Tuesday, 11 December 2012

ALEX'S ANSWER TO THE WASHINGTON POST


With a decency unlikely to be accorded to him by any of the British newspapers when they have printed disparaging articles about Scotland's independence, The Washington Post has printed the following, in reply to an editorial which appeared in their pages. As usual with no rancour Salmond wipes away all the crud that is talked about the world coming to an end because one small nation of 5 million (normally governed by people it did not elect) wants self determination and democracy.

When the United Nations was formed at the end of World War II, its membership comprised barely 50 independent countries. Today that number has grown to almost 200 — a sure sign that the right to democratic self-determination has been among the foremost prevailing factors in the world as we have moved into the 21st century.

And the voice of the United States has often been instrumental in that process.
As first minister of Scotland, I lead a country that once was independent and aspires to that status again. In autumn 2014, we will offer the people of Scotland the opportunity to vote to reclaim that independence.

As part of the debate in the run-up to that referendum, it is important that the facts are laid out as clearly as possible, and that is why The Post’s Oct. 31 editorial [“If Europe crumbles; An independent Scotland would be bad for the West”] was so disappointing.

To begin with, the assertion that an independent Scotland would “withdraw from NATO” is quite wrong. The Scottish National Party voted this year for an independent Scotland to continue in NATO membership. Independence will certainly mean an end to the stationing of nuclear weapons in Scotland, that is true, but this will merely put Scotland in the same non-nuclear category as 25 of the alliance’s current 28 members.

The claim that an independent Scotland would be “unable to contribute meaningfully to global security” also is untrue. Would the same be said of European nations such as Norway, smaller than Scotland, or Denmark, almost identical in size? As it happens, these two countries combined flew more air sorties in the internationally sanctioned action in Libya than did the United Kingdom.
Further, the assertion that London might veto independent Scottish membership of the European Union and its use of the pound as a currency is not borne out by the facts. The recent Edinburgh Agreement, signed by myself and U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron, commits both our governments to respect the referendum and to implement the outcome, whatever the result.

And it is likely that any London government would be keen to see an independent Scotland continue to use the pound, given the large sums that Scottish sources — not least North Sea oil and gas, the vast majority of which lies in our territorial waters — make to that currency’s balance of payments.
Scotland and the United States share close ties stretching back centuries. Many U.S. presidents trace their ancestry to Scotland, while the Declaration of Arbroath, the 14th-century document asserting Scotland’s status as an independent nation, has been held by a U.S. Senate resolution as a direct influence on the U.S. Declaration of Independence.

The long-standing ties between our two countries will only be strengthened once Scotland regains its place as an equal member of the global family of nations. After all, the Republic of Ireland gained its independence in the 20th century and enjoys the warmest of relationships with the United States. Does anyone in the United States seriously consider that this relationship would be improved by seeing Dublin return to rule from London?

Former president Bill Clinton recently recognized that it is increasingly important for national identities to be accommodated along with the need to make common cause to tackle global problems. Independence in an interdependent world means that the 21st century can see just such a global partnership evolve hand in hand with the political self-determination of which the United States has so often been such a vociferous champion.

Indeed, in considering the true interests of the United States, perhaps The Post would do well to reflect that democracy and self-determination must by their nature represent the real interest of America, because they are the core principles on which the country was founded.
There is something else worth reflecting on in the Scottish civic debate. In a process of self-government that has taken the best part of the last century, not one person has ever died arguing for or against Scottish independence.

The national movement in Scotland is peaceful, democratic and civic in its nature — something perhaps, in this troubled world, to be encouraged as in the true interests of both the United States and of Scotland.

30 comments:

  1. Interestingly there was one particular poster on this article who appeared to have swallowed the BT lie machine hook line and sinker. Fortunately there were plenty of others around who were prepared to put him right on more then a few of his "errors".

    That was the first thing about AS's article the second and in all honesty the more amusing was that the swallower of all things BT had been using utterly vile language and despite warnings from the Washington Post continued to flout the rules and as a result not only were his posts removed but he was BANNED from the Washington Post.

