Sadly, Salmond’s statesmanship is short-lived


Time for a re-think, Alex?

Recently on my blog, I paid tribute to Alex Salmond’s dignified and honourable reaction to the defeat of his YES Campaign for Scottish independence.  He called for reconciliation and unity.

Alas I spoke too soon.  As soon as the Scottish First Minister had come to terms with his immediate shock and disappointment, we saw the old Alex in his true colours.  “We wuzz robbed” was the gist of it.  Having insisted that the referendum was the one golden opportunity in a generation – or even in a lifetime – for the Scots to have their say, he is now hinting at a re-run in short order.  Or even a unilateral declaration of independence.   The well-rehearsed threat of a “neverndum” springs to mind.  By stoking the flames of separatism again so soon after the event, he is surely energising those Yes campaigners – and indeed No campaigners too – to further hostility and strife.

But I was particularly struck by one straw to which Mr. Salmond appears to be clinging.  He observed that the YES side had won amongst under-55s, while the NO side predominated in the older demographic.  All we have to do, he implies, is to wait until those timid, reactionary old folk die off, and the Yes vote can be won!  Just give it another ten years for the older demographic to move on, and the Yes side will win!

Of course we’ve heard essentially the same proposition in other contexts.  Talk to any social organisation – the Church of England, the Rotary Club, political parties – and you’ll hear the same complaint.  We’re all elderly.  Where’s the young blood?  How do we recruit younger members?  What will be left when the current generation of elderly members dies off?  Of course the Church of England may well be in terminal decline.  But for many of these organisations, the fact is that people in younger and middle life, juggling jobs and mortgages and child care, simply don’t have time for voluntary activities as well.  But as the children grow up and the mortgage is paid off, they look for new activities.  Hence a preponderance of older people in voluntary organisations.  It may be an older demographic, but generally speaking it renews itself as time moves on.

Similarly with left-right politics.  Older people tend to be more conservative (small “c”).  So we just wait for all the older people to die off, and then the whole world will be leftie and progressive, right?   Wrong.  Life is a journey.  Younger people can afford to be capricious, impulsive, idealistic.  But as life’s journey starts to include homes, and mortgages, and families and children, people start to attach more value to physical, emotional and financial security.  They understand and value stability, and property rights.  Call it conservative.  Call it Jeffersonian principles.  Call it reactionary if you must.  But in the rather dated terms of the left-right spectrum, they tend broadly to drift to the right.

As is so often the case, Winston Churchill put this clearly in his famous aphorism: “Unless you’re a liberal at twenty, you have no heart.  But if you’re not a conservative at thirty, you have no brain”. (Both the words and the attribution are disputed, but it sounds so Churchillian, and makes so much sense, that I have to believe it).

So I’m sorry, Alex, but you’ve got the wrong end of the stick.  It’s not a case of waiting for older Scots to die, so that you can win an independence referendum later on.  It’s a case of individual Scots getting older and wiser, and seeing the benefits of a political union that has survived and prospered through all the vicissitudes of 300+ years.

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19 Responses to Sadly, Salmond’s statesmanship is short-lived

  1. Anne says:

    Bonny Scotland is at the top of the heap
    On the map of the British Isles,
    It’s mountains and lochs can clearly be seen,
    As we tarry after walking the miles.
    Wales to the West, its “head” and its “hand”
    Points towards Ireland’s green shores,
    The peak of Snowdon towers high above.
    The Welsh Mountains to climb, are yours.

    But where on the map is “England”?
    That Nation of which once we were proud?
    Did we fight to keep her united?
    Or were other voices far too loud?
    Only the English can save dear Old England,
    And keep her name on the map,
    Or do we let her be divided?
    And where “England” was, leave a gap?

    Slowly, so slowly Minister’s ceded
    Her sovereignty, at first o’er the seas,
    Burdened with Regulations and Directives,
    Brought our Kingdom down to its knees.
    But the English are a peculiar Nation,
    Far less understood than most,
    The English may have their backs to the wall,
    But they will NEVER sound the Last Post.

    • Or as G.K.Chesterton put it:

      We hear men speaking for us of new laws strong and sweet,
      Yet is there no man speaketh as we speak in the street.
      It may be we shall rise the last as Frenchmen rose the first,
      Our wrath come after Russia’s wrath and our wrath be the worst.
      It may be we are meant to mark with our riot and our rest
      God’s scorn for all men governing. It may be beer is best.
      But we are the people of England; and we have not spoken yet.
      Smile at us, pay us, pass us. But do not quite forget.

  2. Anne says:

    The Destruction of the United Kingdom.

    T’was the death of the first Queen Elizabeth
    When the son of Queen Mary of Scots became King,
    James was ready to be King of Scotland,
    And a Protestant Religion did bring.
    Those that want to break away,
    Destroy all that held fast and free,
    When the Crowns of Scotland and England
    Were United on the 11th of July, 1603.

    Two World Wars could not destroy us
    Our United Kingdom of Great Britain,
    Yet will the destruction of our ‘Kingdom’
    Come from the enemy, OR WITHIN?
    A once united United Kingdom
    Stood together to fight the foreign foe,
    That wanted to conquer this Kingdom
    Yet the people would NOT let it go.

    Little is known now of the bombing of Scotland,
    For the Scottish do not sing that song,
    Yet in 1941 Clydebank took a pounding,
    When 200 German ‘planes dropped their bombs.
    We knew of the bombing of Scapa Flow of Orkney
    To drive our Navy out to sea,
    An attack on H.M.S Mohawk,
    Sixteen sailors lost forever, was to be.

