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Tuesday, November 07, 2006

"They can't take our freedom"

A recent survey has been conducted that showed that Scottish people want to become independent from Britain (yeah, cos THAT was necessary). They want their own economy, they want their own armed forces, their own healthcare and education system, they want to have absolutely nothing to do with England or the English because, as everyone on the planet knows, they HATE us.

I know bugger all about economics, and very little about politics (clearly), but I can't help wondering: why don't we give it to them?
I like Scotland and Scottish people a great deal - despite the fact that they despise me and all my fellow countrymen - but it is my understanding that we (particularly those of us who live in London) pay rather a lot of money towards subsidising Scotland. The figures on this are not easily found, but what even Scottish politicians rarely dispute is that the Scottish enjoy a number of better living standards than the English, such as a considerably higher standard of secondary education. Moreover, Scotland (which last I knew, insisted that a whopping 85 per cent of its University students were drawn from within its own boundaries) is the only part of the United Kingdom that does not charge students for higher education, while their counterparts in Devon, Belfast and Swansea are busy working on their lifetime of debt.

Well now, I'm kind of old-fashioned in that I believe there should be one rule for all in a 'United' country, so I'm not best impressed by the fact that one group of people should live by considerably different rules to other people - particularly when the latter group is actually helping to pay for that difference in rules.

So for what it's worth, as a taxpayer, I'm more than happy for Scotland to go it alone. If they think they can live without me, I'm more than happy to live without them.

If nothing else, Scottish independence will mean that when Scotspeople the world over whinge endlessly about how hard done by they are, for the first time in hundreds of years, they won't be able to blame it on the English.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/6121698.stm

6 comments:

CM said...

You said "They want their own economy, they want their own armed forces, their own healthcare and education system, they want to have absolutely nothing to do with England or the English because, as everyone on the planet knows, they HATE us."

Okay - lets get some things straight. We have our own armed forces (just) they are called The Royal Regiment of Scotland. We used to have more but sucessive governments in Westminster have reduced that to one remaining regiment. Only problem is our armed forces are controlled from Westminster.

We already have our own health care system. (Health is a devolved matter)

We already have our own education system (Education is a devolved matter and Scotland continuing its education system was a condition of union back in 1707)

We don't want to have absolutely nothing to do with England or the English (Notice the double negative, which is correctly interpreted in the English language as a positive, regardless of what Eastenders might teach). That means we do wish to engage with England and the English.

"everyone on the planet knows, they HATE us." - I don't, even although you are making it quite difficult for me to like you and we've only got as far as your opening paragraph.

I'll tell you what I hate. I hate being told by the government in Westminster what I can and cannot do. I hate being manipulated by a system that is designed to benefit the people in the south eastern corner of the island known as Great Britain.

England is a country, and I don't hate countries. The English are a people and as a group I don't hate the English. There may be the odd one here-or-there that I hate, just as there is the odd Scot here-or-there that I hate.

"I can't help wondering: why don't we give it to them?" - That is exactly what I want. I want to be part of an Independent Scotland that can interact with England and the English as the Irish do, or the Canadians, or Australians. It didn't hurt those countries to become independent of the British Empire.

"despite the fact that they despise me and all my fellow countrymen" Whoops! There you go again. Making false assumptions. I don't despise you. Why would I? I'm not racsist (at least I don't think I am). You, personally, would have to do something to me to make me despise you. I am not going to despise you because of your nationality.

"such as a considerably higher standard of secondary education" Remember we have always had a different education system here - and we have been educating children en mass for the longest period in Europe.

"Scotland is the only part of the United Kingdom that does not charge students for higher education" - Canvas your local polititian if you want the same. This is a devolved power and we can choose what we like, just as you can. If you want the same, vote for a politian that will give it to you. Do I complain that VAT is 17.5% when the equivalent tax is zero% in the state of Delaware. If I want to reduce that I write to my local politian and make my case.

"which last I knew, insisted that a whopping 85 per cent of its University students were drawn from within its own boundaries" - Interestingly when I was at University (in Scotland) there were a heck of a lot of people from Northern Ireland, South Africa, and some even from England. If you go to The University of Edinburgh you'll find that the majority of students are from England. (or at least it sounds that way when you walk down the corridors)

"I'm kind of old-fashioned in that I believe there should be one rule for all in a 'United' country" - Why not tell that to the people of the United States where each of the 50 states has its own rules. It seems to work pretty well for them.

"particularly when the latter group is actually helping to pay for that difference in rules" - You don't actually order the groups so there is no "latter" group. I'm guessing the "latter" group is England. An interesting statistic: £27Billion surplase tax revenue was generated during Margaret Thatchers reign in Scotland than was given back by the treasury - And that is a figure that the Torys have actually admitted to and is not in dispute. So, who is subsidising who? (Remember also, oil prices were normal back then. They are much higher now).

