are trying to do the very same thing to us now.

    And for a moment there I actually thought Salmond might adopt at least the trappings of noblesse oblige, abide by the decision of the Scottish people, and accordingly work to make Scotland-in-Britain a better place. But no. Almost as soon as he announced his resignation, he was back again, claiming that promises would be reneged and trying to stir up trouble between the Scottish people and the Westminster Government. The Panda Bear is a Big Fat Rat, and the rest of the SNP nut-balls and their anti-British minions who refuse to give up the ghost are in the same nest with him. 

    Because here’s the thing: these people don’t care about compromises and settlements. They want independence for independence’s sake, no matter who it will hurt or what it will destroy. Most the SNP big-wigs seek this because they believe they will gain ultimate power; many of the others do so because they have come to see the very existence of Britain as a great injustice in the world. I have encountered some Yes voters even trying to play the part of prophets, saying that the dissolution of The UK is somehow part of the progress of humanity and must come to pass.

    I have to smirk hear because that’s exactly what Napoleon and Hitler said when they struck their commemorative medals for the planned take-over. One thing we can say with accuracy: islanders are resilient, and have a cheeky way of cheating fate and befuddling their most daunting enemies who believe they’re out for the count and should be obliterated for the ostensible good of the human race. Britain has proved her metal and her worth to the world on countless occasions. That’s what she just proved again this September.

    It’s ironic that the word “FREEDOM” has become the rallying cry of this sect. As one Scottish friend of mine queried as she observed it smeared across her neighbor’s fence, “Freedom…from what?” I agree that these types do need freedom, but not from the British government. They need freedom from their own small-mindedness. But sadly many people (including my fellow Americans) continue to view the whole “liberation” movement as hopelessly romantic. They sound disappointed that Scotland failed to break away, and brush it off with an explanation about big-bad-businesses teaming up with the big-bad-British Government and pressuring the Scottish people to betray their dream. And most of them were only old people with pensions, don’t you know?

    After all the hard and heart-felt work so many people put into saving the union (myself included), this sort of rubbish is really pretty insulting to the reasoning skills and backbone of the Scottish people. The simple fact is that an overwhelming majority of people living throughout The United Kingdom really do want the union to work because it represents so many different things to people: identity, security, opportunity, a homeland, a haven, and a dream. This is not so very different than the way Americans see our own country comprised of many states and peoples.

    The best thing for us to do is to take Nationalist rantings with a grain of salt and focus on reunifying the kingdom in spirit. They really can only hurt us if they throw us off our mark, so we must stay focused. Also, a little word from Call-Me-Dave and Company couldn’t hurt, reinforcing the fact that this referendum was a “once-in-a-lifetime-opportunity” for the Scottish people to “choose their destiny.” Now that they’ve chosen in a fair, free vote, that destiny is settled, no matter much that Nats are doing everything in their power to belittle its historical significance.

    Beneath the felt-banner-fury, I think many of them realize the difficulty of their position too, but are almost in a state of denial. As time marches on, the eager-beavers they won over to the independence cause in the last few weeks before the vote will melt into the status quo crowd again. And when devo-max begins to take effect, another group will be successfully mollified. Without the dynamic Salmond at their head (although certainly not out-of-the-picture), some of the electric verve has already been sapped. So no, the situation doesn’t look particularly cheery for them. A small pocket of ultra-coo-coo-birds are even revealing their desperation by advocating a push for non-referendum separation. But nothing would come of that but their own political demise. If “The Dream Continues”, as nationalist headlines insist, reality is another matter entirely. For the foreseeable future, the game’s over. Time to move on now, chaps?

    And on that subject: what might be in store for the British people in years to come? As one American headline announced: “No to Break-up – Yes to Reform.” As Cameron made clear on Referendum Morning, “more powers” for Scotland must be complimented my “more powers” for the other nations of the UK as well. The time has come to decentralize powers from Westminster, and create a sturdy form of localized government throughout Britain. To put it simply, it’s time from the country to go from being a unitary one to a federal one. This will likely bring about the need for something the Brits have proudly done without over the course of their long and zany history: a written constitution.

