300 years since the Act of Union
Today is the 300th anniversary of the ratification of the Act of Union of 1707; the acts were passed in both the English parliament and the Scottish Parliament, in both cases with large majorities. This basically did two things:
1) Create a new state, the Kingdom of Great Britain.
2) Dissolve both parliaments and create a new parliament of Great Britain.
Gordon Brown a few days ago used this to launch a counter-attack on the nationalists (like this guy), and rightfully so. He said there was now a dividing line in Britain which pitted "those of us who are prepared to support the shared values of the union" against "those who are prepared to play fast and loose with the union and put the whole future of the union at risk".
He also went on to say that having an English parliament would tear the union apart.
Of course Mr Opportunism himself, David Cameron used this as an attack, not just on that position but on the union itself and shows how far the Tories will go just to try and get a vote, even at the expense of destroying the country. They figure they can't win in a parliament of the whole union, and reckon they have a better chance if it's cut up so they just have to win English seats.
The trouble is New Labour went ahead with devolution which got us into this mess. The English nationalists use this as an excuse to get an English parliament and break up the union, or help their nationalist pals in Scotland to get Scotland out. They say why should Scottish MPs be able to vote exclusively on Scottish issues, yet the Scottish via the union parliament are able to vote on English issues.
It's gotten to the point where the English nationalists are saying Gordon Brown shouldn't be prime minister because he's Scottish and they've got their own parliament bla bla bla. Hate Brown for the right reasons, not the wrong ones.
Anyway the solution to this is not the creation of an English parliament as the English nationalists would want.
It's to shut down the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly, unify all the laws to apply across the land, separate the church from the state, unify the banks. Unify the football and other sports leagues (a lot of the nationalists do like football) and "national" teams, remove any legislation designed to promote division, such as the Welsh Language Act. Ban the use of St George's flag, the cross of St Andrew, the Red Dragon on public buildings. Discourage the use of England, Scotland and Wales when not used in a historic or geographic context. Perhaps even move parliament around the country every 2 or 3 terms too, after all we've got those new parliament buildings now, might as well use them for something after we wasted so much money on them.
Well over 70% of the population support the union, the lack of support for the two main political parties in the UK is just opening up the flood gates to all sorts of nationalists, and that needs to be addressed, perhaps Brown has the right strategy of over-inflating the ability of the nationalist elements in order to drum up resistance to their unrealistic nonsense.
Breaking up the union is nothing but looking backwards, whenever a union of nations breaks apart it is always a disaster for the people. We must look forward and create and develop new unions, with the rest of Europe, and eventually the rest of the world.
Breaking up the union is nothing but looking backwards, whenever a union of nations breaks apart it is always a disaster for the people.
Where is your evidence that breaking up of nations is always a disaster for the people? One need only look across those strips of water to the west for examples, both the island of Ireland and those colonies in the Americas were tied to the crown in their day. Neither departure spelled disaster.
We must look forward and create and develop new unions, with the rest of Europe, and eventually the rest of the world.
Scotland would almost certainly do better pursuing greater unity with Europe outside of the union with England than within it. Let's face it, they couldn't do much worse.
Ireland was a colony of Great Britain, as was America.
Let's look at unions like the USSR and Yugoslavia. The break up of both were nothing short of disasters for the people, who even now have a lower standard of living than before.
There's a world of difference between a mutual partnership like what exists between the members of Great Britain, and a colonial empire.
Ireland was not a colony, the term United Kingdom was first coined to represent the union between Great Britain and Ireland - she was represented in the Westminster parliament just as Scotland and Wales still are.
As for the disastrous break-up of the USSR and Yugoslavia, the violence in the Balkans had much to do with the rising nationalism which resulted from increasing federalisation of the union. The constitution of 1974 introduced almost complete independence in the republics, and was at the root of the economic disparity which served to undermine the union. I should doubt that any Croat or Slovenian would consider the break up of that union a 'disaster', and the Kosovans would prefer not to consider any continuation of their union with Serbia.
Considering the break up of the Soviet Union, even Belarus now considers reunion with Russia a shrinking possibility. The 'disaster' of the union's collapse has led to the highest economic growth rate in Europe in Latvia and Estonia, and ended the former Russian domination of their culture.
To say that either of these cases has left their constituent peoples in a worse condition is to only consider half the story, at most. What of the divorce of the Czechs and Slovaks, or more recently of Serbs and Montenegrins? Or looking further back, the end of the Union of Kalmar?
Ireland was always the most exploited part of the United Kingdom, on that basis I don't consider it an equal partner within the United Kingdom like I do Scotland and England. How it is written into law doesn't describe the relationship between the countries. Which is why I wouldn't take such a position on Northern Ireland leaving the union.
Rising nationalism. You mean like English, Scottish and Welsh nationlism?
The Baltic states represent only a tiny fraction of the whole population of the USSR. Why don't you look at all the other countries? Lower living standards for the vast majority.
That's what I mean by people, not a few dozen people who robbed everyone else, the people as a whole.
I mean hell while we're at it why not going back to city states? Why the hell should London be part of the United Kingdom, give the Londoners their "indepedence". How far backwards do you want to go? Tribal groups? Family groups?
Some people around here support humanity going forward, not backward. Historical we've merged into ever larger and larger groups, into now some 200 nation states, breaking up into smaller groups is a backward step.
Ireland's exploitation is a favourite topic for Irish nationalist historians, and has to some extent been not so much fabricated as focused upon by such research. To say it was always the most exploited ignores the fact that Scotland held that title for a large part of the union. As you correctly point out, legal terminology need not describe actualities. The democratic union of which you spoke was funded by much bribery on England's part, and was seen by others as a pragmatic option to attain access to trade with the British Empire after Scotland's disastrous Darien project. Thereafter, Scotland suffered an increasing tax burden and the suffocation of a language, to say little of the impact on her culture.
We should not discount the Baltic states simply because they are small entities. Their pursuit of greater integration with the rest of Europe has only been empowered by the break up of the Soviet Union. Are these the few who robbed the 'people' of the USSR? Also, the endemic problems of stagnation in the former USSR towards its end, and the problems of corruption inherited by many of its successor states should not be discounted in considering more recent growth. Despite this fact, Belorus and Kazakhstan have achieved greater prosperity than they did within the Soviet Union, and this with the kind of Russian dependence on gas supplies we have seen used in bullying tactics in recent months.
The point about historically merging into larger and larger groups is a bit misleading; fully 50+ of those nation states you mention were created in the last 50 years.
And do you deny that Scotland would be better able to pursue European integration under their own flag than that of the Union Jack?
As for whether I stand for backwardness, that depends on whether you consider the right of ethnic and cultural groups to fully express themselves as being backward or not. This need not imply nation states. And what is the point of these great unions of which you speak? Standardisation? The imposition of one ideal over varied peoples and groups? To what end?
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