Janet Daley, the expat US lady who has spent the past few decades writing about Britain, is none too keen on the idea of what is on offer from the Scottish National Party:
What Scotland would become is a kind of East Germany, sitting smack up against its prosperous English neighbour. There would be another flood of migrants heading South to escape the dead-end last redoubt of Old Labour, draining the Scottish economy of youthful talent and ambition. How long before they build a wall along the border?
Judging by the reaction of the City to the possibility of Scottish independence (falls in sterling, etc), people are getting worried. It should be noted, though, that for some time any Scot with a lot of ambition has tended to go abroad, given that the place is not a big country and smaller nations will often see their best and brightest, for a while anyway, head overseas for fame and fortune. My wife, who is from Malta, is an example (she hasn’t yet found a lot of fame and I am most annoyed she is not a billionaire yet).
Until this matter is resolved, and even for some time if it is, no major business will be comfortable about investing north of the border. Consider what happens if you have heavy borrowing in sterling, or have issued sterling-denominated shares and there is a risk of a big change, such as eventual euro membership. And look at the sort of people in the SNP with their leftist politics. Not a happy prospect. There is a free market tradition in Scotland, but it is nowadays very hard to find it.
I might as well add my two penny-worth on this issue (or whatever currency the Scots might end up using, Ed). Scottish independence is now a very real prospect, not just a distant one. There is a flurry of commentary in the media at the moment about how any divorce could be painful and bitter: rows about how to divide up responsibility for the National Debt; relocation of defence forces from Scotland; North Sea oil rights; EU and Nato membership (Scotland could arguably be kicked out of both and might not be able to reapply soon), etc. Boris Johnson, London’s mayor, has a bit of a weepie on the subject.
The classical liberal in me says that so long as Scottish people who want to be fully self-governining do so for broadly pro-freedom reasons, that is not at my expense and I wish the new, separate nation luck. I will, however, take a far less benign view if there is any nonsense from Edinburgh about how the evil South must pay it off, by shouldering all accumulated debts, or demanding continued financial disbursements from the rest of the UK, or controls over matters not in its purview any more. I feel no very great emotional attachment to Scotland these days (I am about one-fifth Scottish through my mother’s family), although I certainly do respect and admire the great contributions to human civilisation from Scotland, as demonstrated in this excellent book published a few years ago by Arthur Herman.
It is perhaps naive to think that an independent Scotland would take its cue from the pro-market traditions most gloriously established by the likes of Adam Smith and other figures in the Scottish Enlightenment. (The Adam Smith Institute has had smart things to say about an independent Scotland, by the way.) There is no reason in principle why that cannot happen, of course, but looking at the sort of political figures who are prominent in Scotland these days, the picture is not encouraging. Perhaps the Scots, free of the ability to blame London for their ills and forced to rely on their own resources, might experience independence as a bracing learning experience and an understanding of the need to be pre-enterprise will take hold. As long as SNP leader Alex Salmond is around, the prospects don’t look good. He comes across as a bit of a thug and a bit too pleased with himself.
A final thought: if the Scots do break free (will that mean lots of visa queues at the border? Ed) it could galvanise separatist movements in other parts of the world, such as in EU member states such as Italy (Lombardy) and Spain (Catalonia). And even in the US, Scottish-influenced parts of the country will take a closer look. When countries break up, it raises possibilities. The Scottish independence vote is not just a private matter for these islands.
A new study shows first-born children are more able and ambitious. So, why have we been ruled by a succession of younger siblings as prime ministers? So, why have we been ruled by a succession of younger siblings as prime ministers?
Because the able and ambitious go off to do something more interesting than tell the rest of us how to live our lives.
I mean seriously: where’s the sodding ambition in straining to reach a position that Gordon Fucking Brown managed to gain?
– Tim Worstall
Ben Macintyre argues in the Times that the proliferation of road signs that order, warn, chide, and harry drivers, not to mention giving involuntary Welsh and Gaelic language lessons to those navigating busy roundabouts, has become a danger in its own right. “We’ve lost our way when it comes to road signs”. I suppose that link should have been preceded by:
…but I thought it would be more fun to place the warning where it was too late for you to do anything about it.
Now, where was I? (as the actress said to the bishop coming on to the M6 from the A38(M)). Oh, that’s right. I did enjoy this exchange from the comments:
Sometimes I think there aren’t enough signs. Such as when negotiating an unknown town and directions to your destination just disappear. So you drive in circles until you pick up the relevant signs. I never have this problem in France.
I also never have this problem in France.
It is one of the many advantages of not going there.
When my father first went to France, he disregarded the road signs. He relied on his map and the fact that he was sitting in the turret of a tank.
Thirty years ago, a custody sergeant beneath Nottingham Magistrates Court told me (I was then a young solicitor and we were chatting as I waited for a client to be brought up from the cells) that there were many “honour killings” in the city but that his colleagues routinely accepted the families’ ludicrous explanations; e.g. that the girl had committed suicide by pouring paraffin on herself and setting herself alight. The detectives believed these deaths were murders, but feared their bosses would think them racists if they pursued the cases. So they let murderers walk free.
To my shame, I disbelieved him and called him a “racist”. He looked at me sadly and said “then you, young man, are part of the problem.” He was right. He was an honourable man who thought all lives of equal value. He was rightly disgusted at the true racism of holding these families to a lower standard of behaviour. I, fresh from my Marxist professors, had bought into political correctness. I was refusing to open my mind to a disturbing possibility that did not suit my world-view.
