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 The Elephant in the Room.

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Temperance
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PostSubject: The Elephant in the Room.   Fri 12 Sep 2014, 07:21

Are we allowed to discuss the last three hundred and seven years - and all the unpleasantness before - or is anything about Scotland off limits? The BBC is in trouble for being "biased" -and no one is to be allowed to mention the S. word at the Proms on Saturday.

There were some cracking jokes about the prospect of Scottish independence on last night's "Mock the Week." I like the idea that, if Scotland does decide to abandon us, we invite Mexico to join the United Kingdom. Fracking along the border was mentioned too - then pushing Scotland off into the North Sea.

Is all that cattle reiving likely to start again after next week? People do seem to have enjoyed it as a sport, especially in the 14th and 15th centuries.

http://www.thereivertrail.com/

PS What will happen to the Union Jack if Scotland goes? What's the Mexican flag like?


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PostSubject: Re: The Elephant in the Room.   Fri 12 Sep 2014, 09:28

I also enjoyed the M - T Week jokes - such as if we here are no longer Uk then we can call ourselves OK.

Elephant indeed because its in my thoughts most of the time - even discussed at length with fridge repair man but not here. The problem for many seems to be  that we southerners like and admire the Scots but they simply don't like us. Which really has nothing to do with the state of our states 100 years down the line, does it?  Beheading is awfully final - and being self inflicted  it will be horribly painful. I just can't imagine the Scots no longer being British nor wanting to be. But we  managed before so doubtless can again. It was a Scottish King who joined the peoples and chose England to live in yet there still appears to be  a sense that the south overran and enforced the Union then to   subject countless ills to be  crystalized in long suffering memory. Let's face it - and having lived among many nationalities for a long time can vouch for it, no one likes the English...... Yet at the same time almost everyone longs for a job/ posting/ business meeting/transfer there.Apparantly we English are simply very annoying. Is that reason enough for a political divorce? In modern terms,  so it seems, yes it is, I think. Many of us don't want to be a thorn in the kilt. But I shall shed a tear if 'Yes' prevails. Not a trucculent angry tear because my team lost and could be the weaker for it but a tear of genuine grief for severance from a people that I was proud to be associated with.
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PostSubject: Re: The Elephant in the Room.   Fri 12 Sep 2014, 11:34

Agree with all that. I think most of us will be stunned - and very sad -  if a divorce goes through.

Interesting what you said about James VI taking England over - that really shouldn't have happened. He certainly was the heir according to cognatic primogeniture, but legally his claim could be disputed. According to the Third Succession Act of 1543 and Henry VIII's will, the heirs after Elizabeth (if she died childless) were the Grey girls, granddaughters of Mary Tudor, Henry VIII's younger sister. Henry, in his wisdom, put a big cross through the Scottish line. Too foreign - the English heir had to be born in England.

After Jane Grey's execution, her sister Lady Catherine Grey became the next in line. She secretly married and promptly (unusual for a Tudor) produced two healthy boys: she managed to conceive them in the Tower of London, much to Elizabeth's fury. Thoroughly rattled by her cousin's fecundity, ET had Catherine's marriage to Edward Seymour annulled and had the two little lads bastardised. But that meant nothing of course, as Elizabeth well knew.

The line flourished and there are descendants today - one, interestingly enough, was Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon, the late Queen Mother. Another, of all people, is Sarah, Duchess of York.

So, if Scotland becomes independent (gulp), Her Madge, as descendant of James VI, will definitely still be Queen of Scots (as Alex S. proudly declared the other day), but should she still be Queen of England?

PS Will the Auld Alliance be revived - the Scots and the French ganging up on us?
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PostSubject: Re: The Elephant in the Room.   Fri 12 Sep 2014, 12:36

Temperance wrote:
Will the Auld Alliance be revived - the Scots and the French ganging up on us?

Not sure about that ... the French, like the Spanish, are viewing the Scottish referendum with considerable interest and, in the higher levels of government not a little concern. Like the UK France has devolved a lot of political and financial power out to the regions. But allowing regional assemblies to tax and set budgets for roads and education is one thing ... quelle horreur, the possiblity of the re-emergence of, say Brittany or Burgundy as fully-fledged independent states is quite another bouilloire de poissons entirely. On a parochial level I think most French already consider themselves 'federal' in that they think they are Catalan, Provençal, Burgundian, Limousin, Alsacian etc. first and French second. Perhaps cannily the modern political regions that were set up do not closely match the ancient counties and dukedoms of France: they cut across many cultural boundaries and so the regional assemblies do not uniquely represent any individual cultural or nationalistic group. In short at present there seems little appetite for more regional independence ... and the central government very much hope it stays that way! Hence the acute French interest in the referendum - an independent Scotland is not seen as a possible backdoor into England but idealistically as a potentially dangerous chink in the concept of a unified France itself.
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PostSubject: Re: The Elephant in the Room.   Fri 12 Sep 2014, 12:58

I wish the Shetlands and Orkneys would voice a desire for their independence from Scotland. As we've discussed elsewhere they really belong to Norway and were only administered by Scotland in lieu of an unpaid debt. Geographically, historically and culturally they are not really Scottish. And if they sought independence it would certainly put the cat amongst the pigeons since the vast majority of the current oil reserves lie not in Scottish waters but in those of the Shetland Isles. It would also, in my opinion, show up the folly of striving for ever more local independence ... whoever next: Wales, Cornwall, Mercia, Wessex, Northumbria, Kent?
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PostSubject: Re: The Elephant in the Room.   Fri 12 Sep 2014, 13:15

Northern Ireland's best known Unionist has just popped his clogs*



* Dutch ( King Billy) clogs, naturally.
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PostSubject: Re: The Elephant in the Room.   Fri 12 Sep 2014, 13:20

Priscilla wrote:
I also enjoyed the M - T Week jokes - such as if we here are no longer Uk then we can call ourselves OK.


