Intestinal Feuds Over Yes/No and Utopia

I love Scotland, architecturally, musically, even the actual humans who live there.
That 1980s “Scotland’s For Me” tourism campaign was clearly very potent, even though the film Restless Natives suggested coach travel could contain jeopardy.
I don’t know very much about what independence would mean except in the abstract.
This is not about Yes or No as I haven’t done the reading. (I thought I better start the day by writing something and today’s exercise was writing this).

I have gut instincts at war on this, probably a side effect of irritable bowel syndrome.
I have loved Scotland since somewhere between Gregory’s Girl and The Wicker Man, two films that I think should be remade as one. I can see that long sequence where Gregory is led from phone box to chip shop to park, it eventually leads to Clare Grogan placing John Gordon Sinclair into a Wicker Edwyn Collins so that the crop of LPs from that year’s Postcard records roster is good and strongly reviewed in the Melody Maker.

I have had many Scottish holidays, toured there repeatedly, and obviously spent many Summer months there (I particularly liked The Gatehouse of Fleet when I was 12, I must return one day). So, I think, why can’t we all stick together, we get on okay don’t we? I’ve had some lovely conversations with taxi drivers, one very intense one about the work of Robert Mapplethorpe, while another asked if I could help write his best man speech.

But then, I love Norway, and I don’t feel any less of it because there is not an MP for Trondheim at Westminster. Does their independence from England make their pickled herring and murder ballads less palatable?

So, my other twisted gut rumbles a message of, “if the population of a country wants independence then why shouldn’t they, they have the right to balls up their economy even more than a central government across a border has a right to balls up their lives.”
Let each nation have the right to fuck themselves up, or maybe make things better, or maybe sell off their land to some loon-haired, money enthusiast American golfer and Babel tower builder.

Watching the confusion and propaganda on most contemporary issues I wonder if we should follow the rules of Dunbar’s number and not just divide the people at the borders, but that we must all vote ourselves into midget nations of 150 people each, after that number, things seem to get confused. The problem maybe that, like picking football teams on the school playing fields, a selection of the wheezy and odd will find themselves left on the touchline, chosen only with umbrage and disdain (oh how sporting ineptitude of youth still smarts).

Then, there is the Pale Blue Dot idealist me, led by an altogether different, sentient and utopian bowel, that sees national boundaries as another division to stir up greedy fervour and hate based on a different hat or bauble. that foolish gut, in white piano Lennon mode, sees each new split as another hand up for manipulation and jingoism, but that has little to do with this upcoming vote, and more to a downtrodden optimism that humans could co-exist without recourse to tribalism and a fetishism for insularity and hate marked by a l boundary. But Utopian me is hankered by the knowledge that it’ll take an impending invasion from pugilistic extraterrestrials to create unity, and those lazy lifeforms just don’t seem to have the wherewithal to help out here, wherever they may be.

I am up at Wigtown soon, also off to Croydon, Dublin, Cardiff, Oslo, Sheffield, Cambridge and a town near you soon (US and Australian dates in Spring 2015) Details HERE

The Cosmic Genome science app is now one year old, here are the 114 or so scientists and enthusiasts on it in rapid edit form HERE

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11 Responses to Intestinal Feuds Over Yes/No and Utopia

  1. liliannberg says:

    As I see it, Robin, independence is a myth – yes or no – won’t make a scrap of difference to ordinary people’s life whereas in Scotland or elsewhere on this doomed planet. Humans like the idea of a change, even if it means a change for the worse. At least you made an effort. Most of us gave up long ago. The world is run from above by oligarchs and their political cronies, billionaire mass murderers who get Philanthropist of the Year Awards or Nobel Peace Prizes. Mindless heiresses with 50 million followers on Twitter, celebrities who’ve done nothing to deserve their obscene fame. Drug barons and terrorists with unlimited funds provided by most of those mentioned above, royal twits who must have a new kitchen installed for each meal. Tax evaders all, sucking the rest of us dry. Whether we say yes or no only matters to those set to profit from a possible change and it isn’t us ordinary folks.

