Myth No 5 – Back to the Union

The Scottish Parliament recently had a debate on Scotland’s future, in which pro-independence MSPs put forward positive and well-reasoned arguments (well, maybe not so much in Kenny Gibson’s case) for independence, and unionists put forward the usual mix of misinformation, scaremongering, bombast about the size and power of the UK, and nonsense about “sharing the risks and rewards” (although Nicola Sturgeon was sure she heard Ruth Davidson say “risks and their wars”, which would have been far more accurate). However, none of these arguments were as ridiculous as the one put forward by Johann Lamont when she said the following words: “Had Scotland been a separate country right now, I believe we would be seriously looking at creating the type of union we currently enjoy”.
No, seriously, those words actually came out of her mouth. Unionists often accuse independence campaigners of using conjecture rather than facts, but rather than sit bemused by the audacity of such a hypocritical accusation, let’s have a look at a few…
First of all, the geography of the world is not static. At the turn of the 19th century, there were 20 independent countries. By 1900, this had more than doubled to 49. Over the next 100 years, that number exploded to 192, and the 21st century has so far seen independence for East Timor, Montenegro, Serbia, Kosovo and South Sudan, giving us the current tally of 196 countries. (Before you go picking me up on my adding skills – which are flawless – remember that Serbia and Montenegro’s independence led to the dissolution of one state into two, so 192 – 1 + 5 = 196!) Clearly, the world is on a continuous trend towards increasing numbers of smaller nations. You can guarantee that the number of nation states in the world will surpass 200 long before the end of this century, and Scotland is by far the most obvious would-be state to become number 197.
Secondly, this number always increases. That is, no country, once it gets its independence, decides a few years down the line “nah, this is rubbish – let’s go back.” The only exception to this rule that I can think of is East and West Germany, but obviously there were genuinely extenuating circumstances in this case. So East Germany apart, no country has given up its independence since the age of empires came to an end.
A third point – possibly the most important one of all – is that Scotland has never voted on its place in the UK. There was no vote in 1707, and there has not been one since. 2014 will be the first time Scots have had a chance to directly say whether or not they want any aspect of their lives ruled by London. On the two occasions where we have been asked if we would like a Scottish parliament, we have said “YES!”, although we were ignored the first time. Quite simply, Scots have NEVER voted to be ruled by Westminster, but we have a 100% record of saying “YES” to Scottish parliaments.
With all this in mind, it is utterly ridiculous for Johann Lamont to suggest that an independent Scotland would, given the chance, vote to form a union with England. Not today, not tomorrow, not ever. This absurd notion is completely at odds with reality, because countries simply don’t vote to lose their independence, and it is totally against the way the world is progressing – it would, in fact, be a totally regressive step.
Think about it. For an independent Scotland to start a union with England, there would need to be a union movement. Now, there are plenty of independence movements throughout the world – Europe alone has many, including Scotland, Catalonia, the Basque Country, Britanny and Sandžak – but there are no movements (to my mind, at least) seeking to see their country annexed into a union with a larger neighbour. Indeed, the closest we get is Northern Ireland, but that’s about completing Ireland’s independence from the UK, rather than creating a new artificial union between two historically independent countries.
Even when a country gets into difficulties, no one ever thinks to try and rebuild old empires or unions. You won’t hear African nations asking to be recolonised; Iceland didn’t beg Denmark to take them back in 2008; and Ireland, despite recent difficulties, would not even dream of asking to rejoin the UK. Independence is priceless, and once a country gets it, there are no regrets. Lamont’s ludicrous idea should be treated with the utter contempt it deserves, and only serves to highlight the depths of imbecility we are going to be dealing with over the next two years. Scotland’s independence will come soon, and it will be permanent.

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  1. sneekyboy says:

    Great article Doug.

    The longer this goes on the more this guff will be trotted out and need countered.

  2. Steven Beaton says:

    Neither is the USA planning to revoke the Declaration of Independence. And don’t forget, there was talk of a union with the Netherlands prior to the (forced) union with England

  3. Arbroath1320 says:

    I don’t know what “meds” she is on but WRONG MEDS! WRONG DOSE!

  4. Concerned Aberdonian says:

    I can think of one example of a nation voting to abandon its independence, but it will back your argument rather than undermine it – but the vote is highly dubious: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anschluss

  5. David Moynagh says:

    She is surely in no fit state to realise that people prefer to go to a circus to listen to a clown. She is well and truly havering shite.

  6. JPJ2 says:

    I used to regularly have to refute in newspaper columns the idea that Scottish independence ran counter to World trends-one rarely has to do that now, as even the most blinkered unionist has come to recognise that the vast increase in the number of independent states makes the use of such an argument a spectacular own goal.

    The nearest I have had to come to similar refutation in recent times is with respect to the country to which Concerned Aberdonian has referred i.e., Austria-when some idiot was arguing that all German speakers were now delighted to be part of Germany-Austria in particular rather gives the lie to that, a comment to which the ignorant union lover had no reply.

  7. Macart says:

    Good article Doug. Johann Lamont is in serious denial over the whole death of party and empire issue and is seriously conflicted between Holyrood and Westminster. At some point surely Labour will wake up to the fact that they have a chance at real autonomy from the London lot and get with the programme. Its no secret that many Labour voters will be voting for independence and its no secret that many Labour politicos have at the very least FFA sympathies. So long as New, Nu, Noo Labour dinosaurs roam the foyer at Holyrood insisting on party before populace they will be consigning themselves to history’s trash bin.

  8. Scottish gardener says:

    Great article, the bit about us voting for a parliament twice put a great big grin on my face, never thought about it that way. Come on 2014 🙂

  9. John Souter says:

    This should be the most invigorating and exiting of times – but it isn’t, and the one certainty is if we leave it to the politicians and the media we will end up in the same morass of apathy that is allowing the financial oligarchs their supremacy over our species let alone a nation.

  10. Let’s look at another small country Singapore. Independence was forced upon it, the politicians in confederated Singapore believed wholeheartedly in Malaya confederation until the moment the Federal Parliament and the King expelled it from. Relationship has improved since then. Should anyone suggest another merger with Malaysia confederation now a day in Singapore, they would either be sent to the Woodbridge for mental examination and onward to the Changi to serve life imprisonment for high treason.

  11. Wullie says:

    There was a strong movement in Austria to join the 1000 jahre Reich, look what that started!

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