The most common designation is rest/remainder UK, shortened to rUK, though if the example of Yugoslavia was followed it would be former UK, which would be shortened to something else entirely.
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PostSubject: Re: The Elephant in the Room.   Fri 12 Sep 2014, 13:58

As for the Union Flag, it wouldn't actually change, since it was originated by the Union of the Crowns not the Union of the Parliaments which is the Union which will be dissolved in the event of a Yes vote.
The College of Arms says the design will remain the same regardless of the Referendum result.

This has not stopped a whole variety of designs popping up;


Design incorporating the green of the Welsh Dragon flag
Suggestion for a possible new flag included replacing the saltire with colours or shapes representing Wales, which was part of the English kingdom when the flag was originally designed.
Design with black and gold from the St. David flag
One proposal showed the blue saltire of St Andrew replaced with the black ground and yellow cross of the patron saint of Wales, St David.
Design combining elements from the existing flags
Other designs employed the red, white and green colours of the Welsh Dragon flag, or featured the dragon itself. A design by John Yates fragmented the colours and crosses of each nation into a pattern of overlapping shapes, while others integrated royal iconography.
Modern interpretation of the flag with the colours of St David's flag and the Scottish blue
The Flag Institute's chief executive Charles Ashburner pointed out that the organisation is neither encouraging nor discouraging a change to the flag, but is "simply here to facilitate and inform the debate if there is an appetite for such a thing."
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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: The Elephant in the Room.   Fri 12 Sep 2014, 15:24

They are  awful - especially the bottom one.

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PostSubject: Re: The Elephant in the Room.   Fri 12 Sep 2014, 17:00

You know, this whole referendum business has been the most encouraging thing here for many years - there's a wholesale re-engagement with politics and a resurgence of interest and enthusiasm. Packed meetings and the highest ever voter registration - whatever the outcome, I hope this country never returns to supine acceptance of governance by diktat and that all our major parties get their independence from the dead hand of London at their throats. Maybe our Scottish Labour, Tory and Lib Dem leaders will be allowed to wipe their own backsides without written permission from Head Office and not just be used as voting fodder for careerists in Westminster.
And perhaps the media who have suddenly noticed that we exist will continue to show such interest.

If Scotland does vote 'Yes', it won't be because of any anti-English feeling but because she feels that the UK, the one we thought we were part of, the nation of the post-war consensus and the Welfare State, inclusive and welcoming, trying to be a force for good in the world, has up and left us - we just don't recognise the current atmosphere down south, the narrow minded, insular, pettiness, the fiefdoms of Boris, Nigel, slimy Dave and slippery George, as something in which we feel comfortable.
Now they are reacting like the bitter aggrieved partners in a divorce, If you go, you're getting nothing despite their commitments in the Edinburgh Agreement.
Had the coalition been prepared to have devo-max as an option, and guaranteed it in writing, 'Yes' would not a possibility. All the last minute promises, Stay and you can get to use the joint account, not just get pocket money may be too late and too ephemeral - we've heard that before.
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PostSubject: Re: The Elephant in the Room.   Fri 12 Sep 2014, 17:40

ferval wrote:
... but because she feels that the UK, the one we thought we were part of, the nation of the post-war consensus and the Welfare State, inclusive and welcoming, trying to be a force for good in the world, has up and left us - we just don't recognise the current atmosphere down south, the narrow minded, insular, pettiness, the fiefdoms of Boris, Nigel, slimy Dave and slippery George, as something in which we feel comfortable.


But a lot of us feel like that, ferval - wouldn't we be better sticking together?

PS No need to answer - voting is a private thing, after all. I just thought we could talk about the history of Scotland's relationship - sadly so often bitter and stormy - with England.
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PostSubject: Re: The Elephant in the Room.   Sat 13 Sep 2014, 08:20

ferval wrote:
 - we just don't recognise the current atmosphere down south, the narrow minded, insular, pettiness, the fiefdoms of Boris, Nigel, slimy Dave and slippery George,


And, to be honest, we just don't recognise the current atmosphere up north. Slime and ambition etc. are not just characteristics of English politicians - Alex Salmond is not a man I would trust. I would not buy a new car from him, let alone a second-hand one.

I meant to say no more unless about history.

Jokes and let's-laugh-it-off comments just won't do any more. I know that I - like many people here in England - am getting more and more distressed and baffled by it all. The break-up of the Union is no joke. The divorce analogy is apt: we look on like the children sitting anxiously at the top of the stairs listening to our parents rowing/crying/pleading/shouting/threatening downstairs, wondering how they - the grown-ups -  ever let it get this stupid.
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PostSubject: Re: The Elephant in the Room.   Sat 13 Sep 2014, 09:57

Temp, Temp, don't you understand that that's just the kind of reaction that has driven so many to consider 'Yes'? It underlines the incomprehension of so many in England who don't seem to understand the depth of resentment felt towards a Westminster cabal (in all parties) that seems to have been prepared to ignore the wishes, values and aspirations up here.
For a start, it's not about Wee Eck, many here dislike him intensely, but there's many good people on the same side and not just politicians. 'Slime and ambition' amongst the political classes is hardly exclusively a Scottish trait. What might be termed the artistic community are very strongly in favour and much of academia also.

