Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Mini Rant and More Thoughts on Scotland

Tomorrow the Scots will have their chance to vote on the issue of Scottish independence from the United Kingdom. I've already said my piece on this, post is HERE. Reading around during the past few days, though, I've been shocked at the naked racism contained in much online commentary. Some commenters seem to assume that it's alright to malign the English in general, as a race - one blatant example from many:
Comment under a piece at Smirking Chimp:
Giving the Sassenachs a Big Scare by Eric Margolis:

from "oldeyank"
Well deserved split.....Fuck the English!
Nasty, vicious, arrogant, pompous ass, condescending, buck-toothed chinless wonders. Serves them right! And, about bloody time.
Would it be acceptable to make comparable comment about African Americans, Native Americans, Jewish people? Of course not. Because it's about the English people it's seen to be okay?
No it's not okay! Do some Americans actually understand what racism is? This reveals that there remains a need to nurture racism in the hearts of certain factions in the USA. When they are pilloried for hating this group of people or that group of people, they turn on a set about whom they know practically nothing and shed their vile hatred upon them with impunity (or so they assume).

I have never seen such a load of arrant bullshit, written by Americans in comment threads, as I've seen on this topic. I did come across one very good observation late yesterday, it's part of a weekly post at Avedon's Sideshow
I hope the blogger, Ms Carol, an American resident in London, will not object to my copying it here.

OK, the reason Scots want independence from Westminster is that Westminster is being run by a load of right-wing scum that seems to take special pleasure from screwing Scotland. (Well, Maggie sure did.) Of course those people are also screwing most of the people in England, which is now a runaway train, thanks in large part to the way the Labour Party membership has allowed their own party to be run by people who may not be capital-C Conservatives but are certainly Tories. Which sounds a lot like American politics, of course, except that there doesn't seem to be much threat of, say, California declaring itself an independent nation and taking it's Democratic votes in the Electoral College with it. A lot of people are fretting that without Scotland, England will be stuck with Conservative governments forever, but that is true only to the extent that everyone is happy to let neoliberal policies keep marching on without an argument. The question, judging from the kinds of arguments some of my friends are having, is whether the answer is a new generation of Labour members banding together to take back their party on behalf of real people, or whether creating a new party is the more feasible path to that end. Again, sounding familiar. In both cases, of course, nothing is going to work unless people are prepared to fight the right-wing rhetoric, as well as the policies, with something more than fevered angst.

Rant over.

Whatever the majority in Scotland decide tomorrow they will have to abide by it. Speaking of majorities, would it not have been a fairer basis to the referendum if a minimum percentage had been made a requirement in the Yes/No result, before a complete break from the UK were possible? I dunno exactly what percentage, but certainly nothing as close as most predict the result is going to be.

I hope the Scots do not forget, as they cast their votes, that the new boss will be "same as the old boss" (as sung long ago by English rock band The Who). As another commenter, elsewhere (edcaryl) observed, "This is Scotland's version of Obama's old "CHANGE" slogan - and "YES WE CAN!" It means all things to all people... and nothing".

I doubt anyone voting tomorrow will be reading this blog. Anyway, an interesting piece I found, written by Ewan Morrison, an award-winning Scottish author and screenwriter, is a good read for general interest. The experiences described can be related to many politically-related issues and attitudes. Something to bear in mind as, in the USA, congressional elections in November approach, and a General election in 2016 is being gambled upon already.
Title: YES: Why I Joined Yes and Why I Changed to No

Last words go to two other commenters from around the net, the first whose screen name I've accidentally lost:

Whether or not Alex Salmond gets his place in history as the man that destroyed the UK, he will still get his place in history as the man who divided and destroyed Scotland, inciting hatred and spite across Scotland and UK. Would hate to be in Scotland when the results come through. Could be a dangerous place to be.
And from "barrybethel", appropriate to a blog where astrology is frequently a topic:
Perhaps it's cyclical also. Students of markets such as Elliott, Kondratiev, Gann etc. have long noted that there are tides in the affairs of men (oh, and the Bard too it seems).

Sometimes we are harmonious, productive and all for closer union - the next, it's all going to hell and divorce and war are on the cards.

Maybe it's just in the stars.

Maybe so!!


mittens said...

and maybe it's just time for Scotland to become its own entity.
I am totally embarrassed by the stupidity of fellow Americans who havent a clue about Britain, Scotland, or the kinds of governments they have. It's none of our business.

Schisms, revolutions (bloody or peaceful), divorces, and independence are all apt to be messy, expensive, painful as a snap on the nose, and it sometimes takes years to settle down afterwards.

