A unionist will exhaust all possibilities until only common sense is left.
I wish I could have made my first blog a eulogy to my homeland’s best qualities, but the times are momentous and I am enraged.
In the year of Scotland’s first plebiscite, the first referendum on self-determination offered to the people of Scotland in over three hundred years, a real opportunity for individuals to be empowered, we witness a ferocious, unrelenting assault on democracy itself – made by those determined to keep a nation subservient. They spit mockery, hatred, and insult.
Judging by the derision tossed at civil debate you might think Scotland was asking for the wealth of a Saudi prince bestowed on each and every citizen at the cost of every man, woman and child domiciled in England, rather than what it asks for and ought to have by right, ergo, genuine democracy.
If concocted today the 1707 Act of Union between Scotland and England would not pass through the lowest court in the land, so demoniacal biased in one nation’s favour is it. It was obsolete before the sealing wax was dry, before the signatories pocketed their bribes. It is massively out-of-date now. But it is not irreversible.
Conceived before the modern world took shape, before venal acquisition of petroleum belonging to foreign nations, before invention of technology, proliferation of automobiles, before globalisation, before a one single bomb could wipe out an entire city and blight the air and earth for a thousand miles in all directions, the Act took no more note of Scotland’s future than was necessary to get the document signed.
The purpose was to fill the pockets of a few impecunious nobles and land owners, and also ensure Scotland’s natural antipathy to England’s imperial inclination would stay duly inhibited. France was causing England a perpetual headache. If only it could bring Scotland to heal England could concentrate on teaching those French a lesson.
The Darien Scheme, conceived to establish a trading base for Scotland in Panama, a route hitherto denied, was a financial disaster aided by England whose politicians threatened those who might invest in it. When its proponents went to Spain, England threatened the Spanish and Dutch with a trade blockade if they got involved investing in, or aiding, the scheme. (It was a Spanish attack that forced the Darien colony to surrender in 1700, already weakened by fever and catastrophic loss of life.) In any event, the Low Countries were already trading partners with England and needed little convincing to stay well back. England pressed the point. It wanted no competition on its trade routes. International investment closed to them, Darien’s key players decided to borrow the money from Scotland alone. Any smart financier in the City will tell you never to gamble with your own money. Altogether, they made two expeditions to establish a colony.
The myth is Darien bankrupted Scotland. It did not. It laid low the investors. It is stated that it removed about one-third of money circulating in Scotland. It was probably less than a quarter. Only its investors were laid low or at ruin’s door. The country was not.
At first the investors petitioned King William to endorse their right to the colony, but he declined. It would mean making war on Spain. Led by the scheme’s principal proponent, William Paterson, (later a co-founder of the Bank of England) the Darien group and some Scottish nobles went cap in hand to English financiers offering to further the cause of union if they were reimbursed. England saw an opportunity to turn Scotland from a clan system relying on land and cattle for wealth, to one motivated by business, subaltern to England’s global ambitions. Scottish nobles and land owners saw a chance to make themselves wealthier.
Unionists try their best to convince England gave Paterson and his colleagues a warm welcome. If that were true it was only business. The hand of friendship does not include taking possession of your country.
What is not generally known is, England paid off only half the debt in cash, the rest in debentures. The main players got their money back with interest, some with additional bribes, others with placements in English society and government. It transpired the debentures were worthless. Once the Act of Union was sealed England raised Scotland’s taxes to pay for the loan. No bankrupt country is in a position to repay an enormous loan. But repay it Scotland did, or to be absolutely accurate, the people did. It can be argued Scotland personally paid for the sale of its own country. Now we want it back.
In all of this there is an unnerving parallel with todays trillions of public taxes used to bail out banks and keep the new criminal class in the style to which they are accustomed. The United Kingdom is impoverished, the middle classes are poorer, the poor disenfranchised, the few extremely wealthier. Power rests in fewer and fewer hands. Democratic structures and civil rights are evaporating, whittled away.
