By Derek Bateman
Just when we thought our Nordic neighbours would be waiting their moment to congratulate Scotland on joining them as a small independent North Atlantic nation, we get their version of Project Fear shoved in our face.
Martin Lidegaard of Denmark was first with his claim that there could be no fast track into full EU membership and a full entry process would be required. Then we have Sweden’s Carl Bildt warning that our nationhood would Balkanise Britain, a phrase straight from the George Robertson playbook and deeply insulting to Scots since Bildt was an envoy to the former Yugoslavia.
His remarks in the Financial Times link the Scottish independence movement with the racial conflict between Serbs and Croats, implying some equivalence which, coming from the man who was the EU’s special envoy at the time of the Srebrenica massacre, is breathtaking.
It is in fact a line that could have been written by the British Foreign Office who are now delivering on their international diplomatic programme of vilification of Scottish self-determination.
There is no evidential back up for Bildt’s assertion of course, mainly because it is a contrived insult rather than an actual probability and we are given no insight from Mr Bildt on who will turn on whom, which houses will be set alight, which individuals (English bank staff?) will be rounded up and placed in concentration camps (in remote Argyll?), who will be starved and tortured or by whom (Scottish Territorials? Vigilantes?) and where the mass graves will be dug.
These are perplexing questions. Perhaps if it’s the SNP branch in, say, Montrose who do the executions of young fighting age males, they should remember not to film it out of bravado in case it turns up in subsequent war crimes trials at the Hague.
Is this your image of our movement? Is this the Yes campaign? Do you feel the hate at public meetings? Did I miss the barely controlled anti-English fury at Linlithgow Bowling Club or Bogbain Farm?
Perhaps you think Mr Bildt was just making a general point about countries splitting into smaller entities and Balkanisation was meant in purely geographical and governance terms…I fear a man with a deep and public connection to the Balkan wars cannot make that excuse. Mr Bildt is a right wing friend of the British Tories and an ally of David Cameron with a record in office of privatisation and public spending cuts. He has a plethora of commercial interests and in is the International Institute for Strategic Studies which links former British diplomats with those from other countries and which argued for war in Iraq.
So we shouldn’t be surprised that there anti-democrats with extreme views in Scandinavia. It’s just a pity that a friendly nation’s foreign minister sees it as his role to interfere in our domestic affairs. Will the British government object?
Here’s what the Swedish Foreign Office says: ‘The aim of Sweden’s foreign policy is to contribute to freedom, peace and reconciliation both in our own region and in other parts of the world. Sweden’s foreign policy proceeds clearly from the values on which our own society is built and from our own interests.’
I’m not clear that talking of Balkanisation in peaceful countries contributes to peace and reconciliation and surely the ‘values’ of Sweden’s region would include a democratic process with a referendum that gave Norway independence, no?
Perhaps the most accurate phrase is ‘from our own interests’ as it implies Sweden under Mr Bildt’s government is, however small, a country with a Big Nation mentality. Once they are in the club, they regard themselves as superior to mere democratic movements of peoples. That’s all far too messy and complex when they already have their hands on the levers and won’t have them prised off.
He clearly has a problem with Catalans too and any other group wishing to overthrow the Big Nation regime. This is the status quo in the diplomatic club where everything is just fine as it is because it keeps upstarts in their place but I find it extraordinary that after the Europe-wide rebellion in the EP elections, someone with a track record as a serious diplomat could be so wide of the mark.
The first thing that the club of nations must do is listen…listen to the people of Europe and stop dictating to them. A sign of some respect would be welcome for Europeans wishing to run their own affairs to create a wealthier and fairer society. They should not be denigrated by a pompous outsider playing a political game. Tak sa mycket.
Courtesy of Derek Bateman