Wednesday, 8 February 2012

In which Tris has a night off and reprints a fantastic post by Michael Greenwell

Thanks to Dubbieside for altering me to this superb article from Michael Greenwell on the Huffington Post. I've reproduced it here in full. The illustrations are mine. I beg Mr Greenwell's pardon and crave his indulgence.
The United Kingdom, like all states, is an artificial construct. For some its symbol is the bulldog. The strange thing about the bulldog is that it would die out as a breed if left to its own devices. This is because their heads are so big that the vast majority of them have to be born by caesarean section. Therefore, because of its bigheadedness, it relies on a form of artificial selection to continue, and this makes it a great symbol for the UK.
The idea put forward by Harry Mulligan recently, that the Scottish people are being fed "ill-thought-out patriotism", is exactly correct. However, the ill-thought-out patriotism that they are being fed is coming from those who would keep the UK as one state.
The fact that Scottish independence movement continues to exist and strengthen in the face of an overtly hostile media shows that the motives for it are not confined to a narrow patriotism.
The British media is controlled from London and reflects London's views quite accurately. The corollary of this is that there are several mistakes that people make when they look at the upcoming referendum for Scottish Independence. Mulligan's article yesterday made a good few of them. I'd like to go through them here if I may.
The first and most common is to conflate the Scottish Independence movement with the Scottish National Party. This is done for a variety of reasons and the primary one is laziness. The SNP now have a majority in the Scottish Parliament but polls indicate that in the arena of an independent Scotland many people would be likely to vote for other parties. I am a member of no party but an independence supporter and there are many thousands, possibly hundreds of thousands, like me. Also, other parties in Scotland support independence, such as the Scottish Green Party.
Secondly, using the term "Tartan Tories" to describe the SNP is an old insult and really has no relevance. Maybe it has passed many people by that the SNP have consistently protected social provisions more than the two main UK parties. For example, in England the Tories (and Labour before them) have been inflicting death by a 1000 cuts on the National Health Service whereas in Scotland the Scottish Parliament has protected it. In England and Wales free university education is gone whilst it has been kept in Scotland. It is the Scottish parliament that is protecting these things and more, and London does not look kindly on it.
Another thing unionists often like to talk of is the Second World War (strangely, they often do it at the same time as criticizing independence supporters of harking back to history). They use WW2 as a rallying point - describing how everyone joined together to defeat the forces of fascism and this is then given as an important reason for keeping the union. Leaving aside the fact that Scots were a 3rd of the UK's dead in that war, and that with a 9th of the population, what would prevent an independent Scotland joining with whichever coalition was fighting such a threat?
Furthermore, if the UK's military ventures are destined to be, to use his phrase, "ill-thought-out" economic imperialist ventures into the middle-east - wouldn't Scotland be better off out of it?
And this is the crux of it. Scottish Independence is the only progressive game in town. It would alleviate the democratic deficit that people all over the (dis)United Kingdom suffer from whereby if England votes Conservative then Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland get a government they didn't vote for. It would solve the problem of the West Lothian question (on certain issues Scottish Members of Parliament can vote on English issues but not vice versa) which is a source of annoyance for many in England.
With independence, Scotland could keep its health service, its free education and not get involved in modern imperialist ventures. For me and many others, that short but by no means complete list, is far more important than Britpop, the upcoming Olympics or any historical considerations.
Finally, when Mulligan says "Do we really want to undo this world-beating force in favour of a selfish, scots-centric view of the world" he hoists himself with his own petard. This is "ill-thought-out patriotism" at is finest. It says that we should forget about social provisions and concentrate on being a "world beating force". That's very British-centric isn't it? "WE are going to beat YOU" it says. False assertions such as "Shame on these Nationalists who argue we would be better off alone. Its simply not true and its not the point anyway. Britain is the 'crème de la crème'" speak of the misplaced arrogance of a dying state that lost an empire and is feverishly clutching at straws.

The unionists are trying to blow some life into the dying embers of the UK and unfortunately for them, all that they are producing is hot air.

This link from Cynical Highlander is also worth a read...


  1. 'The unionists are trying to blow some life into the dying embers of the UK and unfortunately for them, all that they are producing is hot air.'

    Oh! well we will still give it a go eh?

    'The United Kingdom, like all states, is an artificial construct'

    Er! just like Scotland then Eh???

    'The SNP now have a majority in the(Devolved) Scottish Parliament'
    Of 25% of the 45% who bothered to vote on this basis most of the Scottish people did not express support for any of the above parties

    'the democratic deficit' whereby scots in the areas who did vote for the snp get an devolved Government they did not want

    A good post tris Michael Greenwell has all the hall marks of a first class dick head who uses one rule for the snp and another for everybody else.

