London’s problem is that Scotland is already de facto independent…

When we tell you to apply updates we are not telling you to mend your ship. We are telling you to keep bailing before the water gets to your neck.

Everything is broken, Quinn Norton

No one gets in

Okay, so moving away from the detail of IndyRef, here’s an interesting four point blog from Mark Leonard at Reuters. He raises a number of key points that should not only be listened to London, but elsewhere

…whatever the result of the vote, I think we must recognize that the “Yes” campaign has done more to shape the agenda of Scottish politics. And it is the forces it tapped into that will also change politics around the world.

One, is the eclipse of the economic debate in this #IndyRef debate (notwithstanding my own very short standing obsession with the currency issue):

…many of these arguments pale into insignificance when compared to the power of their pro-independence ‘Yes’ camp’s argument that Scotland has not voted for a Conservative government since 1935 and yet has spent more than half of the last century being governed by Conservatives (at the last election, David Cameron’s Conservative Party won only one out of 59 seats in Scotland). As Owen Jones argued in the Guardian, “to most Scots, living under a Tory-led government seems absurd, like being forced to live under a hostile foreign occupying force.

Two, these matters are about shared values as much if not more than pure old fashioned nationalism:

Rather than proclaiming far-right ideas, pro-independence campaign videos paint a picture of Scotland’s future as a socialist utopia – a British version of Sweden. The campaign video counterposes Scottish fairness with Britain’s growing inequality; Scottish public spending against British austerity; Scottish opportunities against the tyranny of English privilege; and Scottish internationalism with the ‘illegal wars’ of former Prime Minister Tony Blair’s Britain. For the “Yes” campaign, the yes box on the the ballot paper does not just imply that Scots will be free from Tory government – it is an invitation to join in building a socialist paradise north of the border.

Three, in the struggle between plutocrats and the populists, the latter is winning. More importantly Yes has been able to frame this not [just] as a battle against England but of one of the people against elites:

The leader of the Scottish National Party, Alex Salmond, has been able to present himself as a defender of the Scottish people against the British elites. His arguments have added force because so many successful Scottish people have chosen to make their careers in London – allowing the Nationalists to become the spokespeople for those who have been left behind.

The dynamics of the Scottish campaign are increasingly true of many other democracies where established parties huddle together to defend the current order from insurgent political forces that paint themselves as popular tribunes in the face of entrenched elites.

Four, Scotland is already de facto independent. The long tail corollary of devolution has been the establishment of a separate and largely self sustaining political culture in Edinburgh and Glasgow, of which London has taken very little notice:

It has been striking that none of the (English) leaders of the mainstream parties in Westminster have been seen as legitimate voices in Scotland’s debates. The most powerful arguments for the Union have come from Scottish politicians.

This is not surprising given the fact that the Scottish have consumed different media from the rest of the UK for a number of years, and that their political arguments have long been different from those in other parts of Britain.

In many ways, the cultural and intellectual secession of Scotland from the UK has been going on for a number of years. And it echoes The Big Sort that has seen people in many established democracies clustering into like-minded groupings that live and work and pray together while consuming media that reinforce their bias and preferences.

In other words, whether it is yes or no, this problem is not going to go away anytime soon. And far less contemporary than all of these examples. We know that over time, when offered their own freedom, more often than not, countries tend to choose it.

With no armed guards on the exit gates of the UK, who knew it could be so easy just to pull out?

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  • Michael Henry

    One-

    ” To most Scots,living under a Tory-led government seems absurd,like being forced to live under a hostile Foreign occupying force “-

    Ditto – I know how the Scots feel living under a anti vote Tory led Government -the Tory’s will still not stand here in a Westminster election next year but the Tory’s will still stand for elections in a independent Scotland-

    Two-

    ” It is a invitation to join in building a Socialist paradise north of the border ”

    Ditto-but I would like to see this in a All Ireland-

    Three-

    ” Alex Salmond,has been able to present himself as a defender of the Scottish people against the British elites-

    Ditto-Sinn Fein has been able to present themselves as the defender of the people against the British Elites and the elites in the 26 counties

  • Michael Henry

    Four-

    Ditto- most of number four you can say about the six-none of the leaders of the Mainstream parties at Westminster have been seen as legitimate voices here-etc etc etc-

  • Zeno1

    “Ditto-Sinn Fein has been able to present themselves as the defender of the people against the British Elites and the elites in the 26 counties”

    Actually Michael the Nationalist People are no better off under Sinn Fein. Nationalist areas still have the worse unemployment, worst under investment and worst poverty. I think it’s safe to say they haven’t improved life for the unionist population either.

  • carl marks

    The degree that the English establishment is out of touch with the Scottish vibe was shown by the way the Better together grouping has used both politicians and senior military officers to play the on the marshal history that the Scots and English share, many many scots regard Britain’s wars as illegal and not fought for any higher ideal than protecting the profits of English and American business.

    A main plank of the Yes campaign is getting the nukes out of Scotland and a separation (both politically and militarily) form the English war machine and it overseas adventurism and at a time when Britain is probably going to get involved in another F**K up in middle east (of its and its allies making) the thinking man would not have used the, great and glorious war machine argument to a people with a tendency to fairness and anti-militarism.

  • mickfealty

    My most coherent thought on it at this stage is that it is point to a democratic software problem. You have to cast your mind back to the 80s and the rough solutions that Thatcher brought to some very tough problems in the machine.

    Some of them were necessary you might say, others not only went too far, but are a root cause of the ‘trouble’ today. It was Jim Callaghan’s obsession that his Labour government last until the North Sea oil started pumping in.

    But it was Thatcher’s who used it to fund a massive programme of deindustrialisation, which magically made what they used to call the Labour relations problem disappear.

    That and the slow diminution of local political power (still being pushed forward in England to this very day) is what has converted former unionists to Scottish nationalism. Neal Ascherton is a perfect example of the non nationalist character of some of those going Yes.

    But it is not all due to historic fault. As Mark says above…

    “…the cultural and intellectual secession of Scotland from the UK has been going on for a number of years. And it echoes The Big Sort that has seen people in many established democracies clustering into like-minded groupings that live and work and pray together while consuming media that reinforce their bias and preferences.”

    It worth considering very carefully, especially when we reflect on the challenges facing Northern Ireland going forward.

  • Michael Henry

    ” No better off under Sinn Fein “- Lol- the Tory’s say they run the six counties -we are no better off under those anti democrats- Sinn Fein is stopping the Tory cuts and fighting the Tory’s sneaking away with money from the Assembly’s budget-

  • Zeno1

    “Sinn Fein is stopping the Tory cuts ”

    When did that happen Michael? That is great news.

  • Michael Henry

    You not hear about the Tory Welfare cuts not being Allowed to pass in the Assembly- start watching the news Zeno1 or reading the front pages of a few newspapers instead of just the sport- it’s the talk of the town-

  • Zeno1

    Did the Tories not just impose fines Michael when the Shinners refused to implement welfare reform, and do the fines not come to a lot more than actually implementing the reforms would cost? That means we are worse off Michael, not better off.

  • Helen Molyneux

    My problem is that there has a lot of inflated talk about “the Establishment”, This has genuine ramifications for businesses and their employees, big or small, rich or poor. We’ve been blogging about this, but my point is that there are considerations to be had at every level of Scottish society!

    http://www.cambridge-risk.com/2014/scottish-independence-and-the-affect-on-corporate-interests/