Myers on those sulking, self-pitying Scots

Kevin Myers has it in for the Scots in his column this week in the Irish Independent, saying if they want independence then they should have it. Part of him even hopes that Scotland becomes an entirely independent nation, free of England, and able to choose its own future. However, there are conditions:
“Emigration to England is stopped; careers in London are forfeit; opportunities in the BBC (or rather, the EBC) are denied; Westminster is closed to ambitious young Scots, and English banks and the now Anglo-Welsh army close their ranks to Caledonians. In other words, let the Scots have independence if they want it; but let it be full.”

But he thinks most Scots don’t want full independence:

“They want some mongrel form of posturing, carping semi-dependency, in which the careers of the bright and ambitious still are directed at London, the scions of the great families will still be presented at Buckingham Palace, while the general territory of Scotland is defended by the Royal Navy and the RAF.

“Simultaneously, Scotland will have its own sovereign parliament, in which to whinge, whinge, whinge.”

He asks what happened to Scotland?

“How did the country which proportionately made a greater contribution to the intellectual vigour and strength of the English-speaking world allow itself to be reduced to the grisly, self-pitying parody of a nation that it is now?”

Gone are the days of Adam Smith and the time when “the Scots virtually invented the novel (Scott), the thriller (Buchan), the detective story (Conan Doyle), romantic fiction (Stevenson) and modern engineering.

“In recent times, however, the Scots have made self-pity into a branch of scholarship, turning themselves into the perpetual victims of English perfidy.”

And he expects a spot of criticism for having a go at the Scots, even if he is but a lowly columnist for an Irish newspaper.

“The last time I wrote critically about Scotland, just about every radio station in that country rang me up to ask why I thought so poorly of them. The very reason they asked me is the reason why I think poorly of them: why should they take the opinion of a single commentator in Ireland seriously? If they were that self-confident, they would ignore the occasional criticism from overseas. But self-confident, they are not. They are like adolescents sulking in their bedroom, threatening to leave any moment while waiting for their mother to serve up the evening meal.”

Myers feels Scotland’s position hasn’t been helped “by the parcel of Scots villains” in charge of the British Labour Party.

“At their head, of course, is Blair, the most despicable, immoral, unprincipled and worthless man to lead Britain since Lloyd George. Blair is well-matched by the Chancellor, Gordon Brown, a weak, cunning sleveen who has created the most incomprehensible tax structure since the Ottoman empire,” said Myers, before adding Derry Irvine, the Lord Chancellor, and the late Robin Cooke to his list.

“This gang of vapid charlatans have made a mockery of British democracy and, in the process, almost wrecked the union between Scotland and England,” he says.

“The English, by their weakness, have played a vital part in this grisly charade. They have indulged the spoilt brat north of the border, with £20bn a year in subsidies, even as they allow Scottish MPs to vote on English matters, while English MPs are denied reciprocal influence on Scottish affairs. When injustice becomes a norm, it is seen as a right; and the Scots, in all their wilful infantilism, now think it entirely proper for them to take money from the English taxpayer, even as they decide how that taxpayer should live. ”

Myers thinks that most Irish people would support Scots independence, even as they yearn for a united Ireland.

“But if the island of Ireland should not be divided, why should the island of Britain?” he asks.

“And why partition an entity for which Scotland provided seven prime ministers in the 20th century, and without which, in 1940, all of Europe would have become a Nazi fiefdom?

However, if the Scots do vote for independence, I trust that the English find an Idi Amin who will root out all the Scots from English life and expel them north of the border.

Then all those tiresome Scots Nats can put that in their pibroch, and wail their boring plaints at the vast dole queues vanishing into the Caledonian mists.”

  • jfd

    Myers. Honestly, sometimes he’d annoy you.

    Ivory tower commentary and hyperbole by our favourite neo-colonial wingnut.