    Is any of this going be achieved by “a fast fix”? No, certainly not. It’s going to take years to hammer things out in an equitable way for all four parts, fostering a sense of individuality and unity at the same time, against the backdrop of party squabbling and the ongoing debate as to whether or not Britain should remain in The EU. I will admit to having some concerns that the Nats will play the part of saboteurs during the course of this project, demanding the impossible and than taking every opportunity to paint the Westminster government as the Villain. British politicians are going to need all their wits about them to keep the ship on the right course.

   And of course the very best way to help would be to get as many SNP politicians out of power as possible. For federalization to work properly, the people running the home rule bodies must have dedication to the plan as a whole, and must be loyal to the federal government (i.e. the Maryland state government is loyal to the US federal government, etc.). For all those who want to make extra sure you never have to deal with another resurgence of separatism that divides relationships and jeopardizes you country and security, pick another party to vote for – anything but the SNP! In this spirit, I believe it would be advantageous to introduce a new oath for politicians to take – not just to the Queen, but to The United Kingdom as well as to the individual nations they are representing.

    Meanwhile, what about cultural reunification? First off, British history and culture needs to start being taught again in British schools, and the whole of it, especially the time period surrounding the Act of Union in 1707 and how the union went through a rough start to be a genuine success story of human endurance and ingenuity. If you feel your schools fail to give a proper overview of British history, take it upon yourself to start free-lance programs that do so in schools, libraries, shops, etc. It is vital that the next generation should feel British and proud of it.

    The next plan on the agenda would be to start taking back some of the symbols that the Nats have possessed, especially the Scottish Saltire. Lately I’ve been observing the way that we Americans fly Old Glory and our state flags side by side on most public and many private buildings. Why can’t the same be the case in Britain? Don’t choose either-or, but both-and! Make it a point to fly the Union Jack and the Cross of St. Andrew (or the Cross of St. George, or the Red Dragon, or the Harp and Crown) outside your house to show that you believe that the UK can work with healthy diversity and individuality. So come on, Better Together Crew, now’s the time to start handing out flags for free and encouraging a resurgence of them for the world to see!

    Finally, I’ve got to mention music. It’s always been an important part of politics and national identity, and now more so than ever. With federalization on the horizon, there will probably be more consideration about individual anthems for the nations of the UK. For the sake of reconciliation, I would advocate starting a movement to change the anthem of Scotland from “The Flower of Scotland” to “Scots Wha’ Hae”. I don’t think that’s so unreasonable, considering that they are both about the Battle of Bannockburn and Scottish valor in the face of a past English invasion. The main difference is that the former adds an unwarranted lament about the present state of affairs and the need to “be a nation again” – as if it is not one now! Come on, people of Scotland, you’re too good to be identified in song by that garbage. Hold your heads high; be proud of the fullness of your history and culture. And be proud of the decision you made on the 18th of September. It’s your victory; don’t let anyone take it from you.

    There’s one final thing I have to add: I strongly believed that Britain was preserved for a reason, and has been preserved countless times across the centuries by the same Power. I know I was praying my heart out for her; and I’m sure there were many others joining me. Through that mysterious relationship between providence and free will, we have all been given a second chance to make Britain a better place. We must take full advantage of this and forge onward into the future. God and Our Lady of Britannia save us all.


Now that you've kept it...fly it!!!



4 comments:

  1. I'd be the first to be grateful that the UK will endure for now. What I would relate is my own fear that the political class of the Union, having weathered the Referendum, will now sit back and expect The Whole Independence Thing to just go away.

    It won't, of course. 45% of Scots voted for Independence; they were a mixture of people that included, amongst others, genuine Scottish nationalists and - probably the larger group - people who feel isolated and distant from an unresponsive central government. The former group stoked the sentiments of the latter. They'll continue to do so while the UK remains so obviously top-heavy in its government.

    I completely agree that federalizing the United Kingdom is the best option ahead of us: four "national" governments organizing their own internal government structures at regional and city level; and a central government with limited powers to resolve disputes and secure our liberties.

    What I can't believe I'm coming 'round to is that we might need "written constitutions" to guarantee all this! However, if our current national politicians can't create a reasonable constitutional compromise themselves, some sort of elected convention might be required to take the matter out of their hands.

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  2. Hi, Wyndysascha,

    Thanks for commenting!

