Independence

11 Jun

We went to see the Scottish singer / songwriter Dick Gaughan last week. He was good, playing the guitar in a rhythmic waterfall of notes and singing in a bell-like high baritone with a Scots twang. He talks between songs, as many do, and he is a committed socialist and supporter of Scottish independence.

I do not support Scottish independence as I think we already live in a small country, and are at the whim of more powerful economic influences. When America sneezes, we catch cold. Besides, the logic of a Scottish state is a little suspect. The Orkney and Shetland islands belonged to Norway until after the discovery of America. Most of the reserves of oil and gas are in areas around Shetland. What is to stop these windswept islands declaring independence from Scotland. Then there is the ancient Kingdom of Fife. If Scotland breaks away from the rest of the UK what is to stop Scotland breaking up? Such balkanisation is not desirable.

For anyone unaware of the situation, there are less than 100 days until there is a referendum north of the border to decide on the issue. The union between England and Scotland by act of parliament occurred in 1707 after the Scottish state was bankrupted by the Darien Scheme. Scotland was always the junior partner in the union and feelings often ran high. The Jacobite rebellions of 1715 and 1745 occurred after the Act of Union, and show discontent among many Scots and a few Englishmen.

Despite being a junior partner Scotland, especially Edinburgh, was a hotbed of intellectual development during the age of reason, and Scottish engineers were among the greatest innovators during the Industrial Revolution.

Scotland already has a good degree of independence, its own parliament and to a great degree its own laws.

During the last financial crash Scotland suffered as the rest of the country did. Britain is largely dependent on the financial services sector since the Thatcher governments decided that other industries were surplus to requirements. The financial services are almost entirely based in London. The financial services sector was responsible for getting us in the mess we found ourselves in. The financial sector hardly suffered at all during the crash and are busy paying themselves obscene wages when many are living below the breadline. They have the clout to dictate what the government does.

Almost all development money goes to London. That is where the well paid jobs are and aspirational young people want to move. There is the danger of a housing bubble around London because of excess demand for accommodation. Development generates its own wealth. London is hogging all the wealth, denying to other parts of the country. There are a lot of people very unhappy about this situation, hence the rise of such idiot movements as the United Kingdom Independence Party.

The way things are going, I want independence from London. The city hogs all the power and all the money and many in London regard anyone outside as being whinging provincials. There are many more people outside of London than in and we want change. We will not get it from Lord Snooty and his Pals – David Cameron and his Eton / Oxford / Old Money chums. Blaming foreigners, as UKIP do, is missing the mark. Put the blame squarely where it lies, with the London establishment.

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