Comment: I don’t pretend to understand Scottish politics well enough to grasp what this all means. Boris Johnson was saying yesterday that there would not be another referendum on independence north of the border. He seems to have changed his mind today and is inviting the Scots AND Welsh leaders to come talk things over. I don’t know about the Northern Irish leaders. I suppose he will attempt to talk them down out of the trees to accept continued union with England.
There appears to be a coalition basis for an independence movement. pl
‘Tis a puzzlement indeed. The blue Conservative border constituencies look like a Scottish Donbas of ethnic Tories.
The Welsh are a conquered people, the Scots are not. I’m with William Wallace, let them have their freedom. Dissolve the Union, move the border north a few miles and relocate those few Conservatives holdouts. Problem solved.
If the Scots want to become another region of the EU, which is what Scottish independence boils down to in reality, then why not? Their country to give away as they please.
So farewell Scotland. We shall miss you.
But no nonsense, mind! The EU tends to get a grip on neighbouring countries in the fashion of a slow motion boa constrictor – ask the Swiss – and that is a habit to be discouraged. Good fences make good neighbours and with the EU that close we shall want to be very good neighbours with it indeed.
Minimum requirements are a 60 foot wall from coast to coast and the edges patrolled by what’s left of the Royal Navy. We haven’t kicked Brussels out of the front door to have it creeping round by the back.
Yes indeed, how long will it take till the European Union follows the example of Israel and the US under Trump?
Basically it feels the Scots may study the Basques’ more recent history realizing there may not be an easy way to get out on day one and into the EU again the following day?
There is also a chance that the GB will bloom considering all the money they had to spend on membership before will now be invested at home including on Scottish grounds?
I wish for a new Hanseatic League: Nordic nations, US, UK, Canada and agreeable Lowland Counties. Simpatico and formidable?
Oh don’t worry about the money, LeaNder. All we Europeans are rich as Croesus now. We could afford to belong to the EU for a hundred years for what we’re printing but the EU wouldn’t want it because they print away merrily too!
In the real world it still seems it matters a lot. And in that real world it looks as if the Scots are going to have a devil of a job to get clear. If we were to do to the Scots what Brussels did to us then they’d be all abroad. “Frightfully sorry but your planes can’t fly any more. Turns out we own the agency that looks after air safety. Shame really”.
Not sure how the UK got out of that one but I don’t think the Scots would. There were any amount of dodges like that – we called them “chokeholds” – and if we employed them against the Scots it’d be worse.
They should not be employed. If they are employed, and the Scots then scared into staying in the UK, imagine the resentment that would brew up! For a number of reasons, not all sentimental, I hope they’ll stay. But if they go we should give them a fair departure.
Yes, I know. Very naive. Politics doesn’t work that way. But it damned well should.
“Frightfully sorry but your planes can’t fly any more. Turns out we own the agency that looks after air safety. Shame really”.
Not sure what you are alluding to here? I only need to use whatever search machine? Without using it. The Eurofighter project? GB was involved; but would have done better to start one of their own? Got out long before they got out of the EU?
But yes, from within my nitwit universe just as many lobbyists may be concentrated in Brussels as in Washington DC? What variant is present in London?
The book to go to on lobbyists, LeaNder, is “A Quiet Word …”, Cave and Rowell, 2014. Rough figures (I’d guess indicative rather than accurate) – 30,000 in Brussels and around 8,000 in Westminster. The authors quote a David Cameron speech – David Cameron was a UK politician – that gives one the general idea.
” … I’m talking about lobbying – and we all know how it works. The lunches, the hospitality, the quiet word in your ear, the ex-ministers and ex-advisors for hire, helping big business find the right way to get its way. In this party, we believe in competition, not cronyism. We believe in market economics, not crony capitalism. So we must be the party that sorts all this out.”
“…We don’t know who is meeting whom. We don’t know whether any favours are being exchanged. We don’t know which outside interests are wielding unhealthy influence. This isn’t a minor issue with minor consequences. Commercial interests – not to mention government contracts – worth hundreds of billions of pounds are potentially at stake.”
