Friday, September 12, 2014
Scotland, Queen Elizabeth and I
I've been following the referendum campaign quite closely and have to admit that the No campaign has been lacklustre to say the least. If the most charismatic frontman you can dig up is Alistair Darling then you're bound to struggle. Having said that the Yes campaign seems to consist of fantasy and downright lies. I suppose that's inevitable when you have a frontman like Alex Salmond.
To give just one small example of the Yes campaign's lies I was watching the BBC news yesterday. Up popped a Yes campaigner claiming, amongst other things, that English businesses had stopped accepting Scottish banknotes years ago. A clear lie and it went unchecked by the BBC. I tweeted this incident and received a flood of replies from Yes Twitter users claiming it to be true. Of course when I stood my ground they became abusive and more than one ordered me to 'butt out' as it was none of my business. Their attitude verified the reports of widespread vandalism of No campaign posters and hoardings coming out of Scotland.
Ultimately the Scottish referendum is the ultimate act of political correctness. A sizeable proportion of the Scottish population, are playing the victim card. The Scots portraying themselves as the victims of a the reckless Westminster driver. Up pops a beaming Alex Salmond telling them that where there's blame there's a referendum.
The reality is that we English are the ones who have suffered at the hands of the Scots when Westminster is in the spotlight. With ten times the population of Scotland we have had numerous labour governments inflicted on us because of Scots voting in Labour MPs. Only once, in 1997, did England elect a majority of Labour MPs. Bang, another Scots Nat argument blown out of the water.
The EU says that an independent Scotland will have to negotiate membership. Salmond cries: "Oh no we won't". The Bank of England says that an independent Scotland will have to forego the Pound for their own currency. Salmond cries: "Oh no we won't". It's more like a pantomime than a serious constitutional debate.
As the campaign has unfolded I have been saddened by the level of anti-English bile spewing from the Scots Nats. I'm not entirely surprised as I was warned on a visit to Scotland a few years ago that I was taking a risk bearing a Cross of St George sticker on the back of my car. I also heard on that visit of Englishmen living in Scotland being attacked.
The whole debate has been shallow and superficial. But where is HM Queen Elizabeth II? Well she's decided it's not her job to comment. Yes, I know she's a constitutional monarch but for God's sake at what point does she put country first as millions of soldiers have done over the years? She sits in Buckingham Palace while a campaign to carve off a chunk of her kingdom is going on and says nowt. I can't help wondering, more and more, what the point of the monarchy, other than clinging to their wealth and privilege, actually is. As for attracting American tourists I think we have more than enough tourist attractions without royalty.
My conclusion is that most of the players in this sordid campaign have been acting from self-interest of the worst kind. The Queen and the politicians, from Cameron to Salmond, acting in the interests of their careers, none acting in the interests of the UK or Scotland. And that goes for Miliband and the wretched Clegg. And before the Scots whine that they didn't vote for Clegg/Cameron neither did I or anybody else in the country.
Before this campaign there was a huge well of goodwill among the English towards Scotland despite it never being reciprocated. I sense that goodwill diminishing on a daily basis as the Scots Nats increasingly appear to observers as small minded, insular Anglophobes bearing a nastiness that is barely hidden beneath the surface.
Regardless of the result I feel that divorce is inevitable, whether next week or in the next few years. From being a vehement Unionist I am increasingly weary of the Celtic Fringe blaming all their failings, insecurities and weaknesses on England and the English. The Scots, Welsh and Irish increasingly claim that their business is none of our business so maybe it's time we English said fine, paddle your own canoes and don't come crying for help from us if you start capsizing.
I'm not hopeful, but I think I'll now go and have a look at the English Democrats. You never know.