  2. Tony says:

    People of Scotland don’t like being ruled by politicians of London. If they gain independence they will soon find out that they don’t like being ruled by politicians in Edinburg. If they gain independence then there will be winners and losers, but I suspect Scotland will be roughly the same. The main problem is if they gain independence there will be years of legal upheaval which will cost both Scotland and the reduced UK dear – the only winners with devolution will be the lawyers governmental and corporate.

  3. Aish says:

    I never understand why everyone assumes it will only get worse! Haha, so cynical, you guys! Coming from a (modern) country, that is clearly divided into states (Aus) where a federal government MUST negotiate with each state government, I’m pleased Scotland are taking a stance. I’m married to a northerner, and the north lacks so much control over it’s future. Politicians have tried for a long time to move powers to other regions throughout the UK, and none of them have succeed! WHY IS THAT SO? You have to ask who really has the power in Westminster!? I feel Scotland have no choice, and this will in turn invoke a momentum for the rest of the UK to fight for more control. NO, I’m not from UKIP, I actually value the EU, but I do feel the political structure in the UK is insanely outdated! And everyone else feels this way! We currently have Northern Europe’s richest city LONDON, along with the TEN POOREST regions in all of northern Europe! What does that tell you? Something is seriously wrong!

    All parties agree that the house of lords needs urgent reforming, and yet in 2010 (AGAIN) they decided to scrap reforms! Even though it’s NOT DEMOCRATIC. We have 92 HEREDITARY PEERS, and 26 BISHOPS from the one religion! MY GAWD. 19 Prime Ministers from the ONE SCHOOL, what is this NORTH KOREA!???

    Seriously! The old order is badly corrupt and doing the country as a whole no good! Reality is any decent MP in Westminster doesn’t have the power alone to change Westminster. People have tried, and they always fail. It’s time the people stood up to the current establishment. Scotland aren’t going anywhere, they’re family, they’re friends! History and close knit ties still remain, UNLESS the establishment ruin it for the rest of us. Scandinavians are all scandinavian, all individual countries, all supportive of one another! Why does England have to make this natural process so difficult. C’mon guys, recognise this change in direction, for a better UK is for all of us! We can’t just keep holding onto nothing, we desperately need change!

    • robinince says:

      I didn’t say it would only get worse, I merely talked of a nation’s right to fuck itself up rather than let others do it

      • Aish says:

        I didn’t say “you, Robin are a cynical asshole”, did I now? I was also replying to earlier comments. Although re-reading your thoughts, you do kind of seem cynical. I mean, you use the words ‘utopian and idealist’… when really it’s just progression, because many other countries have already done it! It ain’t a big fucking deal, so like relax, you cynical asshole!

      • robinince says:

        though the Utopian and Idealist ideas are not linked to Scottish independence, but the idea of a disintegration of national boundaries. In terms of cynicism, I really have no idea what is best, though I see no reason that a country should not have independence.

    • liliannberg says:

      Scandinavians supporting each others – you must be joking. They mostly hate each other, I was born there, I grew up there and then I went to Australia – where each state disagree with every other state and they all disagree with the federal government. It’s idiotic and certainly not conducive to democratic freedom. And guess who’s head of state? The Queen of England. She can even dismiss our prime minister if she sees fit and she did just that to the best prime minister the country ever had. With a bit of help from the CIA and the governor general. His name was/is Gough Whitlam in case you’ve forgotten, So don’t come the raw prawn with me mate – I’ve been around…

  4. macohibs says:

    I think Scottish independence could do wonders for Wales, northern Ireland and England. Westminster is bloated and filled with corruption. Surely in the 21st century we can do better. i am a Scot but live in England so have no vote, but I have to say I am so amazed at the level of political engagement of ordinary Scottish people. The ref debate on the whole has been very level headed and filled with very few idiots on either sides thankfully. This is about democracy. You know that thing we are all supposed to want.

  5. Mike Morris says:

    This is a slightly tangential comment, so forgive me, but your comments comparing your attitude to Scotland and Norway triggered something.