" I'm more than happy for Scotland to go it alone. If they think they can live without me, I'm more than happy to live without them." If by that you mean we get to live in separate houses then great. I'm with you there. I hope we can be friendlier neighbours than we are housemates, because I'm getting all these negative vibes from you.

"If nothing else, Scottish independence will mean that when Scotspeople the world over whinge endlessly about how hard done by they are, for the first time in hundreds of years, they won't be able to blame it on the English." - Very true. I want to be the captain of my own destiny. If I screw up I want no one to blame but myself.

Lots of hugs from Scotland!!! :)

Jo said...

Hello!

Thanks for leaving your comment. As I said, I'm not an expert on politics or economics and clearly you know a lot more about this than me. Always happy to be better educated, so many thanks for helping me become so.

Perhaps it is interesting that, despite my attempts at researching this on political websites and whathaveyou, it was hard to find clear information setting out exactly WHAT devolution brought Scotland. This is quite possibly further proof of your theory that the 'system' is geared toward the south east. While you may be quite right, it's interesting that Londoners FEEL like they're getting a fairly crappy deal. Who the hell DOES feel like they're getting well served by Westminster, I wonder? (Sorry, another issue entirely).

Glad too that we agree on the desirability of Scottish independence (apart from the 'hating the English' bit - I have to say I've never been accused of being personally responsible for "rape and pillage" in Surrey, whereas I have in Scotland, but far be it for me to split hairs...!). My support for Scottish independence, while dressed up in weak humour, is genuine.

My observations on Scotland and the Scottish people are not meant to be offensive but are intended to provoke the kind of debate we're now having. If you are genuinely offended, however, then I apologise sincerely.

As with most things in my life I am basing my observations (for they are, of course, merely observations) on my personal experience. Yes, of course it's preposterous for me to suggest that Scotland wants independence from Westminster purely because Scottish people "hate the English". It was meant as a joke - albeit in childish bad taste.
That said, my personal experience in Scotland is of having been on the receiving end of racism for the first time in my life (and before you blame that on my obvious obnoxiousness, it is a recognisable experience for a great deal of English people). As a white woman, I am extremely fortunate not to be a 'victim' of racism in my daily life, and to find myself in that position north of the border affected me, and was, each time, an interesting and thought provoking experience. Is all I'm saying.

Oh, and thanks for the lesson in the use of the English language. Personally I don't take my lead from Eastenders (as I believe was implied?) but from David Caruso in CSI Miami. Perhaps that's where I'm going wrong - I should stick much more closely to the cockney cliche.

However, I do feel obliged to take issue with your remark that having different laws for different states works well for the US...there's an interesting book called 'United States of Anger: People and the American Dream' by Gavin Esler that sets out the opposing argument in a far more interesting and professional manner than I ever could (dreadful title, but give it a chance). Chomsky has also written a couple of dense but fascinating essays on this issue.

For the most part it seems to me we're in agreement: we both want to live within systems that are fair and where we are self-governed. I want that as much for Scotland as you do, and in that endeavour I wish you much luck.

Thanks again for setting me straight on the points I'd got wrong, and for taking the time to read and reply.

Jo
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Jo said...

Having said I found very little related online, this is a half interesting thread that touches on some of the same points (paricularly with reference to Scottish oil revenue):

http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/actionnetwork/F1642588?thread=3212121


This, on the other hand, is amusingly peculiar:

http://www.brenna.co.uk/hate.html

CM said...

A wee thing that just occured to me on education. EU rules say that what rules are put in place on university entry and payment must apply equally to other EU member states. In otherwords, if a student from France, say, wanted to attend a Scottish university then they'd pay as much as a Scottish student would becuase the rules have to apply across the EU. But if a student from England wants to do the same then they cannot because (from the EU and world's perspective) Scotland is not an independent country (it is part of the United Kingdom). If Scotland were to become independent any students from England that wish to benefit from the Scottish education system would be able to do so.

CM said...

"I have to say I've never been accused of being personally responsible for "rape and pillage" in Surrey, whereas I have in Scotland" - Don't worry, I was in a pub in London once and someone that sounded like a typical Barrow Boy got into a conversation with one of my friends and proceeded to tell him how much better the English were than the Scots. So, it kinda goes both ways. I think the way to respond to that kind of thing is with as much dignity as possible, which I know is difficult when provoked.

"That said, my personal experience in Scotland is of having been on the receiving end of racism for the first time in my life" - I've been on the receiving end in England too. I was once repeatedly told to speak properly because "I don't speak jockanese". (I've travelled a lot and I've been told that although I do have a little of my Scots burr my accent is fairly neutral). There will always be a group of narrow minded idiots where ever you go.

"If you are genuinely offended, however, then I apologise sincerely." - Don't worry, I'm not offended.

"However, I do feel obliged to take issue with your remark that having different laws for different states works well for the US" - Fair enough, I can hardly call myself an expert in that matter.

Jo said...

Interesting point about education and the EU.

Remind the right people in the NUS of it, and the campaign for Scottish independence might get a lot of support on this side of the border yet...

Jo