Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Power Corrupts...


We've hit an interesting point, politically and historically, in the referendum campaign for Scotland. Catalonia and any other place with pretensions to separate will hit the same point sooner or later.

It's the conundrum of power.

Politicians from the three main parties at Westminster have said in the last three weeks that Scotland cannot be independent and 'keep' the pound, join the EU, share intelligence and safeguard pensions. We can expect more of this, and we'll be told that we can't have the BBC, the Queen and fish from our seas.

Which illustrates one half of the conundrum. Because these assets are ours. The pound, the pension insurance schemes and the Beeb are (currently) the property of all UK citizens.

But when a politician from Westminster says we can't have them he (it is always a man) is saying "These assets are mine, not yours. I say who gets them. Not you." He is underlining exactly why a country would want to separate - to win back the control it thought it had over its assets. The people who vote Yes in September are saying "No, not yours. These assets are owned by the people."

What else can a Westminster politician say? His or her only strategy is to say to the Scottish children "We'll take back our sweeties. Even if they are half sucked." And the minute she or he says that they are caught in the conundrum of power, trapped into admitting that these assets that we believed were owned by the people are in fact under the sole and absolute control of Westminster. Politically, it's checkmate.

Could it be different?

A little humility would be good. To say, for example, that thanks to all that Scottish ship-building in the 19th century, and those Scottish financial brains, and the steam engine, the television, golf and football and Silicon Glen and Charles Rennie Macintosh and Iain Banks and James VI and the Scottish regiments and..., that thanks in fair part to Scotland's contribution we have all these lovely assets. And we would now like to work out how better we might share them with the five million who live in Scotland. To accept that politicians are servants of the people, not key-holders of the Crown jewels.

But Westminster politicians are locked into the conundrum of power. They will not offer humility, nor power sharing. 

Everyone who votes Yes on 18 September, is saying "no" to the arrogance of Westminster.

1 comment:

Karol Green said...

Thanks for explaining it Chris!