When would reality dawn?

Scotland is an excitable place right now. Frenetic almost. There is a barrage of facebook and twitter activity directed particularly at the under 25 voter – all giving the impression that the majority want separation from the United Kingdom.

And if this marketing campaign were successful? What then..

The great majority of the facts – economic, social and historic firmly conclude that a separate Scotland would be poorer, more divided and alienated from many international institutions. EU, Nato, UK to name a few.

I wonder how long it would take before the Scottish electorate becom disillusioned. Before reality dawns. And what then – which part of society would get the blame I wonder?

The heavy burden of social justice and the weight of racism

I spent this evening with three vibrant and interesting people. Worth listening to. The debate moved between Scottish Nationalism, feminism and social justice. I lived through that shift in Britain from an integrated society toward a materialist “me” and money driven culture.

There is a frustration, almost a scream across many parts of the United Kingdom, raging against social inequality. The facts speak for themselves – since Thatcher and Regan – the  rich have become indescribably wealthy, whilst the poor have become excluded. The argument for Scottish Nationalism that is based around the desire to create a new socially cohesive society is seductive.. There is a heavy burden – the cause of social justice that weighs on their side.

However..

The argument is waged by politicians and the satanic ally they have called up, wittingly or not, racism pure and simple. Anti-English views are just that. Racist. All and any Scot who even jokingly or in aside to themselves justifies a nationalism on this basis is equivalent, in my view with the worst of the past century’s infamous racist leaders. All of them should consult their motivation in the privacy of their homes. Many will not be honest with themselves. To strive for independence on the basis of social justice as a cloak for racism is just despicable.

And further…

Is independence the ONLY route to social justice in the British Isles? Would independence  promote social justice? If so – then it needs to be seriously considered. But what about a vote for socialism. This is the traditional, integrated and well trodden path which successfully confronted unadulterated capitalism.  The conservatives won’t be in power in the UK after the next election if you believe the polls and  history. Indeed they are not in power in the UK now except in coalition. Without Scottish MPs then most of the British Isles would have conservative rule for the foreseeable future. How socially responsible is that?

There are serious and heavy issues in the balance. On the one hand certainly the UK has significant inequalities, injustice and poverty which in an enormously rich nation are scandalous – indeed evil. On the other, a bail out by Scotland (which I believe would immediately become poorer) would only add to the tensions, conflicts and difficulties. And certainly, absolutely with utter certainty – if won by an emotional appeal to anti-English racism – would be set on a dark path.

Which  is the path to a just and integrated society? It is more complex than the simply question that will be put on September 18th. For me however the name calling that the SNP indulge in is the wrong path entirely.

The Passionate Salmon and The River’s Reply

Christopher Marlowe wrote “The Passionate Shepherd” and Sir Walter Raleigh the riposte – “The Nymph’s Reply”. They lived just before the Union of the Crowns under the Scottish King James VI. The “independence” debate is of course a fishy affair with salmon, sturgeon and even “silver darlings” (Scots word for herrings).

The Passionate Salmon
Come live with me and by my love
And we will all our pleasure prove
Forsake these meads, their gentle lure
For mountain air and waters pure
Live there with me and me alone
And we will wish all care begone
That London sews and Brussels sprouts
For Irish, Welsh and English clouts
And we will swim around the rocks
Of wars and economic shocks
To shallow rivers by whose falls
Melodious fish sing madrigals
The River’s Reply
If all the world and love were young
And truth in every politician’s tongue
Thy pretty pleasures might me move
Alone to be with thee my love
But summer’s babble easy flows
Which wayward winter icy shows
Thy siren’s tongue, but heart of gall
A salmon’s spring, but sorrow’s fall
And once your upward urge is spent
Thy fishy soul be seaward bent
For lonely pleasures lonely prove
And ocean treasures all, my love

Acceptable Nationalism?

Can nationalism ever be more than a dirty word? An inward looking concept – fuelled by the identity with a particular group, and by the exclusion and minimisation of “the other”?

I was struck in reading The Hare with the Amber Eyes by the fragility of an accepting and tolerant society. The Austrian Empire up to Franz Joseph seems to have thrived on acceptance and tolerance, or many races – including the jews. And yet. The Nazi Putsch changed everything – in a heartbeat. The same could probably be applied to the Wehrmacht through to 1933.

Nationalism certainly has the potential to release an infectious plague of ugly emotions from the Pandora’s box of a tolerant pluralistic society. What are the balancing reasons for turning that key and letting fly those negative divisive emotions? They should necessarily be overwhelmingly powerful.

The thing is, living here in Scotland I just don’t see them.

Perhaps I’m confused or overly fearful, or maybe just missing something.

What was the quote – jingoism the last bastion or refuge of the scoundrel?