The Scottish self-rule debacle continues to bang on. Not satisfied with the extensive devolutionary powers already in place, Alex Salmond and his SNP cohorts continue towards Scotland’s full independence from the remainder of an (arguably) crumbling United Kingdom. But, for all the verbal claidheamh mòr brandishing, under a patriotic skirl of a’ phìob mhòr, where’s all this going?
Heading off north of the border to visit family and friends in the lands of Bonnie Prince Charlie last week, I drove past the Battle of The Standard monument. It was a stark reminder of how long this puerile Scottish v English thing has rumbled on. Selecting a CD selection of Ceòl Mór I turned the ICE volume up and settled back for the long drive ahead.
As I ventured further northwards, through the picturesque and varied scenery of Northumbria and The Borders countryside, my thoughts drifted to the magnificent and diverse landscapes of The Highlands and West Coast of Scotland. Visions of salmon attempting that final leap towards their breeding grounds, the moon reflecting across the still and tranquil surface of crystal clear Loch, guarded by a solitary castle in the shadow of a Munro, all hastened my desire to be in Scotland once again.
Irrespective of the specific mountain range, be it the guardians of An Gleann Mòr, the Black Cuillin, the Torridon Hills or the Grampian Mountains, the landscape of Scotland is powerfully magnetic to many, not least someone who is a diehard lover of the outdoors. That word ‘diehard’ was responsible for lateral thoughts straying off at a tangent to Mel Gibson in Braveheart and again, we’re back once more to this stupid English/Scottish independence struggle.
But, irrespective of whether you support the ethics and actions of William Wallace or ‘Longshanks’ in that first war of Scottish Independence, history often tells us one important thing; most warfare, be it a physical bloodbath or a puerile political argument (see previous post), often turns out to be mostly futile, at least in the long run. And, examining history also shows another important factor, it evidences how some have a tendency to twist the facts of history, whilst attempting to achieve their own self-interested aims.
Writing in The Times this week, Ben MacIntyre said; “Scotland’s national poet was no Nationalist” when he challenged Alex Salmond who claimed “Rabbie Burns as an ally of independence.” I would agree with MacIntyre when he said; “Burn’s Scottishness was defined by historical competition and conflict with England, but he also wrote as a Briton, speaking up for the Kingdom united against external foes.”
Like many British-Scots, Burns seems to have had little difficulty wearing two different but complimentary national hats for different occasions…(Ben MacIntyre)
If Burns could be both Scottish and British in his outlook back then, why can’t others have similar views today? I believe that short-sighted self-interest is the answer. Like MacIntyre, I also believe Burns “would have felt deeply uncomfortable hauled aboard Mr Salmond’s bandwagon.” Throughout history poor Burns has been cited as the poetic mouthpiece of many differing political ideals, but mostly to advantage the exponents of that ideal and rarely as a true quotation of historical fact.
So, far from being a one-dimentional proponent or opponent of Scottish independence, Burns seems to me to be the man in the middle, a subtle combination of political and religious views, a Scot and a Briton comfortable with dual nationality – and the more representative of Scottish opinion because of it…(Ben MacIntyre)
Talking with English and Scottish family and friends, from both sides of the border recently and without exception; we are totally against Salmond’s drive. Moreover and also without exception the general belief is; Scottish independence is wrong and will ultimately be detrimental to all concerned, both north and south of the border.
As far as I can see, after examining all the pros and cons of the (mostly) political arguments, the old adage of united you stand & divided you fall appears to be wholly relevant here. So, how does Berlusconi fit into all this tosh?
Well he’s Italian and, you only have to examine the mess in Europe because of self-interested nationalistic politics or financial greed, much of it happens to be of Italian origin (amongst other self-interested states). But also, let’s not forget his Roman ancestry, as with The Young Pretender. Roman roots are the common denominator in all this and here sits the a root cause of all the problems… If that bloody Hadrian chappie had built his lengthy wall across the Watford Gap or better still, 80km further south at Watford itself, maybe then we wouldn’t be having all these puerile arguments in the first place?
Whatever your particular choice from the current menu of self-interested aims and objectives, Salmond’s personal desires for Scottish independence are of no more National importance than a deep-fried Mars bar, just so long as his desires don’t actually come to fruition… I for one hope he’s unsuccessful but until 2014, I really can’t be arsed with this silly issue any longer, I’m off for a Haggis Pizza and a bottle of Buckie!
- Scottish Independence: Alex Salmond says England will be better off without Scots (dailymail.co.uk)
- Ed Miliband to encourage Scotland to remain part of the UK (guardian.co.uk)
- Independent Scotland ‘to keep Queen’ despite majority in favour of break away (dailymail.co.uk)
- Oil set to become battleground in Scottish independence referendum (guardian.co.uk)
- Latest Poll: 51% Favour Scottish Independence (ansionnachfionn.com)