I wish you all well over there, and hope that whatever occurs, occurs well. Peace.

mike said...

I wouldn't describe the pejoratives as racism, but as nationalism. I've read denigrations about us Americans from the British (some right here on your blog...LOL) and about the British from the Americans. It's the same distinction placed on rival high school sports' teams or other competitions-comparisons.

I do think that the USA (and world) has a stake in how the secession of Scotland takes place. This has the potential to weaken or strengthen the Eurozone nations and the financial interplay, as the UK financial sector has already declared its loyalty, which can only rub more salt into the cut. It has implications for other UK secession, such as Wales and British holdings. Whether Scotland leaves or stays, many concessions and punishments are being discussed toward either outcome. This will not have a happy's the beginning of something, though.

It's an allegory for what awaits the Eurozone in 2017.

mike (again) said...

P.S. - There are similarities of the Scottish unrest here in the USA. Many states have declared federal over-reach and desire more autonomy and down-sizing of government, particularly the Libertarian and Tea Party, with the Republicans not far behind. Many municipalities are not desiring to be compliant to state laws and regulations. Many individuals feel that all governing agencies, local to federal, have gone too far. Various groups, whether racial,religious, business or otherwise, want their agendas enacted.

Twilight said...

mittens ~ Hi there!
Yes, whichever way the vote goes, things will never be the same.

Twilight said...

mike ~ I knew you'd say that! I do have more right than most though - I did fight my way to being a US citizen, and have 10 years of experience here AND 60+ of life in England. I know of that which I rant, moreso than people like the racist (yes it is!) commenter I quoted.

I hope that I never have condemned a whole population as that commenter does, I try always to qualify remarks with "some" or "certain factions" or "in certain areas".
Generalisation irks me in this as in astrology with the he "a Taurus" she's "an Aquarius" stuff.

I stand by what I've said above, and whatever I've said in the past.

Those who have expressed wishes wish to secede from the Union of states here have been mainly Republican majority states, I think. In Britain it's the opposite. Scotland's main reason for wishing to break away, I believe, is the conservative policies of the UK government. Many, many English people feel the same about those policies. fighting against them together ought to be a better plan.

Sonny Gianetti said...

I try to speak my racism , individual by individual.. well ok,, except for republicans lol.. those get thrown into one pot and boiled in oil with a tablespoon or 3 xxpoisen...
as for other countries,, good grief,, we have all we can do to have any hope of cleaning up our own mess , much less commenting about how others govern or the choices they make..

my Nana told me to clean my own house till it was immaculate inside and out before I started mouthing off about someone else's Home..

well except for the republican homes:-)

good luck to them~!

James Higham said...

Must link to this now in the post coming up [can't remember - think it's tomorrow morning].

Twilight said...

Sonny ~ LOL! There are one or two Republicans who deserve a reprieve from that boiling cauldron though.
I rather liked John Huntsman - he seemed like one of the sane and more empathetic variety, but one of the few. And I could never bring myself to throw Clint Eastwood into the cauldron.

Twilight said...

James ~ Thanks in advance if you do. :-)

LB said...

That's humans for you! Reading the sometimes vitriolic comments directed at fellow human beings on sites like Common Dreams, Truthdig, and even some spiritual/astrological sites (left by those who probably see themselves as instruments of social justice and/or *enlightenment*) says it all.

Whether we realize it or not, most of us do it, often because we want to fit in with the social and cultural values of our chosen group or tribe. Whatever we believe, I think it's part of our *spiritual* challenge not to dehumanize "the other".

Martin Buber described these forms of relating and our choices in relationship as "I-It" and "I-Thou". Probably an oversimplification, but it fits!

Twilight said...

LB ~ Or, at least, humans when online! As we've said before, commenters online will write in a vein, and use language, they'd never use in person, looking the other party in the eye.

I can understand hot-tempered attitudes when an issue trikes at a person's own well-being in some way, but on an issue such as this, people in the USA (or most of them anyway) have no idea what "the English" are like - or "the Scottish", and the outcome of this issue will have no impact on them at all. Because their grandfather 6 times removed came from Perth they consider themselves qualified to pontificate upon the evils of the British Empire etc etc etc. LOL! It's funny in some ways, but extremely irritating at the same time.

A blogger who actually lives in Scotland has just commented on my earlier post on this topic, and says that the atmosphere there is quite friendly, almost festive between both "Yes" and "No" voters.

John Oliver's piece on this topic, from his Sunday show, is good - here's a link to the video: