Imposing an unequal Treaty on a neighbour nation in which that nation will always be overpowered by the parliamentary votes and self-serving agenda of the dominant nation is normally described as governing a colony. In Scotland’s case, Scotland is leased to the Scots.
The majority of key powers are retained by the UK Parliament which in the main serves England first, colonies second, usually serving them badly. All Scotland’s wealth goes south, a tiny portion sent back in case we starve, in which case we’d be no use to our colonial masters at all. The tragic political dog’s dinner that is Northern Ireland is a case in point, Gibraltar another. Scotland gets short shrift but a bit more attention because it’s joined onto England and shouts a lot. Wales is too close to London to be a threat.
Foreign policy, armaments, avoiding wars, banking, trade deals and treaties, tariffs, broadcasting and cable provision, membership of the United Nations are only a few of the important powers not given to Scotland. By any yardstick that makes us a colony.
The only concessions England made under the Act of Union – and how it must regret it – was taking on all the United Kingdom’s debt in the event of a split. That was the boulder chained to its ankle in return for controlling all financial powers. To compensate they take all Scotland earns and steal Scotland’s oil.
Colonies are not for consulting
Colonies are not considered in the calculation of consequences. Pulling out of Europe on the vote of middle-England racism is a case in point, a pertinent one.
The flitting is potentially lethal to the economies of Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland, as well as tearing up all the Treaties NI with the Republic, and Gibraltar too. But Theresa May and her empire loyalists plough on regardless.
Only a minority party in NI has been consulted, the DUP, not the NI Assembly. Readers will recall the Tory MP Neil Hamilton receiving brown envelopes from Mohamed al-Fayed who owned Harrods. That was sleaze, but chicken feed to today’s £2 billion promised to the DUP for services rendered, a bribe in any language. The twilight of an empire is a sight to behold.
Our neighbours in the south
Scotland cannot remedy its ills nor progress unless released from the governance of an essentially reckless, corrupt neighbour, now openly antagonistic and repressive.
As Westminster uses Brexit to recover powers it gave to Scotland, and scandals are heaped one upon another, more and more English are realising something is rotten in the state of merry England. Scotland is beginning to understand it cannot resist the worst of English extremism unless it has the powers to halt unwanted incursions.
Unionists like to react to that statement with mock surprise and quite a lot of ridicule. How are you oppressed, they ask? This was the British question put to Gandhi and his India. Imperialists always see themselves as benign, bringing civilisation to the natives who really ought to be grateful.
The colonial assumes the natives are inferior. In India’s case, they argued without imperialist England, India would fall into anarchy ruled by corrupt maharajahs. And indeed, that’s exemplifies the essential attitude unionist against pro-independence supporters. Without England we collapse into anarchy and poverty.
English presence, aided by Scots in their employment or merchants trading with India, ensured famine was rife, poverty accepted as part of the natural order of things, and the quelling of mass protest silenced by rifle fire. All India’s resources, gold and jewels too, (see Queen Elizabeth’s crown) went to England, the usual one-way journey.
Juggling with globalisation
At this point, I should touch on the current global economy, relevant to the topic. Globalisation has been with us a very long time. It’s not a new concept, not as I understand it. If we interpret globalisation to mean international integration, it began long before somebody used coinage to create capitalism.
When you look at it, silk roads dating back to the pre-Christian times were an extensive form of globalization. Marco Polo opening up China to the west and a huge trading market, mostly in one direction, the west, was globalisation.
China is doing that today, dominating western industry’s profit margins, and owning billions of the west’s debts, keeping us tied to their friendship no matter what we dislike about their lack of civil rights.
Globalisation allows you to create products that sell in the biggest market in the world, China, and you manufacture them in China at cheap labour rates so that you can sell the same products in the west at great profit. That too, is a kind of colonialism.
“All for ourselves, nothing for other people.” Adam Smith
The rise of industrial state capitalism has changed the scale and character of globalization, and in its turn the relationship England with Scotland.
It is fair to argue that before 1945, the advanced capitalist countries practised a kind of open imperialism. They colonized weaker countries. They did it by strength of navy, army and financial muscle.
They legitimised oppression by imposing unequal treaties on them. By any analysis this is creating a colony – they occupied parts of territories through “leasing,” deprived them of the right to set taxes, tariffs, or negotiate with other nations. Does that sound familiar?
Since 1945 we have seen a strong worldwide reaction against colonisation with the advent of nation states, well over a hundred, some by peaceful means, the ballot box, and some by rebellion, armed insurrection.
I believe Scotland’s political awakening in the late twentieth century is a manifestation of the desire to remove control of our nation’s rights and destiny from the people who have profited from globalisation. Together with other nations, particularly Latin American countries sick of American interference in their economies, Catalonia too in its own way, we’ve seen the emergence of a global revolt that rejects naked imperialism.
The disaster upon us
Unfortunately, what are seeing now in England’s callous dumping of European unity is a rollback of the sovereignty that the post-colonial countries enjoyed. Scotland has yet to enjoy a post-colonial existence.
Our lives are shaped and dictated by multi-national corporations, organisations that used to be self-contained but that now hold great economic power. They see themselves as above the law and natural justice. They move their money around continents and pay next to no tax. This is an unprecedented extension of corporate power.
Scotland sees major corporations driving government policy – big business telling the Scottish population not to vote for self-governance but to bow to their bought and paid for puppets, the Tory and Labour party who pander to their interests, many of whom retire onto their board of directors.
Good? It’s nearly all bad
We see the terrible effects of neo-liberal economics – the emphasis on individuality and the creed of me-first rather than collective identity. The ill and vulnerable are told to work, then see shrinkage of the welfare state remove their lifebelt to avoid the poverty trap. Those in work are told their job stacking shelves or as a bank teller is redundant so go switch mid-life to investment banking or computer software expertise.
Unless we take our nation’s destiny into our hands and our place in the United Nations too long delayed, unless we take control of the mechanisms that redistribute wealth, we remain the loser who is never compensated. We will pay dearly for leasing our own land.
Daniel Defoe said, “In this Union here there are Lands and People added to the English empire.” He knew what he was talking about, a statement fit for ‘The Infamous Ledger’.
NOTES: Further reading:
The scale of this new globalized world is revealed in the 2013 ‘World Investment Report’ of the United Nations Commission on Trade and Development. 80 percent of global trade is run by transnational corporations, accounting for only 20 percent of jobs worldwide.
“The Infamous Ledger” here: https://wp.me/p4fd9j-iY