    So you see good things can happen. :D

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  2. Yeah I know but banning me was a tad unfair

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  3. Alex never heard of the American civil war fought to keep
    Their sacred union whatever the cost.

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  4. Although not fond of The USA's foreign policies I applaud the Washington Post for giving the FM the right of reply to their article and for publishing his letter unabridged.

    Let's not forget, however, Willie McRae and the odd circumstances surrounding his death.

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  5. @Arbroath

    Would appreciate it if you could let me have link to that Washington Post comments page..... I'm pretty hopeless at finding these things and it can sometimes take more than 5.minutes for a page to load on this thing

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  6. Yes. it takes a foreign newspaper to do it though, Arbroath. :)

    Buggered Together allow vile posts on their own website!

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  7. He's probably heard of the American War of INDEPENDENCE Niko. You know the one where they wanted rid of the British and sent them packing, tae think again!

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  8. I'm sorry, I should have linked to it in the text Boorach.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/why-an-independent-scotland-deserves-us-support/2012/12/07/694ba79a-3a4a-11e2-8a97-363b0f9a0ab3_story.html

    yes, it is to their credit that they gave him that space to reply.

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  9. I think you will find that the American Civil War was fought more over the issue of slavery than of maintaining the union at all costs. Oh and there wasn’t a referendum either and the Southern States (that wanted to create a new slave owning confederacy) had no historical precedent to nationhood (with the possible exception of Texas which I believe existed as an independent nation for about 8 years). Oh and guess which side the greatest Union in the history of all time, ever, bar none, on this side of the pond favoured! Yea you guessed it: the secessionist Southern slavers! So in that particular case Niko it was better “NOT” together. Surely a terrible example of your point!

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    1. Mungy

      On that you are dead wrong lincon
      Did say he would keep slavery
      To save the union.

      It later changed to being anti slavery
      Anyway the civil was was about state
      Rights

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  10. To all the Nikos out there read how the Scots Irish booted the Brits all the way back to the Gulf of Mexico as revenge for the persecutions they suffered in their native lands. Poetic justice.

    Yours sincerely HenBroon

    clicky; http://tiny.cc/wff7ow

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  11. Tris

    Having lived and worked in America I think you would find that most Americans won't care about the issue of Scotland and the referendum in 2014. What you would find however is that most Americans would respect what the result was, would respect our opinion and would encourage self determination. Americans I know don't want to police the world or fight wars. They want to live their lives in peace, want to earn an honest wage and look after their families. Like us they suffer from very poor politicians and business leaders, they suffer from the same lies we do and in the main would if they had the information just wish the world and us well.

    I have a lot of respect for regular Joe American, they are a great people, those that took an interest would not be able to believe or understand Moores antics last week talking us down. They would be disgusted by that as they would never ever talk down their country, their politicians and leaders yes but never ever their country. We could learn alot and certainly Labour, the Liberals and Tories could learn from them.

    Good on the Post for at least publishing the letter, would not have happened here in our unfair and unjust UK.

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  12. Anything to say about the War of Independence, Niko.

    The British didn't want to lose all the money they made out of America so they fought tooth and nail to keep it. A bit like Scotland really.

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  13. Yea Niko the states rights to keep slaves and the expansion of slavery into the new terretories and states that were being created from all the land purchased and taken from various sources as the US expanded west. Wikipedia (which is good enough for Lord Leeveson so its good enough for me) says in the first paragraph of its extensive entry on the American Civil War that "The war had its origin in the fractious issue of slavery."

    That still does not make it a good comparison with our current situation so I'm sorry its still a terrible example for you to quote.

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  14. I'm inclined to agree with you, Bruce. I've never had the opportunity to work and live there, but the American people I know, or have met, are just nice ordinary people, a bit larger than life by and large, but pretty much like Europeans.

    I'm not fond of their politics, although it does interest me. But the UK is becoming more like them with the two right of centre (by European standards) parties.

    Their right (the nut jobs) seem to thing that Obama, who in my book is quite right wing, is a communist. Ho hum.

