An argument in favour of the United Kingdom

by Ray_North on January 30, 2014

Unknown-5As a Welshman, I feel at the moment like I’m on a sinking ship, and, as I look towards the horizon I can see the lifeboat marked London swimming off into the distance towards some kind of lovely tropical island, another lifeboat marked South East England, going in roughly the same direction whilst a third lifeboat, Scotland, is unfastening the hoists and preparing to get going.

I’m not alone though, as I look around me, I can see folk from the North East from the North West from Ulster and from Birmingham and Greater Manchester. And we all exchange a glance that says one thing – we are desperate.

You see we would really like a bit of economic growth in Wales and in the North of England and most of the rest of the UK – and I don’t mean the type of growth that is boasted about by that moron Osborne, I mean proper economic prosperity where ordinary normal people actually find themselves in a position where they are better off, and where their communities can be seen to actually tangible improve rather than rot, which is the case at the moment.

We’d like to see an improvement in social policy as well – because we’re sick of being told that there has to be austerity and cuts and job losses and a reduction in services so that the City can deal in money in a way that will maximise profits and make rich people even richer – because, the argument that if London and the City of London are prosperous, then the rest of us will prosper as well, is, simply cobblers. It was cobblers in the 1980s and it’s cobblers now.

What we’d like to see is better schools to educate our children, better hospitals to look after our ill and an economy where prosperity is spread around, so that, yes, we can have a bit of it as well.

London contributed more the UK economy last year, than the next twelve cities put together. That’s not economic success, that’s a national disaster. That is the type of statistic that suggests that if things carry on as they are, if the more challenging parts of the UK, the parts that once provided steel and coal and shipping and now bear the scars for endeavours of a different age, are left to rot, then we will end up as a nation that is even more riven that it is now. We will end up as a nation where culture, sport, money, resources are all compressed into the capital as the rest of the country struggle.

It is not what I aspire to.

So what’s this got to do with Scottish Independence?

Now, I know that there are those who write on these pages who are both Scottish and in favour of Scottish Independence. Now, I understand that, I understand the appeal of nationalism, I understand the belief that if you physically estrange yourself from those who you see as the oppressor, then you will be better off. I understand that, but, it is an argument that saddens me. It is like the people on the estate who paint their house whilst all the other houses crumble. Because the reality is that if Scotland obtains independence then great parts of the rest of the UK will suffer.

Politically, the English and Welsh political scene will be almost a parody of democracy – the Tories will have a massive advantage because of their Southern dominance and soon the North West, North East, Birmingham and Wales (who have never ever elected a majority of Tories), will become dominated by a government they never voted for.

Sure, the Scots will say, well that’s what we’ve had to put up with for years, which is true – but to simply fuck off and leave the rest of us to the mercy of a cabal of over bred, expensively educated right-wingers is hardly a positive move.

London will become even more dominant, the South East will suck in the best of the rest of England and Wales, leading to a perpetually drain of resources from the regions to the capital and its hinterland. It would be a disaster.

Ultimately, Wales will become increasingly and understandably nationalistic – there will be a reaction to the Scottish independence and the continuing alienation from England and before you know it Wales will be away; and then, who knows – The Independent Republic of Yorkshire or the City State of Liverpool or Manchester may suddenly become more than a joke or a pipe dream.

Some might poo-poo this, some will dismiss this argument as stupid, but the thrust behind it, is that, if Scotland leaves the Uk, and if those in London continue to ignore the rest of the UK, then the political debate will cease to be about how to best to improve the nation, but how best to dismantle it.

And, once we’ve dismantled it we will miss the UK. The Scots will find that that, regardless of how they set up their currency, they will not be quite as strong as they think, whilst London will ultimately not benefit from being the biggest and most successful city in a crap country that is diminishing in every way.

The ‘yes’ campaign will put forward many good arguments, and will play to the hearts and, at times, the minds and souls of Scottish people, but at the end of the day, their argument is one of nationalist exclusivity and that, fundamentally is a regressive argument and a negative argument – for me, personally, I’d rather stick with the UK and work to make that better.

I don’t blame the people of Scotland for being lured by the siren voices of the SNP I blame the dark forces of London and those who have long stopped caring about the rest of the UK.

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

George_East January 30, 2014 at 10:30 pm

Dark forces of London? You sure? Some of the poorest most deprived wards in the land are in the capital, it is an oasis of tolerance in a sea of right wing golf club land. It is diverse, young and vibrant.
It has a shit load of issues, sure, but London isn’t the problem. The City maybe? The capital as a whole not so much.

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Ray_North January 30, 2014 at 10:58 pm

Yes, by the dark forces of London, I definitely mean the City and the elites of various sectors who dominate the rest of us.

