The Early Days of a Better Nation

Monday, January 31, 2005


'Nothing is more precious than independence and freedom.'

- Declaration of Independence, Democratic Republic of Vietnam.

Scottish nationalist Stuart Dickson explains his admirably broad range of links to Scottish political blogs:

I am not so interested in endless dialogue with the already converted, but I am fascinated by the thoughts and feelings of the unconverted. So let's start talking to each other, cos I really want to know why some people do not support self-government. It seems so obvious to me and SNP members that it is often hard to grasp why others are so hesitating. After all, independence is almost universally acknowledged to be a fine attribute in an individual, a housekeeping budget, a family or an enterprise; so why is it such a bad thing for a country to be independent?
Independence and self-government are fine things. We already live in an independent, self-governing country. It's called Britain. The real question is why some of us think Scottish independence would be a bad thing. Here are my thoughts and feelings on the subject: I think it would be a disaster, and I feel about it nothing but dread.


Any ambitious Scot with a real talent for politics uses or develops it in British, not Scottish, politics. This applies to the SNP as much as to the others: every one of their big hitters is or was a Westminster MP. A politically ambitious Scot without much political talent goes into local or Scottish politics. Which lot are likely to form the government of an independent Scotland? Holyrood gives us the answer.

Most of the parties at Holyrood are in favour of a nanny-state smoking ban, restrictions on sectarian parades (restrictions whose inevitable consequence, civil liberties aside, would be to exacerbate sectarianism), and making it a crime to carry a penknife. In a normal country any one of these would be met with outrage. Not in Scotland.

The problem lies deeper than the quality of politicians. Independence would only improve matters if more of the Scottish people were to indeed acknowledge independence to be a fine attribute in an individual, and fewer were to regard it with as much enthusiasm as a tick regards sheep-dip.

There used to be a Scottish nationalist T-shirt slogan: 'England is foreign to me.' For myself, I'd prefer to be a true commonwealth's man. I refuse any politics that would make me a foreigner in England. I love England, I believe in England, I believe in the principles of the English Revolution: a revolution that Scotland started, and that in the ruins of Dunkeld, Scotland saved; that became America; and that a wider world will yet complete.

I look forward to the United Republic.


Post a Comment