    I've got to know Danny (who comments on the blog) pretty well over many years of correspondence and sharing news and views. He is exactly the kind of guy you describe.

    Like the average Brit, I would imagine that the things that occupy the minds of the average American are relatively mundane everyday things that actually affect their lives...the state of the roads, the taxation bill, the price of gas, education, clothes, cars, vacations.

    I've never once heard anyone here, when asked about what they worry about politics wise, tell me that it was Afghanistan or the number of embassies we have, the EU or global warming.

    A government minister talking down the country is a very sad thing, but then, in honesty, Moore was an absolutely last choice character, who, when they were handing out jobs, was in the minority of Liberals who didn't get one.

    David Laws' fall from grace and resignation within the first fortnight of the government (kind of setting the seal on the way that the rest of its term thus far would be conducted) meant that his job had to be filled by someone in whom they had some sort of trust. Whoever it was had to work closely with Gideon so they had to be right wing, so they promoted Danny Alexander from his SOS job, and had to find someone to fill the non-job in Scotland.

    Anyone, it would appear would do, although not David Muddle, so they took Moore from nothing and put him in the cabinet.

    He wasn't even junior minister material but they gave him to us.

    Says all you need to know.

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  15. Hello Hen Broon...

    That will be an interesting read...Thanks.

    :)

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  16. so Hen broom is finally released from the asylum.......
    If you think im nuts meet the real Mcoy

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  17. He used lurk on the Scotsman comments waiting for any stray Unionists to come strolling by.

    Then leap out on them lift up his Kilt and give em a right ole eye full dirty little fecker..

    Conan knows him well he would wouldn't he

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  18. Tris

    You would think that the Washington Post would have as a follow up to their article about Scotland just how wrong America was to separate from Westminster rule.

    Just think, today America could have been as rich and as powerful as Scotland, with all the world clout that Scotland enjoys if they had not had all these secessionists who were wanting to go it alone.

    Did they not realise that we are all better together and they should have stayed with Westminster rule. Just think no need to worry about a separate currency or volatile oil prices, all things that Westminster could have looked after for them.

    Maybe the Washington Post should start a Better Together campaign to end all this nonsense about countrys running their own affairs. They must by know realise Westminster really knows better than them whats good for them.

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  19. Thanks for the link Tris. Got the page but not the comments. Matters not though.

    Bye the bye there was an item in NNS a month or two ago which cited an article from the Washington Poste regarding independence from the union. Only this one was dated 1776 and was printed in Washington Co Durham and referred to American independence.

    A very interesting article which could have been lifted straight from today's MSM!

    'fraid I don't have a link but lifted article so could post here if anyone is interested. Be warned it's on the long side

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  20. Thanks for the link Tris. Got the page but not the comments. Matters not though.

    Bye the bye there was an item in NNS a month or two ago which cited an article from the Washington Poste regarding independence from the union. Only this one was dated 1776 and was printed in Washington Co Durham and referred to American independence.

    A very interesting article which could have been lifted straight from today's MSM!

    'fraid I don't have a link but lifted article so could post here if anyone is interested. Be warned it's on the long side

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  21. I see you endorse my warm welcome to Hen Broon then, Niko.

    Goodness gracious, I'm sure that a big strong unionist like you can manage to cope with a Scotsman lifting his kilt.

    It's foreigners that are supposed to be intimidated by stuff like that.

    You're not foreign are you, Niko? The Buggered Together people seem to have a terrible aversion to them. Why Darling Alistair was just weeping the other day about how people's grannies in Carlisle would suddenly, overnight become foreigners...

    The Horror!

    Made me think twice I can tell you, till I tumbled to the fact that, in reality, I didn't have a granny in Carlisle.

    Try again Ali.

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  22. BTW, where is Conan these days?

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  23. You have a good point there, Dubs.

    The advantages of being Tethered Together are so startlingly obvious that I'm surprised that the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India, Pakistan, and a vast host of nations all over the world aren't queueing up to get tied to the UK...possibly even ones that never have been.

