Monday, 27 June 2011

Federal UK on the horizon?

Much of the answer to the Federal UK question may well rest on the result of the upcoming Inverclyde by-election.

In the near term at least this can be viewed as a very legitimate perspective. To see Inverclyde in the bigger picture it’s necessary to look at the events of the last few months, where an “impregnable” labour majority in the polls was not only overturned during the run up to the Scottish elections, but by viewing the electoral map of constituency seats it’s reasonable to say it was virtually annihilated. The response by the Union parties to May’s landslide victory by the SNP in the Scottish GE has been disorganized, haphazard, ad-hoc and scatterbrained - to put it into its best possible light. Nobody seems able to deal with what had just happened. Remember the shock and awe reactions exhibited by the commentators on the BBC on election night as the results came pouring in? Some at Pacific Quay were almost reduced to on-air tears. Yet this was Scotland’s voice and Scotland had spoken.

Would the Union proponents listen?

Initial reaction said yes, as Cameron came out loudly declaring that Scotland’s referendum wishes would be respected. In reality he had no choice, for although Scotland lives under what should be an almost unbreakable international treaty, that treaty has arguably been broached enough times to be void. Scotland simply hadn’t had anyone prepared to stand up for her rights before - until now. The times are changing, and lack of cohesiveness in the Union ranks was quickly exemplified as Michael Moor, our erstwhile Irish born Secretary of State for Scotland, ludicrously announced that Scotland would need two referendums. Other sources at Westminster kept relatively quiet on these statements, though the Scottish Government certainly voiced its opinion. The UN also weighed in through precedent, namely Kosovo, re-enforcing the articles in the UN charter. Sadly David Mundell didn’t appear to think these minor technicalities required reference as he waded in after his boss.
There have been arguments about what will go into a referendum ballot – all the way down to who will choose the form of the questions to be asked. These arguments are pointless, and appear to mainly exist as a way to fill column inches and attempt to stave off the impending demise of daily print media. The questions will be decided in Scotland, as will the timing.
The “Save the Union” campaign also appears to have difficulty in finding a champion. All fingers in the Union camp appeared to be nominating a single individual. The MSM dutifully filled column inches to enhance and reinforce the nomination, all seemed to be going well – credentials were marched out, achievements were lauded, accomplishments feted, at least until John Reid quietly informed the union camp “thanks, but no thanks – too busy chaps”.(House training his Ermine, no doubt!). “Save the Union” is still in turmoil, or as its proponents want to put it “Vote [Yes] to keep Scotland in the Union” – another less than subtle attempt to hijack the wording of the referendum campaign.
With Labour the official opposition in Scotland, although consistently declining in vote share by anywhere up to 5% at every Holyrood Election, it was worth waiting and watching to see what direction the party of the Red Rose would take.
After May’s disaster, would Labour retain the existing policy and format of a United Kingdom – no other choice given to us? Or would they start to reflect, and perhaps for the first time in many years, at least appear to put a nation above special interests, either their own or their benefactors?
The first inkling of the response of the red rose came this week in the form of an official comment by one Eric Joyce, MP, and his statement basically being that a need for a Federal UK (F-UK) was becoming apparent. Eric Joyce may only be a back bencher, but his comments have seen reasonably wide circulation in the MSM in the past. With a reasonably short timeframe allowed to gauge the response to the F-UK comments by Mr. Joyce, possibly look at internal feedback, see what folks were saying on its website, checking for outrage and potentially discovering surprisingly little, Labour had a possible direction. The next individual to be paraded before the media hounds was George Foulkes. An apparent step up the ladder, for whereas Eric Joyce could be discarded as an independent voice / personal opinion if the feedback was hostile, this becomes increasingly difficult as more senior voices are added.

Little Happens By Accident.

What can be projected with the timing of these announcements right before the Inverclyde by-election is that little happens by accident. Labour is likely testing the waters of a Federal system as a potential way to preserve the path to the ermine. There is likely to be little more heard about an F-UK from the party apparatchiks until after the Inverclyde election at least. However, Inverclyde may well quietly assume the significance of a turning point in Scotland’s story - as quietly profound in its own way - as May 5th 2011.
That would put both Labour and the Lib-Dems potentially in alliance as to a Federal UK, especially so after Willie Rennies’ reported comments last week about the demise of the present UK being no longer just a theoretical possibility. The Lib-Dem’s have never formally abandoned federalism.
The media has largely been ignoring Inverclyde, in England there’s barely a mention. In Scotland, unless you live there, it’s not exactly the daily headline news of the last week. It is entirely probable that this lack of media coverage is directly due to the May 5th result. Reporting a second very bloody nose for Labour within two months is not what Scotland’s MSM has historically been anxious to do.

