Saturday, September 20, 2014

Thoughts on the Referendum Results

It is all over now, Britannia prevailed and the United Kingdom has survived, as predicted. Given the last-minute, desperate promises “Call Me Dave” Cameron made to the Scots about having even more powers devolved to Scotland (how many more could there be?) one might wonder if what was decided was no more than a matter of words with Scotland being, in the end, “independent” in all but name anyway. However, lest we forget, the vote was never for genuine Scottish independence in the first place nor is there anything for Scotland to become “independent” from. It is not as though Scotland was some conquered province, though many people seem to have been led to believe that. Just for a brief refresher, the Kingdom of Scotland and the Kingdom of England first came together because the Queen of England, Elizabeth I, never got married and had children so that the King of Scots became King of England as well. In all the years since, Scotland has never been the victims of England and it is wrong, and I would say insulting, to portray them as such. Whether one looks at the horrible Cromwellian period or the glorious Jacobite uprisings, the Scots themselves were partly to blame for their own suffering. The Scots had been the first to take up arms against the King, clearing the path for the English Civil Wars and in each of the Jacobite uprisings there were plenty of Scots who fought against the Stuarts, in fact, sometimes more Scots fought against the Stuarts than for them.

There was, undoubtedly, considerable pressure applied to Scotland to obtain its consent to the Act of Union but there is also no doubt that Scotland benefited immensely from the arrangement. The country became an industrial powerhouse in Great Britain and Scots tended to have high positions in the private sector, the army and the government. The sort of Scotland that the SNP envisions is nothing at all like the Scotland of old but rather is an insult to everything that previous generations stood for and believed in. A number of “Yes” supporters, speaking on American television said that they were simply following the example of the United States in wishing to be independent of England. I doubt that, but, if so, they are betraying all that the Scots of that time fought for because whether it was the highland regiments in the British army or the loyalist highlanders of the piedmont region in the Carolinas, the Scots fought for King George and the United Kingdom in that conflict, just as they fought for it on battlefields all over the world for centuries. The Scots were not victims of the British Empire but partners in it. Of course, in those days Scotland was known as the land where religion, frugality and loyalty prevailed. Today it is more a land with a Maoist First Minister promising a land of socialism, secularism and environmentalism though still funded by the oil industry.

It is the Labour Party that must bear the responsibility for having brought Scotland to this confused state as it was their members which first started spreading the socialist disease in the country; the country that had previously produced Adam Smith. They managed to engrain socialism so deeply in Scotland that they turned what may have been the most fiscally conservative country in the world into a country dependent on government benefits (what Americans would call ‘welfare’). They vote for the party that promises them more of the socialist narcotic they have been hooked on which is why the Tories could be forgiven for not even bothering to run candidates in Scotland and why UKIP members are attacked by angry mobs when they dare open their mouths. The SNP began to grow amongst those for whom the Labour Party was no longer socialist enough. Their claim to be for the de-centralization of power is easily misunderstood. True, they want the government in London to have less power but they want the government in Edinburgh to have even more. Despite the “No” vote coming out on top, it seems they will still be given the opportunity to be tyrannized by politicians in Edinburgh rather than London.

Of course, for the faction that was always characterized by being based on emotion rather than reason, the “Yes” side has not been entirely gracious in accepting their defeat. Watching the BBC, the losing “Vote Yes” side immediately began saying, bitterly, that the “campaign of fear” by the “Vote No” crowd was a success. Well, if that is true, it is surely immensely insulting to the Scots as to having any fortitude or courage at all. People who are in a position in which they are truly yearning to be “free” are not going to be frightened off the idea by an ad campaign, particularly not an ad campaign so inept as “Better Together” was. And surely there can be nothing more insulting to the Scottish reputation for courage and heroism than to say that they were actually intimidated by the likes of “Call Me Dave” Cameron and Gordon “Is Alive!” Brown. Give me a break! If that is true, Scotland has fallen far indeed into the socialist morass if the country that produced the highland charge and the “thin, red line” was frightened into voting “no” by the prospect of having to produce their own currency or losing out on some benefits.

What is truly unfortunate is that there seems to be no sign that this socialist mentality will be changing anytime soon. Relatively few people seem to realize what is going on right in front of them. During the coverage of the referendum, I noticed how broadcasters kept repeating, in making predictions, how impoverished areas and areas with the most people on benefits were most likely to vote SNP. That should tell people something, and the same applies to Labour as well as the SNP. Politicians can see such trends as easily as anyone in the media and anyone should have the intelligence to realize that a politician is motivated by a thirst for power and keeping his or her job and if people being poor and on benefits means they keep getting reelected, does anyone really believe such politicians will genuinely work to get people out of poverty and off of benefits? Of course not! Like leftist parties the world over, they do all that is in their power to keep as many people in poverty and dependent on benefits as possible. This is why they want to make benefits as widely available as possible and have them last as long as possible because the statistics clearly show that this means more reliable votes to keep them in power.

Now that the referendum is over, in fact almost before it was over, the new topic of the day became the “English question”. What will England do with Scotland getting so much more autonomy? There has, for some time, been at least some minor grumbling that while Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have their own parliament or assemblies in which the English have no vote, all of them still have votes in Westminster to decide on English issues. Devolution still seems to be the way things are going and, perhaps, there will be at least one good side to that. If a place like Scotland gains total autonomy within the United Kingdom, perhaps they will be forced to deal with the consequences of their own electoral decisions. Perhaps they will learn the hard way that socialism doesn’t work. I have to say “perhaps” because so many still cling to the notion despite the multitude of examples, past and present, all over the world that socialism does not work and cannot work. Take a people as intelligent and technically minded as the Germans, add socialism and you get an East Germany that couldn’t even build a decent car. Take Russia, which had farmland sufficient to feed the world, add socialism and you get a Soviet Union that had bread lines. Take a country with all the oil wealth of Venezuela, add socialism and you get a country that can’t even supply their people with toilet paper.

