By Julian McLeod, England. Journalist for 20 years, wondering how on earth we got here and how to get somewhere better. His blog: My Manifesto
By birth and upbringing I am English, but I enjoy the fact that through my Scottish and Welsh ancestry I am also British. So I like the fact that the Scots are rivals in sports such as rugby and football, that our histories and cultures are rich, intertwined and yet different, but they are still one of us in terms of a shared and complex nationhood.
But if I were Scottish and had the opportunity to escape the politics of Westminster, I would vote for independence in a heartbeat. The fact that some Scots are being offered an escape route from oppression but are reluctant to take it is akin to a battered wife refusing to leave her rotten husband.
Westminster has been a serial abuser of Scotland – like some drunk and manipulative bully, spending all his wife’s hard-earned income and then blaming her for not having enough money at the end of the week.
It was Scotland’s North Sea oil that bailed out Margaret Thatcher’s flawed economic policy of destroying the UK’s productive industry while financialising the economy and selling off national assets at less than half their value. The hardest hit were those in the manufacturing north and, in particular, Scotland. With North Sea oil, Thatcher could afford to carry out this folly without being called to account, using oil revenues to pay for the unemployment benefits claimed by those who might otherwise have been employed in manufacturing.
But today the oil wealth is declining and there is very little else of the national booty left to sell. We do not grow enough food to feed our population. We do not produce enough physical goods with which to trade with the rest of the world in return for our lifestyles. National debt is spiralling, and will have doubled since 2010 by the time the next general election takes place in 2015. The country is broke, and even more immediately so without those dwindling North Sea oil revenues.
It is this realisation that had David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband all scuttling north of the border to ‘save the union’ after polls put the ‘yes’ campaign in the lead for the first time. If anyone in Scotland was looking for a contrarian indicator in terms of what was in their own best interests, that was about as good as it could possibly get.
That this trio imagined they might do anything but persuade even more Scots they were doing the right thing by bailing out of the United Kingdom is just another example of how out of touch these bad actors in Westminster really are. They offer nothing but more of the same. Today all of Britain is paying for Thatcher’s legacy, as public services are cut to pay for the bailout of an insolvent, failed banking sector while we continue to pretend that our ever-increasing debts are repayable.
As a Scot, I would be glad to have my oil revenues back, so I could invest them in things that are progressive (and inevitable) such as renewable energy.
As a Scot, I would be glad to see the Royal Bank of Scotland – with all its fraud and toxic assets – up sticks and move to London.
As a Scot, I would be glad for the chance to repudiate the national debt and start again with a new currency, a new banking sector and a new monetary system made honest with a tie to oil, gold, silver and other real assets.
So it is with a heavy heart that I hope for their sakes the Scots take this opportunity to escape the United Kingdom.
That said, it looks very much like Alex Salmond is not the man to deliver the sort of independence to the Scottish that they would either want or deserve. For beyond his vision of freedom from Westminster, there appears to lie very little. He apparently sees no contradiction in cosying up to Rupert Murdoch, a corporatist who embodies nothing if not the utter corruption of the very political system from which Salmond is trying to escape.
And in his insistence that the Scots can continue to use the British pound, while paying their share of the UK’s debt, he fails to recognise that true freedom requires monetary independence, a return to honest money and the repudiation of fiat currencies and their inevitable, fraudulent debt.
What next for England, Wales and Northern Ireland should the Scots do the decent thing? What next even if the Scots vote to stay in the union?
Westminster is beyond fixing – the game of politics is played by a privileged, unrepresentative elite who are so far removed from reality it is farcical. Our political system and the civil service has been corrupted by corporate interests. Our economy has been hollowed out and financialised at the expense of the productive industry that might pay our way in the world. We have more debt than we can ever repay, and the need to service that debt – should we accept the legitimacy of paying interest on money that was loaned into existence by a private banking sector – will ensure we can never again thrive economically.
In short, we need to start all over again. England, Wales and Northern Ireland are no different from Scotland in their need to escape the political clutches of Westminster and the financial clutches of the City of London. By Julian McLeod, My Manifesto.
Enjoy reading WOLF STREET and want to support it? You can donate. I appreciate it immensely. Click on the beer and iced-tea mug to find out how:
Would you like to be notified via email when WOLF STREET publishes a new article? Sign up here.
I worry where all this “individualism” will lead….taken to its absurd end, I me myself, the rest be damned isn’t an answer to the corrupt usurpers of power and wealth of any nation…yes we need to clean up government, but to throw it into chaos and see what emerges, to me isn’t the way to go. Too damn disruptive with no surety of success at the end
in the short run the bank of england will make a shit ton of money off this as financial asset baskets we call investment funds and banks leave scotland.
the ‘oil revenues’ of scotland will most likely be used to finance a scottish govenrment which will have a hard time in the short run undoing the financial damage of a secession.
but the short run is just the vulture outlook from industrial and financial cartels combined with politicians.
the long run is about self determination and laws that govern CREDIT and Corporate existence.
in a balkanized world self determination means a hell of a lot but ONLY in the long run.
the u.s. colonial entity that separated from england, only achieved self determination after 30 years of hard fighting AFTER separating from independence. and history shows the great wealth accumulation made possible by the self determination accelerated rapidly after the early 1800’s and end of the revolutionary wars.
these are very long term outlooks on what the ‘value’ of determination is. it’s hard to have that proper historical outlook when you are talking to and surrounded by the real world of profiteers and people without vision.
vision is something tribal elders used to have. people who grew up under other elders , people who were part of a contuity in life style and in purpose.
now, you have industrialization, and historical progression through technology and finance. the old tribalism has been subsumed by anachronistic religions themselves largely outgrown from an agrigultural high labor cost world.
the world we live in now is not really capable of generating leaders with real long term vision. it produces clintons and bushes and family clans’ with great financial power seeking to direct the swarms of humanity below them to myopic purposes.
call me a cynic but i think scottish independence is in many ways irrelevant. if it succeeds , it won’t have the benefits claimed, and may even result in a rigged setup that perpetuates further acceleration of the harvesting of the peasantry. who is to say scottish corporate masters cannot take more from their people than the english could.
if scottland stays with the british , well….that’s the devil you know.
it’s all screwed. and the chaos and degeneration coming cannot really be stopped….