Twisting language and contorting truth to suit your political beliefs is not some game to amuse the semi-educated self-righteous. It has consequences; including those we now face in Rotherham and will probably face in other British towns. We need to face reality even when it doesn’t suit us and do the right thing regardless. Probably there will be some effort to do so now, but how long before the Guardian and its readers raise the cry of “racial harassment?”
– ‘Tom Paine‘ commenting on Samizdata.
The English ‘fascist‘ movement is a bit like a bowel movement, smelly but easily disposed of. In truth they are so trivial in terms of their support or intellectual influence that I cannot escape the notion they get as much publicity as they do primarily to keep them as a boogieman to be pointed at by their equally irrelevant confrères on the loony left.
The Rotherham scandal is not about comically half witted and pleasingly unphotogenic fascists (sorry Ed Temple). It is not about Islam or Pakistanis (sorry BNP, EDL et al.). It is not even about immigration (sorry UKIP). It is entirely about how the political culture pushed unfailingly by the BBC and Guardian (and the increasingly indistinguishable Telegraph and other formerly ‘Tory’ papers) for decades has so completely enervated British institutions along with all the mainstream political parties, that such thugs could not be dealt with. We do not need more laws, we have more than enough to deal with what happened. What we need is the preposterous culture of political correctness and its obsession with race to be flushed down the toilet.
So my caring sharing multicultural leftie chums… Rotherham? That is entirely down to you. Yes, YOU
Yes of course the rapists needed to be ‘blamed’, prosecuted and sent to jail, but that applies to all rapists. That should go without saying.
But Rotherham is not a ‘normal’ case of a rape gang, it is far more than that. It is about the entire edifice of the British state utterly failing to do what it is supposed to do. THAT is what I am blaming the Guardian and BBC for. They did not create the culture that these rapists came from, blame Pakistani Islam for that (and do so loudly and unapologetically and tell anyone who responds with “that is racist!” by saying “fuck off you apologist for rapists and the community leaders who shield them”). The blame I am talking about is the multiculturalists who let it happen and keep happening. They have ‘marched through the institutions’ and Rotherham is the result.
The impression given was that to be against multiculturalism is like being against chicken tikka masala, or bhangra, or arts festivals or smiley brown skinned people or fun generally. But multiculturalism isn’t and never was a handy synonym for “multiethnic”. And at last, it seems, the majority of British people have twigged.
– James Delingpole
I found this interesting:
Harun Khan said many young British-born Muslims felt pushed to the fringes of society and that the latest government crackdown could nudge them further into the grasp of radical clerics, instead of drawing them back into mainstream society.
If they want to be in mainstream society in the UK, then their young males need to go down the pub and their young females need to stop wearing a head scarf. But this was my reply:
So if I understand what Harun Khan is saying, it is that monitoring members of the Muslim community for fear of Islamic extremism will cause radicalisation, so the thing to do is to leave it to the imams and community leaders to ensure everything is hunky dory. So a bit like Rotherham then?
And the Guardian’s reply was:
This comment was removed by a moderator because it didn’t abide by our community standards. Replies may also be deleted. For more detail see our FAQs.
Now as I respect private property, unlike the some I could mention, I accept that as the comment was posted on the Guardian’s site, it is up to them what they allow to be published… so no nonsensical bleating about ‘censorship’ please… their house, their rules. I certainly never apologise for deleting comments I think are inappropriate on Samizdata, and neither should the Guardian.
But I do find it interesting that what I think was a pretty innocuous remark gets axed the moment it touches on this particular topic. I sense that a thread is being pulled on the whole morally relativistic carpet that has been draped over the large grunting shitting snuffling pig in the middle of the room, and there is mounting alarm in ‘certain circles’ as they see this carpet coming unravelled. So to me the issue is not “Oh noez! My comment has been cruelly deleted!” but rather “it is interesting to see this particular pattern show where the intolerable sensitivities are”. If that is the weak point, that is where to keep thrusting the dagger.
But then as I said last time I got a comment deleted, that was the sort of mainstream media world view that pushed me into setting up Samizdata in 2001 in the aftermath of 9/11.
And so I introduce a new comment category today: Deleted by the Guardian
This seems like a very odd story. Some parents remove their child from a UK hospital after they determine the NHS will not provide what they conclude is the most appropriate treatment for a brain tumour. They then go overseas where they hope to find somewhere such treatment is available. And this triggers a Europe-wide manhunt?
Is there more to this than meets the eye? Because if not, what possible justification is there for state involvement at all, let alone hunting the parents down in Spain.
Tory MP Douglas Carswell defects to Ukip and forces byelection, reports the Guardian, beating all the other broadsheets by a good quarter of an hour.
He did not have to resign. He could have just crossed the floor and kept his seat, at least until the next election. I rather admire him for re-submitting himself to the voters in his constituency. Of course the chance that they will vote for him while standing for a minor party is much higher in a by-election than in a general election. He may calculate that he can ride in now on a carriage drawn by the two horses of a protest vote and his personal popularity, and then trust to voters’ preference for the status quo come the general election.
This is fun! What does it all portend, for UKIP, for the Tories, for Labour, for the Scottish referendum?
I have never… ever… heard a person of Pakistani or Arab origins called ‘Asian’ in the UK other than in the mainstream media. Never. Not even once.
It is a measure of how disconnected the media is from the society it ‘serves’. Come to think of it, that was precisely why I started blogging in November 2001.
– A comment by me deleted by the Guardian here. I think that is very telling.