Posts Tagged ‘Scottish Nationalism’
‘English Votes’ is political vandalism and fundamentally changes Britain
Sunday Mail, October 25th 2015
This week the United Kingdom profoundly changed in how it does politics, democracy and how Parliament operates.
The House of Commons decided by 312 to 270 voters to alter the nature of its composition by differentiating the voting rights of MPs through introducing English votes for English laws. Meaning that – for English-only matters and legislation – Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish MPs will be excluded from a new ‘grand committee’ stage of the bill – which effectively replaces the substantive second reading of a bill.
Why has this happened now and why does it matter? Much of this debate isn’t actually very new. These issues were first raised in the late 19th century when Irish home rule was proposed by Gladstone, and in response, qualifying the rights of MPs was raised; then often called ‘In/Out voting’.
The tipping point was Scotland’s independence referendum. David Cameron announced the next morning that ‘the voices of England must be heard’ and interpreting this as ‘English votes for English laws.’ Read the rest of this entry »
Debating with ‘The Economist’ its Scottish Independence Coverage
An Exchange between Gerry Hassan and Jeremy Cliffe
June 11th 2015
June 10th 2015 17.00
Thank you for your letter of May 14th (1). Zanny has asked me to reply on
On our use of “secession”, “secessionist” and “separatist”, I refer
you to my email of March 24th. On “partition” and “dismemberment”, I
repeat the points made in that earlier message. Those terms are
descriptive and accurate. We use them in other contexts where – unlike
that of the United Kingdom – we support the separation in question.
For example, we welcomed both the “dismemberment” of the FSA and the
“partition” of Sudan.
Nor is Scotland’s pro-independence movement the only one of its kind
to which we apply such language. As a keen reader of The Economist you
will know that we use “secession” and “separatist” in our coverage of
its Catalan and Quebcois counterparts. Indeed, a quick perusal of our
recent pieces on Catalan nationalism shows that we have used every one
of the terms to which you object in that context too. Read the rest of this entry »
A Letter to the Editor of ‘The Economist’ on Scotland and Scottish Independence
June 4th 2015
I am a long-term reader and admirer of ‘The Economist’.
Even when I disagree with the magazine’s position I know that I can trust it to aid myself learning and becoming more knowledgeable on an issue.
This is true across the globe, and subject matters, with one consistent exception: the subject of Scottish independence.
I am not talking about ‘The Economist’s’ anti-independence stance, which you are perfectly entitled to take. Nor would I wish to dwell on the appropriateness or not of the infamous ‘Skintland’ cover. Instead, I am talking about something much more embedded: the language and terminology ‘The Economist’ consistently uses to frame this issue. Read the rest of this entry »
Scotland, the Clash of Two Nationalisms and ‘the Children of the Echo’
New Statesman, April 7th 2015
Scotland has always had a reputation for tempestuous disagreements – for fighting and flyting. Power, passion, tribalism and men staying in pubs for long hours drinking and insulting each other are long-standing notions.
Last Saturday I went to Glasgow Citizen’s Theatre to see David Hare’s ‘The Absence of War’ set in the run-up to Neil Kinnock’s ill-fated campaign in the 1992 general election.
Watching it in the turmoil of the current election campaign, and on the day of the ‘Daily Telegraph’ story that claimed ‘Sturgeon’s secret backing for Cameron’, it made for the older centre-left audience a lot of contemporary sense.
In the period since the early 1990s, mainstream UK politics have become even more stage-managed and choreographed. Two decades ago Kinnock’s Labour Party’s obsession with its opponents, the Tories and Tory-supporting press, ended up giving their enemies strength that became a self-fulfilling prophecy. Read the rest of this entry »
The disunited Kingdom and the confusion in Britain’s political elites
Open Democracy, April 5th 2015
Scotland is still making the news. The tartan tsunami that is the SNP surge shows little to no sign of abating as election day approaches.
Beyond Scotland’s shores the UK and international media are making frequent references to the debate north of the border. Strangely some of this coverage – mostly in London based outlets – is even more ill-informed and inaccurate than was seen during the indyref. This is itself no mean feat.
Then most neutral and pro-union opinion thought No would win. They had two years to understand and come to terms with the indyref debate, knew its date from a distance and some of the contours of the environment.
After the indyref things were meant to return to the status quo. Normal service would be resumed. Scotland anchored into the union anew would do its usual thing and return a bloc of 40 or so mostly non-descript Labour representatives to Westminster. The SNP after its rebuttal in the referendum would slowly see the shine wear off their credentials in government as fiscal realities and the constraints of devolution took their toil. Read the rest of this entry »