The atmosphere is, to my mind, positively invigorating and reassuring - people really care on both sides and there's such a resurgence in engagement that can only be good -  and however it goes, my hope is that there will be a reassessment of constitutional arrangements throughout these islands.

I am deeply conflicted, I doubt I will finally decide until I am in the booth. I understand both camps and just how disruptive and difficult independence would be but sometimes divorce is the best option, including for the children. Last weekend I was in the Commonwealth War Cemetery in Rome and that of itself speaks of shared struggle, sacrifice and history but also there were South African, Canadian, New Zealand and other graves which also reinforce the thought that a shared legislature is not a condition of shared cooperation and endeavour. Putting the power of all decision making in the hands of those who live and work here doesn't mean that we'd saw our selves off at the border and float away. We would still live next door, chat over the fence and Dave could still come back and enjoy his daddy-in-law's 20,000 acres in Jura.
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PostSubject: Re: The Elephant in the Room.   Sat 13 Sep 2014, 13:48

ferv, those wishes, values and aspirations that are or cannot be served from Westminster are then the nub - but what exactly are they? in truth I feel the same about my local Council and County Council so its not about distance - helplessness in effecting change is more to the point. Whenever I have raised issues I learn that  yes, dictates from Westminster are given as defence - and from Brussels too. I use my vote but without much hope of .change unless I front a campaign. Now I have sort of done that twice and got results because people supported my  cases.

Fragmentation causes weaknesses and encourages further schism - or strong thoughts of it.  this I have witnessed abroad. And there too many people were not as you are coming from educated integrity but from what I can only express as emotive clan identity. But it has to be faced that whatever is good for the common weal is always wanting for others.  We condemn politicians but do not take up the challenge ourselves, we deplore big business yet tap in of the wealth it generates, we condemn the media but take note of it anyway. Wherever we live we are human and usually confused about what is for the best  - and there are probably too many of us!

Most of us down here appreciate the dilemma that you face because regardless of whoever is in power that is liked or disliked they will pass eventually as indeed will all  the voters but what they decide, that is forever.

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PostSubject: Re: The Elephant in the Room.   Sat 13 Sep 2014, 14:19

Ah - educated integrity - the triumph of hope over experience.

But it will be the hard-headed realists who win the day, one way or another - whoever wins the vote. They always do.

That said, the day we give up hoping will be a sad one for all of us.
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PostSubject: Re: The Elephant in the Room.   Sat 13 Sep 2014, 16:01

The Scots will do what the Scots will do I guess and as a non-Scots person it's not really for me to tell them how to vote.  I feel quite cross with all the major political parties, be they left or right.  I don't feel that we [in the UK as a whole] have a coalition government at the moment, I feel that we have a Conservative one.

Now to something more mundane.  I have a "granny" wicker type shopping trolley; like it's owner it's seen better days but it's handy for going to the launderette etc.  One of the hard rubber tyres broke the other day: I've tried "googling" to see if I can find an online supplier, either for a new tyre or a new set of wheels.  One place seemed to do wheels (which for obvious reasons I can't mention) seemed a possibility but had bad reviews.  Anybody know of a supplier of said items?  Of course I'll have to think about whether it is worth my while going down the replacement wheel route or just to get a new trolley, but I do like to make do and mend.
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PostSubject: Re: The Elephant in the Room.   Sat 13 Sep 2014, 19:11

I don't think we've ever had a trolley wheel query before, LiR. I'd splash out if I were you and treat yourself to a lovely new shopping trolley. What the hell! Remember we're all hedonists now - what's the new motto - yolo? Smile

Slimy Dave is a clever man; I rather think he wants the Scots to go, his bleedin', broken, Tory heart notwithstanding. He's wrecked the Lib Dems, and with the Scottish MPs out of the running, he'll be home and dry next year. "I love my country more than my Party." (Snort.)

And I hate to think that the English football fans, with their moronic "F*ck off Scotland: we vote 'yes!' ", are going to get their hearts' desire too.

God, it's all so depressing.


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PostSubject: Re: The Elephant in the Room.   Sat 13 Sep 2014, 20:30

Our Tony went to Fettes - I think - so I wonder what other Scots Public School types have to say on the issue.. I ought to have looked that up  about Bleah Blair but the query still stands.
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PostSubject: Re: The Elephant in the Room.   Sat 13 Sep 2014, 23:03

And my final word here on this matter is that when faced with a choice - and I really have been alone in a few hairy and somewhat tense circumstances abroad, I have always described myself as British, not English. That's a telling difference, I guess.
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PostSubject: Re: The Elephant in the Room.   Mon 15 Sep 2014, 08:57

I am hesitant about entering this debate on any level, not being a citizen of either Scotland or the UK in general. However I noticed when it was discussed in Ireland while I was there recently that the issue which arose time and time again was the presence of the word "should" in the question being posed to Scottish voters, as well as the complete absence of clarification regarding what the word "independent" actually can be taken to mean (the Irish are traditionally experts in having to deal with British ambiguation as a political tool).

