by Hazel Lewry
May 5th 2011 has come and gone, we Scots have had our say, and what an emphatic statement we made. Where we go now is largely up to Alec Salmond and the executive committee of the SNP, for we as a nation have given them a mandate unlike any other in our history.
The domestic side is already unfolding, with the early reprieve of the air bases at Lossiemouth and Leuchars. Whitehall may save some political face by claiming Lossiemouth was never “confirmed for closure” and that Leuchars is to cease operations as a RAF base. We will allow them that, for now. Knowing as the army will be taking over Leuchars there should be little net difference to the local economy. The fight for corporation tax is about to begin, we should see victory there also.
London is realizing that after three centuries Scotland again sets her own agenda. That realization will be incremental, ongoing and in stages, as it battles to overcome centuries of inertia. Cameron has tacitly acknowledged that as an independent nation Scotland sets her own course. It is only in the aftermath of the decision by the Scottish voter to elect a majority government in the SNP that the rest of the world is beginning to wake up to the constitutional implications.
Globally our sister nations are slowly beginning to realize that under the treaty of 1707 Scotland is already an Independent nation, she always has been such. They themselves have also been hoodwinked by UK propaganda.
They are slowly beginning to realize that Scotland is under a cooperative treaty with England, and as such can end it at any time. Scotland can also choose to amend, re-ratify or eliminate individual clauses or sections. The community of Nations is beginning to fully understand that the Scots have just positioned themselves once again to punch their own ticket, and the rest of the world had better adjust.
There is one verifiable exception to that statement, one case where Scotland has already been “courted” in anticipation of this day. Hilary Clinton, US Secretary of State met with Alec Salmond in February 2009. Clinton doesn’t waste her time, but even the American analysts could read the trending in Scottish polls, and knew barring a catastrophe “May 5th 2011” would come – the final date was the only question.
Scotland is such a small nation, it might seem incredible to most of us that after centuries of “being put in our place” within the UK that we should warrant this kind of attention. The kind that Clinton was the first to give but which we are now finding acknowledged in news media from France to China. All have questioned the repercussions of May 5th in Scotland, within their varying degrees of understanding.
The reason for Scotland’s prominence is two- fold. One is the simple nature of Governments, when anything of significance takes place in the world socio-political structure they all take note. Generally for reasons of self interest, firstly “can it happen here?” secondly “how will it affect me?” and thirdly “how will it change the world dynamic?”
These questions are why Belgium breaking apart has relatively little newsworthiness, even within the EU which is headquartered there. If the US were announce the Federal system was disintegrating (it is) and each state was going to be 100% autonomous, effectively creating fifty countries it would be politically world shaping event.
In many ways the world is taking a hard second look at the UK post May 5th. Europe is seriously re-evaluating the situation, and the EU has quietly evolved into a state of downright panic, all behind closed doors of course. The question they must first exhaust asking before they can move forward with dealing with the issues is “how did it happen”?
All of these entities have a vested interest in the Status Quo, they prefer to see Scotland as part of a political construct known as the UK, and none will come to Scotland’s aid as she walks the path of treaty nullification with England unless they suddenly see it in their vested interest.
After the process is pronounced irreversible they will of course welcome her with open arms back into the global community. In the meantime hostile neutrality is the best we should expect. We should anticipate many nations displaying the open hand of friendship publically, with the dagger wielding hand held ready.
Our tiny nation of five million souls holds many things that others need and desire, not least Westminster and her minions, which is why it will fight so hard to hold it. Why Whitehall and her tame media will use negative language like “separatism” and “tearing apart” to frame the upcoming debate and obfuscate the real issues. Panic and fear will be wielded indiscriminately as mighty and potent weapons.
The real issues are simple, they [UK Proponents]are fighting for control of an economy worth in the region of £ 104,447,200,000, [multiplication of per capita GDP by population] the loss of which would firmly and forever put the rump of Westminster behind even debt ridden and near bankrupt Spain in the EU pecking order. It could be argued some nations might privately enjoy this scenario.
The other major scare tactic would be UK debt. UK debt, Westminster will argue is also Scotland’s debt. This is arguably the biggest propaganda lie of them all. No UK debt should devolve to Scotland. Scotland has been fiscally solvent for almost the entire duration of her treaty with England. Scotland came into the treaty without debt, Scotland should leave it the same way.
