Category Archives: Scotland

Centripetal and centrifugal forces in doomed Europe

CONTINENTAL PARADOX

The centripetal forces, writes Dalrymple,

are those that would lead to the ever closer union proclaimed to be the purpose of the EU (eventual total union),

while the centrifugal forces are such as the following.

  • Flanders nationalists want independence from Belgium. The status and prestige of the French and Flemish languages created resentment: the Flanders aristocracy or haute bourgeoisie spoke French not Flemish; the educated Flemish speakers learnt French but the French-speakers did not learn Flemish. Many Flemings have neither forgotten nor forgiven that while Belgian army officers in the Great War were French-speaking, the Belgian infantrymen, the cannon-fodder, spoke Flemish and could neither understand the officers nor be understood by them. (Today the Flemings subsidise the Walloons.)
  • Scottish nationalists want independence from Britain. (Scotland receives subsidies from London.) Unlike the Irish, the Scots have little to complain of at the hands of the English, at least in the past two centuries. The Scots were among the greatest advocates and beneficiaries of the British Empire; and far from being an anti-imperialist movement, Scots nationalism is a consequence of the decline and fall of empire rather than a rejection of British imperialism.
  • Catalan nationalists want independence from Madrid. Catalonia is more prosperous than the rest of Spain, and its taxes subsidise other parts of the country. Catalans felt oppressed by the Franco regime.
  • Basque nationalists want independence from Spain.
  • In Wales within living memory, children could be punished for speaking Welsh on the playground. There were Welsh-speaking parents who did not want their children to grow up speaking Welsh (those of Dylan Thomas, for example) — they felt that speaking Welsh was not merely useless but harmful to the prospects of young Welshmen. The experience of being punished for speaking one’s native tongue in one’s native land is bound to create resentment. (Cardiff is a recipient of subsidies from London.)
  • Corsican nationalists recently won local elections. (Corsica receives subsidies from Paris.)
  • A northern Italian movement wants to disembarrass that prosperous part of the country of its perpetually impoverished south, which it must subsidise.
  • Many Bavarians want independence from Germany.

SEARCH FOR IDENTITY

Dalrymple points to factors in the rise of separatist movements.

  • People dislike their near-neighbours more than they dislike distant ones. Since hatred is by far the strongest political emotion, it is not surprising that people in search of an identity find it in distinguishing themselves, usually with dislike, from their nearest neighbours.
  • There is the search for identity in modern conditions, in which even in supposedly small countries, large cities make anonymity the normal daily experience of the majority. In such conditions nationalism, like tattooing and piercing, becomes a shortcut to personal identity.

MEGALOMANIA OF PETTY POTENTATES

Why are the separatist movements strongly pro-EU? (This appears strange in so far as the EU would destroy or replace national sovereignty.) Why are nationalist centrifugalists so eager to form an alliance with EU centripetalists, who wish to efface the very thing the nationalists claim to be seeking? Dalrymple examines three hypotheses.

  1. The nationalists might not be aware of the contradiction. Few of us are logical calculating machines who work out the full implications of our beliefs, let alone always act in our own best interests.
  2. Out of the frying-pan into the fire: nationalist dislike of immediate neighbours may loom so large that it overcomes thought.
  3. Leaders of the nationalist parties or separatist groups want there to be more places at the top table—vacancies that they would then fill. They might even rise to the dizzying heights of the former prime minister of Luxembourg, who has long bestridden the world, or Europe at any rate, like a colossus. This he could never have done without the existence of the EU. In other words, personal ambition and the megalomania of petty potentates.

EUROPE OF REGIONS

What should be the attitude of leaders of the EU towards the potential fracturing of the EU member states as they are at present constituted? Dalrymple explains.

In the short term, EU leaders have to pretend to support the current arrangements, because for the moment power is concentrated in the hands of the leaders of those member states. If the power in Madrid or London begins, however, to seep away, the path to a Europe not of the nations but of ‘the regions’ is cleared.

Stupidity of the British political class

Screen Shot 2016-07-12 at 20.23.22Dalrymple reminds us that in the 1975 EEC referendum, Scotland

was considerably less enthusiastic about membership than England.

Scotland, he notes,

had the only two regions to vote against membership — in one case by three-quarters of the vote.

These were areas that had been

economically dependent on fishing, and were very aware that, in an act of stupidity only too frequent among the British post-war political class, Britain had given away, in negotiations to join the EEC, its exclusive rights to fish its own waters.

Britain,

though an island with a very long coastline, now imports twice as much fish as it exports, and catches half of what it caught in 1970.

Backbone of a mollusc and morals of a jackal

His face is so moistly smooth and characterless that it looks as though it would disappear leaving a trail of slime if caught in the rain

His face is so moistly smooth and characterless that it looks as though it would disappear leaving a trail of slime if caught in the rain

Cameron is not the man for the job

In the Greece of the North Sea, writes Dalrymple,

several things need to be done, among them the reform and even dismantlement of the educational and social-security systems, the liberalisation of the labour laws, and the much firmer repression of crime. David Cameron is not the man for the job.

Cameron, says Dalrymple,

is Focus Group Man made flesh. This is not altogether surprising since his only known employment, other than politician, was in public relations. He appears not to know what to think until he has consulted a variety of gauges of public opinion, and then he announces his own opinion as if from deep conviction.

Blancmange-like, he

Screen Shot 2015-05-12 at 07.24.15

Moulds himself to any shape going

moulds himself to any shape going.

Raised on public relations,

Cameron cannot think back further than yesterday’s focus group or ahead further than tomorrow’s opinion poll. Strategy is alien to him.

