Featured post

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Great Referendum

I have kept quiet about the coming Scottish Referendum because  I have considered this is a matter for the Scots alone.  But as polling day looms it has suddenly hit me that what is proposed here is the breaking up of the United Kingdom, an entity to which I belong and have engaged in with taxes and benefits and voting over the past 64 years.  The United Kingdom is as much mine as anyone else’s yet I am to have no say in a proposal which will produce changes that will be profound in their consequences.  My life will be changed as much as anyone in The Highlands or Cities of the Kingdom of Scotland .  And for what it’s worth, I do not like change.  Even if the financial projections  are true (which is unlikely, they seldom are)England will be poorer  in so many other ways: intellectually (said without any sense of irony), creatively and psychologically.  Intellectually we lose one of the powerhouses of thought which produced and still underpins the whole of the British Enlightenment and later with leadership of Welsh and Irish thinkers and politicians the whole project of the Welfare State.  Creatively we lose a whole history of combined artistic endeavour; England would look different without the ideas of, for instance, Charles Rennie Mackintosh, No less in industry where the English and Welsh landscape and infrastructure as we know it owes a vast debt to the work of the great Scottish Engineers.  Psychologically the United Kingdom is an island.  We look outwards to the world with the sea in every direction.  We are, and always have ben a land with the open sea to gaze at.  We have come this far together; we have had great adventures on the way. Let us not now divorce in some rash, ill-considered parting of the ways.  How poor, how infinitely poor, if we both become hemmed in by a border and half the horizon cut away.