Look for three potentialities from Inverclyde. 

Firstly is a Labour win with a majority equal to, greater than, or within a very few percentage points of their UK-GE result there. In this scenario expect the F-UK dialogue from Labour to be muted, perhaps to largely disappear for a time with the 2011 Scottish GE results beginning to be viewed as a “blip” or “aberration”. Business as usual would likely be the order of the day. Do not expect the MSM to pursue the F-UK question.

Secondly, this outcome has the incumbent party retaining the seat with a substantially slimmer majority. Should this happen we can expect a few more voices added to the F-UK bandwagon. The waters will continue to be tested, there may even be a vote, but unless Labour’s backers decide it is in their best interest that vote may be engineered to fail. After all, Labour still won.

Thirdly, this scenario has the SNP winning the seat; this would require a highly substantial swing and will send shockwaves through Westminster, not just Labour. A similar swing in England would be national headlines for weeks and potentially cause major policy reviews. The best we can hope for in Scotland is that it will force Labour to formally adopt the Federal UK path.

With an SNP win expect more F-UK noises from increasingly senior Labour members, possibly culminating in a vote, or perhaps simply a statement at the next party conference. Expect it within a few short months. One thing is clear, while the Labour party in Scotland, and Labour UK are presently leaderless, directionless, and largely clueless with respect to Scotland and her present political position, they will not always be so. Already Labour is testing the waters to find the path of least resistance back to the positions of power. Inverclyde is the first, and perhaps most significant test on the road for it has the potential to force the Labour party on a federal path from which there will be no retuning for either them, or the UK.

Inverclyde can decide the parameters of the third question – is it to be a fight and a wrangle in which Calman and the current Scotland Bill languish until the referendum as “the best way forward”, or is it be full fiscal autonomy and a Federal UK supported by the Union Parties. From a Union perspective, F-UK would certainly be better than No-UK.

Alex Salmond would likely be forced to support an F-UK as a third option irrespective of personal feelings, it is unlikely to be politically expedient to do otherwise. He may have a stark choice between statesman and obstructionist. Scotland should have a largely Union supported path to referendum. In many ways the path of independence will be decided by the people of Inverclyde based around their purely local issues and questions while the rest of us simply watch, hope, pray or fear depending upon our perspectives.  

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Referendum Now – The Union demand: May 6th 2011

These Witterings were made the day after the momentous May 5th Scottish Parliamentary Elections. They reflect my thoughts at the time. It would appear that Westminster is bit by bit donning the Iron Gauntlet. Please read on:

"Referendum Now!"