    Norway for example must be saying to itself...ah, if only we had joined up with Britain when we got independence from Sweden (and became their friends and neighbours...) we could have an oil fund of Kr NIL, instead of this embarrassingly large burden of a fund which means we can weather any storm and don't have to worry at all about oil running out, or fracking!.

    We could throw our weight around in the world (as long as President Obama tells us to). We would have, [snigger], lots of, [snigger], influence in the [snigger], EU, and most of all we would have our own, well nearly our own, well... ok, we could play host to America's nuclear weapons of mass destruction.

    Wow indeed is us, for we have served our people badly..

    Mustn't they?

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  24. Oh sorry about the comments... I dunno what happened there, Boorach.

    That article sounds quite interesting. I'll search a bit for it.

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  25. Thanks for posting this Tris. I had seen neither the Washington Post editorial nor the First Minister's brilliant reply.

    As for the comments on the American Civil War, perhaps the relevance to the question of Scottish independence is only that it's a REALLY bad idea to surrender sovereignty to another country (or to a federal union) without some idea about how (or whether) the union can be dissolved at some future time. And maybe the Acts of Union were really not much different in this regard from the American federal constitution.

    In the American case, although thousands of volumes have been written about the social, cultural, political, economic, and human rights issues that "caused" the Civil War, the fact remains that the warfare began with a secession crisis, about which the American constitution was utterly silent.

    And so it remained for the extra-constitutional personal and political determination of a single American president, Abraham Lincoln, to make the decision to maintain the union by military force.....and at all cost. And the cost was awful. By 1865, two Americans out of 100 who were alive in 1860 lay dead. More Americans than were killed on all the battlefields of the world in World War II.

    As a constitutionalist, I always despair of the British as they make fundamental decisions about the most fundamental structure of their nation itself by means of a simple majority vote of the politicians who find themselves sitting in Parliament one day....the result of the most recent election. So the nation, at its most fundamental level, is what the politicians say it is at a moment in time. And the British seem to find nothing odd about this arrangement at all.

    So what happens? The politicians in London and Edinburgh approve the Acts of Union of 1706 and 1707, and the nations of Scotland and England are "forever" changed. What a crazy way to run a country! And it doesn't seem like much has changed over the years. I would suggest that Parliamentary Sovereignty is as bad an idea today as it was in the 18th century....for both Scotland and England.

    On the other hand, the Americans had a carefully crafted federal constitution, and it didn't help them at all when the great crisis came. So who are we to claim that we have a better way?

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  26. Hi Tris. I have had the year from hell and apart from an occasional pop at Alan Cochrane haven't had the heart to blog...

    It started bad, with a relapse of an old illness that had me off work for three months.

    Then my wife left me, just as I started a new job.

    I've lost three good friends this year, one of them who suffered from the same illness as me, which as you can understand, has me crapping myself.

    The plus side is my new job is very enjoyable, but I can't really talk about it as it's a wee bit too identifiable (I was on the inside page of the Daily Record a few weeks ago)

    No. It has nothing to do with the Trams...

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  27. The truth may be Danny, that there is no good way to run a country.

    That is to say that no matter what you chose, there will be situations aplenty that your formula will not really cover.

    In short, we're all doomed LOL!

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  28. Conan.

    What can I say? I am really so sorry to hear about your terrible year.

    I'd no idea that you'd been ill, of course, and I hope you're feeling better. It must be devastating to lose 3 friends in a year, especially when, as you say, one of them had the same illness as you had had.

    I find it almost impossible to imagine how awful it must have been on top of all that to suffer the break up of your marriage.

    At least you can take comfort from the fact that your job is proving to be enjoyable.

    And....Fancy being on ANY page in the Daily Record.

    I hate saying 'twee' things but I can't think of another way of saying that my heart goes out to you, and I very much hope that things get better and better for you in the new year.

    Hope you'll soon feel the urge to go on with the blog, which has always made us all laugh.

    Very best wished for 2013, Conan.

    Tris

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