This is a reblog. I had been getting increasingly steamed up on the theme that this whole independence debate pivots around the wrong topic. At its root, it is NOT about what the Scots think of Scotland: it’s about what Scots and our English cousins think of Britain. On that topic there’s a wheen of difference and an edge to debate that threatens to turn ugly.
But before I could formulate this any more subtly, I came across Derek Bateman’s blog and found he’d already written a more incisive commentary than I could have managed anyway. As the man says himself:
“The British state, no matter which party is in power, (is) self-serving and contemptuous of the people it is supposed to serve.”
In deconstructing the British state and its culture, he asks if we really want this kind of government—an oligarchic monolith that knows every answer without ever having to pose questions—perpetuating a kind of Deus-ex-St-Trinians. This cultural nomenklatura has ruled us all uninterruptedly since “rebellious Scots” were brought to heel (if not crushed) and a Nelsonian blind eye turned to lucrative slave/opium/raw goods exploitation in which Glasgow became as sordidly complicit as Liverpool or Bristol.
And if you think that’s old-hat tobacco baron and/or Jardine-Matheson history, ask yourself what business British gunboats had in Brunei or Persia in the fifties, Oman in the seventies, Iraq in the nineties/noughties, right up to Libya last year. If your answer doesn’t include ‘oil’ then your understanding of what really drives Westminster appears flawed.
The real question: do Scots still want to be any part of a country like that?