This will be cry, of the Unionist parties. They need what they hope will be a recovery at the polling stations. They will try to argue after preventing a referendum in the past that our government must do it now, put the question to the public immediately, shades of desperation perhaps?
The mantra will be focus, focus on jobs, focus on the economy, focus on families, not a “distraction” of an ongoing “Independence” debate.
The Unionist parties need a debate and referendum now while their media circus, or part of it at least, remain strong in Scotland. They need a debate and referendum while their propaganda machine still has wheels to spin. They demonstrated this towards the end of the election campaign with continual “name the date” cries.
Time is not a Union friend, and the Unionists among us know it. The Union-Dependency machine will bring every power to bear to try to force a referendum before our government is ready.
Holyrood in government will decide when the time is right. The Scots decided last night the time was right to put in place a government committed to giving them a true voice. Scotland last night decided that a Statesman and an able deputy were a far better option for their country than a party and leadership not so slowly fading through pink to Gray.
As a result of this the Unionists should realize the only reason there is a debate on Independence, is because they have demanded one, through the years their cries have echoed, scaremongering across generations. In reality a debate on “Independence” appears a non starter, as independence is the brother to dependence. Scotland is not dependant. Scotland is self sufficient. We export food, we export energy, last night we exported entrenched entitlement. England is dependent, Whitehall and Westminster are dependent.
It is our poor relations south of the border who need Independence, they need it so that they can grow again as a nation, they can cast of the aspirations of a major world player, aspirations often bought with Scots blood. England needs time to begin to redevelop her manufacturing base, so decimated by Westminster in these last thirty years.
As Scotland strides forward to a bright, self assured and confident future, a future her people showed by the power of their individual and collective ballots they are ready to assume, she should be gracious and give England time to prepare.
Scotland doesn’t need to bend to Unionist clamor, for that is all it is. Scotland needs to focus the first part of this next Parliament on removing the hurdles to the growth of two nations. That is best done by bringing the powers gifted to Westminster back to Holyrood. Give both nations time for amicable treaty dissolution.
That is after all what we’re discussing; take away the scare tactics and propaganda. Neither Scotland nor England ceased to be as nations in 1707, they both simply entered a treaty. It hasn’t worked, for either nation. When something doesn’t work it’s time to change it, or repeat the mistakes ad-infinitum.
The ending of treaties in history has happened in two ways, either by nations acting maturely and thoughtfully, unwinding the ties created with good grace and mutual benefit, to all out hostility and conflict. Confrontation is unthinkable, given any other option, sadly however so might be good grace on the part of Westminster.
At day’s end the choice is Scotland’s in this present day, there are many times in the history of the last three hundred years it could so easily have been England’s. Where Westminster and Whitehall showed timidity, reticence, lack of courage and initiative, it is unlikely the Scots are of a mind to follow that example.
In all likelihood, what was created in 1707 will survive, that United Kingdom of ours, the monarch will remain titular head of state, but once again two fully autonomous countries within that single kingdom will exist, until we choose otherwise. A sensible and mature monarchy would also realign itself to the best interests of both nations, understanding that in Scotland we have a monarch by our sufferance.
Moving on from the May 5th 2011, with its astounding, resounding party of the people result - perhaps the first ever true such result anywhere in modern democracy in these Islands - it is time for all the parties and power wielding entities to take a breath, and actually think about the consequences of their future actions.
For the Unionists and their media spin machine – an immediate referendum, if you lose, what then? What of the turmoil to jobs, to families, to economies on both sides of the Tweed? Or are tanks in the streets in 2012 a real possibility in some minds? Is ignoring the settled will of the people all it’s believed it would take? In the final analysis, probably not, yet some Unionists were urging this last night; we must assume them to be incapable of logical thought.
Scotland has made a choice; the decisions are now Whitehall and its supporters to make. Alex Salmond being an economist as well as a master statesman, possibly the best in these islands in our time, can see the possibilities of both paths, and their pitfalls. By delaying a referendum, probably until June 2014 or later, The Scots and their government are prepared to work to ensure this is mutually beneficial.
With an effective majority in Holyrood it will be no other way. Can the Union and Westminster accept the hand of Scottish friendship and walk a future path as good relations, or do they prefer to use the fist in the iron gauntlet. Scotland made her choice yesterday. Now it’s up to Westminster.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

The day the Union died.

It's the 9th of May 2011, exactly one day short of a year the day the Union died - May 10th 2010. I hear you asking, why this particular day over any other in the last three centuries and counting?
The eighty year rise of the Scottish Nationalists, Devolution, and increasing political awareness all contributed to that day. Many who are fondly remembered, but are no longer with us contributed to that day, and to May 5th 2011.
Several significant events over decades contributed to that day as being a defining day in the death throes of a Union. More than anything else in recent history New-Labour and Gordon Brown, that consummate Unionist, contributed to the day the Union died. 

In retrospect he never could have avoided it, neither could Labour. That day was inbuilt to the party psyche. “Stop the Tories” had been a multi-generational mantra. That, and not the betterment  of working man, had become its raison- d’√™tre. Combined with Labour selling its soul to the City of London.

Conservative principles, philosophy and policy had been dead for years in Scotland. Like the “vote for me and accomplish nothing for Scotland Lib-Dems”, their principle function north of the border was as a vote-splitter. To remove every vote possible from the Nationalists was the Union parties’ goal. Labour had been effectively dead for a generation, they hadn’t yet woken up to the fact. Death throes sometimes give the imitation of life.

Scots voters had for years been increasingly turning towards the SNP as their best form of government. The rise of the Nationalists had been like an inexorable tide, slowly rising every few years to yet another high water mark. For many Scots it appeared about as fast as glacial movement – but, it was as inevitable.

Another high water mark was reached in 2007, as Gordon Brown was looking to entrench himself in number 10, the Nationalists were elected as a minority government in Scotland. Safe in the knowledge there would never be a majority government in Scotland. He [Brown] believing that Holyrood would always be subject to Union control, or at the very least to Union veto, quietly sent forth orders to obstruct, obfuscate, and denigrate the efforts of the SNP in government. It failed.