“I believe that secret corporate lobbying, like the expenses scandal, goes to the heart of why people are so fed up with politics. It arouses people’s worst fears and suspicions about how our political system works, with money buying power, power fishing for money and a cosy club at the top making decisions in their own interest.
“We can’t go on like this. I believe it’s time we shone the light of transparency on lobbying in our country and forced our politics to come clean about who is buying power and influence.
“Politics should belong to people, not big business or big unions, and we need to sort this out. So if we win the election, we will take a lead on this issue by making sure that ex-ministers are not allowed to use their contacts and knowledge – gained while being paid by the public to serve the public – for their own private gain.” (David Cameron, 8th Feb 2010, cited in Cave & Rowell) I expect that’s where Donald Trump got the inspiration for his own magnificent stand against the cronies.
For more detail go to a man called Richard North. He knows more about how Brussels works than most of us know about the back of our hands and he goes into the interaction between lobbying and harmonisation of standards. Very technical. Shan’t go into it here. The Colonel’s is a site for gritty realism but you can have too much of it and harmonisation of standards is a world of squalor.
I don’t know much about the Eurofighter except that Brexit screwed up its supply chains good and proper. The air safety agency referred to was EASA. Another world of squalor and we shall avert our eyes. Rough picture – imagine South Dakota seceding from the Union and work out how many services they’d suddenly have to provide for themselves instead of relying on Washington for them. Independence is not a stroll in the park.
Over there in Frankfurt they’ll be feeding you all sorts of nonsense about Brexit, LeaNder. I read your press occasionally so I’ve seen it. Brexit is not a re-run of WW2 – the UK against Europe. It’s a re-run of the eternal Peasants Revolt. The oppressed peoples of Europe against the cronies, whether those cronies are in Berlin, Brussels or Westminster.
Important to understand that! In fact I feel a little guilty about Brexit. Faced with Brussels we in the UK cut and ran. A little selfish that. We should have stayed in. We could have helped you on the European continent remove the yoke from your necks as well.
I harbor various dreams, but I try to keep them under control.
I harbor various dreams, but I try to keep them under control.
Well said, Sir. Had a similar interior response somewhere starting with peasant revolt. … Seriously?
But: the law of the market may not always dictate the law of the survival of the better technical approach/norm. Lobbyists may not be more than the surface expression of a much stronger law.
No idea what you are talking about. What “peasant revolt?”
Lobbyist know to approach staff members tasked with forming the elected official’s opinion – less public scrutiny and disclosure requirements.
As a former US expat resident in Switzerland in the 1970’s, you created a very apt description of what happened to that formerly independent, highly regulated and xenophobic nation – squeezed by the EU boa constrictor.
Turks seems to be the biggest beneficiaries, after the first porous border pass through by the East Germans.. Those who loved many things about this neutral “island” country, when they were still stringently Swiss (to a fault), are the biggest losers.
the first porous border pass through by the East Germans.
Not sure if I get it? Meaning, how the East Germans could help the Turks. … More than curious on several levels.
OK, I am a bit puzzled by you for longer now. Sometimes you seem rational sometimes pretty irrational. Including your pat ‘irrationality’ subjects, or maybe it’s only one?
But there is a porous border between Turkey and East Germany? Are you an incarnation of Shakespeare? Or is there something I don’t understand?
Assuming basically a former Swiss US expat would know.
Observations made over time after multiple return visits to Switzerland since 1970’s, when “immigration” as a guest worker was extremely strict and they had just kicked out all the Italians, Turks and Yugoslav low skill workers because they were making the country…. less Swiss.
Over subsequent visits it was obvious the Swiss borders were made porous by the ongoing “EU Squeeze” with a wink and a nod, first by the East Germans who by language and looks could pass as Swiss for apparently mutual defacto acceptance – they filled the low skill jobs mainly in the Swiss hospitality industry.
It was their ticket out of Eastern Europe and often on to some other locale, like South Africa, where they could use their well-trained professional skills – engineers, multi-lingual etc. They confessed contempt for the far more rustic Swiss with their vulgar Swiss-German tongue so were just passing under cover, as they passed through.