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Charlie_East_West January 30, 2014 at 11:21 pm

The Scottish Independence debate is not about nationalism. It is about the best path for Scotland’s future. End of story. If Scotland does decide to fuck off on its own path – then it will do so because of a better economic, political, democratic and social proposition in the long term. If that is the will of its own people – then so be it.

Also – you have in effect, accidentally argued against yourself. You have highlighted many of the reasons as to why Scotland must give serious consideration towards independence.

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John Mainland January 31, 2014 at 6:04 am

The commonalities of human existence – shelter, food, family, security – are all being ignored by claims of difference, of betterness, of nationalism.

My experience makes me think there is more in common between urban than rural, between former coalfields and modern day slums than there will ever be dependant on which piece of cloth will be at the front of the line of tracksuits – like a Greggs queue – at the Commonwealth Games…

So many on both sides have been talking about the ‘people of Scotland’ and the ‘English populous’ as if they are homogenous, unified, unthinking conforming masses… Humanity are by any measure is not like that. We are more diverse, more disparate, more fun and much more annoying.

One side talks – including a PPB only last night – about a fairer nation, a better nation, only a step or so away from a sexier nation, one that will never lose at fitba and one where keys will never go missing when you are in a hurry. What is so clearly lacking is a spelling out of how any of these splendid and joyous things will actually be delivered, what will be done to turn around the position which they paint of ALL THINGS EVER being done badly as they were thought up south of a line on a map. No detailing of how EVERYTHING WILL BE UTTERLY SUPERB (if deep fried) after us gorgeous Scots rest control of oor hings aff the oppressors. A repetition that all decisions have not been made not ignoring the position in Scotland but actually done daftly specifically to annoy the glorious Jocks on purpose…

It is the doctrine of conspiracy not cock-up.

Pure, home bred, truly Scottish failures, (Embra’s non-trams, a Parliament building that is falling down and the utter, utter shambles of a single Strathclyde Police force), are all ignored or hinted at actually being the fault of someone who was taken on holiday to Berwick as a child and thus it’s them pesky English AGAIN…

Human beings win respect by understanding their place in the group, in society in the world. The individuals who constantly claim “it wasn’t me”, “it was all their fault”, “I’m the best” and “I’d be slimmer if it wasn’t for Domino’s Pizza, delivering and force feeding me stuffed crust pizza’s” soon find themselves with fewer friends and laughed at in the pub…

Why then is it seen by some to be ok to pedal myths of betterness or superiority in the independence debate? Why is it ok for anyone who points out that Domino’s only give you lovely pizza if you ring them and give them cash, open the box and put the triangle of yumminess in your mouth as some kind of scaremongering loony freak?

These islands, this continent, the hemisphere and humanity in it’s entirety have greater and more pressing concerns to address than who gets to be on stamps and on the TV doing a monologue at Xmas before the cool film comes on…

The ills of the UK, the domination more by accident than design of the SE needs to be addressed for the betterment of all 60 million of us. That can be addressed and the wider issues for the planet and it’s 7 billion can all be better worked on through unity, better together than apart.

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Rab C January 31, 2014 at 8:19 am

Hear, Hear.
I really couldn’t have put it any better. Well said John!

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John Dunn January 31, 2014 at 4:01 pm

In the same way as a human body that finds itself in a minus 50 degree freeze, its natural mechanism for survival is to shut down the fingers and toes (the extremities), in an attempt to save the core organs.
Is it not the same in an economic freeze? The extremities are expendable (?), and left to wither, to save the ‘economic gated community’, of London and the SE ~ (The Core). Indeed did we not hear policy murmurings 12 months ago, about ‘regional pay’, in the public sector.? No doubt to be followed up with regional state pensions, healthcare, education,…..
One thing is crystal clear. We are NOT all in it together.

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Eddie Kaye January 31, 2014 at 5:25 pm

I agree with George’s response – those in parts of the capital are as probably as withdrawn from the cabal of the city and the elite as those in Leeds, Manchester, Cardiff and Glasgow. Unfortunately, there is no real geographical get out for the poorer areas of London. There is (currently) not the impotus for Welsh Independence, and I know for a fact that as good as the People’s Republic of Yorkshire sounds, anyone advocating it would be simply laughed at.

The issue for me comes back to no one talking for those in need – nobody in political life who can actually make a difference is offering to make a difference. In fact the opposite – Labour are espousing a more punitive line on benefits, or immigration for example. Nobody is standing up and pushing an agenda that will make life better for the average Georgie, or Scouser, Brummie or Mancunian – your average Glaswegian or Aberdonian can probably count himself in with that group, and does the possibility of a successful ‘yes’ vote represent a get out of the shit card? The Yes campaign will endeavour to convince him it does.

The independence vote is a bit daunting IMO – a yes and we are left at the mercy of the good ship Thatcherism, a no and it is Scotland staying aboard that ship – quite a worrying prosepct really.

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