Four years later Scotland is fast becoming the type of nation that the average English resident desires for themselves. In the face of Union obstructionism this is nothing short of a major seismic event.

The General Election of 2010 came upon us swiftly, more swiftly in the wake of a global credit crisis than many were apparently prepared for. Yet for those of us who looked deeper it wasn’t really a global credit crisis. Many nations escaped relatively to completely unscathed. The nations that didn’t escape were those who followed the Bush/Blair/Brown chant of light touch self regulation for the financial industry.

Although it wasn’t Scotland’s credit crisis – it was propaganda manna from heaven for the Union. From that perspective Westminster might well have willingly paid double for the bailout and considered it a bargain. All it bought in that respect was time, and as events would show, not much of it at that.

Scots were dealt a propaganda body blow by the Unionist media. They were daily thrashed with the fact they were “too wee, too poor” to support “Scotland’s” failed banking industry.

Propaganda was all it was, as these banks were operating under Westminster’s rules and regulations, they were reporting the vast majority of their profits and losses through English companies, and all that remained in Scotland was a stump. In some ways it resembled the Lib-Dems in Scotland, May 2011, propaganda value but not much else.

Using this “too wee, too poor” argument and the Tory threat in Westminster, adding in the promise of Labour protection if “Scotland went Red” we entered the UK 2010 election.

Scotland duly “went Red”, we decimated our own national party vote share in an attempt to secure what many in Scotland believed would be a Labour majority at Westminster. We sent 40 plus labour MP’s South and just one Tory. We gave Labour and Gordon Brown what he needed to form a coalition.

Labour under Mr. Browns’ leadership declared, quite forcefully by their actions, that they would rather do a deal with the devil than work with the nationalist parties. Labour voluntarily consigned themselves to the wilderness on May 10th 2010. A great many Scots were stunned, if not downright shocked, by this stance. Labour had been given their trust to stop a Conservative government in the UK, these proud Scots had put their trust and faith in Labour and had managed to put them in a position, just, to maintain government.

Scots voters watched in astonishment as Gordon Brown, the consummate Unionist, betrayed them.

Labour and the UK truly went under the collective Scottish microscope. Light was shone under rocks, and although no party emerged completely unscathed, the Nationalists certainly looked better than any other. It took several months for the enormity of what they had just witnessed to sink in with a lot of Scots.

For many it resembled a grieving process, as they finally pierced the veil of what Labour had transformed itself into. Political grief, like any grief, takes time. When it does translate to votes they can be hard votes indeed.

Less than one year later the elections at Holyrood came up. Scottish voters had long since proven they have more than enough intellectual capacity to vote in their best interest rather than directly along party lines, and for many the grieving process caused by Labour betrayal was over.

Scots also have long and accurate memories, better by far than most in the media give them credit for. As their daily focus swung to Holyrood and the election became imminent, the Scots ire at being Gordon Browns “voting fodder” added to Labour’s lack of leadership in Scotland, the credit crunch and the Tory Westminster government imposing “Austerity” cuts to a solvent nation boiled over into a quietly Scottish rebellion filled with the golden yellow of early spring sunshine.

Holyrood was designed to prevent an SNP majority ever happening. As that golden colour swept the electoral map and the opposition fell from both solid and shoogly pegs, the unthinkable happened. Scots chose to put their own nation first, rather than meekly submit to London control. What’s more is this was no protest vote, but a steady groundswell – as can be seen in the political maps below..

When Holyrood was re-convened what Westminster also did not count upon was that by 2011, every Scots voter under the age of 30 would have known nothing other than Holyrood government for their entire adult voting life.

Some may ask “why waste time and print on what is done”? Well, basically it is not done. This Union has many aspects, from the original Treaty to the present UK government; from its major crutch this last half century and more [Labour in Scotland] to the individual supporter.

As this Union at last gives up the ghost the grieving process will involve significant portions of our population and media for a plethora of different reasons. Any who doubts this need only look back to the BBC coverage of election night.

Each will be valid in its own way, to both the individual and the organization.

The grief over the death of the Union went largely unnoticed, for as is the way of peaceful revolution, few noticed the actual event. In today’s Scotland it has been brought forcibly home. On many levels. That the Union is forever changed is a given, this means the Union we knew is dead. That loss for many has yet to sink in.

