What Have We Done Wrong?

Bella wants to raise the standard of debate but sometimes you just have to sit back and enjoy the show. This has got to be required viewing for any undecided voters out there …

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  1. Marc Wilson says:

    You know that feeling some children experience in life? Y’know, the feeling where you’re in the room and you can hear people talking about you but not to you, except the people that are talking about you are bullies. And instead of those bullies talking about you they’re making stories up about you…

    That’s how I feel watching this.

    1. bellacaledonia says:

      Me too

  2. That’s a fascinating insight. The presenter was very fair. Some of the opening comments from the panelists were pretty rabid, but as they listened to the phone-in people their body language was fascinating. It was as if they’d never heard some of these points made before. As if it was setting them thinking. I’ve noticed while speaking down in England recently that this question or its variants, “What have we done wrong?” comes up frequently. For me, it’s not a question of what England has done wrong. It’s about our right to choose to be different, and this shows hugely in political voting patterns and their reflected attitudes towards social justice and defence. My great hope is that if Scotland has the courage to go it alone – even if it might make us less well off – there’ll be a shift in English dominant culture also, and a reawakening of the radical spirit that has been put to sleep there.

    1. bellacaledonia says:

      Yes – four people caught in a bubble of their own media and their own culture, trapped with a few key assumptions:

      1) a paternal relationship to Scotland – or perhaps Scotland as chattel

      2) Scotland as subsidy junkie

      3) complete ‘ownership’ of British assets

      4) inability to disentangle England from Britain

      5) a totally unthinking idea that Britain = Security in all aspects for all time

      6) the sense of personal hurt comes from the assumption that the only reason a country would want self-determination is through hatred of the English

      7) an almost blanket ignorance of the issues or debate that’s been underway here for – on or off – over 100 years

      1. iammarc says:

        You’ve hit the nail on the head with point 6.

      2. 6) the sense of personal hurt comes from the assumption that the only reason a country would want self-determination is through hatred of the English

        That’s the critical one, and one we have to tread very carefully with. It comes up all the time – the sense that they think we hate them, and amplification of some incidents to justify it. It’s like parents who can’t believe the teenagers want to leave home, except we never actually saw ourselves as teenagers. The Acts of Union were acts between two sovereign parties. However, given the reality of the psychology we have to be very aware that whatever the truths of the matter, some English people are simply going to feel hurt an rejected. I saw this very clearly when in London recently when several people came up after I’d been asked about the question and were shocked to find that I was in favour of Independence. “We are all the same” my host at the event insisted, and could simply not understand how, on the one hand, I could argue for an inclusive society, and on the other, not see that the Union constitutes such inclusion, totally confusing a claim to express difference with rejection and therefore, the suspicion of hatred.

      3. 2012nancy says:

        Excellent analysis of that ‘discussion’ Bella.

      4. 6 goes back to the crux of the whole paradigm – that we are individuals, not collectives. The common weal video hits it bang on the head about that. It’s this individualist ideology that is so revered in America that convinces people what we have is “normal”.

        The shameless narcissism that is sickeningly permeating our lives these days seems to be a by-product, and some people just can’t get the fact that the first person plural is always better than the singular.

  3. iammarc says:

    You know that feeling you get when you’re in a room with people and they’re talking about you as if you’re not there? That’s how I feel watching this.

    This was broadcast on a UK wide television channel, yet Hopkins and Madeley spoke about Scotland as “them” and “they”. For example, Madeley says “[If they vote yes] we won’t have to turn the clocks back anymore, because we do that for them”.

    It laid bare the ugliest side of English television media and showed true arrogance and ignorance at it’s worst.

    1. caadfael says:

      That had me roaring with laughter!!
      The whole show (the Scotland bit) was so wrong on so many facts it was an absolute train smash!!
      Still giggling thinking about it!

  4. No you do not help us financially. We produce more tax for the Uk than the remainder of the Uk. and all the other misconceptions that came out! I spent 25 years working happily in England, but the politics of Westminster are neglectful of Scotland. Industry is closed down so often, We just want to run our own country. It is a human right!

  5. We became a United Kingdom in 1603. We want to repeal the 1707, Union of Parliaments! So the Queen stays, simple! Sure we have a 300 year old history, but it has not been a fair partnership. It was supposed to be equal. As for the bank of England, it should have been a British Bank, founded by a Scotsman. What’s in a name?