Most recent visit saw the hospitality industry now taken over by the Turks, the rise of “ethnic” neighborhoods and shops and affinity groups, with half the school children on expeditions looking decidedly Turkish – they too may have come in via Germany, already with German language skills, and their high Muslim population birth rates.
“Neutral” Switzerland, go it alone Switzerland in the EU sea, is no longer the the “Swiss” country I knew, but it is also thriving in new ways while losing its former character, cuisine and culture.
And perhaps its 100% sense of personal safety, I did not test that in this last visit, the way I felt absolute freedom of movement and person, when living there in the 1970s – day or night.
My visits have been mainly in the Swiss German cantons. And their commercial-industrial core. Right on the EU borders of France and Germany.
PS LeaNdr : – is my presumed “irrationality on a pat subject” my constant alarmism about government unions and their funding of a permanent Democrat hegemony?
If so, please read this, and you may wish to reconsider my Cassandra curse “irrationality”.
Biden’s PRO Act will increase what unions rake in in union dues from $11 billion to $22 billion – making the Democrat campaign chest even more daunting. And embedding the deep state even deeper.
Should have been “pet” of course, although the people tend to want to touch and caress their pets.
Appreciate your feedback though. I love Switzerland overall, not simply the German-speaking regions.
As a Brit, a Welshman, and a Unionist, I have come to conclusion, the Scots should have their way…the reworking of the Barnnet Formula would be benificial . However, on their own they will be and should be…good luck to them.
When they wake from their whiskey induced dreams, they will realise that their heritage, was indeed invented by someone else, as will be their future.
only one third of the Scottish voters actually voted for the SNP. In other words, a majority voted for Unionist parties. The last referendum on independence was held only quite recently – in September 2014. There is no reason at all why they should or indeed would have another. The SNP may make plenty of complaining noises – they are good at that – but Westminister will never agree to another referendum, not only during this parliament, but not for many years.
Labour cynically introduced the Scottish Parliament as they assumed they would always win there, instead they have imploded and resurrected Scottish independence. Wales barely voted in favour in devolution despite the support of the then Labour government and their loyal media, a similar effort in the English North East was decisively rejected. The mistake of devolution should be reversed, either Scotland goes independent or devolution is reversed, the status quo is unstable (and unfair on England). As Enoch Powell said, in his 1968 Prestatyn speech against devolution, speaking as “an English Midlander who has always been conscious that his forebears were Welsh” (and who spoke the Welsh language fluently), Powell observed that “if it were ever the preponderant and settled wish of either Wales or Scotland to be themselves a nation and therefore no longer to be part of this nation, that wish ought not to be resisted.”
Indeed, for Powell, the granting of devolution would in itself invalidate the union, for “if it were ever felt right and necessary for Wales or Scotland to be represented in a separate and exclusive parliamentary institution,” then “the great question would already have been answered [because] the very decision to establish such an institution would be a declaration that one nation no longer existed.” In Powell’s view, devolution “would be the watershed, the parting of the ways, the sign that a separate nation had been consciously, deliberately and once-for-all admitted to be there.”
The general malaise of the West is necessarily manifesting itself in dissatisfaction with the status quo, for some the solution is Scottish independence, for some English independence, I doubt many of these will be the answer, although Westminster is currently clearly part of the problem.
Of course, as others have noted, the EU stands seemingly quietly watching on. The EU has been active in supporting regionalism in Europe, against the historic nation states, for obvious reasons.
Looks like there was more to Enoch Powell than most thought at the time. His summary of the case is masterful.
Also yours. Brexit is of course no sort of solution. It may, however, with any luck remove one barrier to a solution. In a Westphalian Europe the European nations could deal with their various difficulties better than in the prescriptive stasis into which they are currently locked.
David Habakkuk refers to that as the Brezhnev stasis. So it is – Bukovsky sensed the parallel early on – but I take an earthier view of Brexit. Let’s get the cronies and apparatchicks a little closer to home than Brussels. Easier to keep the bastards under control.
Maybe the Scots feel the same way about Westminster. I wouldn’t blame them for that. The dissastifaction with the “general malaise of the West” could well manifest itself so in Scotland. But as said in my initial comment, if they decide to go back under the yoke of Brussels they must not expect us to follow them, not one inch of the way.