Friday, 6 May 2011

Freedom!

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                        This belongs to Day by Day Photos a photographic site you must see!

Today there is much rejoicing in the streets of Raith, and many other parts of Scotland. The Scots election last night saw the Scottish National Party take an overall majority into the Scottish Parliament and take total control as the Scots Government. The Conservative Party of course failed once again. This party has been in the wilderness since the days when Margaret Thatcher's racist policies saw deprivation kill Scotland's once proud manufacturing base, hundreds of thousands without work, and those on the Dole informed that they were 'scroungers.'  Council houses sold off cheaply to residents, then resold for a fat profit and lost to those in need. Absurd policies which gave no thought to human need. The Liberal Democrats have been vanquished after Nick Clegg their leader took his party into a coalition with the Conservative Party in England. This party is now in deep crisis. However the Labour Party, once the natural party for many Scots, handled the entire election badly. Ignoring Scotland's requirements and concentrating only on the English needs their vote fell dramatically. A shocking state for this party, reflecting the failure to consider what the people want and following out of touch leadership.

So now the SNP lead Scotland for the next four years. Already many are looking towards the day of the next referendum in Scotland, asking if the nation ought to be independent once again from the English neighbours. It is at times like this that I find living in England an irritation!  I joined the SNP in 1968 when I was just sweet sixteen. We traipsed the streets putting leaflets through folks doors, debating with all the intellectual ability a 16 year possess, almost nil I can confirm, and touched on the major element in the Scots psyche - England!  In 1707, much against the wishes off the people, England forced Scotland into a Union, not just of 'crowns' but politically also, and moved the parliament to Westminster. Some Lords were happy while the nation seethed. During the following three hundred years it quickly became apparent that Scotland was not considered of much worth in England. An attempt was made to change the name to North Britain! When this failed the English just resorted to their Edward the First manner and called the Island 'England!  By 1968 we were all aware of the manner in which Scotland was constantly downgraded by England, no matter which party was in power. I recall the Wilson government making the entire nation a business productivity zone, and excepted Edinburgh and Leith from this! This was around 64-66 time. Incredible! We all found TV was English based and Scotland was almost forgotten. Major Scots stories were shown in Scotland, in what the BBC still refers to as a 'region,' but rarely mentioned on 'National' News. Scots tennis players were 'British' at Wimbledon until they lost, and promptly became Scots. Some believe this to be a myth but I can tell you it is true. The constant lack of regard for Scotland encouraged a proud nation to rise again, and it did!  Following on from Winnie Ewings election to Westminster in 1967 a stimulus was created and during those 1968 local elections some 368 council seats were won by the SNP, often much to the surprise of some candidates!  I recall however one seat in Inverness was won by a Communist Party member, his leader appeared on telly informing the world that "The Scots people had realised that Communism was the answer and soon they would rule Scotland."  He ignored mention of the SNP.

The emotion of those days I can look at with different eyes today. Long since I have realised that England was not Scotland's main problem, it is not nations but people that matter. The people in this case being English and let's be honest for the most part did not notice they treated Scotland badly, they just didn't notice it at all. Scotland was 'Up there,' a place for holidays and a nation to play football against once a year. When pushed most admired the Scots, it was just that they were involved in their own lives and didn't notice. In fact East Anglia usually doesn't notice much let's be frank! Many Scots delight in the union,and I do not refer to Rangers fans with a misunderstanding of Irish history here, many would rather the union worked as they consider the United Kingdom stronger than a single entity, and I agree with them. The time when Britain stood alone against the Nazi threat may well be the only time that 'Great Britain' really was 'Great' and indeed 'United.'  I think Churchill never used the term 'England,' a term constantly used during the Great War, but he referred to Britain at all times. How sad that the opportunity to make the nation great was lost by English indifference and indeed at times contempt. The saga regarding the return of the 'Stone of Destiny,' showed English contempt for Scots feeling. Actually come to think of it I mind how in 1953 this contempt was made very clear by the erection in the Craigmiller district of Edinburgh of a pillar box. With Elizabeth crowned as Queen of the 'United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland' the Post Office erected new pillar boxes when required baring the slogan 'ER II.' It does not take much knowledge to note that Scotland has never had a queen called 'Elizabeth.' Clearly this was unacceptable and something had to be done. This new council housing estate soon rocked to an explosion caused by a stick of gelignite shoved through the slit. This was done in such a manner to ensure no mail was damaged and nobody was hurt. The investigation that followed could not find a perpetrator.  I suggest knocking on Wendy Wood's door that day may have been helpful to their enquiries.  What am I trying to say here? I am attempting to say that Scottish Nationalism would not be noticed if England had treated the Scots as partners and not part of 'Greater England. Now we do not know where this will lead, and emotionally I am with Scotland.

However reality must be considered here. The world wide recession, let's not argue about who started this, this recession is not over and will cut deep for some time. The planet is over crowded and the birthrate is not slowing down. Global warming is real, no matter what daft folk say, and at any time glacial melting could raise the sea levels fifteen to twenty feet. Not much problem here but swamping some nations. Food resources are running out and already some Malthusian answers have been muttered in dark corners, the fat rich may not notice but the skinny poor certainly will. It may well be two or three years before Scotland considers a referendum on independence, but the world situation may be a very different place in that short time.  I hate to be a Jeremiah on peoples joy (actually I would love to be a Jeremiah, what a man!) but reality is the Scots strong point. Emotion is great but reality will win the day. Those who voted SNP this time may not the next, and during a referendum many more will vote than did last night. How Alex Salmond, probably the only proper politician in the parliament at the moment, how he deals with the economy will be the major point of his rule. Careful judgement might well see folks willing to separate themselves from the 'UK,' and this would be a very interesting time indeed.

This is a little rushed, and while I wish Scotland to be a strong independent nation again, I fear for it with so few powerful men to lead. Alongside Salmond there is who? Opposing him there is nobody. We need to raise some powerful leaders in Scotland and in very short time. 



                                   

5 comments:

Mike Smith said...

You might soon need a passport to come home, auld fella!

FishHawk said...

Thanks for calling attention to Day by Day Photos. I just put it on the list for a future Sites To See.

soubriquet said...

When it happens, of course, all scots living in england will be declared illegal aliens. As I have no doubt that Scotland would also have the good sense to divorce itself from europe, that would mean deportation for the millions of scots who have chosen to make their homes south of the border.

What you say of thatcher's destructiveness toward scotland is a little unfair. She axed her way through all of us, not just scotland, she chewed up yorkshire too, once a powerhouse of iron and steel, engineering, textiles, fisheries, agriculture, Yorkshire was the only one of the british counties with everything it needed to stand alone, and so she set out to try cripple us.

Most of britain's regions experienced downturns. Just not all. Like the scots, we in yorkshire deeply resent London-centric government and media.
They tried to break us up, too, you know, re-drawing our boundaries, trying to split us into multiple counties, but we remember who we are.

When Scottish sovereign nationhood becomes a reality, I hope you'll all support Yorkshire's unilateral declaration of independence.

Adullamite said...

Mike, I already have that passport

Cheers Fish.

Soub, Yorkshire? Where is that....?

Anonymous said...

Not wanting to harsh your mellow but the "Weeping Prophet" doesn't quite suit you but I could be wrong.