UK Propaganda has it Scotland was bankrupt in 1707. It was not. The only financial strain in Scotland was being felt by the landed gentry who backed the Darien Scheme. The burghs and towns were uniquely solvent. The merchant classes were extremely prosperous; trading with France, the low-countries and Scandinavia was strong. The Scots were, and remain wealthy.
To suggest that Scotland be responsible for a significant portion of UK debt is like having a lodger who always pays the rent and tips heavily, but the landlord is extravagant and spends beyond his means. A direct analogy would have the Landlord expecting the tenant to continue to pay the Landlord’s debts for years after the tenant moves out.
Scotland entered a treaty with England; in 1707 we effectively became tenants in common. Having significantly paid her way our spendthrift co-tenant expects us to clear their debts after the [treaty] lease is voided?
Scotland contains over 60% of the known EU oil reserves, with the EU currently agreeing to support the US strategic need for oil, this puts the Scots in a very high profile position. It also substantially diminishes the international diplomatic relevance of the soon to be realigned United Kingdom. Scots dying in global wars of ideology could soon stop, yet the USA needs the pet poodle that is the UK.
Basically the US requires EU oil for its strategic capability, the EU requires Scottish oil fields in order to supply it. This is why for many years the EU has been trying to wrest control of Scottish Oil from Westminster. It is why the EU will probably align itself with Westminster in a backroom deal to try to prevent Scottish nullification of the Union treaty, that part is consistent, it would remain “all about the oil”. Scotland is by far the largest petroleum producer in the EU.
It is also why it is inconceivable the EU would wish to see an Independent Scotland walk away from the EU. It would significantly destabilize the EU. In many ways the loss of Scotland’s resources to the EU would trigger a bigger catastrophe than the banking crisis.
Scotland, within certain limits could literally write its own ticket for entry to the EU, if she and her people should decide that is what they want. The EU would have to agree, and this is a position the EU would much prefer not to find itself in. The EU should therefore be expected to support the twitching corpse that is the UK until all apparent movement ceases.
The other stance the EU could take would be a public deal with the Scots to ensure uninterrupted energy supplies, that would be a progressive move, not a regressive one. The inertias within the EU also make it an unlikely move.
Scotland has a diversified and strong economy, England has centered its economy around finance for decades. In the real world that means while Scotland has been more focused in producing “stuff” in recent years, with another impending refocus on manufacturing for the “green revolution”, England has concentrated on shuffling paper. Both nations are getting the privilege of bailing out the paper shufflers [banks].
Working into the green energy field, as Oil production dips and revenues slowly follow suit, we will be discussing a pan-European super-grid. The grid is to be in place by 2050 with major corporations such as Siemens already committing to it.
The question follows with the super-grid becoming a reality in many of our lifetimes, where does that energy come from to power it. Depending upon how we choose to develop our resources Scotland should have anywhere between 30% and 70% of the EU green energy capacity in the years ahead.
The energy dynamic of the EU appears unlikely to change. Scotland now and in the future should be a major player. Energy in our modern world is the ultimate source of power. The impending rump of the UK has somewhat turned its back on green energy. The UK rump has little in the way of resources there anyway. The rump of the UK is about to see its influence drop off the edge of a cliff after centuries of strutting the world stage.
Fishing and offshore mineral rights are another concern within the EU. Scotland has more meters of coastline per capita than the vast majority of EU nations and much of the EU future in coal reserves contained within her territorial waters. Scotland’s fishing reserves have for decades been a Westminster trading chip within the EU. A trading chip that’s been used by Westminster to benefit the South East of England rather than the nation to which it belongs by right.
Scotland, through her people and their history of invention and innovation, her academia funding and supporting dramatic research and development, and her incredible wealth of natural resources is poised again to punch far above her size in the global community.
The Global community is aware of this, and many quietly think the diminution of the UK on the world stage to be no bad thing at all. They can’t publicly declare it as such, yet.
We, the Scots, have many friends in the global community. We must finish walking the path of reaching out to them. We must put their governments into the position of reaching out to us.
The global community needs Scotland’s resources more than England’s often back handed friendship.