There will be grief for that, certainly not universally. It will exist, although a year late. That the labour party in Scotland is diminished and in its death throes, there is grief by many for that also. That the Liberal democrats are all but utterly destroyed will cause grief to some. That the BBC and our mainstream media must adapt to a new existence is fact. Expect the current denial there to last rather longer, but the grief process is already self evident although presently entrenched at the rejection and denial stage.

As we walk our bright new path, let us not forget the past we have come from, and be considerate of the stages of grief others among us are enduring as we enjoy our present victory. Let us help them past the rejection of circumstance, the anger, the denial, and get them to accept walking the path we have been on for many, many years.

Most of all, let us all work towards getting that acceptance from them before the referendum. This is why we need time, time for all who can to complete the grieving and embrace the acceptance of our new enhanced and expanded lot in life. In his acceptance speech Alex Salmond led the way; we should all be mature enough to walk alongside.

With the reconvening of our Parliament in 1999 and Winnie Ewing’s opening remarks, the Union entered a deathwatch. May 10th 2010, Gordon Brown effectively administered the coup de grace. On the 5th of May 2011 the Scottish voter declared the corpse dead and called for an autopsy.

The only outstanding issue is when the funeral is to be held – it appears the Scots will set that date as well.

Meantime some must grieve, and that process will affect us all.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Holyrood 2011 – The International Impact. May 14th 2011

