labour will blow its chances by playing the snp’s game
In Scotland in particular, the political fact is that if you offer political pundits the option between discussing ordinary concerns and the constitution, they will choose the latter. Labour nearly threw away the referendum in 2014, and it appears that it will attempt to throw away its opportunity once again.
The SNP is a nationalist, independence-seeking party. It will accept whatever authority you provide it and respond, “Thank you, but we still want independence.” You cannot use it to triangulate and expect to gain anything for yourself. If you are aware that anything can bite you, you should not allow it to lick you.
As Boxing Day follows Christmas, proponents of Scottish independence will respond to every suggestion to enhance the government of the United Kingdom by chanting “The Vow” and reciting a laundry list of complaints.
These will include unconditional assurances of EU membership, a number of promised frigates, permanent legal guarantees of constitutional privileges, British federalism, and a great deal more. The issue is, of course, that no such promises were ever made in the Vow of 2014: the three promises were to retain the Barnett Formula (delivered), to give new powers to the Scottish Parliament (delivered), and to increase statutory protection for Holyrood (delivered) (delivered).
Following the release of Gordon Brown’s report, Fresh Britain – Renewing Our Democracy and Rebuilding Our Economy, it is now evident that a new and bold option is available, and we can move on from the stale discussions of Yes/No and Nat/Yon. The argument is now between the past and the future, and the nationalists among your readers have shown their hand by proving that they are mired in a history of false complaints and fabricated lies.
The downfall of the Scottish Labour Party was not due to a large exodus of its members, but rather to the fact that people began voting for a party that listened to them rather than one that followed orders delivered from London. Scotland still has a highly popular left-of-center political party that listens to Scots rather than the English Establishment, and as long as it continues to strive for independence, we will continue to vote for it, at least until Scottish Labour develops some balls.
Scotland’s North Sea has provided tens of billions of dollars in tax money for the British government, enabling Denmark and Norway to become global leaders in renewable energy production. When compared to Ireland, which has little oil output, energy-rich Scotland with its vast green renewable potential does poorly. The Celtic Tiger has had remarkable development over the past fifty years, and its GDP per capita currently rivals that of the United Kingdom. Irish citizens enjoy a much higher standard of living than those in the United Kingdom due to better state pensions, lower income inequality, the highest life expectancy at birth in Europe, and a younger population, with one in five being foreign-born, despite the fact that the Labour and Conservative parties compete to restrict immigration. Ireland’s exports to the United Kingdom are worth £21 billion annually, but just 13% of its overall exports.
Given the importance of Scotland’s credentials as a European nation in arguments for independence, it is crucial to note that Scotland became culturally integrated into Europe through Scots and not Gaelic. No one with any knowledge of the subject can doubt the breadth and quality of our Gaelic literature; however, Robert Fergusson and Robert Burns are mainstream European poets, whereas their near-contemporaries and at least equals in poetic merit, Donnchadh Bàn Mac an t-Saoir and Alasdair Mac Mhaigheir Alasdair, are not.
As in politics, pointless contests within the cultural independence movement are needless and potentially dangerous. Gaelic and Scots are both official languages of Scotland and have literary traditions that any nation may be proud of.