  2. Niko

    We can feel your pain, but guess what we are just laughing at you.

    The only voters that count are the ones who go and vote so guess what we won, you lost badly get used to it.

    The SNP had a higher share of the vote than many Westminster governments but we did not hear you greeting then. You will look back on May 2011 as the end of the good times for Labour.

    Here is a thought for you Niko "things can only get better"

    Do you support the New Scottish Labour party, support for privatising the health service, reintroducing tuition fees and keeping Trident. The people in Labour today have never met a socialist and would not know what one looks like.

  3. You're right, Niko. Scotland is an artificial construct. The only real construct is a clan, or tribe or whatever you want to call the extended family.

    I don't know what New Labour thinks its about. What ever happened to ban the bomb, up the workers, free education, from those according to, etc...

    Now it's all about knighthoods for people who give them money; or worse seats in the palace of fossils. bakers are us; buy your home; buy shares; make money; greed is good; buy, buy, buy...

    Keir Hardy wouldn't be able to tell Tony Blair from David Cameron or Nick Clegg. English politics is one great big right wing, bosses part.

    And either Lamont has no say over what's going on or she's a Tory too, for all her "one of yous" accent....

  4. Tris

    There has been a shock resignation tonight that will shake the nation to its core.

    Not some football manager who could not speak English, far more important.

    Mick Aston has quit Time Team.

  5. United in diversity.

    No, no, no, to separatism.

  6. Oh dear Dubs... I'm just devastated...

    Something to do with dumbing down to get more of an audience to make more money... She'll doubtless be flashing for the lads.

    Did you see that the England manager is paid £6 million a year, for being a bit of a failure.

    Makes Hester's £1m + £1m look a bit sick.

    Now, I wouldn't want to be [speculating about the quality of justice, but I wonder if Harry didn't get a few benefit of the doubts on the basis that the English need him to run the national team... and he can't do that for Pentonville!

    Anyone heard anything about Team GB for this Olympics?

    Oh and talking about the Olympics, did anyone see the story that that nob end Coe has only gone and ordered the tickets form Arizona or Georgia or somewhere in the USA. The biggest ticket printing job in England ever, for the greenest Games ever... and it goes to America.

    What a set of buffoons!!

  7. When were we ever united again Dean? Remind me!

  8. Yes to Independence, nationhood and some bloody pride in ourselves.

  9. There's a rather good line in the Dan Hinds piece on Al Jazeera that's worth repeating:

    "Ed Miliband wants to put on a slightly different show; imagine a chorus line of crocodiles weeping while the financial sector gets everything it wants."

  10. Dean

    You can stay on your knees along with Niko, the rest of us are taking our country back.

    Mind you if your only weapon is to call independence, separatism, that just highlights the fact that the dependency partys have no clue.

    Did you see Twitter yesterday Dean, since 9th January when Cameron made his telling intervention, the SNP has 2000 new members. Onwards and upwards Dean, 2000 more cybernats.

    How many more will we sign up when Cameron, Clegg and Miliband come up here and share the same platform to tell us we canny dae it. Three public schoolboy millionaire torys together.

  11. Morning Angus:

    Welcome to Munguin's Republic.

    It's a brilliant, telling line in a really well written piece.

    They don't really have a different agenda, do they. They mess around with the dots and comas, but in the end the message.

    They want to be leaders of a GREAT country. They want to waste our money so that they can be Erchie on the world stage.

    Meanwhile we'd just like crime and pot holes dealt with.

    Maybe in an independent Scotland, with no such prizes to tempt them, they will content themselves with the mundane issues of domestic trivia.

  12. It seems to me Dubs, that if the unionists insist of the derogatory ... and incorrect...word, separatism, that we will have to make more use of the also incorrect word of "dependency" (incorrect in that we subsidise England).

    2000 new members is a superb achievement. I noted that Tory Hoose was saying that the Conservatives had also attracted new members, but was reluctant to say how many.

    I wonder what the rush to the liberals has been? Or for that matter to New Labour!

  13. Tris

    Some tory let the cat out of the bag in a letter to tory hoose, the torys counted the renewal of membership of people who joined up to 15 months before as new members.

    Why do you think they have not published any numbers.

    One was maybe Niko changing to the torys, after all there is no difference between them and Labour.

  14. Tris

    Rush to Labour? Their new theme tune for the recruitment drive is "another one bites the dust"

  15. Pretty sneaky, huh, the Tories?

    I knew it was embarrassing number as soon as they declined to spill the beans...

  16. Scotland is already sovereign, and, progressively, chooses to be united in something greater than petty class and nationalist division.

    Union over separatism Cynical.

  17. And settle for dependence, Dean?