May 5th 2011 has come and gone, we Scots have had our say, and what an emphatic statement we made. Where we go now is largely up to Alec Salmond and the executive committee of the SNP, for we as a nation have given them a mandate unlike any other in our history.
The domestic side is already unfolding, with the early reprieve of the air bases at Lossiemouth and Leuchars. Whitehall may save some political face by claiming Lossiemouth was never “confirmed for closure” and that Leuchars is to cease operations as a RAF base. We will allow them that, for now. Knowing as the army will be taking over Leuchars there should be little net difference to the local economy. The fight for corporation tax is about to begin, we should see victory there also.
London is realizing that after three centuries Scotland again sets her own agenda. That realization will be incremental, ongoing and in stages, as it battles to overcome centuries of inertia. Cameron has tacitly acknowledged that as an independent nation Scotland sets her own course. It is only in the aftermath of the decision by the Scottish voter to elect a majority government in the SNP that the rest of the world is beginning to wake up to the constitutional implications.
Globally, nations are slowly beginning to realize that under the treaty of 1707 Scotland is already an Independent nation, she always has been such. They themselves have also been hoodwinked by UK propaganda.
They are slowly beginning to realize that Scotland is under a cooperative treaty with England, and as such can end it at any time. Scotland can also choose to amend, re-ratify or eliminate individual clauses or sections. The community of Nations is beginning to fully understand that the Scots have just positioned themselves once again to punch their own ticket, and the rest of the world had better adjust.
There is one verifiable exception to that statement, one case where Scotland has already been “courted” in anticipation of this day. Hilary Clinton, US Secretary of State met with Alec Salmond in February 2009. Clinton doesn’t waste her time, but even the American analysts could read the trending in Scottish polls. They knew, barring a catastrophe, a “May 5th 2011” would come – the final date was the only question.
Scotland is such a small nation, it might seem incredible to most of us that after centuries of “being put in our place” within the UK that we should warrant this kind of attention. The kind that Clinton was the first to give but which we are now finding acknowledged in news media from France to China. All have questioned the repercussions of May 5th in Scotland, within their varying degrees of understanding.
The reason for Scotland’s prominence is understandable. One is the simple nature of Governments, when anything of significance takes place in the world socio-political structure they all take note. Generally, this is for reasons of self interest; e.g.  “Could it happen here?”, “will it affect me?” and “will it change the world dynamic?”
These questions are why Belgium breaking apart has relatively little newsworthiness, even within the EU which is headquartered there. However, if the US were announce the Federal system was disintegrating  and each state was going to be 100% autonomous, effectively creating fifty countries it would be politically world shaping event.
In many ways the world is taking a hard second look at the UK post May 5th. Europe is seriously re-evaluating the situation, and the EU has quietly evolved into a state of downright panic, all behind closed doors of course. The question they must first exhaust asking before they can move forward with dealing with the issues is “how did it happen”?
All of these entities have a vested interest in the Status Quo, they prefer to see Scotland as part of a political construct known as the UK, and none will come to Scotland’s aid as she walks the path of treaty nullification with England unless they suddenly see it in their vested interest.
After the process is pronounced irreversible they will of course welcome her with open arms back into the global community. In the meantime hostile neutrality is the best we should expect. We should anticipate many nations displaying the open hand of friendship publically, with the dagger wielding hand held ready.
Our tiny nation of five million souls holds many things that others need and desire, not least Westminster and her minions, which is why it will fight so hard to hold it. Why Whitehall and her tame media will use negative language like “separatism” and “tearing apart” to frame the upcoming debate and obfuscate the real issues. Panic and fear will be wielded indiscriminately as mighty and potent weapons.
The real issues are simple, they [UK Proponents]are fighting for control of an economy worth in the region of £ 104,447,200,000, [multiplication of per capita GDP by population] the loss of which would firmly and forever put the rump of Westminster behind even debt ridden and near bankrupt Spain in the EU pecking order. It could be argued some nations might privately enjoy this scenario.
The other major scare tactic would be UK debt. UK debt, Westminster will argue is also Scotland’s debt. This is arguably the biggest propaganda lie of them all. No UK debt should devolve to Scotland. Scotland has been fiscally solvent for almost the entire duration of her treaty with England. Scotland came into the treaty without debt, Scotland should leave it the same way.
UK Propaganda has it Scotland was bankrupt in 1707. It was not. The only financial strain in Scotland was being felt by the landed gentry who backed the Darien Scheme. The burghs and towns were uniquely solvent. The merchant classes were extremely prosperous; trading with France, the low-countries and Scandinavia was strong. The Scots were, and remain wealthy.
To suggest that Scotland be responsible for a significant portion of UK debt is like having a lodger who always pays the rent and tips heavily, but the landlord is extravagant and spends beyond his means. A direct analogy would have the Landlord expecting the tenant to continue to pay the Landlord’s debts for years after the tenant moves out.
Scotland entered a treaty with England; in 1707 we effectively became tenants in common. Having significantly paid her way our spendthrift co-tenant expects us to clear their debts after the [treaty] lease is voided?
Scotland contains over 60% of the known EU oil reserves, with the EU currently agreeing to support the US strategic need for oil, this puts the Scots in a very high profile position. It also substantially diminishes the international diplomatic relevance of the soon to be realigned United Kingdom. Scots dying in global wars of ideology could soon stop, yet the USA needs the pet poodle that is the UK.
Basically the US requires EU oil for its strategic capability, the EU requires Scottish oil fields in order to supply it. This is why for many years the EU has been trying to wrest control of Scottish Oil from Westminster. It is why the EU will probably align itself with Westminster in a backroom deal to try to prevent Scottish nullification of the Union treaty, that part is consistent, it would remain “all about the oil”. Scotland is by far the largest petroleum producer in the EU.
It is also why it is inconceivable the EU would wish to see an Independent Scotland walk away from the EU. It would significantly destabilize the EU. In many ways the loss of Scotland’s resources to the EU would trigger a bigger catastrophe than the banking crisis.
Scotland, within certain limits could literally write its own ticket for entry to the EU, if she and her people should decide that is what they want. The EU would have to agree, and this is a position the EU would much prefer not to find itself in. The EU should therefore be expected to support the twitching corpse that is the UK until all apparent movement ceases.
The other stance the EU could take would be a public deal with the Scots to ensure uninterrupted energy supplies, which would be a progressive move, not a regressive one. The inertias within the EU also make it an unlikely move.
Scotland has a diversified and strong economy; England has centered its economy around finance for decades. In the real world that means while Scotland has been more focused in producing “stuff” in recent years, with another impending refocus on manufacturing for the “green revolution”, England has concentrated on shuffling paper. Both nations are getting the privilege of bailing out the paper shufflers [banks].
Working into the green energy field, as Oil production dips and revenues slowly follow suit, we will be discussing a pan-European super-grid. The grid is to be in place by 2050 with major corporations such as Siemens already committing to it.
The question follows with the super-grid becoming a reality in many of our lifetimes, where does that energy come from to power it. Depending upon how we choose to develop our resources Scotland should have anywhere between 30% and 70% of the EU green energy capacity in the years ahead.
The energy dynamic of the EU appears unlikely to change. Scotland now and in the future should be a major player. Energy in our modern world is the ultimate source of power. The impending rump of the UK has somewhat turned its back on green energy. The UK rump has little in the way of resources  there anyway. The rump of the UK is about to see its influence drop off the edge of a cliff after centuries of strutting the world stage.
Fishing and offshore mineral rights are another concern within the EU. Scotland has more meters of coastline per capita than the vast majority of EU nations and much of the EU future in coal reserves contained within her territorial waters. Scotland’s fishing reserves have for decades been a Westminster trading chip within the EU. A trading chip that’s been used by Westminster to benefit the South East of England rather than the nation to which it belongs by right.
Scotland, through her people and their history of invention and innovation, her academia funding and supporting dramatic research and development, and her incredible wealth of natural resources is poised again to punch far above her size in the global community.
The Global community is aware of this, and many quietly think the diminution of the UK on the world stage to be no bad thing at all. They can’t publicly declare it as such, yet.
We, the Scots, have many friends in the global community. We must finish walking the path of reaching out to them. We must put their governments into the position of reaching out to us.
The global community needs Scotland’s resources more than England’s often back handed friendship.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