On face value the question "Should Scotland be an independent country?" with only "Yes" or "No" as an answer sounds clear cut. But it is not.

The debate leaders in Scotland attempting to influence the people's vote have almost without exception all iterated that a "Yes" answer is tantamount to a declaration of immediate independence and that this will have consequences equally immediate, either good or bad consequences depending on the politics of whoever is speaking.

But this is neither a given nor indeed historically supported as a valid assumption.

In Ireland in the 1790s if the same question had been put directly to every citizen in the form of a referendum the answer would have been a resounding "Yes" - from wealthy landowners to republicans, from religious minorities suffering discrimination (such as Presbyterians) to established church leaders. All of these would have had vastly different concepts of what this independence would mean and how the state would be structured afterwards but it is undeniable that this was the one period in Irish history when such a question would have had such a unanimous answer in the affirmative. However by the time this "question" was allowed by Britain to be openly posed in any form, well over a century later, the same parties were vociferous in their disagreement over whether "Yes" or "No" should be the answer, and were equally vehement in their belief acquired through bitter and painful experience that "Yes" or "No" meant absolutely nothing without hard information regarding the political processes which would ensue. Britain's "Government of Ireland Act 1914" answered nothing in this regard, at least to the satisfaction of the parties most concerned, regardless of where they stood in relation to a desire to leave or remain within the UK.

Scottish voters on Thursday will however receive just such a general (to the point of meaningless) question to answer, and without even having the benefit of an equivalent to Asquith's "Government Act" not knowing therefore if they are being asked simply to state an aspiration or to actually kick-start a chain of political processes. If the former, then fine - aspirations require to be voiced if only to further essential and relevant debate. If the latter however then, to me and to most Irish people with whom I spoke, it seems the Scottish voter is being expected to take responsibility for political processes as yet unexplained, if they have even in fact been decided. The scaremongering which makes oblique reference to these processes can be taken to suggest that their details have indeed been decided, but only in the event of an aspiration for independence being the outcome. In the event of an aspiration to stay within the UK being the outcome then the implication seems to be that no process has been devised, in other words things just "carry on as before". Carrying on as before however, if put to the vote, would almost certainly be rejected outright by Scottish voters.

Nowhere in this referendum has the Scottish citizen the means (or by implication the right) to state as an aspiration a renegotiation of their terms of membership within the union, and absolutely nowhere has it even arisen that a valid option would also have been an assisted move to complete independence with guarantees against fiscal retribution - with that assistance in reponse to such an aspiration being voluntarily and willingly tendered by the same body politic that so readily and willingly absorbed the Scottish state when it suited it in the past.

One feature of the Irish aspiration for independence that pertained in the early 20th century and which receives little historical focus was how, in the last few years before the Irish Free State was eventually negotiated, the underlying driving force behind the push to independence was an overwhelming exasperation on the part of the huge majority of people on the island regarding whether it was ever worth trying to negotiate with Britain again at all. More and more (even on the Unionist side) came to believe that it was not. It was this as much as the armed struggle taken up by a few which made Ireland ungovernable from Britain from that point on. 

If I was a Scottish citizen I am afraid that the conduct and nature of the debate up to now, as well as the pig's ear of a question which I would feel obliged to answer on Thursday, would engender just the same exasperation as felt by Irish citizens in their millions in 1918 and which resulted in this rather emphatic statement of "Yes, Ireland should be an independent country" expressed through the medium of a general election in a country which had hitherto returned a majority only of IPP MPs who advocated the negotiating of a withdrawal from full membership of the UK:



Historical (but very important footnote). This vote, not having been engineered to suit British interests and showing as it did a rather unambiguous Irish disregard for British ambiguation, led not to political negotiation but to a severe and deadly increase in military engagement against ordinary Irish citizens by mercenary and official British forces. That particular response by the authorities might not be feasible today - but I have no doubt that an equally vicious retrenchment and protection of financial interests "down south" will ensue. For all this talk of "good neighbours" etc, Britain has always been historically ruthless in protecting its interests at the expense of close neighbours when it suits.

My quandary in the booth, were I Scottish, would be a private battle between my exasperation and my pragmatism. I have a feeling in my own case that the conduct, tone and nature of the debate up to now would be tipping me in favour of my exasperation winning on the day. I do not envy those faced with this dilemma at all.
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PostSubject: Re: The Elephant in the Room.   Mon 15 Sep 2014, 10:49

There will be another referendum in 2017, this one about UK membership of the EU.
This is a year old but shows that Scotland is the most pro EU part of the UK; something else to consider on Thursday.


http://newsnetscotland.com/index.php/scottish-politics/7520-scotland-by-far-the-most-pro-eu-part-of-uk
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PostSubject: Re: The Elephant in the Room.   Mon 15 Sep 2014, 11:10

Like Priscilla I had resolved to say no more on this tricky subject. But the subject is too interesting not to comment further and I always break my resolutions.

This is a nicely written article - it is by a Scot:

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/apr/20/what-do-english-think-of-scottish-independence-kevin-mckenna

Sad that one lady interviewed said that everybody knows that the Welsh hate us - she wistfully added that she didn't think that the Scots did...

