Tuesday, 24 January 2012

The United Kingdom

Benedict Brogan, Daily Telegraph op-ed piece for tomorrow, writes that Cameron won't save the Union by descending into the gutter - to which one has to respond that Brogan won't save journalism by following the same plan.

What we have here, as in so much that Brogan supposedly composes, is but another "Big-up-Cameron" piece and if this is the best that he can offer one can but suggest that he follows his own advice, namely indulging in lengthy periods of silence.

Does not each of the LibLabCon indulge in 'soft nationalism' - until such time as the choice has to be made twixt EU membership and that of their country? In respect of Scotland, 'soft nationalism' has been on the agenda since 1968 when Edward Heath raised the matter at the Conservative conference. Of course, had our politicians not indulged in what amounts to sectarianism coupled with their pursuit of power; had they adopted the principle of direct democracy, the problems of today, where Scotland is concerned and where Northern Ireland and Wales are also concerned, albeit to a lesser extent at present, none of the present problems regarding nationalism would exist.

On that last point I am reminded of a quotation by Benedict Anderson (this Benedict seemed to know what he wrote about) who said:
"I propose the following definition of the nation: it is an imagined political community-and imagined as both inherently limited and sovereign. It is imagined because the members of even the smallest nation will never know most of their fellow-members, meet them, or even hear of them, yet in the minds of each lives the image of their communion.... Communities are to be distinguished, not by their falsity/genuineness, but by the style in which they are imagined.... Finally, [the nation] is imagined as a community, because, regardless of the actual inequality and exploitation that may prevail in each, the nation is conceived as a deep, horizontal comradeship. Ultimately, it is this fraternity that makes it possible, over the past two centuries for so many millions of people, not so much to kill, as willing to die for such limited imaginings."
Did we, as a United Kingdom, not fight wars to preserve that Kingdom, that Nation? Is it not politicians that have, for their own purposes, attempted to create divisions that do not, in reality, exist? On a wider front, is it not politicians who for their own purposes have created the European Union and in so doing created divisions, through their policy of regionalisation, within each Member State?

Yes, we are English, or Scottish, or Welsh, or Northern Irish - we can, understandably, trumpet our individuality - but at the end of the day we are and can be a United Kingdom, one that could exist quite harmoniously under a system of direct democracy - whilst allowing each nation its own 'identity'.

Don't let politicians, for their own nefarious reasons, split our United Kingdom! Please?

Just saying..........


Tarka the Rotter said...

We may be in the gutter but we are looking up at the (EU) stars... sorry Oscar...

JohnM said...

My grandfather was a New Zealander. For whom was he fighting in the war ?

Tarka the Rotter said...

@JohnM...how about The British Empire?

WitteringsfromWitney said...

JM: As TtR says. That the UK 'deserted' the Commonwealth on joining the EU is another disgrace. The ties that no doubt influenced your grandfather have been weakened, unfortunately. I still believe that in my generation those ties still exist.

Anonymous said...

The United Kingdom and the British Isles

For me it goes beyond imagined cultural ties or the historical shared struggles of our recent ancestors as found in the written evidence.

I also have a picture of who we are. From my reading of various sources I believe that we are the first, the original and the indigenous occupiers of the British Isles. We arrived on foot, following the retreating ice some time around 12 thousand years ago, walking along the European coast from South to North and enjoying the easily caught and abundant shellfish. We were able to cross the channel easily too, because at the time it was only a shallow river. The first settlers could have been as few as a hundred people or so. In those days societies or tribes were small.

The melting ice gradually formed a great fresh water lake, located where the North Sea is now. This lake burst its banks nine thousand years ago and the enormous deluge scoured out the English Channel, as it became, simultaneously cutting off the continent, which in any case was very sparsely populated.

We had no boats. The oldest documented evidence of the existence of boats in our part of the world is from as recent as only some three thousand years ago. We were essentially isolated for thousands of years, easily long enough to become genetically distinct.