    His arcane veneration of ‘Pax Britanica’, his espousal of ‘Redmondite’ politics ( both ideas that found their apex in the last century) and his disconnected flights of verbal fancy into socio-political rethoric makes Ruth Dudley (the banshee of NeoUnionism anyone?) seem rational, progressive and connected.

  • overhere

    I have just wasted 5 minutes reading this drivel

  • Brendan

    ‘And why partition an entity for which Scotland provided seven prime ministers in the 20th century, and without which, in 1940, all of Europe would have become a Nazi fiefdom’.

    Er…in 1940 all of Europe DID become a Nazi Fiefdom. You twat.

    (it was, of course, the Russians (predominantly) and the Americans who kicked the Nazis back to Germany).

    Incidentally: this sentence: ‘who has created the most incomprehensible tax structure since the Ottoman empire’ is incomprehensible. The word ‘since’ presupposes you are going to talk about time (‘the most (x) since World War 2’ (or whatever)). You can’t then talk about spatial differences (It’s like saying ‘This is the worst weather since India!’). In any case, I live in the UK and the tax structure is not complicated, and I would love to know how much this eejit knows about tax in the Ottoman Empire. He could explain it to me in his doubtless fluent Turkish, to begin with.

    His desire for a mono-ethnic English state though, where ‘Caledonians’ (and therefore, presumably, Indians, Irish people and Jews) are banned from general employment is is an interesting one. I wonder why this hasn’t occurred to anyone since the glory days of Adolf Hitler who did so much to simplify the German tax system?

  • jp

    he seems to have touched a raw nerve quite well, for a driveler.

  • páid

    He claims that last time he wrote in this vein, every radio station in Scotland rang him to find out why a columnist in Ireland would write as he did.
    No doubt the flat tones of our Leicester lothario will have caused the Scots to put 2 and 2 together and Ballymore Eustace’s telephone exchange will draw less current this time.

  • John Bull

    Isn’t the lad half english anyway? If what he proposed about the scots being banned from England a little rich considering his constant neo colonial views written on britian in an Irish newspaper?? You know, the republic which did obtain a degree of independence…considering those words, and juding HIM on those standards, why is the turkey in London so much? And why does ‘his’ newspaper have a Big brother feature on the FRONT PAGE?!? Surely if a nation chosing to demarcate its soverignity via constitutional methods, should isolate itself so fully from its former ‘partner’, then surely a nation that won its independence by an armed insurrection should not be so concerned about its former masters TV viewing habits?? Maybe he just does not like the scots….

  • Henry94

    The idea that political independence should have to mean isolation is of course silly but it shows that there is a hurt felt by a certain kind of British or pro-British person at the thought of Scotland leaving.

    It seems to them like a marriage break-up and we should I suppose understand the emotional lashing out. “How could you after all I’ve done for you”

    But what a contrast with the attitude to the north. That would be more like an unpleasant lodger moving on. “You want to go. Oh! well can we help you pack, make you a sandwich for the road?”

    It has been obvious to the point of embarrassment (almost) in this debate that the union for British people only formally includes the north. Emotionally it does not.

  • DK

    He does make a point that the Scottish Nationalists have overemphasised the cost of the Union and underemphasised the benefit. If the English catch on to this in any meaningful way, Scotland could be jetisoned like so much expensive whining baggage. But so long as the majority of Scots and English want the union, it will remain.

  • Jesus Christ

    The Ottoman Empire had a rather, haphazard taxing system in that dominions were taxed or untaxed rahter at random. I cannot comment on Britain;s current system but I imagine it is more structured one that the Ottomans, whose empire ended in the ashes of the Great War, where Mr Myers still lives.

    His accounting on Scottish independence is of course dodgy and the Scots could try all types of fiscal policy to lift Alba. Of course, having a lot of Unionist/Rangers types there does not bode well.

    The idea of an Irish Idi Amin seems rather good. Maybe one of our African imports will rise to prominence and help us flush out the dross of empire, beginning with Myers, the Irish Times, Anglican clerics, members of Sinn Fein and the Irish soccer team.

