I've followed your blog for quite some time but this piece is very upsetting.
Let's start with this: "Scottish identity is fundamentally an ethnic affiliation." I'm sorry, but that's completely wrong. How does one explain all of those English born SNP activists not to mention the various English born SNP members at Holyrood? Our SNP education secretary was born in Kent. And what about the SNP's Asian politicians and the fact that the SNP deputy leader represents what's probably the most ethnically Asian place in Scotland?
Also let's note that the SNP wants the independence referendum to be based on those who live here. It's the unionists who want it to based on place of birth.
The desire for independence is connected with Scotland's different civic society, not on ethnicity.
Your students take A- levels; ours take Highers. Your degrees take three years; ours take four years. You have barristers; we have advocates. The head of your national church is the Queen: the head of ours is Jesus Christ. Your chartered accountants are ACAs or FCAs; ours are CAs. Your architects are in the RIBA; ours are in the RIAS. Your teachers join the NUT; ours the EIS. Your cup final takes place at Wembley; ours at Hampden. You have twelve-man juries; we have fifteen. Your National Portrait Gallery is in St Martin's Place; ours is in Queen Street.
And so on and so on.
It's the existence of our own separate civil society that's the key to understanding Scotland.
The idea that the identities of Bradford and Liverpool are unique in the same way as Scotland's is risible.
By the way, this separate Scottish civil society is not the result of devolution, but rather its cause. And it may well become the cause of independence if its existence continues to be ignored by England. The "presumption of the English norm" is what will most likely end the Union. A Union of which I am actually quite fond.
The Scottish (and English) border has been established for centuries. Does anyone think that Germany can't be clearly defined despite its several boundary changes in the last century? Then I wonder why you mention "The Orkneys", a sure sign of not knowing much about Scotland. Ah, it's the oil, isn't it? If I had a pound for every English person who told us that the boundary didn't go due eastwards, I could buy all of the oil in the North Sea for myself. We do study geography up here you know. As it happens, international law applies the equidistance principle in these cases, not the angle of entry into the sea. As it also so happens, the equidistance principle also means a northeasterly boundary. Universities, think tanks, economists, and yes, oil companies know all of this full well. All revenue calculations are based on the internationally accepted northeasterly boundary. Of course, if some of our English friends get their way and Hadrian's Wall is rebuilt things would be very different…
On the EU, I'd love it for an independent Scotland to be out of the whole thing. But I take it you haven't heard of recent Spanish government pronouncements rejecting claims that they'd blackball Scotland, the EU's biggest source of oil and a major supplier of fish to Spain. There are plenty of European lawyers who accept that Scotland and the RUK would both be regarded as successor states to the UK. That's historically logical, is it not? On that basis, both would have to re-apply or both would automatically continue as members.
It would seem that you are unaware that government figures regularly show that Scotland is financially a boringly average part of the UK and indeed of Europe, and that it has recently been doing better than the rest of the UK.
I have little doubt that the most likely cause of the break-up of the UK be southern misunderstanding.
Wednesday, 22 February 2012
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