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Tony Grist

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Getting The Tone Exactly Wrong [Mar. 14th, 2017|10:17 am]
Tony Grist
"Politics is not a game" seems to be the hastily agreed soundbite for dealing with the second referendum on Scottish Independence. Mrs May used it- in a little speech reeking of condescension and nannyish exasperation- and so did a beardy government spokesman we've never seen before. Apart from being untrue- because politics is exactly that- I can think of no line better calculated to annoy the Scots. So Brexit is a serious matter and Scottish independence isn't? Sod off back to Westminster, Tory scum!

[User Picture]From: sorenr
2017-03-14 12:15 pm (UTC)
You pretty much described what I felt when I heard that phrasing.

This whole mess of Brexit and Scotland - and the Northern Irish border, of course - makes me look forward to spending a few weeks in Scotland this summer. Political tourism, you could call it... (Well, I'm not going there for the weather, am I?)
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2017-03-14 03:16 pm (UTC)
It's all very interesting. If May can manoeuvre her way through all the pitfalls without coming a cropper she's going to go down as a great PM- but I can't say she's making a particularly promising start.

Still, she wanted the job...
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[User Picture]From: sorenr
2017-03-14 05:48 pm (UTC)
I find that it becomes more interesting if I make an effort to not have an opinion on Brexit. (I do, of course, but I try to shelve it when reading the news, just to find out what's interesting or not, rather than what I agree with or not.) So far I think the only conclusion about Brexit that can me safely made is that Cameron played a game - and lost it. Whether May's game will be successful remains to be seen.

I'm more torn about Scottish independence - having lived in London for 3 years and been married to a man who lived in Aberdeen for 2 years. In a sense it's like my feelings about Denmark and the North-Atlantic dependencies; will they be better off alone? Greenland might make it - but that would probably necessitate Arctic drilling for oil - and the Faroe Islands would probably struggle, to say the least. But then, they are struggling already. Would Scotland be better off alone? And would they get an EU fast-track membership (which seems to be part of the argument for a new referendum)? They probably wouldn't get EU membership on the favourable terms the UK has had so far.

It's all terribly interesting and I just don't know enough about any of it to have a fully informed opinion. I only know enough to be interested.

(Also, if somebody like me were to run a bookshop in Scotland for a few weeks this summer, would it be terribly inappropriate to make a July 14th/Bastille Day theme about the Auld Alliance? I think I had better run that idea by a few Scottish friends first...)
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2017-03-14 07:16 pm (UTC)
The Scots are as foreign to me as they are to you and I've no idea what they'd make of your Bastille Day idea. Personally, speaking as an ignorant Anglo-Saxon- I like it.

I was in favour of Scottish Independence a couple of years back- and I suppose I still am. I think the Scots deserve to be a self-governing nation again.
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[User Picture]From: sorenr
2017-03-14 07:38 pm (UTC)
I rather like the Scots. I was in Scotland every other weekend for two years, so I guess I can claim more than just a tourist knowledge of the country - though I never truly lived there.

I like the idea of an independent Scotland - but the last referendum was held when forecasts of oil income were much, much higher than they are today, so Scotland will be a much more fragile economy on its own than it looked like a few years back. (Remember, I was married to an oil man... I still keep track of these things!) They'd need to reinvent themselves in many ways to become a solid economy - but I don't see why they shouldn't be able to. After all, many of the services now located in London would have to move to Edinburgh (or Glasgow), and that could potentially include some of the financial sector. Edinburgh has enough glam-factor to attract employees, I'd say.

(And Aberdeen will be fine for another 15-20 years according to the oil prognoses. Then it will be in trouble unless they get the wind power sector going strong!)
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2017-03-14 08:06 pm (UTC)
I like the Scots too- but I've never felt at home in Scotland. The English and the Scots- for all that they've been muddled up together for centuries- are very different people.

Sturgeon talks about an independent Scotland remaining a member of the EU but right now- as things are going- that doesn't look like something she can count on.
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[User Picture]From: sorenr
2017-03-14 08:21 pm (UTC)
I think Scotland would actually be very welcome in the EU - if nothing else then to spite the UK... But no newcomers would get the sort of deals the UK and Denmark has. And really, I'm not sure those deals are really a benefit to anybody anyway.

As a foreigner I've felt as at-home in Aberdeen as in London - but then that's two very international cities, so I don't really know "Scotland". Or, for that matter, "England". I only know internationally-minded urban places, and that is definitely not all of the UK, just as Copenhagen is not all of Denmark.
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[User Picture]From: qatsi
2017-03-14 08:39 pm (UTC)

Accelerating the contradictions

As someone who grew up in the north east (of England), with a somewhat neighbourly antagonism toward the Scots, I'm torn. Last time I thought "Go if you want to, though I think it would be better if you didn't". Now I'd quite like them to go, and make a success of it, Euro and all, just to wave two fingers at May, Farage, et al. But I also recognise that the voting pattern in England would push the remainder of the UK further to the right, which hardly seem a good or desirable thing.
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