  • Another idiotic argument by Myers, where he misinterprets independence with isolationism.

    Ireland is independent, but (partly due to the EU, partly due to the special provisions with the UK), it’s citizens can travel, work and live abroad if they wish. Oddly enough, we also still trade with Britain, despite breaking away from it… we trade to the point of the majority of our exports going to Britain alone.

    The truth is that the exact details of Scottish indpendence haven’t really been debated in public. It’s one thing to ask people in a poll if they want a seperate from England, the question is, how much?

    All the same, Myers completely misses the point in his desperate attempt to stir some shit and earn his wage.

  • brendan,belfast

    Just to point out that the ‘Brendan’ who wrote earlier on this thread in an uneducated and ill informed tirade against Myers is not me.

    For my money Myers is spot on – on most things, including the whingeing Scots. Genuine financial and politcal independence would frighten the life out of Salmond and Co.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Brendan: “Er…in 1940 all of Europe DID become a Nazi Fiefdom. You twat.”

    Assuming you ignore Switzerland (neutral), Sweden (neutral), Spain (A Fascist neutral), Italy (busy being a Fascist state with its seperate leadership and goals, undermining German operations with its military independence and fecklessness), Finland (an independent nation, albeit cobelligerant with the Germans against the Russians), Greece (at war with Italy, its forces advancing into Albania at the end of 1940, not conquored until 1941)and Yugoslavia (Initial ally of Germany, signing the Tripartite pact in 1940, followed by a coup, conquored in 1941). Then there is the small matter of Turkey and Russia — European fringe-states, to be sure, but usually considered part of the European theater.

    Brendan: “His desire for a mono-ethnic English state though, where ‘Caledonians’ (and therefore, presumably, Indians, Irish people and Jews) are banned from general employment is is an interesting one. I wonder why this hasn’t occurred to anyone since the glory days of Adolf Hitler who did so much to simplify the German tax system? ”

    What is wrong with the thesis that, should Scotland truly wish to be a seperate sovereign nation and achieve that end, that Scotland be treated as a seperate sovereign nation? While I concede the author’s hyperbole may be extreme, the fundamental notion he expresses — foreigners are foreigners and are subject to some level of bureaucracy and are not given free run of the place until said bureaucracy is addressed is not a radical one. That said, assuming arguendo, that Scotland, as a former component of the UK, were retained in the EU, most of this is just hyperbole.

    Without getting too caught up in the author’s hyperbole — too late for some, I know — its not wholly unreasonable thesis, albeit one tarted up with some over-the-top language.

  • Cormac

    His Wikipedia entry is worth a look:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kevin_Myers

    It mentions (among other things, namely what the author sees as his inconsistencies) his last mention of the Scots, in 2006:


    There lies the ruin of Scotland – subsidies. Guaranteed transfers of capital from England have created a political culture of sloth which is now endemic and even personalised. Scottish people are the most obese in Europe, in which regard they resemble the wretched Scottish statelet. Only a minority of Scottish people work for a living – and most of those who have jobs are employed by the state: 577,300. In other words, they are employed by the English to manage themselves. The rest of the Scots are on the dole or pensions, living in state-owned housing estates, sending their children to state-run schools, where the most likely form of personal enterprise they will ever encounter is their local heroin-dealer.

    Ouch.

    Someone, please tell the Scots this man is not Irish! 😉

  • kensei

    “What is wrong with the thesis that, should Scotland truly wish to be a seperate sovereign nation and achieve that end, that Scotland be treated as a seperate sovereign nation? While I concede the author’s hyperbole may be extreme, the fundamental notion he expresses—foreigners are foreigners and are subject to some level of bureaucracy and are not given free run of the place until said bureaucracy is addressed is not a radical one.”

    Except an Independent Scotland would be part of Europe, and therefore by the rules of self said bureaucracy they are entitled entitled to shift about in England how they like. It’s not hyperbole , it’s a bile filled tirade.