I remember a line from that old film, Cromwell (the one with Richard Harris - I know it's not PC to admit having watched it with some enjoyment, but I'm past caring at the moment). The Earl of Strafford, Thomas Wentworth, whom the director of the film had speaking with with a lovely northern accent, unusual for an English aristocrat, but presumably because Wentworth's father was a Yorkshireman, declared at one point (in some exasperation): "The Scots and the Irish - you dursn't turn your back on any of them for a minute."

I wonder what the Irish thought of Wentworth? He was the Lord Deputy in Ireland, I believe.

The McKenna article mentions how everyone actually hates London and the immense power wielded by the south-east - will the North of England become the new Scotland? And how much is all this a class conflict - ferval wryly mentioned Cameron's father-in-law owning a fair-sized chunk of Scotland, and here in England we baffled ones are told that the really ardent Nationalists (especially the blue-faced ones) are all rabid socialists who hate the (English) toffs far more than they do injustice.

Forgive me if I am talking nonsense, ferval - I suddenly feel I don't understand a thing about any of this. But Priscilla's remark earlier in the thread about the English being hated everywhere, but especially it would seem, in Ireland, Scotland and Wales, needs addressing. Is it the English who are hated, or the English toffs?

A muddled message, not thought through, but what the heck.

PS Two of my friends have switched their current accounts from the NatWest (Bank of Scotland) to the Marks and Spencer Bank. Lured by the thought of a £100 M&S voucher, but also fed-up with uncertainty.
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PostSubject: Re: The Elephant in the Room.   Mon 15 Sep 2014, 11:46

Just rushing out Temp, but here's something to ponder. http://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2013/aug/10/scotland-land-rights
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PostSubject: Re: The Elephant in the Room.   Mon 15 Sep 2014, 11:54

When the debate is sidetracked into simplistic nationalist terms the real issues are ignored. I feel you are closer to the truth of it when you ask about antipathy towards "the toffs" as opposed to Britain per se. However it is probably more accurate again to think of Britain in terms of "core" and "corporate". Corporate Britain, the ongoing cultural, political and economic experiment, is the one to which we are traditionally directed when addressing the subject of our relationship with the British body politic, and in almost all political matters this suffices. What the Irish discovered, and now seemingly the Scots are about to be forced to recognise, is that there also exists an establishment core which operates parallel to and outside of that definition, and if its actions and policies are viewed historically reveal an almost uncanny continuity in its intent, its methods and its success. When this core is threatened, regardless of which political or cultural expression Britain has adopted at the time, the response is uniform in its nature and assertion. Features of this response have been evident even within England historically in matters which have been intepreted as threats to this core establishment, for example activities related to the organisation of labour in the past. But however ruthless as some of these measures may have been they pale in comparison to what has been done when the threat and therefore the target of the response have been deemed sufficiently "outside" the cognisance of most of the population (ie. largely the English) to allow an absolute free reign to be employed in the severity of such measures.

This is the real elephant in the room in British history, but one whose tusks I think that any Scot with a passing acquaintanceship with Scottish history would recognise immediately. It is however rather significant, I feel, that fewer references to this historical aspect to the Scottish-English relationship have been made during this debate by Scottish historians than to the "Auld Alliance", a feature of Scottish independence old-style that has little immediate bearing on the case in hand.
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PostSubject: Re: The Elephant in the Room.   Mon 15 Sep 2014, 13:07

Well, all nationalities have their embarrassing - or shameful - elephants, but British elephants, when sufficiently prodded - or frustrated - do get very unpleasant indeed. That cannot be denied, but are we really the rogue elephants of the world par excellence?

I remember being appalled reading Henry VIII's instructions to the Earl of Hertford in 1544. Henry had been determined to unite the Kingdoms of Scotland and England by a marriage between Baby Edward and Baby MQS (Treaty of Greenwich). When these plans all went pear-shaped, the reprisals were savage: Henry's orders were more or less: "Annihilate the Scots."


Put all to fyre and swoorde, burne Edinborough towne, so rased and defaced when you have sacked and gotten what ye can of it, as there may remayn forever a perpetual memory of the vengeaunce of God lightened upon them for their faulsehode and disloyailtye.

But were the murdering English any different from other nations at the time? Atrocities and war-crimes were par for the course all over Europe - usually in the name of God. And Scotland was always seen as "the backdoor into England" was it not? Was Henry (with a wary eye as ever on the French) simply looking after his own - acting with the resolute determination of a good Prince - or with the vicious ruthlessness of a thwarted gangland leader? Is there - was there ever - a difference?


PS Crikey, ferval - I had no idea. A Scottish toff is a real toff!
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PostSubject: Re: The Elephant in the Room.   Mon 15 Sep 2014, 14:17

It's not so much how murderous they are - it's who they are murdering and why. Henry, it could be argued, was ruthless and indiscriminate (the Irish knew this well enough too) but in the end what was he really consolidating except his own family's position within a power structure which was still very much that which had pertained for centuries and which contained within it no great ability or even desire to extend beyond very narrowly defined confines outside of which it would become very fragile and hard to maintain.

Compare this to another infamous incident often termed "murder" - the Great Famine in Ireland three hundred years later. This was allowed to happen in order to maintain the interests of people who most definitely were not those closest to the disaster or directly embroiled in it. Yet identifying those actual interests is itself an interesting exercise. One group that can be eliminated almost immediately is the general population of the rest of the United Kingdom at the time, many of whom weren't much better off than the unfortunate victims in Ireland. A second group (and one that surprises many die-hard Irish republicans) is the British aristocracy in general, a group which in fact contained a sizeable number of people who at least financially were extremely badly affected by this collapse of a society which had served to underpin the maintenance of many of their members' wealth.