    Background: I was born in England, moved to Ireland as a child, and have spent most of my adult life there. This means I oscillate between feeling both English and Irish, and (more often) feeling like neither. Perhaps that’s why I share your conflicted gut. Ugh, don’t linger on that image.

    One thing that’s noticeable from that perspective, though, is how Ireland has been absented from this discussion. Recently, I heard a throwaway comment about how Scotland leaving the Union would be “unprecedented.” Granted, that’s a soundbite use of unprecedented, but it’s strange to hear when you spent quarter of a century living in a great big obvious precedent. I’ve had conversations with people saying “so what, will we have to show our passports at the border?” and reminded them “no, Ireland’s another country and you don’t need a passport to go there.” Or reading a “How would an independent Scotland work” article that doesn’t bother saying “probably a bit like Ireland.” It’s almost like Ireland doesn’t exist in a collective UK consciousness, or isn’t quite a proper country.

    Two different points:-

    1: Lots of Scottish comment centres on how they are ignored by the Westminster establishment. I’d echo this. The fact that it doesn’t occur to most commenters (on both sides) to even bother looking at the Irish experience gives me a vague window into this. I find it (at worst) slightly irritating and often kind of funny – but then again I can also remind myself that the UK is a different country and there’s no reason they should know much about Ireland, any more than my brother and sister should know about the Tolpuddle Martyrs. Whereas Scotland is part of the UK and I wouldn’t be shocked if it really burns. That sense of not being important, of being treated as a second-class country, is difficult to pin down and I don’t think it’s easy to understand from the other side of the fence. Bluntly, while talking about “England” and “Scotland” as single homogenous entities is obviously crude, I’m not sure England even understands how alienated Scotland feels.

    2: The ignoring of the one historical precedent for a country leaving the UK, just from the point of view of treating it as data, is very hard to understand. Amid all the chat about currency, it doesn’t make sense to me that nobody says “Well, Ireland kept Sterling for 7-8 years after independence while it instituted its own currency pegged to Sterling.” Or that the question of identity can be discussed without looking at Irish communities in Britain. Or even the odd cheap shot like “Well Ireland left the UK and nearly went bankrupt, good luck with that guys.” It’s as though independence has to be treated as something new (from the pro-Independence side) or unthinkable (from the pro-Union side). I don’t know and I’m not qualified to pontificate. But it’s odd and I thought it was worth comment.

    • Mike, I don’t think your comments are tangential at all. I think you touch on some of the very reasons that Scots want away and why many of the English cannot comprehend why.

      I do smile at your comments about Ireland and the currency. Whilst the Irish departure is a fairly ignorant oversight, the currency point I admit is one I only recently became aware of, and now that I am aware, I am surprised that it has not really featured in the debates; but now that The BoE Governor has come into the currency debate, perhaps it will come up a lot more.

      But the panic of the Westminster political elite, as well as the media, has been the most amusing aspect of all this, although that panic does actually betray a lot.

      First of all, Scots will now realise that the fear that has been thrown at them by The “No” campaign may be largely bluff and bluster as far as they are concerned, but will also now realise that the fear is real for The English/UK. Why? Well, the most usual and unsurprising reason, really; the loss of a major source of income – from oil and gas.

      The UK Government is on the verge of losing a vast source of the UK’s wealth to the country who’s land it is on and sees hardly any of the benefit of it, and indeed, seeing as the multi-nationals get such big tax breaks over it, the UK itself is probably not seeing as much as it could, or perhaps should, either.

      Until the polls showed the gap between the “Yes” and “No” campaigns narrowing and going towards Independence, the “No” campaign was relying on scaring Scots into submission, but Salmond’s 2nd debate with Darling showed-up all the fearful rhetoric as lies and bluster, and that the currency issue too is overblown. And so the Scots have been affronted by the “No” campaign’s tactics, and, unsurprisingly really, have reacted against such

