Sunday, December 31, 2006

The Belarus of the West?

On Hogmanay, Andrew Sullivan is posting from Scotland, and has something to say about it:

20% of Scots see themselves as being primarily “British” - down from 38% in 1979. 78% of Scots now say “Scottish” “best describes” their nationality.

One example of this: the argument has moved on to what sort of Scotland we’d see post-independence. In one corner there are those like the exiled Scots historian Niall Ferguson who see a sad, shrivelled country that has abandoned even the memory of its glory years. Scotland, he quips, is “the Belarus of the west.”

Ferguson - like many Scots in exile views his native heath with great ambivalence (a sentiment not so often shared by exiles from other countries, in my experience). Certainly surveying the solidly-statist, rock-solid consensus that prevails in Scotland one’s forced to fear that there might be 20 years of appalling government before prosperity and progress returned. (The Scottish conservatives - who would fit solidly into the Democratic party in the United States - are considered dangerous radicals when, that is, anyone remembers to consider them at all.)

On the other hand, there are advantages (currently under threat) to be gained by living in Scotland, as this blog points out, quoting an op-ed article by Gerald Warner in Scotland on Sunday:

Labour proposes to use its control of Holyrood to demolish the defences of Scottish personal liberties and harmonise our laws with those of England, as in pre-devolution times. South of the Border, the DNA of 3.46 million people is stored in police records, the highest number in the world - more than in Putin’s Russia. That is an embryonic police state.
A Happy New Year to readers of A Step At A Time.
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