Having eliminated these two groups, making the jump to identifying that group which prospered from the death of a million people within four years should be easy, one would think. It has never proven to be so at all, leading to the ludicrous proposition made at times that then nobody did. A group whose members do not mind being confused with "nobody" is a strange group indeed, until one examines the profits to be made from wholesale death and to whom they end up being distributed.
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PostSubject: Re: The Elephant in the Room.   Mon 15 Sep 2014, 15:58

Real toffs? You'd better believe it Temp - and it's not often that they show themselves in public but here's some of them.

                 

This is the Flodden memorial service at St Giles, the guest list of 40 clan chiefs was:

1. Sir Walter Riddell of Riddell 2. The Hon. Elizabeth Fairbairn 3. Madam Pauline Hunter of Hunterston 4. Sir David Bannerman of Elsick 5. Lord Polwarth 6. Andrew Wallace Younger of that Ilk 7. Andrew Dewar Durie of Durie CBE 8. Michael Ancram, Marquess of Lothian 9. Andrew MacThomas of Finegand 10. Earl of Dundee 11. David Campbell of Strachur 12. Roderick Macneil of Barra 13. Sir James McGrigor 14. Earl of Eglinton and Winton 15. Professor David Hannay of Kirkdale and of that Ilk 16. Henry Trotter Younger of Charterhall 17. John MacArthur of that Ilk 18. Duncan Paisley of Westerlea 19. Richard Carmichael of Carmichael 20. Earl of Caithness21. Earl of Lauderdale 22. The Hon. Alexander Leslie 23. Earl of Erroll 24. Lord Napier and Ettrick 25. Madam Arabella Kincaid of Kincaid 26. David Cranstoun of that Ilk 27. Jamie Macnab of Macnab 28. Earl of Wemyss and March 29. Sir Crispin Agnew of Lochnaw 30. The Hon. Kate Nicolson 31. Duke of Montrose 32. The Hon. Peregrine Moncreiffe of that Ilk 33. Martin Haldane of Gleneagles 34. Lord Sempill 35. Andrew Marjoribanks of that Ilk 36. Donald MacLaren of MacLaren 37. Duke of Hamilton 38. Field Marshal the Lord Guthrie of Craigiebank 39. Isla St Clair 40. Marquess of Ailsa 41. Madam Margaret Eliott of Redheugh 42. Sir Malcolm MacGregor of MacGregor 43. Lord Macdonald of Macdonald 44. Richard Oliphant of that Ilk.

They are no' daft! Somehow 'ownership' has been transmuted into 'custodianship' and many of them make a good income (apart from all the subsidies and tax breaks they rake in from farming and forestry etc) by providing *experiences* and *heritage centres* for the descendants of those whom their forebears drove out to make way for sheep. Not that that episode is quite as black and white as it is often portrayed, but that's another emotive topic. An exploration of their connections, directorships and clubs would shine a light into the dark web of influence that nordmann refers to.
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PostSubject: Re: The Elephant in the Room.   Mon 15 Sep 2014, 16:23

nordmann wrote:
A group whose members do not mind being confused with "nobody" is a strange group indeed, until one examines the profits to be made from wholesale death and to whom they end up being distributed.


Well that is what I was hinting at when I said that it will be the hard-headed realists who win the day - whoever wins the vote on Thursday. I added: "They always do".

There are surely two types of eminence grise: those who advise from - to quote Priscilla again - a position where "educated integrity" matters, and those for whom self-interest and profit govern all decisions and all actions. The latter have always existed, have always flourished and have always recognised one another. Such men understand neither the idea of "conscience" nor that of "duty": such concepts are quite alien to them. And they think the former group are educated but deluded fools.

So who exactly is manipulating whom in Scotland? I'm sure I don't know - and I'm not so sure the good people over the border know either; but I'd put my money on those "nobodies" again.

PS Crossed posts, ferval. Great photo, but the sinister nobodies are not always the rosy-cheeked aristocrats. That's why they are so sinister.

PPS I see this thread has been admitted to the Order of the Fiery Feather - always very pleasing.
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PostSubject: Re: The Elephant in the Room.   Mon 15 Sep 2014, 22:18

This discussion has moved on from the idea of how the referendum question is too vague to be useful, but actually from the Yes point of view this vagueness has probably made it more attractive.  The Australian one about becoming a republic got stuck on detail which people didn't like and it seems to have really gone on the back-burner since.  (Not that I mind, since I don't want NZ to become a republic, and that won't happen before Australia does.) 

Referenda are always difficult in this way - we have had several and they have all been hopeless for me to answer.  "Do you want harsher penalties for criminals and more support for the victims of crime?"  No, that wan't quite it.  It was "Should there be a reform of our Justice system placing greater emphasis on the needs of victims, providing restitution and compensation for them and imposing minimum sentences and hard labour for all serious violent offences?". Even worse than my version. This measure passed by 91.78%.  I was one of the 8% no voters, but how are you supposed to vote for something which has two components which you feel differently about. 

And then there was: "Should a smack as part of good parental correction be a criminal offence in New Zealand?"  

Criticised by many for vagueness and value-laden words.  One of our parties becoming dangerously close to being in the seat of power (5% threshold for smaller parties) wants binding referenda; I presume this won't be allowed.  Hope not, otherwise we will have idiots wanting the death penalty back.