  6. douglas clark says:

    That was a tad depressing. I don’t know anyone who see’s this as an English / Scottish arguement.

    Many of my friends are English. Some of them are English English and some are English Sikhs or English Muslims. I have never faced a hostile audience with any of them and I would be appalled if anyone saw such a disparate group as homogenous. They are not. They are individuals doing the best they can for themselves and others. Some, all living South of the border, are for us and some are against.

    To the extent they consider us. Which is not very often.

    However, we, you and I dear reader, are almost completely off their radar, and their radar is English print and electronic media, etc. How else do you explain the downright lies they parrot about our economic status? For these are not evil people, they are completely uninformed people. Dangerous perhaps for their reach but not their grasp of facts.

    It is unsurprising that the English are largely uninformed about Scottish Independence. We, good people, are vastly better informed than they will ever even bother to be. Why should they? Some wish us ill, some wish us well. It doesn’t matter. What they do is live in a country that doesn’t discuss us. For we are, all of us, beyond their pale, or otherwise only through cliches,

    About the only thing – divorce as an analogy – that Richard Madley got right depends entirely on the aggrieved party standing up and saying ‘enough!’.

    We have started proceedings, I hope we follow them through.

  7. Ouch. Even though a twenty minute discussion is hardly going to cover all of the issues in any depth, especially for an audience which is mostly made up of people who know next to nothing about Scotland and care even less, that was very dismal viewing.
    Still, two things did emerge which I think are significant.

    Firstly, there was an unchallenged assumption that because England allegedly gives financial subsidies to Scotland (and that controversial claim is very strongly disputed) there is no conceivable reason for Scots to desire independence. The premise here is that England is entitled to buy allegiance irrespective of any legitimate grievances. That is a telling insight into the unionist mindset. It’s unable to comprehend the possibility that money might not be enough to make up for being patronised, ignored, abused, disenfranchised, bullied, marginalised and exploited. They genuinely don’t seem to get that.
    We all know people who have given up or turned down well-paid jobs in order to improve the quality of their lives. Most of us can completely understand and approve of that choice. Those who can’t, it would appear, are cheer-leading for the No campaign.

    The second thing that struck me about their economic projection was the failure to acknowledge that an independent Scotland would not need to waste huge sums of money on follies such as the ruinous, imperial martial misadventures which are such an intrinsic part of the UK’s delusional self-image as a Great Power. Nor is it a given that a Scottish government (even one led by the RBS’s cheerleader, Mr Salmond) would have got away with bailing out the fraudulent financial institutions which flourish so shamelessly in the criminal environment of the City of London. A Scottish government might well have tried to dump the debt on to the populace but I am far from convinced that the Scottish electorate would have tolerated such an outrageous imposition.

    One further thought; if there really are 640,000 dummy-spitters who intend to leave Scotland in the event of a Yes vote, then the sooner they depart, the better. Let them take their dependency addiction and their lack of self reliance elsewhere. Scotland will be well rid of freeloading passengers who have no ambition other than to be taken care of by others in perpetuity.
    There are many questions about how Scotland would fare as an independent nation but I have absolutely no doubts whatsoever that I will not be casting a No vote in the referendum, either actively or by default. It would be irresponsible to effectively cast a vote of confidence in a status quo which can’t even recognise the problems, far less solve them.

  8. Fay Kennedy says:

    That panel represented a view that is not only insulting to my fellow Scots but not uncommon. Unfortunately I come up against it too here in Oz whenever the topic comes up but very understandable when you have a country that is still tied to Mother England’s apron strings.

  9. Ben Williamson says:

    I think this video perfectly captures the arguments and feelings that I’m confronted with most often. It lays bare, for me, the arrogant assumptions and derision of our ideals that the media reinforces.

    The message is clear – the British way is not just the best way, but the only way any right minded person could even begin to consider as a valid option.

    The apathy I encountered among my work colleagues in England was always a source of sadness for me. They majority don’t seem to want to effect change to such an extent that they will simply gloss over any flaw in the centre-right thinking passed to them via the mainstream media. Positively reinforcing each other because hey, it’s lovely to be able to sit around and all agree with one another and far easier than admitting better is possible.

    Britain is the party pooper of Europe. Anything new, progressive or aspirational is dismissed as stupid or unrealistic and that’s exactly the way they are trying to strangle the independence debate.

