Siol nan Gaidheal

Questions to the
"Scottish Parliament"

A Scottish Parliament- that is what Scotland ostensibly voted for at the beginning of September 1997. A resounding double "yes" not only to the principle but also to a certain measure of fiscal authority to go with the new legislature.

What though, of the unanswered questions that have been thrown up in the wake of this massive popular endorsement? An endorsement of what were, after all, merely proposals in the form of a pre-legislative white paper -- to use the quaint terminology of the self-styled "mother of parliaments".

Though it is to be hoped that the parliament or assembly delivered will provide the degree of democratic accountability in decision-making that has so clearly lacked over the decades in the placeman, grace-and-favour and quango-riddled colonial governance that is the Scottish Office, there is still clearly a lot that an essentially -- nay quintessentially -- Unionist party such as Blair's can do between now and the year 2000 to water things down not to mention reassert as Westminster's natural preserve.

In this context, Nationalists would do well to constantly remind themselves of the essential thrust of what the British Labour Party is proposing, namely a tightly controlled legislative body destined to quell Nationalism in our country once and for all, to "kill separatism stone dead" to use their own yawn-inducing cant-all in the post-imperial goal, as they would see it, of "modernising Britain".

Notwithstanding this, as a strategic advance in the campaign for full national independence, the establishment of any legislature in Edinburgh, no matter how stunted, no matter how essentially patronising in its limited scope, can only help to focus on Scotland's ultimate recourse to the colonial motherland, to home in on its very inadequacies. This proximity can only be for the better in showing to Scots how things in her Britannic Majesty's loyal northern legislature are designed to uphold the unitary State interest first and foremost, before any perceived benefit to the funding and delivery of Scotland's educational, legal, cultural and health provision.

In very basic terms therefore the road to full national independence is still a rocky one, Labour's proposals having made things at once easier and, and paradoxically in a sense, more difficult. The struggle for the restoration of full national sovereignty must and will continue, not least because of the naked unionist agenda of Blair and his Anglo-centric clique of "evolué" Scots "bettering themselves" in London. These would-be lads o' pairts are like their 19th century counterparts dyed-in-the-wool British nationalists, intent on setting Scotland on a pioneering evangelical mission to show the way forward for a "more modern, democratic Britain". Pass the imperialist sick-bag, Blair.

Scotland must look to itself first, as any self-respecting nation would and does....democratizing itself according to its own priorities and values. This simply cannot be the case with ultimate control in Westminster. Scots must therefore ask themselves the following questions and seek answers from those whom they have entrusted with a mandate to govern. Beyond the self-defining and self-sustaining justifications linked to the unitary state imperative, answers need to be provided to the following.....we will endeavour, for our own part, to venture a few pointers.

*Why are certain areas of governance stated as "reserved" or "best dealt with" by London?

Are we incapable of running these affairs?? "Assuredly not" they will say, it's just that "Mummy knows best, children".

*Why are "foreign affairs" (woe betide anyone who dares suggest that England is foreign to Scotland) "best dealt with" by Westminster?

Who says? As if we didn't know. We might be a nation, a quaint football and rugby-playing nation recognised by FIFA and the International Board, but .....have relations with other nations on an equal footing?? You can't be serious. A Scottish embassy in Paris? A seat at the United Nations?? Come, come, now we're really getting ridiculous. What is good for Luxembourg or Liechtenstein quite obviously isn't good for Scotland.

In an increasingly interdependent Europe and in the planetary economy which is being forged, Scotland is not allowed to, and under devolution, will continue not to be allowed to fight its corner in the international forums which will undoubtedly come to affect our lives for good or for ill. Let's play toytown politics instead....Even at the much trumpeted (yet fundamentally useless geopolitically) Commonwealth Heads of Government conference in Edinburgh, we couldn't expect a delegation (nor would we be offered one under Devolution), but goodness didn't we do a fine job in making sure the delegation from Tuvalu (10 square miles in the Pacific) had a plentiful supply of bogroll in their hotel bathroom.

As was reported some time ago, and in an exemplary sign of future continued subservience, Scotland's fisheries minister, responsible for an industry with effectively 80% of the "British fleet", cannot expect to lead a delegation to Brussels under Devolution. The apologists of equal partnership in Union are a law unto their sycophantic selves.

* Why will macro-economic policy still be decided at a U.K. (read England) level?

Why is the broad sweep of medium to long-term economic development considered to be the natural preserve of Westminster government? "Why, the answer is simple, Jock....nothing is going to change in the way we use your North Sea oil and gas reserves to bankroll our declining, densely and over-populated, polluted country". Green and pleasant, Jerusalem?? Try thieving and breathtakingly arrogant. That economic conditions in England (and not just its South-east corner mentioned so often by the "I love the Geordies/Scousers, they're hard-done-by too" crowd) should inform major policy direction and resourcing is entirely predictable in the context of Blair's new model Loyal British Labour Party. A third-rate power the United Kingdom undoubtedly is, as vouched for by the Indian Premier some time ago.... but by God, doesn't Scotland's prosperity suffer because of our association with the insatiable maw of England's economic needs. Block grants, Barnett formula, subsidy junkies....Do us a favour! It wasn't that long ago that Britannia was knocking furtively at the door of the IMF. North Sea oil revenue will continue to be "best dealt with" by the London exchequer and no matter what economist is trundled out to assert the contrary, Scotland's resources are frittered away in the vastly greater economic and demographic entity that is England.