    By outlining the reasons why I think the nationalists will have a hard time "getting back on the horse" as it were, I certainly did not mean to encourage complacency! Far from it! Our work is just beginning to assure that this victory means something...

    I totally agree that the political class must take the initiative to make sure that the UK government stops being so imposing and top-heavy, as you say. I think that an elected body to sort out a written constitution sounds like an interesting solution! Has anyone in power brought the possibility up yet?

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  3. The Political and Constitutional Reform Committee of the House of Commons (http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/political-and-constitutional-reform-committee/) has been taking soundings about a "more written" constitution for the UK for a while now (the report is called 'A New Magna Carta?').

    Interestingly, the drive towards codifying the constitution hasn't just come from questions of devolution. There has also been pressure from certain state actors as well, most notably the House of Lords and the Judiciary, who (particularly the latter) have traditionally resisted calls to codify.

    James Madison made the comment on the pre-1787/8 state legislatures that they were "everywhere extending the sphere of [their] activity and drawing all power into [their] impetuous vortex". He might as well have made the comment about the modern day House of Commons.

    Attacks on the undemocratic nature of the Lords and on unelected members of the judiciary - no matter the merit of the arguments - are allowing politicians to rationalise some fairly worrying trends in favour of ministerial discretion and away from the rule of law and cautious law-making. We've always had an "elective dictatorship" in the UK but these trends, which "deepen" that situation, are now threatening both our liberties and the cohesiveness of the Kingdom.

    If re-igniting our attachments to a British idea of liberty and the rule of law is what will unite us again, allowing overbearing central government to keep drawing in all legitimacy is what will ultimately justify breaking-up the Union. I've been firmly against Scottish independence because I believe that "Britain" doesn't tyrannise the Scot and because I believe that Scottish aspirations are best served within a Union; if we keep coasting-along as we have been, I doubt either of those beliefs will stay true forever

    At that point, who could blame the Scottish people for withdrawing from the Union and re-establishing their own country? It turns out, We might actually need a written constitution to remove the possibility of legal sanction for irresponsible, "short-termist" political manoeuvring as well as to structure a more federal UK!

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  4. Well, I'm glad to hear there's some sort of push for a "New Magna Charta", as it were, to defend liberty and preserve unity. And I agree that the concept of having one house of parliament tamper with and then ultimately abolish another one always struck me as ultimately imbalanced.

    I wouldn't worry too much about the "coasting along" thing, though; after the shake-up the referendum caused, something's got to change. The politicians don't want to lose their jobs; they'll work to bring about some sort of change out of fear if nothing else. The people want more local government, and not just in Scotland either, but throughout the UK. It's been a British tradition to wait until the very last minute to make desperately needed reforms; and then, when there's no more excuses to be made before the foundations begin to crumble, they actually sit down and make it work somehow. Not overnight, certainly, by in the gradual, haggling way that grinds exceedingly fine.

    One point I'll make, though: the situation is complex; there are a variety of opinions throughout the UK on unitary/federal government. Scotland should not turn the following debates into a pity party about how they may or may not being "tyrannized"; the following proceedings are going to effect everyone in the UK.

    My point is the whole spirit of "us" vs. "them" is what's going to be the worst wrench in the system, with the threat of another surge of succession constantly being voiced. Yes, 45% of the people voted for independence; but 55% voted for union. If things had gone the other way, we would have had to live with it; now they're going to have to live with it to and have a duty to work to make this thing work. And it CAN be made to work. Maybe not instantly, but it can be, and I believe it will be made to work.

    I guess I'm going to sound terribly American about all this, but I believe you guys need optimism more than anything. Not the kind of optimism that has you all with plastered grins, sitting around doing nothing; but the kind that gives hope and focus for the work ahead, and a belief that, if you all work together, things can work out for the best. Think of it as receiving a great opportunity to change things for the better; I'd say it's an exciting time to be British!

    And Mr. Sascha, I think you have more than a healthy helping of ideas that really should be voiced! I know you say politics may not be your game, but you can certainly write and teach and campaign freelance for the things you believe. You say the country doesn't teach history and the concept of "British Liberty"; well then, get out there and do it yourself, one person at a time, in a freelance club! Go ahead; there's certainly nothing to lose, and everything to gain, a little at a time!

    God bless,
    Pearl

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