England’s green and disenfranchised land. June 7th 2011

It is appropriate to refer to our poor cousins, the English, as almost completely disenfranchised. At least they should be considered disenfranchised with respect to the Scots in 2011, and  arguably with many nations. The mother of Parliaments has quietly transposed into the Mother of Dictatorships, or at least gives every appearance of marching along that weary road.
This was brought forcibly home when reading about Barak Obama’s visit to London recently. Many news outlets in England’s mainstream, both in print and broadcast form spent much of their available time espousing in various forms that “special” relationship that had now become an “essential” relationship between the UK and the USA.
The respective leaders coined the phraseology; the respective media’s duly set about propagandizing it for their respective consumer audiences. In Scotland the general air was indifference, at least in my extended circles which do cover a broad spectrum of the population.
In England that propaganda was expounded upon, setting both countries in some reports on parallel paths since the inception of democracy in Europe with the Magna Carta, and reporting that this is where the US constitution drew its roots. That the US constitution had its own beginnings in the Magna Carta and that laws and customs between the nations were so broadly similar for these historical reasons.
It would be harder to be farther from the truth.
Then we had Michael Moore twittering on about the need for two referendums.
Nothing could be farther from the truth. The UN legal stance and the recent separate international court ruling on the Kosovo case are but two present day precedents – one vote and one vote only is needed.
All Scotland would be doing is annulling a treaty it entered into three hundred and some years ago.
Surprisingly there were no questioning comments or any repudiation of these “facts” in any English journals comment sections, acknowledging these may have been overlooked, but they were certainly searched for.
The US system draws its strength from the rights of the individual, the citizen in whom all power is based: “We, the people” and “No taxation without representation” being two prime examples codified across the Atlantic.
The Magna Carta was founded in the curtailment of rights of the monarch by the barons. Nothing more, nothing less. The Magna Carta was based upon protecting the barons from having their property rights infringed. To the feudal barons in England at least, people [peasantry] were also property.
In Scotland we have a system emanating from the dark ages and potentially earlier, where the power was vested in the people. The monarch was originally an elected position, albeit from amongst an elite company.
This principle was expounded in the Declaration of Arbroath [1320] and reaffirmed on many occasions since.
Many Scots were among the “founding fathers” of the United States, it is acknowledged that they drew upon the 1320 declaration for inspiration, modified, expanded, clarified and created what is known today as the Declaration Of Independence.
Yet the English public accepted the propaganda fed to them almost without question. This is a propaganda outcome Goebbels could only have dreamed of.
In America if the governments wish to increase or reduce taxation it has to be in line with the constitution. In most instances the individual citizen gets to vote on it [there are some federal exceptions]. The individual must approve of the use to which taxes are put. This goes on the ballot at election time.
In between elections the US citizen votes for schools, roads, rubbish, hospitals and local health levies, all types and manner of issues can come before the electorate. There have been smoking bans and library fees, mental health support to building permits balloted there.
Compare that to England’s green and disenfranchised land: They get a couple of votes every decade, each for local and Westminster elections. What happens in between they have no say in.
In England they have a choice of three primary parties, all are vanilla. It’s  choice, vanilla with a hint of raspberry, a hint of banana, or a hint of blueberry, primarily it’s vanilla. It’s much more subtle than the old soviet communist system where there was only one party. The reality in today’s England is there is really only one set of core policies on offer – one basic choice. This gives Scot’s an equally basic choice of a two party system, Independence first or Union first.
Between elections the English are so indoctrinated into Queen and Country that they have forgotten what the word “protest” means. Putting 250,000 people into London for one day on a single march is not protest – it’s nothing more than a gentle “oi”. It doesn’t even rate a capital “O”.
Putting 50,000 or even 5,000 outside the houses of Parliament for a year is a protest, except protests outside Westminster have actually been outlawed, and without any protest either.
Arguably then a significant extended protest is blatantly beyond the capacity of the English, and the Scots with their own parliament and different level of enfranchisement are demonstrably relatively uncaring about Westminster in this present day.
Most Scots, it could be said, would be rid of the Commons and Lords altogether, based upon the fact that substantially less than 50% of 2011 votes cast actually went to one of the main Union parties.
In England the chosen political party does what it’s elected to do. Between elections there is little voice or impact the common Citizen of England has, and what they care to use is most often ignored by Westminster. Westminster can do this for many reasons.
Westminster is sovereign over the people of England, unlike Holyrood which owes its sovereignty to the people of Scotland. Scotland has a reconvened parliament. When the parliament was placed in session in 1999 it was stated clearly by Winnie Ewing in her opening remarks that it was “Reconvened”.
It was not a new parliament under new rules, it was the original Scots parliament under its original rules. These rules can be modified or changed by the Scots, but not by Westminster without Scots consent.
England remained voiceless. The English parliament suspended in 1707 was not reconvened. A new substitute was not offered to the English. The English therefore have no independent voice. The English and to some extent Welsh must suffer what the UK dictates.