*Why will military matters be the sole preserve of the London parliament?

Is there some intrinsic incapability of the Scots to run things military? The martial tradition, the so-called "Scottish Regiments", the countless thousands of lemmings to the cause of British cannon-fodder right down to the Malvinas (oops... Falklands) as well as the massive military infrastructure in "Fortress Scotland" would seem to suggest the contrary. The "spectre of English nationalism" often referred to recently in the great scare-mongering tradition of the British State apparatus, does however contain a sinister element of truth, namely that Scottish secession is a matter of internal "national" security and as such, could be the justification for the deployment of troops "to quell unrest". Where have we seen that before? "Counter insurgency" would in this context be the politically correct euphemism for imperialist repression or candidly, the crushing of a revolt.

Petrodollars don't grow on trees, after all, neither do deep-water submarine installations such as Faslane. Far-fetched scenario? Hardly, it is the realpolitik of a State desperate, like many others, to hold on to what it has. "No strategic self-interest" indeed. The point is the scarcity of resources globally, and fears in Brit circles that the U.K's standing and its laughably self-important and anachronistic Security Council seat are under threat. Getting tough with a few recalcitrant Jocks is a price well worth paying, hence the importance of keeping any military leverage well out of "harm's way", well away from Holyrood.

* Why will broadcasting remain the prerogative of Westminster?

Might this have something to do with the fact that, conspiracy theories apart, television and to a lesser extent radio, have a greater cultural and political influence on people's minds than any other modern media? Television is the most pervasive and powerful dispenser of Britishness with its inherent assumptions of a so called "national audience". "Except for viewers in Scotland" is an innocuous sop to local concerns or idiosycracies. Blair's new model Britain, his new Jerusalem must be built on solid "cultural" foundations. Jimmy fae Pollokshields is hardly going to become a secessionist rebel like Declan from the Falls Road with the cultural iconography linked to the continuance of good, healthy and reassuringly British TV fare such as the BBC's "Eastenders", the "Third Test from Lords" and the National news at 9 o' clock, (regional news thereafter). The pathetic pride with which BBC Scotland and STV gloat at having sold the odd programme to the "network" is sad indeed. In a TV age, the theology of the British State must get through directly or indirectly, consciously or otherwise. Peter Mandelson's recent claim that Scotland had as much right to Independence as Liverpool or Manchester carried, despite its self-evident and characteristically English contempt for Scotland, all the normality associated with a time-honoured televisual discourse equating "Scottish" with Granada or BBC Scotland with BBC "North West", wherever that is.

Questions on Westminster's ultimate control of matters affecting every aspect of our lives are manifold, the preceding few a sample of those Blair & Co. need to answer as they wriggle their way towards minimal decentralisation of their beloved Blighty. As Nationalists we need to constantly remind our fellow Scots that as the old Fettesian himself said "Sovereignty rests with me as an English MP". Claim of Right? Sovereignty of the Scottish people? No, No, that would be tantamount to giving the Scots the right to secede... Answer this one, Blair: "If the Scottish Parliament votes to establish a timetable for Independence, what will you, what will Westminster, what will England do?" Not a question you're too willing to provide answers for, revealing as it might do, somewhat sinister intentions on your own part. Scotland won't stand for any of your constitutional agenda-setting and manipulation, and as advocates and movers for separation from your tawdry, pompous English fiefdom we certainly won't either.

Who will negotiate with Brussels the conditions for the export of Scottish agricultural produce? We wonder. Will Nirex still have the power to drill holes in our bedrock for suitable nuclear dumping grounds? We'll just bet you it will. Will Scottish Enterprise be able to act independently in putting together incentive packages for foreign companies to invest and locate in Scotland? Not on your life. Bad enough we can't aid Scottish companies to develop an economic base indigenously, still worse when our own efforts are curtailed to bail out the sprawling industrial badlands of England's armpit provinces.

Far from recognising Scotland's inalienable nationhood and sovereignty, the British/English Labour Party's intent in setting up a Scottish Parliament, is to set things in motion for "devolution all round" reducing us to the same status as Humberside, wherever that may be. Comparisons made by Labour and their Wibewal Democwat lapdogs to equate Scotland with German Länder, are also an insult to Scottish nationhood, betraying less the imperialist thwarting of national ambition than the visible ignorance of foreign (i.e. non-English)history so emblematic of a nation like Mother England with its head still up its imperial arse.

One need only evoke events linked to England's world cup football matches in France, where as ever, England's finest (the British/English Government) were at pains to point out that the French authorities (subtext: greasy foreigners) were to blame through their natural ineptitude for the trouble and hooliganism caused by Blighty's thug crew. Would never have happened in England, naturally. As ever, Mummy knows best or perhaps in the best camp traditions of English (yes, Fettes and its cricketing housemasters do count....) public school lore..."Matron knows best". Time we left this soggy old imperial trout to her delusions. Time Scotland woke up to her last imperial plotting and calculation, time Scotland asked the awkward questions, time Scotland got some bloody answers and took action in consequence, time to go, time to leave, time we were Free, time we were Independent.



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