You said “the u.s. colonial entity that separated from england, only achieved self determination 30 years AFTER separating.” On he contrary, the U.S. became self sufficient almost immediately, and was able to create a manufacturing base that had been specifically prohibited by England. The Economist also muddied the waters in its latest edition when they went on about the difficulties in establishing a new central bank: if there is one thing Scotland should have learned from John Law, it was that they never should have allowed a central bank- for what nation, determined to live within its means, and with a normally functioning Treasury, has any need for
a viper in its bosom?
you cynic :P “scottish independence is in many ways irrelevant. if it succeeds , it won’t have the benefits claimed, and may even result in a rigged setup that perpetuates further acceleration of the harvesting of the peasantry. who is to say scottish corporate masters cannot take more from their people than the english could.”
Scotland has a more socialist empathy than the rest of the UK, and hopefully the corporate masters will relocate to London after a “YES” vote. Then the governing class has a choice to make a difference or no. The real crux of the vote is whether Scottish politicians are able to force a new paradigm.
My guess is they don’t have the ability/imagination. I’m desperately hoping I’m wrong.
As a Scot I’d vote Yes, expect 5-10 years of torment, then hopefully find that romantic historical spirit which breeds innovation and pride and the option to define our own way.
The political and economic system is too corrupt to be reformed.
That’s unquestionably true in the US and probably true in the UK as well.
Unfortunately, when any system is corrupt beyond repair, the only possible fix is to abolish the old system and try to build a new, healthy system out of the ashes of the old system.
It’s unnerving to contemplate an end to the current system, but what is the alternative other than more of the same failed policies?
Lucky Scots – they have a choice. Just to show how representative the UK parliament is, consider the fact that a mere 6% of British children go to private schools whereas 35% of the people sitting in the House of Commons have gone to such privileged/exclusive establishments, and in the Cabinet it’s 67%.
These are the people who worry about Britain’s economy. What they forget, and the Scots are reminding them, is that the economy should be for everyone, not just the privileged few.
I’m also English with Scottish rising, but I live in Spain (a province of Europe). If Scotland leaves the UK, then our own Catalonia will be inspired to do the same. Nationalism is based on self-aggrandisement and looking down on Johnny Neighbour. Which is bad. However, if the English want to leave the EU… and the Scottish want to join… then please put me down for a Tartan Passport.
There are six or seven hundred thousand Brits, completely unrepresented, living in Spain and many millions more living in other countries across the world. Perhaps Scotland, with her apparent love of democratic freedom, would remember her diaspora with a little more indulgence.
Nice article. Me too. I was born and raised in England. But my Great Grandad came from Perth and Great grandma hailed from Skye. Had the family remained in Scotland I too would vote YES! to independence. Like a shot. Getting rid of Westminster? Aye, like a shot.
The tactics of Westminster are working.
All these promises lured the silly Scots to vote yes to secession.
Wish we Flemish could perform the same trick with our southern neighbors, the Walloons, in Belgium.
To give you an idea : Florida has 10 times the economy of Saudi Arabia, the latter relying only on oil revenue.
I am all in favor of independence, and that means not depending on Westminster’s dole money, probably ten times the size of the oil revenue.
Wages in Scotland will halve, but maybe Merkel will rescue them. Maybe.
While I have sympathy with separatist sentiment in Scotland, too many questions about the future economy have not been answered. There is over-reliance on North Sea oil to fund social spending yet there is great uncertainty about just how long the oil will last and how much tax revenues will drop as the supply dwindles and extraction costs increase. Then there is the issue of what currency will be used.
I would not buy a used car from Salmond, let alone trust him with my entire future.
The Scotts have a fabulously tortured history: back-stabbing those who would free them of the joke; collaborating with the overlords for small fiefdoms and some semblance of power, then rethinking it all and doing the right thing at greater loses than if they had just stood their ground with honor and conviction; then, joining with the abuser … and; now caving into threats, bullying and the fear of not being able to continue sucking on the teet of Westminster. About half have it right. They have self-respect and are willing to part with ill company. The other half apparently have been bred into submission. The cowardice and fault of humanity is seen here in stark, glaring proportions. That’s so sad.
Come on, Marcus, not voting for your wages and benefits to be halved is not cowardice, it is just common sense.
The Scots voted for the free and easy money, they are not to blame.
If Westminster was not addicted to that “Empire Feeling” and if they had some common sense left, they would simply throw the Scots out.
The same “Empire Feeling” prohibits the EU to throw the Greeks and other procrastinating EU-members out.
The times are gone when more land meant more agriculture and more money and power.
LANDlords who rely on the land for agriculture previously had enormous revenue and power, but are now bankrupt. Competition and fertilizer caused overproduction and low prices for farm produce.
I think South Korea sets the example here : if Scotland would have produced Flat Screens and SmartPhones instead of Unemployed, they would have ruled the UK.