The original settlers were not Celts. Celtic culture has been identified in many parts of Europe, but that is not sufficient reason to believe that the people living in these places are genetically identical. The English language has spread throughout the world, but most people who now speak it as their native tongue are not descended from inhabitants of these islands. Similarly, we are not related to the Japanese even though much evidence of Japanese culture, cars, electronics, even fish recipes, is clearly Japanese in origin.

Therefore I believe that the Celtic languages, first Welsh and later Irish, arrived through cultural diffusion and not via conquest, ethnic cleansing and massive settlement. In ancient times, even after a battle, there would have been no incentive to kill off all those who have been beaten. Manpower was too valuable. The vanquished chieftains might possibly have been executed or (more likely) enslaved, no more.

DNA evidence shows that we are 75% to 95% uniform, discounting the massive influx of alien material during the last few years. The Welsh, the Irish, the Scottish and the English are all the same people and are distinct from their geographic neighbours. To accept that is WISE and it is the crux of the matter. For me it is simply a question of family, not politics. It is why it is right for us to preserve the Union. It is nothing less than the tribe that the vast majority of us belong to.

Anonymous said...

Mr Phipps, please take a look at the time stamp. I posted a comment a few minutes ago at 12:39 am (on 25 Jan 2012), but I see that it appeared (immediately) as 25 January 2012 04:39! There is a 4 or 8 hour shift worth correcting.

Edward Spalton said...

Every would-be dominant power in Europe has tried to break up the United Kingdom since its foundation in 1707. The most nearly successful reached my home town of Derby in 1745 with France's nominee, the Young Pretender, Bonnie Prince Charlie, in 1745.

He was five or six days away from London and nothing to stop him. The Hanoverians were packing their bags... but that's another story. The difference today is that our political masters are not wholly averse to the project because they do not believe in the nation (any nation) only in administrative regions and areas.

Mr. Salmond is very keen on "the king over the water" in Brussels with his programme of "independence in Europe" which is no independence at all, as we know.

The trouble is that our main parties cannot call his bluff because they believe in the same thing for the UK as a whole. So the people in Scotland are being deceived. For the EU there is not much difference between Scotland as a member with a few more snouts in the Brussels trough or Scotland as a region of the UK. Both are equally subject.

There is no doubt that "asymetric devolution" was set up to cause strife amongst the people of this Kingdom.
Prescott's right hand man in the programme for English regionalisation now heads the civil service in Scotland and is telling his officials to "prepare for independence".

May I recommend our CIB booklet
"A HOUSE DIVIDED" covering most aspects of the EU effect on us. The two page section giving the outline of how we are being manipulated begins with an excerpt from a Foreign Office document(FCO 20/1048) of 1971
"The transfer of major executive responsibilities to the bureaucratic Commission in Brussels will exacerbate popular feelings of alienation from government, To counter this feeling, strengthened local and regional democratic processes within member states and effective Community economic and social policies will be essential.....there would be a major responsibility on HM Government and on ALL POLITICAL PARTIES (my emphasis) not to exacerbate public concern by attributing unpopular policies to the REMOTE AND UNMANAGEABLE WORKINGS OF THE COMMUNITY (my emphasis)".

Mr Salmond is following the Foreign Office advice to the letter. He only blames Westminster, the "Community's" sub-office!

Edward Spalton said...

John M,

I was in the farm feed business and my father had developed a very strong link with New Zealand over the years from whence we bought excellent quality, unsubsidised milk powder for baby calf food.

From midnight on December 31st 1972 we could no longer buy it because of the tariff barriers which the EU erected.

We had to buy EU milk powder at about 3 times the price. Then, when we made it into animal feed, we got back about half the extra cost in a "denaturing subsidy" for making it unfit for human consumption. A new breed of inspector was spawned to check that we were doing this within the rules. Some were doing their job quite decently and others were regular little Hitlers because, on their say-so, the subsidy could be stopped and we would have been out of business. They enjoyed their authority.

It still makes me very angry when I think about it. I think we should look to the Commonwealth - not as the most important member but rather like parents whose children have grown up and got their own families.

WitteringsfromWitney said...

Anon The vagaries of Blogger.....

ES: Thank you Edward - no further comment from me is necessary, methinks.