The Union or Liberty? Oh Scotland …
Whilst at this moment only a third of the people in Scotland would vote for independence from the United Kingdom (UK), the latest spat between Alex Salmond (First Minister of Scotland) and the Supreme Court of the UK suggests he has begun the work of winning the independence referendum later in the five year parliamentary session. The Queen was right to ask Prime Minister David Cameron of the constitutional consequences.
We could deal with the question of jurisdiction over human rights; the basis on which the people of Scotland can appeal to the Supreme Court (as the interpretation of European Human Rights Act it is the court of last resort in the UK). Salmond would like to bypass it directly to Europe.
Further we can mention the particulars of the cases: that this was to do with the interview of suspects for up to 6 hours by the police without legal representation present. Not allowed in England or Wales; and the Supreme Court ruled it was a breech of human rights. A correct judgment but that has nothing to do with it either.
For this is politics – where “Braveheart” pushes nationalist buttons and membership of the Scottish Nationalist Party goes up. Shall we bet on whether this film may be on just before the referendum in Scotland? For those that can motivate the masses can control democracy.
The master of whom is Mr Salmond. If anyone threatened the Union of the island it is him. Without an army, without terror. Just competent administration and the ability to communicate policies and failings clearly. It is the mandate from the election this year, first using legitimacy of a majority government as a big stick to whack the Conservative Liberal Democrat Coalition UK government over their incompetent North Sea Oil tax. As a former economist on the black stuf before politics,it was almost too easy for him to hit for six.
This is not cricket. The boundary that could be over is one from the seventeenth century. Yet there could be a snake in the grass. That in the event that Scotland voted for independence than the rest of the UK would have to vote to ratify.
Whilst, baring a real political tussel that enflamed those north of Hadrian’s Wall with Cameron, I expect that the Scots would reject it. However, it bares the question of what happens when two people’s geographically separated may have an opposed view of their nation and how they as citizens should respond. Civil wars are usually the answer when diametrically opposed views are unresolvable and the will is there – Abraham Lincoln saved the Unity of the USA but at the cost of over 600,000 Americans.
I am not for one moment suggesting that red coats will be sent to keep order. My point is when you are a liberal and believe in the right of a people’s to govern themselves in accordance with the rights of humanity, what do you do when the ideal you believe in – a United Kingdom of home countries – is threatened by the mechanisms you agree with – the ballot box.
My confidence in the Scottish people’s common sense is not extended to the Scottish politicians routed by the Scottish Nationalist Party. They had better get their act together and start showing why the Act of Union is relevant today and for the future happiness of the peoples of this island.
They underestimated Salmond once. For the Unions sake do not do him the favour a second time. But I would never quash the right for someone to leave my nation, far less spill the blood of my fellow countrymen to prevent them. I would just possibly shed a tear …