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PostSubject: Re: The Elephant in the Room.   Tue 16 Sep 2014, 05:51

I've been hesitant to wade in here as well as it isn't my fight. However out of all the articles and comments I've read there have been very few that have been actually worth the time to read. I've been continually astounded at the sheer ignorance of eachother, supposed fellow 'British' that abounds on both sides of the divide. And how quickly many have retreated into petty nationalistic tribalism, if this is all that has been achieved in three hundred odd years as a union it seems you'd all be better off without it. 

Cameron/Osborne have utterly bungled the whole situation and have been very effective at distracting many from this fact, in much the same way as British politicians have continually bungled in the EU and have effectively shifted the blame elsewhere. On the other hand there is Salmond promising the world and also blethering utter bollocks up North. Lord I'm glad it isn't my decision.
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PostSubject: Re: The Elephant in the Room.   Tue 16 Sep 2014, 11:12

Amen to that ID.
When it comes down to it, I suppose it depends which parcel of rogues one finds least untrustworthy. I'm just clinging to the hope that, out of all this bluster and faux-emotion, the positive aspects will flourish: the popular engagement with politics and belief, however misjudged, that participating in the democratic process can be effective and what I really hope is a genuine aspiration on both sides that things could be improved, that the UK and Scotland need to become more truly reflective of the basic values of decency and care that we (mostly) all aspire to.

Never mind, on Friday I'm escaping it all for a weekend in Catalonia. Oh dear, maybe that's not the best choice..........
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PostSubject: Re: The Elephant in the Room.   Tue 16 Sep 2014, 11:59

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PostSubject: Re: The Elephant in the Room.   Tue 16 Sep 2014, 14:25

In it to Win It, Saturday 13th September:

Dale Winton " In which English county is the town of Penzance?"

Contestant "Scotland"
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PostSubject: Re: The Elephant in the Room.   Tue 16 Sep 2014, 15:27

I enjoyed this thought provoking article, and an important question I've yet to see addressed.

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/commentisfree/2014/sep/16/-sp-is-this-the-end-of-britishness

Edit. An end to Britishness? That will be a sad day for the world.


And if a little humour is allowed, I like one of the comments below the article.

Mel Gibson fought for well over 2 hours to free scotland. Now his dream may finally come true

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PostSubject: Re: The Elephant in the Room.   Wed 17 Sep 2014, 10:18

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2758795/Europe-divided-Map-shows-continent-look-separatist-movement-got-wish.html

I can't copy the map unfortunately.

Cornwall is on the map. The Cornish Liberation Front are very vocal down here - especially if you try to argue about the vegetable allowed in a true Cornish pasty. It is swede, but it must be called turnip, even though the two vegetables are quite different. Referring to swede in your pasty elicits howls of execration far worse than anything experienced by the unfortunate Mr Miliband in Edinburgh yesterday.

PS I'm worried about ferval's passport. If Scotland is a foreign country on Friday (gulp again), will her Disunited Kingdom passport still be considered a valid document at Glasgow airport? Will she be allowed back in? Or will she be an illegal immigrant?
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PostSubject: Re: The Elephant in the Room.   Wed 17 Sep 2014, 10:44

The entire business of passports would be a headache for a new state. But one thing I know. There has been remark about foreigners well settled who have rightlfully being resident have a vote..... however, most all will have another passport. The dual nationality laws of UK - current - are complex but clear; American ones are a tad woolly. Unless there has been recent change, this is an area in which I once really had to know my stuff. All the jihardis will be using both -or several  legitimate ones and no one seems bothered by that.

I have re-entered the room but only only on an issue that I think needs redressing in any elephant stall. At the moment ferv is OK, ......but just how long will you be away ferv? An 18 month jolly sounds rather nice?
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PostSubject: Re: The Elephant in the Room.   Wed 17 Sep 2014, 11:21

18 months? If only. Just a long weekend I'm afraid however if I were away that long I'm sure I'd have no problem re-entering on a UK passport however it goes. I'm leaving and returning through Edinburgh airport and so not really coming into the Peoples' Republic of Scotland at all.

For those who wish to retain the Union, I wouldn't worry over much, I suspect we're going to turn back at Derby once again - and that worked out well!
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PostSubject: Re: The Elephant in the Room.   Wed 17 Sep 2014, 11:57

Just don't forget the passport, Ferval ... remember UKIPland is non-Schengen, and so while the rest of us Europeans happily cross borders unhindered - to work, visit friends, or just to have a meal or to shop - you will still be checked on your return home.

Plenty of people staying here have come zipping down the E6 autoroute and missed the turn off, and so before they can say "frontier?" find themselves unwittingly in Spain. Similarly if you drive along the back roads, or go walking in the mountains, you can easily cross over the border without noticing. It's no big deal, although they do still sometimes enforce border controls on the roads, particularly if there's a security alert or they've had a tip off. I once got stopped having just picked up someone from Girona airport, and hadn't thought to have my passport on me. Most Europeans of course routinely carry their national ID cards with them at all times, but the UK doesn't have ID cards and I can't carry my UK passport everywhere at all times. But the Gendarmes anyway just waved me through on the basis of my French medical card (which is actually probably more traceable and strictly controlled than any passport since it involves rights to financial assurance - money as always speaks the clearest). And of course my car reg' number is in the European licence-plate database ... something the UK's DVLA, in its arrogance, refused to have anything to do with and hence the UK's inability to be able to trace most unpaid parking and speeding fines when they are committed by 'foreign' cars.