    1. Bob McMahon says:

      As Al Davis, the late owner of the Oakland Raiders, once said, if everybody’s thinking the same, then nobody’s thinking.

  10. jean says:

    Richard Madeley’s head in the clouds again, he is inclined to be absented minded he once forgot to pay for his shopping! .

  11. Allan Mac says:

    I commented on this video but it seems to be lost in the muck and mud-slinging so I thought to share it here. If debate is not 100% friendly, reasonable, and civilized then people responsible for the future might squander a chance to change history for the better. Please make an effort to be sympathetic, loving, and charitable to one another. Put aside all ‘name-calling’ and focus on the most important issue: a smaller, more manageable government will represent and serve *everyone* better.

    I am sorry to say that this discussion demonstrates prejudice, short-sightedness and lack of education. Moreover, it represents the referendum for Scottish independence in a completely misleading way; as a ‘divorce’ between two mutual partners. Look, a marriage agreement is entered into through the deliberate choice of the married partners. However, not a single living person ‘in’ the imagined community called ‘the U.K’ has agreed to anything. Instead, a supposedly democratic but historically tyrannical system has been imposed upon them since birth, along with a host of self-perpetuating structures of societal division related to education and opportunities for employment (unless of course you belong to the small network of wealthy individuals who have benefited most from the coercive force, legal procedures and business contracts called ‘the government’). Why would anyone from the wealthy minority – once they gain positions of power and influence – be motivated to change the system for the benefit of the rest? http://www.guerillapolicy.org/politics/2013/08/06/wealth-inequality-in-uk-now-equal-to-nigeria-un-report/ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_structure_of_the_United_Kingdom http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2303333/Great-British-Class-Surveyreveals-UK-7-social-classes-Are-precariat-new-affluent-worker-elite.html http://www.geraldinehackett.com/the-schools-that-charge-30000-plus-a-year/

    Please stop the tired, old ‘Scots’ vs. ‘English’ nonsense: this is about government and dissatisfaction with the status quo. The values, motives, and purposes of Westminster politicians frequently appear as foreign to moral sentiment in Scotland e.g. http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2013/nov/27/boris-johnson-thatcher-greed-good Scottish independence has nothing to do with separation from ‘English’ people or ‘England’. The appeal of a yes vote is in counteracting an increasingly unjust and unequal society. Please explain the difference to others and stop bickering. We are all friends and all have family who fought in wars during the last century so please let’s show respect to one another. I also wish people would stop talking about oil and the fantasy of ‘‘the economy’’ (as if politicians ‘manage’ ‘it’ with a wave of their magic wand). It seems as if many people have a money motive for voting either yes or no. Show some respect for the planet! An ancient culture will flourish and prevail for centuries to come by fostering a sustainable relationship with the Earth. People should focus less on themselves and short-sighted profit-motives. You should think about the future generations who will inherit Scotland. Politicians should serve citizens by addressing their most urgent needs with respect to education, healthcare, the environment, housing etc rather than acting as p.r. officers for big business. If you cannot see past profit, oil, and ‘the economy’ may you find inspiration in this:

    I intend to vote yes for a simple, moral reason: the ‘government’ control and protection of concentrated wealth via the taxation of millions of peace-loving individuals makes possible the utter horrors of global War and continues to sustain the threat of War (e.g. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casualties_of_the_Iraq_War http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2013/08/the-u-s-and-israel-have-used-chemical-weapons-within-the-last-8-years.html). Everyone who supported the ‘U.K. government’ is accountable for these deaths (financed by your taxes) and if Scottish voters don’t take this chance to withdraw their support for the ‘U.K. government’ then they will be accountable for every single death that will happen henceforth in the name of ‘U.K. foreign policy’. Do not be duped by nationalist sentiments: the ‘U.K.’ war-machine spends more on the military than education http://wheredoesmymoneygo.org/dailybread.html ‘Government for 63 million people’ is not in the service of humanity; it’s a product of war that has already happened and it threatens to create another war:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_military_expenditures I see no moral justification for spending this sum of money on war when people the government is employed to serve are suffering from poverty, malnutrition, and educational disadvantage. I envy the 5-6 million Scots who will be in control of their government: a smaller population will eventually be able to vote together on the most important issues of public concern e.g. whether to start a war or not http://direct-democracy.geschichte-schweiz.ch/ The notion of political empowerment is hard to resist since direct democracy will bring people together into a reasoned discussion about our most important human concerns. This empowerment must be tempered with excellent education so that politically responsible citizens are genuinely open to one another, common sense, reason, and virtue. If more people on this planet were given the responsibility and choice to prevent conflict then we would be able to use that wasted money on improving all our lives beyond measure.