    That’s ignoring the fact that by law, Irish Citizens are not “foreign” in the UK and vice versa, by the way. Independence doesn’t mean you cut yourself off. It means you control your relationships with other states.

  • K M CLAUGHLIN

    [edited ball not man] his article is full of factual errors. e.g. 20 billion p.a. subsidy from England to Scotland?. 7 Scots P.M.s in the 20th century?
    [] same anti Scottish hatred as the writers of some of the more recent articles and readers blogs on the subject of Scotland to be found in the online editions of the Daily Mail and Telegraph. Check them out! Some of these pieces would be illegal if written about Jews or Black people. There is no anti English counterpart in the Scottish press to this abuse.

  • Bono

    My favourite lines:

    ‘The last time I wrote critically about Scotland, just about every radio station in that country rang me up to ask why I thought so poorly of them. The very reason they asked me is the reason why I think poorly of them: why should they take the opinion of a single commentator in Ireland seriously? If they were that self-confident, they would ignore the occasional criticism from overseas.’

    Like him or lynch him, Myers always delivers the goodies.

  • Jeremy

    KM,
    You played the ball but it accidentally hit the Colonel in the wrong place. Have to agree Myers argues that “In recent times, however, the Scots have made self-pity into a branch of scholarship, turning themselves into the perpetual victims of English perfidy.” Is he not one of the most active academics in that field. Any country that has any relationship with England is accused of moaning whingeing. Tiring stuff.

    “I trust that the English find an Idi Amin who will root out all the Scots from English life and expel them north of the border.

    Idi Amin thought he was the Last king of Scotland, instead he was a thug who was trained by the British army and brutalised his country.
    Crass stuff from Myers.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    kensei: “Except an Independent Scotland would be part of Europe, and therefore by the rules of self said bureaucracy they are entitled entitled to shift about in England how they like. It’s not hyperbole , it’s a bile filled tirade. ”

    Assumes facts not truly in evidence — that a newly re-minted Scotland would be part and parcel of the EU (which is not, strictly speaking, “Europe” per se) and was addressed in my original post, so try to read the whole thing next time. As for the author — as he himself notes, he is a single “lowly writer” at an Irish paper — if he doesn’t make any waves, he’ll not be noted. Ergo, he has to generate more smoke and heat for his light to be seen.

    When you pare it down to the base bones of his thesis and ignore the hyperbole, its not all that unreasonable — why *should* Scotland be allowed to have it both ways?

    Kensei: “That’s ignoring the fact that by law, Irish Citizens are not “foreign” in the UK and vice versa, by the way. Independence doesn’t mean you cut yourself off. It means you control your relationships with other states.”

    And other states have the right to control their relationship with the state in question. Right now, Scotland enjoys a push — they benefit from English wealth transfers and are in a position to agitate, through the British Parliment, more, whilst enjoying fair control over their home affairs through the Scottish Parliment, while England, as an entity, is denied the same power — they end up footing the welfare bill whilst not having the same autonomy. The arrangement is fundamentally unbalanced and, like as not, not politically sustainable.

  • kensei

    “Assumes facts not truly in evidence—that a newly re-minted Scotland would be part and parcel of the EU (which is not, strictly speaking, “Europe” per se)”

    It would be *incredible* if Scotland wasn’t part of the EU. Scaremonger all you like.

    “and was addressed in my original post, so try to read the whole thing next time.”

    I did. The bits I cut were irrelevant to my point.

    “As for the author—as he himself notes, he is a single “lowly writer” at an Irish paper—if he doesn’t make any waves, he’ll not be noted. Ergo, he has to generate more smoke and heat for his light to be seen.”

    Newspaper articles generate other media content all the time. His last piece made for easy debates on radio so he is basically being a smart fecker here.

    “When you pare it down to the base bones of his thesis and ignore the hyperbole, its not all that unreasonable—why *should* Scotland be allowed to have it both ways?”