      I’ve known for years that this issue was always going to be a closer call than the pollsters were initially saying, and now everyone, including the arrogant elite that run the country, have also realised this, they are pulling out all the stops. As well as more FEAR! FEAR! FEAR! headlines, such as how Scotland could be a target for Russia (Pah, the Chinese like Scotch too much to let that happen) and how Tory dithering over ISIS is down to Political Fears about how going in heavy it might be used by Salmond in the Indy campaign, they’ve also come late to the party with the big sweetener (after postal voting has started…oh so well “planned”, that was…) for voting “No”, and the party leaders have all suddenly decided to get involved, too. Put that alongside the pathetically desperate newspaper column inches to how Scottish athletes won’t be able to go to the next Olympics (or at least represent the UK), and how another Royal baby might affect the vote, then you really do start to see how arrogant, stupid and desperately grubby the people who run the UK are – as well as who and what they control, in order to maintain power and the status quo.

      Doesn’t this all scream how much – or rather how little – the ruling elite of this country are really aware of how the people feel and what the people want, and how well their joint campaign of fear was going to work? Seeing as the main political Westminster based parties all joined forces and have taken a healthy lead in the polls and turned it into a neck and neck race, and possibly a deficit, doesn’t this all scream that they are all utterly incompetent, and is, in itself, an excellent reason for leaving the UK?

      Alex Salmond and the “Yes” campaign really doesn’t have to do that much now to win – they can almost sit back and let the “No” campaign continue to alienate the Scottish voters, now that the Scots have seen through the fear campaign for what it is. They can just keep mentioning Tory privatisation of the NHS and that Scotland doesn’t need Sovereignty over the £ – or the £ at all for that matter – in order for Scotland to stand independently from the rest of the UK.

      Mind you, Scotland having oil and gas reserves worth up to £4 trillion and that 64% of the EU’s oil reserves exist in Scottish waters, might also be worth a mention, at some stage…just a thought.

  6. Simon says:

    Robin, I agree with the Saganistic viewpoint of The Pale Blue Dot wholeheartedly. We should recognise that empirically speaking, there are no such things as ‘nations’ (a human construct), and that the earth’s resources should be declared the common heritage of all mankind.

    Unfortunately Westminster and the corporate oligarchy don’t share our views. Independence in the eyes of the Yes campaign is seen as, at the very least, a ‘chance’ at removing the malignant tumour of right-wing conservatism before it spreads to all corners of the UK. Like all risky operations, there is a chance that the cancer may return later in another place (Holyrood), but it is better to go into surgery now while we have the chance.

    Scotland has consistently voted in favour of Labour and consistently receives a Conservative government regardless. If the vote is with the union, things will remain the same, and continue to get worse in regards to privatisation, fracking and other noxious side-effects of corporatism, particularly linked with the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP).

    Interestingly, the SNP (or at least Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon) have also alluded to being in favour of the TTIP. I abhor it. But that is beside the point. This referendum is not about electing the SNP or any one particular party. We are free to vote for whatever party we want to if we become independent (I’m voting Scottish Greens for instance). It is more about becoming an independent country free from the whims of Westminster. Not holding pitchforks and driving out the rest of the UK as a whole, but getting rid of the influence of London’s corporate and political elite.

    There has been no bad blood between Scotland and England, or Wales, or Northern Ireland. I live in Edinburgh. There are more English people and foreign tourists here than there are Scots, and I have not witnessed anything or heard any scare stories from my English friends. Incidentally, I was speaking to an English No-Campaigner (who travelled up from England all on his own especially) on Princes Street yesterday and it was remarkable how similar his views were to the Yes campaign. We both want to live in a more equal and just society. He just wanted to do it “all for one and one for all” as a united Britain. But how long will that take? How long will it take to overturn the institutionalised political infrastructure of Westminster if the same people are in power (the puppet-master lobbyists behind the scenes as well as the face-men)? It would be great if we could do it collectively as a nation, but history proves this to be highly unlikely, certainly less likely than if we have a fresh start as independent nation capable of governing ourselves. And as I pointed out to this man, a Yes vote would almost certainly cost David Cameron his job, which might shake things up in England and give the other parties a chance to bring the political bias back to the left. It might create a more socialist England, as well as more liberal Scotland, and since we’ve previously decided that borders and nations are abstract concepts anyway, isn’t that a positive thing for all of the morally-just people living on this island?

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