Just as I thought it was safe to enjoy my retirement from worrying about the fate of Scottish self-government, the issue is skiting across the UK political pages again. What’s depressing about it is that the debate is being fuelled by that most regrettable of media memes: the Anglophobia of Scots, real or perceived.
Like my old political hero Jim Sillars, I have contempt for the “ninety-minute patriotism” that gets expressed in Scottish life through major sporting events – and in no form more contemptible than when Scotland isn’t in the World Cup, England is, and any team other than the Anglos will do. This is a long and well-documented tradition, but it’s recently had some surprising and Agatha Ruiz Dela Prada Online Shop alarming proponents.
Scotland’s first minister, Jack McConnell, gave energy to popular Anglophobia when he declared his backing for Trinidad and Tobago, nominally because many of the team’s players perform in the Scottish League. I wonder also whether Jack noted, in his disingenuous support for “an underdog team”, why Authentic Prada Handbags Online Australia so many of its black players had Anglo-Scottish surnames (Jason Scotland only Are All Prada Handbags Leather the most notable).
Something to do, perhaps, with the profound Scottish “involvement” – as lieutenants of the British Empire – in running the original slave colony in the first place? Has there been some reconcilation-and-reparation process going on about Scotland’s administrative role in the depredations of Empire that I haven’t noticed?
It’s the sheer, unworldly narrowness of Scottish Anglophobia that makes me most annoyed. A properly Black Prada Chain Bag mature neighbour nation would look at the multi-class, multi-racial spectacle of the England football team, and in these increasingly intolerant times support its very diversity (which is, incidentally, a hell of a lot better than any Scottish football team has demonstrated in living memory).
At a time when the editor of Prospect Authentic Prada Bags Outlet Online magazine and the leader of the BNP are both worried about the civic rights of “white working class Britons”, the English team would still be a complete achievement, even if it never won a game.
What has always enraged me about my country is the spectacle of major public opinion-formers or leaders who would run a mile if the prospect – and complex challenges – of establishing a Agatha Ruiz Dela Prada Shoes handbags Uk Scottish nation-state ever raised its head. Yet when it comes to the symbolic football pantomime of “the auld Enemy”, they slap on the blue Braveheart woad and bare their rhetorical arses. Cartoon national resentment, rather than confident and coherent national aspiration, seems to be the gratifying default for too many up here.
The patriotics of football are providing a context in which deeper issues about the relations between the Authentic Prada Handbags Usa nations of these islands can surface. About the only particle of grit to be found in David Cameron’s recent souffl of lifestyle values is his call for “English votes for English issues” – ie, the spectacle of Scottish Labour MP’s at Westminster, voting on policy issues that affect only England and Wales, and thus acting as a passive “whipped” bloc to support government policies.
Yes, this is an absurdity, Are All Prada Handbags Leather and could be sorted out through the kind of exemptions suggested by Micheal Portillo in the Sunday Times yesterday. But in the light of Catalonia’s recent referendum to increase its range of governmental powers vis–vis the Spanish state – never mind Montenegro’s establishment as a nation-state – there’s only one direction that such constitutional tinkering could and should go.
The range of powers “reserved” to Westminster, and unavailable to the Scottish Parliament – like broadcasting, fiscal and economic policy, trade and industry policy, social security, defence, energy, international relations, and many more – keep its politicians and officials in a kind of public-sector soft-play area (education, health, housing, the arts). The effect is doubly subverting of the status of Scottish self-government. We have all the expenditure and appurtenances of a small nation-state (nice new Parliament, Tartan Day in New York, the occasional world-class festival or scientific discovery), but with less than half of its significant powers of governance.
There are many progressive Scots who scan the horizon of successful small European states – from Ireland to Finland and beyond into the Baltics – and aspire to the same degree of sustained and balanced social and economic development. There are defensive reasons for independence, too. If anyone could object to the awesomely wasteful updating of Trident, it’s the Scots who will be compelled to host the pointless objects. Scottish territorial sovereignty would be worth asserting on its own, to impede and defuse that atrocity.
Yet every time Anglophobia raises its ugly, brainless little head, a significant amount of the necessary vision, wisdom and discipline required to move Scotland towards Authentic Prada Handbags Online Australia its natural political state evaporates into thin air. Those of us who Authentic Prada Handbags Outlet Online want independence for all the right reasons should be Anglophiliacs, if anything. An England finally liberated from its post-imperial, big-power angst, and able to display its creativity and diversity in a European and world context, would be a wonderful and challenging neighbour – surely the noblest outcome of the break-up of Britain. Every time I see a member of the Scottish bourgeoisie cavort around a sports bar with a Jason Scotland shirt on, the prospect of that kind of inclusive Scottish futurism dims before my eyes.
Oh well. Seems it was only a semi-retirement, then…