The UK has dictated foundation hospitals. The UK has dictated rising university fees. The UK has dictated end of life care fees. The UK has dictated prescription fees. The UK has cleared increased council fees. The English must simply put up with this. England has no parliament; the English have no independent voice.
Westminster could not reconvene the English parliament without making clear to all citizens of the UK and the global community that the United Kingdom was simply a political construct of the 1707 treaty. The ramifications internal and external to the United Kingdom did not bear contemplation.
The Scots would largely realise they had been living under a lie, it [the UK] is and was not a single nation. The English could clamour for their own parliament, realizing they were almost utterly disenfranchised. At best a “federal UK” would climb from the ashes, for it was exceedingly unlikely the Scots would vote for the ridiculous terms of the 1707 treaty again, even with the BBC promoting it.
With the knowledge that the Scots would be unlikely ever again to devolve their administration to Westminster as they did in 1707 the house of cards would collapse.
The global banking community would re-assess the UK, quickly understanding its debts are not quite as solid as it had believed. The UK has no oil to back these debts. If the constituent nations so choose, the UK can quickly become a penniless, worthless, deceased political construct.
It is not beyond credence that rather than pay the debt shares of the old “UK”, England realizing its position was untenable would default. Scotland may opt to the take the view that as she was a net contributor, the debts should not devolve onto her resources. The creditors would call in their marks. The sham of a “single” United Kingdom being one nation would again be fatally exposed.
The only possibility for Westminster then was to call what was happening in Scotland “Devolution”, not “Resumption” or “Restoration” which in actuality it is. As long as the “Devolution” lie could be propagandised and expounded, the English would never realise that they remained disenfranchised. A tame media is often a prime asset.

The “West Lothian Question” must also stay on the back burner as it is a thorny issue, but was incorporated de-facto into the treaty of Union. The simple way to address the “West Lothian Question” is with a federal UK, but that would require a separate English parliament, resuming its original or a limited version of its powers, with both nations at some point voting on the powers they would devolve to Westminster.
We’re back again to the Scots re-affirming the 1707 treaty, not likely to happen.
The only other way to resolve “The West Lothian Question” is to ban Scots MP’s from voting on English only issues, and vice versa. With two completely separate legal systems and separate laws required (in most cases) to be enacted for each the “disunity” of the United Kingdom would again be highlighted.
English MP’s voting on purely English laws and Scots MP’s voting on purely Scots laws – very quickly one nation or the other would question, and question very seriously “Why the extra layer of government?”.
This question has no logical answer excepting “Why indeed”.
In the future of any “United Kingdom” it is therefore exceptionally unlikely that any variant of “The West Lothian Question” will be answered, as to do so would in all likelihood lead to the rapid demise of UK – plc itself.
While the vested interest at Westminster states it must survive, the individual citizens of Scotland/England/Wales and Northern Ireland would probably declare otherwise in a fair, free and open debate. Westminster cannot allow a fair free and open debate to challenge its authority.
The English it appears will therefore remain disenfranchised until the Scots choose otherwise.