But to return to topic it will be interesting if a sovereign Scotland becomes part of the Schengen group - while UKIPland continues to remain aloof.


Last edited by Meles meles on Wed 17 Sep 2014, 14:33; edited 3 times in total (Reason for editing : typos)
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PostSubject: Re: The Elephant in the Room.   Wed 17 Sep 2014, 12:22

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PostSubject: Re: The Elephant in the Room.   Wed 17 Sep 2014, 13:02

That 'Spectator' article is very interesting. The author does of course have 'an agenda' as we would say, but nevertheless these lines struck a chord:

"The truth of the matter is that the United Kingdom is a very small country, and that for many, if not most, of the purposes of government unity of administration is from every point of view desirable. It follows that we need, only one national government for the narrow area of these islands. All that we have to consider is what subordinate functions of government can be dealt with advantageously by local bodies, and what is the best machinery for dealing with them. "

.... what indeed? But what "is the best machinery"?


But enough! This really is not my debate .... and so thus do I also withdraw.
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PostSubject: Re: The Elephant in the Room.   Wed 17 Sep 2014, 14:45

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2759276/The-Queen-postpones-annual-dance-Balmoral-described-exclusive-party-world-clashes-Thursday-s-Scottish-independence-vote.html


Drat - and I've just had my best frock dry-cleaned.



PS Oh heck, I hope that picture doesn't make ferval's mind up to vote "Yes!" Don't do it, ferval - stay with the Union; we need you (and we quite like you too).

Right, no more from me now - until Friday .

PPS Your toffs certainly seem to be having a good time - who gets to wear tiaras at the do - just members of the family? (I can see at least two - the Queen Mum and some other lady.)
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PostSubject: Re: The Elephant in the Room.   Wed 17 Sep 2014, 15:09

I wouldn't worry Temp - balls are always better when they're not constrained. I once attended a Burns night supper and dance, which in itself was pleasant and civillised enough. It was only once lord and lady mac-whoever had retired that we wee lower classes could finally let everything down. Once we ghillies and guests were allowed to loosen our ties and corsets, I seem to remember discovering that the dashing white sergeant (RAF) who I'd been chatting to, was actually a gay gordon and that his idea of the eightsome reel, rather than being just a highland fling, was a full orgy back in his room. I was never sure whether the announcement, "Roger de Coverley", was a suggestion, an injunction or merely an innocent invitation to the next dance! And I have it on very good authority that it is always Prince Andrew, Randy Andy, that one really needs to keep an eye on. Apparently after a dram or two he's up for anything in a skirt ... or kilt!

Och deary me, happy memories. But enough. I now, with rosy cheeks, will withdraw from this thread.


Last edited by Meles meles on Wed 17 Sep 2014, 15:36; edited 4 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: The Elephant in the Room.   Wed 17 Sep 2014, 15:21

Good grief. You have at last managed to shock me, MM.

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PostSubject: Re: The Elephant in the Room.   Wed 17 Sep 2014, 15:34

Surely not .... though one does always try to please. Shocked
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PostSubject: Re: The Elephant in the Room.   Wed 17 Sep 2014, 15:50

It was your mention of the eightsome reel that did it, MM.

The choreography for that dance must have been incredibly complicated - I really can't imagine it. And I'm not so sure I want to try.

But let us return swiftly to Mr Salmond and to the problems of a shared currency.

But let us also have some music:

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PostSubject: Re: The Elephant in the Room.   Wed 17 Sep 2014, 16:21

What, MM, no vigorous Strip the Willow where inevitably several participants get tossed so violently that they end up in an exhausted heap and gasping for breath?
A sedate Military Two-Step is more refined but things can get quite animated when it's followed by a Highland Laddie and the invitation 'wilt thou go to the barracks, Johnny?'.
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PostSubject: Re: The Elephant in the Room.   Wed 17 Sep 2014, 16:35

Smile

Oh well done ferval I was indeed struggling to think of more camp celtic terpischorean tunes!
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PostSubject: Re: The Elephant in the Room.   Wed 17 Sep 2014, 17:05

Here you are Temp, the eightsome, it's really quite straightforward - apart from the effort of keeping them up of course.

Happy memories MM?

                                                           
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PostSubject: Re: The Elephant in the Room.   Wed 17 Sep 2014, 17:36

No not hard, but I  still am awe struck that once upon a once my husband could actually dance The Duke of Perth and  even Waverly - though he baulked at Strathspeys as being a tad naf, I suspect. I never tried him on the reel of the 51st though which is I guess my fav of the lot. But never again. My knees are becoming painfully independent - tho staunchly staying in the Let's draim her Sterling down a bit mode. I may not stay up tonight but I bet I won't sleep!
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PostSubject: Re: The Elephant in the Room.   Wed 17 Sep 2014, 18:12

Let's draim her Sterling down
Ah, Alistair Darling's favourite dance. I do like the reel of the 51st though. Pity there isn't a 51st any more.
Or a 52nd, come to that.
I've just had a wee lassie from Labour for No at the door and sent her away after a tirade about the failings of Scottish Labour. She didn't argue, I suspect she's heard it rather a lot.
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