In the 1980s, while I was compiling the oil and gas index, David Cameron was still fooling around on the playing fields of Eton.
In that sentence, on the BBC Today programme, Alex Salmond identified my problem with the Scottish Referendum.
He presumably intended to imply his experience over Cameron’s jejune effeteness. Or, in Francis Bacon’s usage, effete
Ieiunenesse or extreme Comminution of Spirits.
For Salmond’s deserved contempt ought to raise the question,
What and who is Scottish “Independence” for?
Because, if it is for the bankers and oil economists, I want nothing to do with it.
My concept of Scottish independence would be something more robust:
Or, as Béarla (= in common English):
It’s a thought that would drive our vermin,
all the rogues who strut and swagger,
to take the road and seek other fields,
to go and play elsewhere with their wicked tricks.
Hamish Henderson, Seumas Mór’s soaring verse transcends petty capitalist nationalism, but it serves here to illustrate the poverty of the SNP vision.
An old romantic concludes:
Perhaps, if anyone, John Maclean, the old Clydeside Marxist, — back in 1923, not long before his early death — came close, if naïvely, to defining a credible free and independent Scotland:
Russia could not produce the World Revolution. Neither can we in Gorbals, in Scotland, in Great Britain. Before England is ready I am sure the next war will be on us. I therefore consider that Scotland’s wisest policy is to declare for a republic in Scotland, so that the youths of Scotland will not be forced out to die for England’s markets.
I accordingly stand out as a Scottish Republican candidate, feeling sure that if Scotland had to elect a Parliament to sit in Glasgow it would vote for a working-class Parliament.
Such a Parliament would have to use the might of the workers to force the land and the means of production in Scotland out of the grasp of the brutal few who control them, and place them at the full disposal of the community. The Social Revolution is possible sooner in Scotland than in England…