Tuesday, 28 June 2016

What about the Spirit of Scotland? Three possibilities

While the people of England and Wales have decided that what they want in future is Brexit, that is less obviously the case for Scotland who voted to Remain but with a much lower turnout than England.

(The EU issue is of much less interest in Scotland than England - among the ordinary people of England it has been a very important issue for decades, despite that their views have been completely ignored until now.)

Scotland is important. Background: Over the years Scotland usually has about a tenth of the population of England, but a similar land area (with many islands - there is a lot of water and mountain in Scotland!).

Britain is the name of the Island comprising England, Wales and Scotland; but the island was not united until 1603 when it came under the rule of King James VI of Scotland, who became James I of Great Britain (the Union of Crowns) - then a century later (1707) the Parliaments unified (The Union - ie. including Parliaments) - with Scotland retaining its own (Presbyterian) national church, legal system and educational system. At present there has been a measure of devolution with a Scottish Parliament.

On the whole, The Union was very successful (despite Jacobite rebellions in 1715; then 1745 - Bonny Prince Charlie) with mutual benefits - and the Scots were exceptionally active in the Industrial Revolution and the British Empire.

However, for the past century Scotland has developed an unappealing devotion to Leftism (often actual Soviet-modelled Communism - which was stronger in Scotland, especially its largest city Glasgow, than anywhere else in Britain), and to a 'victim mentality' which is focused on blaming England for all its ills.

Socialism and victimhood (and Republicanism) are enshrined in the current largest and ruling party in Scotland - the Scottish National Party (SNP). Their goal is an independent Scotland which has cut all national ties with England but remains in the EU. The SNP held a referendum for Scottish Independence a couple of years ago; the result of which - like Brexit - astonished the ruling establishment including the mass media - because Scotland voted to reject independence and preserve its historic ties with England.

But the fact that Scotland voted Remain while England voted to Leave the EU has tempted the SNP to call for another Referendum - so that Scotland will not be forced to Brexit against their will and merely because they were outvoted by England. This seems a reasonable argument, and I expect there will indeed be another Referendum, and soon - but in the current turmoil, who knows?

So what will happen in Scotland - in particular to the national Spirit? Three possibilities suggest themselves.

1. There will be another referendum on Scottish Independence, and Scotland will vote to leave England and stay in the EU. This will mean Scotland giving-up their culture of complaint and victimhood - and living as a small notion in a big world where they will get no special treatment, will have no significant power, and will surely end up paying-out to support the ailing nations of the EU (especially when England's massive contribution to the EU is subtracted from its funds).

But although tough, this would probably be good for the psychology of Scotland - allowing an independence of spirit as will as politically.

(Although this benefit of Independence was not evident in Ireland for a long time and probably still is not: despite nearly a century of the Republic or Ireland (Eire) the Irish still refuse to give-up their elaborate culture of victimhood; and their whole political system is arranged in terms of party attitudes to the division of Ireland.)

2. There will be another referendum, but the turnout will be higher as it becomes clear that the Leave vote was (as in England) suppressed by widespread informal intimidation by mass media and the rulers; and when forced to chose between Europe and England, Scotland would prefer England and Brexit.

This would also be good for Scottish psychology, because it would be (another) clear, positive, wide-awake vote for The Union, and also would tend to diminish the infantilising victimhood narrative.

3. Referendum or not, Scotland will Leave the EU with England and Wales; but not (like the English) in a spirit of hope, independence and adventure; because the Scots will forever blame England for forcing them to leave the EU, indeed blame England more than ever for their sufferings, for everything that goes wrong after Brexit (and there will be many such things).

Option 3 is, of course, in spiritual terms the worst of all possible worlds - with maximum disadvantage and minimum advantage - and therefore quite likely to be (human nature as it is) exactly what will happen!

But I would love to be proved mistaken...

[Note: I am not Scottish; but I and my family have lived there for considerable periods, and I have a long term interest in Scottish history and literature. By descent I had a grandmother descended from the Protestant Scottish who were probably settled-in Northern Ireland after the Union of Crowns - in our surname's particular case, by being 'ethnically cleansed' from Britain - an atrocity done with, it must be said, considerable justification! (i.e recurrent recidivist hereditary psychopathy). Also, I live in the northernmost English city, only an hour and a quarter's driving time from the Scottish border.]