    Because it would be damaging to both countries and is a stupid suggestion on almost every angle you could take? Because they aren’t actually “having it both ways” but rather would be negotiating a mutually beneficial arrangement from a position of equality? Because they’d be in the bloody EU anyway? Because if we were to list all the different Nationalities in London this would be a stupidly long post?

    “And other states have the right to control their relationship with the state in question.”

    In accordance with international treaties, yes.

    “Right now, Scotland enjoys a push—they benefit from English wealth transfers and are in a position to agitate, through the British Parliment, more, whilst enjoying fair control over their home affairs through the Scottish Parliment, while England, as an entity, is denied the same power—they end up footing the welfare bill whilst not having the same autonomy. The arrangement is fundamentally unbalanced and, like as not, not politically sustainable. ”

    Excellent, we agree. Both Scotland and England should be independent and it solves all constitutional problems.

  • George

    Dread,
    I actually used the description “lowly columnist for an Irish newspaper,” not Myers.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    kensei: “Because it would be damaging to both countries and is a stupid suggestion on almost every angle you could take? Because they aren’t actually “having it both ways” but rather would be negotiating a mutually beneficial arrangement from a position of equality? Because they’d be in the bloody EU anyway? Because if we were to list all the different Nationalities in London this would be a stupidly long post? ”

    And how, pray tell, does England benefit from reduced sovereignty over its own affairs, the need to send millions, if not billions, of Euro north of the border, while not receiving equal consideration? Its only mutually beneficial if both parties benefit.

    kensei: “In accordance with international treaties, yes. ”

    And precisely when last did Scotland, as a political entity, sign a treaty? Like any contract, it would be subject to negotiation. As I suggested in my original post, it would likely be a fait accompli, but that is no guarantee that things will not go aglee — the crashing down-turn in relations between Russia and the former Eastern Bloc nations is proof that disassociation with the controlling power often comes at some cost.

    kensei: “I did. The bits I cut were irrelevant to my point. ”

    Obfuscating my point and trying to create issues where there are none exist does not increase the validity of your own opinion, kensei.

    kensei: “Both Scotland and England should be independent and it solves all constitutional problems. ”

    Hell, Kensei, I think we argue more about the things we agree about than the things we don’t.

    That said, could Scotland absorb the loss of those welfare transfers and achieve true independence without undue hardship?

    George: “I actually used the description “lowly columnist for an Irish newspaper,” not Myers. ”

    Fair enough and mea culpa. That said, the author did downplay his importance as a commentator with a self-deprecating tone within his article..

  • mojo

    None of his readership from the IT folleyed him over the fence. The bean baron’s lackey told him ” say something nasty about some one who won’t sue, or you’re out on your ass ” hey presto lash into the jocks.

  • Brendan, Timbouktou

    “Just to point out that the ‘Brendan’ who wrote earlier on this thread in an uneducated and ill informed tirade against Myers is not me. ”

    Oh right you’re THE Brendan then? Twat!

  • Ulster McNulty

    But where do the Ulster Scots fit into all this?

  • John East Belfast

    “But where do the Ulster Scots fit into all this?”

    Embarrased by our cousins actually.

    I can well understand the English telling the Scots to just feck off – if I was English I would probably have the same sentiment.

    The anti English hatered that eminates from Scotland is based in a deep insecurity and lack of national self confidence to the point of embarassment.

    Mel Gibson paints his face blue and shouts freedom and all the Scots go tearey eyed – they have become a bunch of ginnies.

    What they really should be aware of is their massive past and ongoing contribution to British life and indeed the beginnings of the USA.
    They have long punched above their weight in every field and instead of embracing the Union they are kicking out against it and blaming their current mindset on it.

    Anyhow their real problem is that despite being the home of Adam Smith they have held onto Socialist ideology for too long creating a state dependency culture with the result their economy and spirit of enterprise has suffered. Very similar to NI although with terrorism at least we had some excuse.