    The people of Scotland would be better served in the long-term by withdrawing from a warring state and building an open, peaceful, egalitarian society in which every individual has an equal opportunity to develop their talents and flourish. Perhaps our intelligent, compassionate, free-thinking brothers and sisters ‘in’ ‘Scotland’ will lead the way in the United Nations to changes in international law and politics which prevent further unnecessary, brutal, horrific death. Every person of good conscience should be able to see this! It does not matter to which ‘nation’ you offer your ‘allegiance’: let’s all grow up and make the World a better place for EVERYONE. ‘Scottish people’ and ‘English people’ are not ”going anywhere” because there are no ‘Scottish’ or ‘English’ people: we are all just humans living on the same planet. We should all stop supporting the existence of powerful nation states which primarily serve the interests of the wealthiest few and cause utterly horrific War. When we form smaller states with more transparent, representative government and raise the health & education of all we will be living in a happier, safer, more friendly World. We should all support interdependence.

    I sincerely hope this whole discussion regarding the best form of government in a just society does not generate any further animosity between neighbours, family, and friends . . . another fine reason why our ‘government’ would have served us all better by investing in education rather than war. I hope my friends and family ‘in’ ‘England’ can see how an ‘independent’ ‘Scotland’ would benefit humanity. The established political system consistently fails to represent and support the highest good for all of us. Again, this is not necessarily the fault of any individual; it is a situation that we have all unwillingly inherited. I sincerely doubt a change in government will change anything that is good about ‘the U.K.’ However, the major political parties in Westminster will always be unsuitable for the significantly smaller population in Scotland.

    Please share and discuss these reasons for supporting Scotland and remove the silly sting of nationalist ideology from reasoned debate. Forget the nonsense about ‘the Scots’ vs. ‘the English’. Call yourself anything you want but we are all part of the same human family and every individual has an equal claim to this Earth. It is nationalistic egotism that leads to conflict in the first place. We would *all* benefit from a more civilized attitude to one another. I simply wish to live in a caring society on a peaceful planet and will support any government that proves to support us all in this endeavour.


  12. W David Rodger says:

    Dear oh dear, I knew Ronni Ancona when she used to be Scottish… 🙂

  13. Iain Diamond says:

    In my experience what many Scots have to realise is that people living in England hear, see, and read very little of what’s happening in Scotland – it’s culture, politics, or news. So when the topic of Scotland or Scottishness arises in conversation English people usually have to fall back on their well worn stereotypes. Namely, Scots die early, complain about England for all it’s troubles, claim lots of benefits, dance weird, play awful bagpipes constantly, eat horrible food and talk English like they’re learning Welsh.

    Besides the average English person having very little access to Scottish news and affairs through the media, during my two decades in England I met very few English people who had much interest or experience of life or living in Scotland. The basic attitude is ‘Who cares’. And some argued that Scotland produces many noticible Scots who do well when abroad but Scotland is a doom-laden dump which only serves as a laughing stock to the rest of the UK.

    It is this general level of ignorance and lack of importance of and for Scotland that makes discussion down south so cringe worthy. There are exceptions to this, the North East of England can see some more pain coming their way if Scotland were Independent so they take a real interest in Scottish affairs. And Wales, who are in a constant catch up with their celtic brothers.

  14. Jim McNeill says:

    I loved this when I finally got round to watching it, absolutely priceless. I live in Yorkshire, and this reminds me of the only times I ever see breakfast TV, when I’m down South on a job and getting my wee packet of cornflakes at the B&B. The shows always have a world-class crew of jumper clowns just like this, proudly and completely ignorant of the subject at hand but never scared to vouch an opinion.

    In this case I think there’s an important lesson about encouraging debates between witless media z-listers, without a Scottish voice in the debate, they come up with such gems that were any wavering Scottish voters to view the program they would immediately be converted to the Independence cause.

    Richard Madeley may even be a better vote-getter than David Cameron, I’m sure that every time he says “Don’t get me wrong, I love Scotland but . .” that’s another 1,000 yes votes right there!

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