He made a commitment to further Scottish devolution,

thus conjuring constitutional problems from thin air. He was panicked into doing so by a single Gallup poll, whose authors must be very proud that a single poll of theirs affected a significant power so profoundly.

This was a typically Cameronian act of foolishness and incompetence. Moreover, the promise

Screen Shot 2015-05-12 at 07.25.38

Acted like a tin-pot dictator

was not Cameron’s to make: he acted more like a tin-pot dictator proposing a change to the constitution to allow himself a seventh term than a democratic politician.

Then came his pledge to protect the funding of the NHS,

because he knows through focus groups, opinion polls, etc., that the British people worship the NHS as the Israelites once worshipped the golden calf.

Cameron

cannot see a bad idea without embracing it with what he imagines is vote-getting fervour.

Screen Shot 2015-05-12 at 07.27.10Nothing for Cameron

is a matter of principle, only of advantage, and short-term advantage at that, his sole discernible goal being that of maintaining himself in power.

What of his physiognomy?

His face is so moistly smooth and characterless that it looks as though it would disappear leaving a trail of slime if caught in the rain.

Screen Shot 2015-05-12 at 07.35.41

Backbone

Morals

Morals

Die Nationalsozialistische Schottische Partei

From the British magazine Private Eye

From the British magazine Private Eye

The Scottish National Party, writes Dalrymple, are national socialists.

In economics, they are socialist, or at least corporatist; in politics, their rhetoric is nationalist. They are, in fact, national socialists.

Self-determination is not their true goal, of course. Dalrymple observes that the SNP’s real, though unacknowledged, aim is

increased access of the Scottish political class to the European politico-administrative élite.

This explains why, Dalrymple writes, the SNP are

firmly in favour of the European Union, an entity dedicated to extinguishing national sovereignty in Europe, and the formation of a superstate with few effective checks on the politico-administrative élite.

What they really want

What they really want

The SNP’s policies are, naturally, highly statist.

All private companies would operate, in effect, by licence from the government.

The SNP would hold

Welcome to Scotland

Welcome to Scotland

all the levers of political power, including powers of indoctrination.

Even before the last referendum,

an atmosphere of mild intimidation prevailed, such that those who opposed independence felt it better not to voice their opposition too loudly

 

 

The triumph of Scottish Chávismo

Hugo of the North

Hugo of the North

Alex Salmond, writes Dalrymple, offered the Scottish people

larger subventions for more people, distributed by him and his party. He did best in those areas where people had most to gain from the promised subventions and where they believed that they were not getting their fair share of Scotland’s heavenly manna—oil and gas from the North Sea….Salmond said that he would repudiate Scotland’s share of the British national debt, a pronouncement more than sufficient to sound alarm bells among the better-informed.

The nationalists succeeded in panicking prime minister David Cameron into promising more powers to the Scottish government.

This is an excellent result for the Nationalists: Edinburgh will have the powers, London the responsibility, especially when things go wrong. London will be the lender of last resort in the event of Scottish profligacy, so that the Nationalists will probably be able to distribute more subventions after all. And if they can make enough people dependent on them, directly or indirectly, they will have won.

The Nationalists have also achieved

the reversal of the generally favorable view of the Scots in England. For the first time since I can remember, a mild dislike and irritation with them has become if not widespread, at least quite common. This is excellent news for the Scottish nationalists, who speak of hope and rely on antagonism.

The Caledonian Chávez

Screen Shot 2014-09-18 at 14.01.46How Scottish nationalism is an attempt to reproduce — and even deepen — British government idiocies

The leader of the Scottish National Party, writes Dalrymple,

does not so much promise to solve problems as arouse hope, a hope that is vague, general, and unfocused.

Alex Salmond’s arguments and promises, and the hopes he inspires,

are not encouraging for those who value freedom or prosperity….he would increase government interference in and direction of the economy. He is a dirigiste who far outflanks the Labour Party on the Left.

In Salmond’s imagination,

the oil in the North Sea plays the role of the fairy godmother who brings what everyone wishes, namely life at a higher material standard of living than that which is justified by his own efforts and economic activity.

He wants to make himself the Hugo Chávez of the North Sea.

The Venezuelan, recall, managed the feat of producing fuel shortages while sitting on the largest oil reserves in the world. Lost in the debate, too, is that countries that rely entirely on oil revenue to sustain themselves (except where they are so vast in relation to the population that everyone can live as a rentier) are generally destined for a special kind of economic and social woe.

Scotezuela is Salmond’s dream.

And like the Bolívarist revolutionary, he has his supporters. If the voting gives him 50 per cent plus one, he will try to eternalise his power, with a fair chance of bringing all the levers of state power under his control. But even if he falls short, his policies will continue, for Labour’s social attitudes and policies are all but indistinguishable from his. Scotland, then, will not be a one-party state but a one-policy state.

The socialism will not of course be Soviet-style, even though

a not inconsiderable proportion of the population would probably like it in order to punish the rich. (I have never forgotten the reception in the 1970s given to Soviet premier Alexei Kosygin in the Scottish football stadium. The crowd chanted ‘Kosygin! Kosygin!’)

Rather, a corporatist state will emerge,

with large companies, acting more or less as licensed traders, maintaining a cosy and corrupt relationship with the political class, whose standard of living the licensees will happily subsidise.

If Scottish nationalism

were an attempt to escape the successive idiocies of the British government that have had such disastrous consequences, I would be more than sympathetic to it. Alas, it is quite the reverse. It is an attempt to repeat and even magnify those idiocies.