    We have laboured NIs economic problems to death on Slugger and often came up with the same conclusion – Scotland is no different with old industry and past pride but slow to change to the modern world gets left behind.

    I have business connections with Scotland and it is interesting that Scottish Tory types are moving towards independence – when I ask them why they say it is because of the Labour Government.

    They feel totally powerless to change the status quo that not only are they a permanent minority in Scotland but they feel they are also propping up a Labour Govt across the border.
    Basically they believe if they go independent then the harsh realities of supporting themselves will drive them down the route of the Irish Republic and set them free from Scottish Labour.
    They want a radical and decisive change and feel it can only come if the power of Scottish Labour is broken by Scotland having to taste the same medicine as ROI.

    IMHO what will save the Union is the long overdue move in Westminster politics towards PR Elections. Winner takes all First past the post has no place in a Union of nations – no more so than it has here.

    The ironic thing is the Scottish Labour party have done more harm to the Union than the English Tory Party.

    Henry 94

    Nationalists should not go on about NI being the unwanted child of the Union – I can assure you that me personally and my brand of moderate Pro British and Pro Union politics is much appreciated in GB. It is people like you that are unwanted – therefore please dont lump me in with what you might experience.

  • Fintan, Portlaoise

    I’m sure a lot of Scots are asking themselves: “Hoots, mon, who is this Kevin Myarase twit?”

  • iain

    john east belfast

    “What they really should be aware of is their massive past and ongoing contribution to British life and indeed the beginnings of the USA”.

    If only we had followed their example and gone for independence back then!

  • foreign correspondent

    Scotland – the 28th country in the EU, cool. I hope they have more sense than the English have shown, and join the euro soon…

  • kensei

    “Nationalists should not go on about NI being the unwanted child of the Union – I can assure you that me personally and my brand of moderate Pro British and Pro Union politics is much appreciated in GB. It is people like you that are unwanted – therefore please dont lump me in with what you might experience.”

    The striking thing about Newsnight’s discussion of the Union the other night was that NI did not even get a voice. Being unwanted implies some sort of relevance.

  • DK

    “I hope they have more sense than the English have shown, and join the euro soon…”

    Given the experience of the countries that have joined the Euro and the increasing (and futile) hankering for their old currencies, I’m sure the English are glad that they didn’t.

  • Aaron McDaid

    Why has Myers got it into his head that full independence would mean that Scottish people should leave their jobs in England and move to Scotland? A fully independent Scotland in the EU will have just as much right to English jobs as the French do, and vice versa. Independence means indenpendence, not isolation.

  • Ken A. Biss, Sweden

    DK writes. “Given the experience of the countries that have joined the Euro and the increasing (and futile) hankering for their old currencies …”

    Yes indeed, just look at what the euro has brought them: mass unemployment, a huge wave of emigration, plummeting property values, shrinking consumer spending, I could go on and on …

    If DK doesn’t believe me, he can go to the euro zone and see for himself. It begins just to the south of Newry.

    I haven’t given the idea of Scottish independence much thought until now, but when Colonel Blimps like Kev Myarse are agin’ it, it must have something to recommend it. Then again he could be right. Scotland, pop. 5 m, could turn out to be as big a failure as Norway, pop. 4.5 m, which split from Sweden a century ago. I’m surprises Kev doesn’t know more about Norway, because his surname is a Norwegian word. Incidentally, it translates as “bogman”.

  • Liam

    “Why has Myers got it into his head that full independence would mean that Scottish people should leave their jobs in England and move to Scotland? A fully independent Scotland in the EU will have just as much right to English jobs as the French do, and vice versa. Independence means indenpendence, not isolation. ”

    Yup, I found that statement from Myers baffling myself, considering he’s well aware of the amount of RoI citizens working in the U.K.

    Is it just me or does Myers remind anyone else of a somewhat milder, slightly less abusive version of Andrew McCann???