Decentralizing power, in principle, tends to be a good thing. What the SNP wanted was a disaster waiting to happen because, as I have mentioned before, it was not really independence. They wanted all the powers that go with independence but none of the responsibility, they wanted to break up with England but still be “friends with benefits”. So, they complained that all their economic woes were the fault of England but still wanted to use the English pound and piggy-back off the English economy. Similarly, they complained about being “forced” to go fight in “America’s wars” but still wanted to be part of NATO and so avail themselves of the protection of the American military. They also wanted to a totally non-nuclear, environmentalist “green” country while basing their entire economic model on oil. As the old, and somewhat confusing, saying goes, in every way they wanted to have their cake and eat it too. I do hope the realization of that was at least part of the reason why the “No” vote prevailed by a considerable majority.

Personally, I am mostly pleased that Scotland will remain a monarchy and that the ancient Scottish Crown will not be left at the mercy of the SNP and the “former” Maoist, “former” republican and now (thankfully) former First Minister. I am glad that the other separatists in the monarchies of the world did not get the big boost they were hoping for from a “Yes” vote and I am pleased that, after 307 years, the United Kingdom has survived. Aside from all the further political squabbling that will follow, I hope that the spirit behind the “Better Together” campaign will carry on and will begin to instill in the population of the United Kingdom a deeper sense of pride and patriotism. I hope they will highlight what a great and glorious country they are, what a proud history they have and what a force for good Great Britain has been in the world. Certainly that should also include the system of constitutional monarchy which proved such a success that peoples all over the world once tried to emulate it. Too much has been taken for granted in the UK and many, many other countries. With the dangers facing Britain today, it is absolutely vital that people begin to again have a better sense of themselves, a healthy national pride and a willingness to stand together and to stand up for themselves. Long live Britannia and God Save the Queen!


  1. As someone taking a new appreciation for the US, I'm insulted by the assertion that some Scots think they're "like America." No they aren't! The political situation between Scotland and Great Britain and the relationship that the Thirteen Colonies had with London was completely different. The reasons for the fight were not manufactured, colonists felt cheated out of the Ohio territory and even some in parliament felt they couldn't tax the Colonies the way they were without adequate representation. Scotland is quite literally making things up, going off of "Braveheart" like it's historically accurate - when did Scotland stop hating that movie anyway? - and digging up the Wars of Independence like they have anything to do with the current reason Scotland is a part of Great Britain.

    SNP is flat-out unintelligent rabble, and I'm quite happy that the UK - particularly Scotland - remembered their own history and wisely voted to stay together.

  2. While the outcome does mean everyone can rest easy for a while, the issue is by no means settled. The SNP is going to do the same thing that radical republicans do in other countries when the democratic process doesn't go their way - try for another referendum, then another, then another, until the people eventually vote the way they want them to.

    At any rate, it is rather troubling to think that as many as 45% of Scots are dissatisfied with the current status quo - actually much more than that, since many of those that voted in favor of saving the union did so only with the understanding that Scotland's position in it is open for renegotiation via additional devolution. It is a troubling thought for the future of the UK, and does unfortunately mean that some sort of drastic reform will be needed to restore public consensus in the union. I don't know what form it would take, but I do find it interesting that the British government has used the concept of a federation so often throughout the Empire and Commonwealth as a solution to governance (Canada, Australia, Malaysia, India, South Africa, the West Indies), but has never thought of applying it to the homeland.

    Also interesting is that referendums on independence and abolishing monarchy are totally fine to re-do if the "correct" result isn't achieved, but the referendum on UK membership in the EEC is considered totally unassailable for all time, even though the EU of today is quite a bit different from what was then basically just a free trade zone.

    The American media has totally missed the point on this too - I can't stand how many times I've heard the referendum couched in terms like accountable government, localization, etc, when its the opposite. The SNP's supporters wanted MORE government, MORE welfare, MORE regulation, HIGHER taxes and were angry that the UK government wasn't doing enough of that. This was a referendum on "independence", but that doesn't always mean the same thing as "freedom".

    1. The number 55% is also troubling for me because they aren't solely representing the Unionist fraction in Scotland. Within this number lies the "Yes vote folks" who simply believe that Scotland at this point is incapable to be economically independent from UK and of course this number also represents the Northern Isles (Shetland & Orkney) who simply choose to be British more than to be Scottish.

  3. A British Monarch, I forget which one once said something like "anyone who hurts Scotland, hurts me as bad as if someone hurts England". A remark that all British citizens should remember and take to heart.

    1. Which is natural as the monarch was uniting Britain a considerable time before the Act of Union brought them under one government. Depending on the monarch, it would make even more sense. Up until the death of Queen Anne the monarchs of England were from a Scottish family. Their successors (neither Scottish or English) could not have kept their throne without considerable Scottish support, Queen Victoria was certainly very attached to Scotland and of course the current Queen's mother was Scottish. Such are the ties that make separation an absurd notion.

    2. If memory serves, the aforementioned remark was said by King George IV during His state visit to Scotland.

    3. Not to mention, in the case of the Lowlands, the cultural ties have always been great. The Scottish Lowlands have spoken English as long as the English have. If there is any part of Scotland that truly lacks cultural unity with the rest of Britain, it's the Highlands (they voted No Thanks!), but they are still a minority in an independent Scotland as in the United Kingdom. They have also historically been treated even more poorly by Lowlanders than by Englishmen. Considering the Highlanders' relatively conservative religious bent and the Lowlands' extreme liberalism on that front, it wouldn't surprise me if that became the case again under the aegis of the "tolerance" god again.


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