No nation has ever handed over its sovereignty or control of its progress to the degree Scotland did in that notorious year unless invaded and colonised. Only a handful of the population were allowed to vote on a trading union with England. The protestors, over ninety percent of the population, “wept in the streets in frustration.”
Today, all who live and work in Scotland can vote in the Referendum, yet we see the same threats to suppress, to sanction, to control, assailed at us if Scotland dare exercise its right to constitutional progress.
For every well argued prospect of constitutional change unionists give us a childish tit-for-tat response. Cameron, Osborne, Hague, Miliband tell us they respect Scotland’s right to decide without inference. Interference they leave to their colleagues, one is handmaiden Alistair Darling. He does their dirty work, patronising what they regard as a small, overly damp “subject province.” Labour party puppets echo his sentiments. We know there are calls exchanged in the night from unionists confessing they really want independence but their loyalty to their party must be observed, but that does not stem their hypocrisy.
As in the past it is those amongst us who are ready to take the “English shilling.” As one novelist friend said, “The machinations of the British establishment are as nothing to the betrayals of democracy perpetrated by our own compatriots.”
From Thatcher and her battle against miners and unions, and unreconstructed Thatcherite David Cameron and battle against unwanted “aliens,” and “welfare spongers,” we learn the state has an enemy within – its own population. It includes the Scottish nation.
Westminster is implacably opposed to Scotland’s ambitions. Scotland must be controlled. To unionists Scotland’s overarching aspiration for a greater say in the running of its affairs is deemed a path to disaster. The vicious onslaught on a people’s’ hopes is venal.
What can one say of lick-spittle politicians, pseudo economists, partisan scholars pontificating from lofty university towers, hack journalists, quislings, seedy opinion-makers, and internet trolls, doing all they can to denigrate and demean an entire country? Nothing is left untouched, untainted. Scottish politics, values, heritage, economy, and culture is baited, defiled and dismissed daily without remorse.
Fair, open democratic debate is a sham.
Opponents know of Scotland’s past and they understand our hopes so they react to a bid for greater freedoms in an aggressive and extreme manner.
If we attain what most countries take as normal all sorts of nasty retribution is threatened, from isolating a swathe of land to protect Westminster’s devices of mass death, to closing the border between our two countries. These are the same people trying to persuade they only have Scotland’s health in mind. They engineer an illusion of democratic progress.
They are the same people telling Europeans they are not wanted. These are the revisionists who deny military pressure was placed upon Scotland, any thoughts of invasion or trading blockade, if we failed to sign the Act of Union.
Over 300 years later the same position holds: Westminster prefers Scotland accepts the status quo, that is, remain a poor man’s version of a state. Comedian Billy Connolly’s aside, that our parliament is a “pretendy” parliament, (the only memorable thing he has said) is pertinently untrue. Our parliament has opened our eyes. But if we remain subservient to a dominant nation’s agenda and values we are a “pretendy” country.
Our political structures did not allow us to raise the matter of regaining statehood, until now. We have managed to reach that happy point against all odds. The electoral system was rigged to ensure a Referendum on independence would never happen. The designers of our “pretendy” democracy planned that Scotland’s only political party devoted to Scotland would never attain power.
If we divorce ourselves from the corruption that is Westminster we are told we will not exist. We will be a non-country, a non-people of little importance. We can expect to see the day when the weather forecast on television shows Scotland a blank map, devoid of any weather in the same way the Republic of Ireland never sees sun, rain or snow.
Independent we will “lose all influence on the world’s stage,” never sit at the top table, a warning at odds with reality. What influence does Scotland have now?
There is one question the enemies of democracy are loath to answer. If in their lurid opinion Scotland is such a miserable basket case, a “tribal warring, welfare sucking, querulous dump,” why does Westminster wish to keep control of it?
The path to disaster is if Scotland votes No.