    The “old uns” knew about the heavy bombing,
    Friends here today, and gone the next,
    The intense bombing of our Scotland
    So many lives lost in Scotland,
    Our Countrymen brave and true,
    For all in this United Kingdom
    Want FREEDOM, not ruled by the EU.

    Why does our PM want Scotland
    To continue to be part of the UK?
    When away to foreigners would give us all?
    And many £billions to strangers would pay?
    Such treachery over these many years,
    “That there would be no loss of Sovereignty”,
    The people told by those we then did trust,
    Just believe in us all-for ‘tis reality!

    It was all of us working together
    That made the United Kingdom “GREAT”
    To have to fight for our freedom once more,
    Is some-thing we ALL would hate.
    So eager to join a European Union
    That divides nations, so shall it be?
    The EU to dominate once FREE Countries
    Never again to ever be set FREE?

    This is what weak UK Leaders have now done,
    Chosen freely the path of destruction,
    To separate and divide nations forever,
    Still believing those cheap words of seduction.
    It will be left to the people of Scotland,
    To remain in the UK or be forever alone
    Though hundreds of years stood “together”
    Pray they never come to be always on their own.

    To destroy, destroy our Kingdom completely
    Is what the EU must succeed to do,
    For four Countries together are far too strong,
    Yet our own have PAID £billions to the EU.
    Yet come the General Election
    In the year of 2015,
    Elect UKIP For THEY want our freedom,
    And your simple “cross” will set us free.

  3. cosmic says:

    I can’t see how the SNP can win a referendum for independence without credible and honest answers to several basic questions, such as the currency, EU membership on a realistic basis (accepting the Euro and being outside for some years), a realistic assessment of the role of oil in the economy, the future of the finance industry, what would be the consequences of being a completely new independent state outside the EU and party to few if any agreements on trade, and so on.

    If they did secure a yes on emotional grounds, they’d have all these problems to face, and they either have solutions in mind which are nothing like what they were offering, or they have no answers. Either way, it would turn into an ugly mess.

    I do think the Three Stooges made a major blunder by panicking and offering extras on their own authority and not to do with the question being asked. This was prompted by a rogue poll. They now have to deliver this and if it isn’t delivered immediately, expect a chorus of grumbling and rabble rousing from the SNP.

  4. Jane Davies says:

    Quiet frankly who in their right mind would even vote for someone who thinks like that? He is just being delusional and in so doing makes a complete fool of himself. I no longer think about world issues in the same way I thought about them in my teens and twenties, it’s called growing up.

  5. Linda Hudson says:

    so true, I have journeyed through life to get to three score year and ten, in that very same order! order

  6. Anne says:

    Trying to catch up with me are you Linda-sorry Gal, I went through a World War for our freedom-I thought we had got it too-what fools we were to vote for those UK Political Parties that wanted to PAY THOSE SAME FOREIGNERS that wanted to govern us anyway.

    You all have only (easy) one way out of the EU left. You either ALL take it, or get used to being in the EU-forever. Remember before you read this below, I am not in any Political Party or Organisation, I never have been in one and never will be. There was only one Politician I liked and trusted and that was one Winston Churchill. When my father wrote to him at a time when the bombing of this Country was being very heavily bombed-and we were getting used to having no windows and no front door etc, Churchill wrote back in his own hand-we couldn’t believe it. I can’t see anyone Politician TODAY doing that-War or no WAR. However, it is YOUR future not mine.

    There is only one way you may beat them, and that is by getting the message across to everyone that has a vote in the next General Election in 2015, to forget their Political Party they used to vote for and put their COUNTRY and its FREEDOM before all else and only vote for UKIP-if UKIP can indeed put up a candidate in every Constituency, failing THAT-get used to being governed by the EU-forever. For what is to come from the EU in the future, for 2020, 2030, and a couple on the proposed “terrible, terrible climate change that apparently the EU is privi to and knows exactly what is to come in 2050, you had better get used to it, for there are a couple of EU Directives/Regulations indeed for 2050. No doubt Roger can verify that.

  7. Ian Terry says:

    Sadly too many people wanted to use Statesman for Herr Salmond. What a mistake to make. He by his present behaviour shown himself to be what 55% of Scotland saw him as, pathetic. When the man talks of poverty it is his very policies that have made things worse for the working population in Scotland. UKIP has been presented with a wonderful opportunity I just hope that the take full advantage of it.

  8. Linda Hudson says:

    I have my Swedish grandfathers nationalized British document written and signed By Winston Churchill when he was home secretary. Those where the days when the U.K. knew who came into the country, and only gave British nationality to those who were of good character. The gift of being given British nationality was a privilege and not a right!

    • catalanbrian says:

      I think that you will find that getting British nationality is still a privilege and now applicants for UK citizenship have to be of good character and in addition must take an examination on British life before they are granted citizenship. In previous years this was not the case and, provided someone had the right contacts prepared to attest for their character they could obtain citizenship quite easily. I am not in any way making any criticism of your grandfather, but rather drawing to your attention the fact that things are not quite as you imply.

      • Linda Hudson says:

        Why bother when you can come into the U.K. live and work here as of right, if you are from E.U. countries. For starters, We have a thriving sex trade, super league fraudsters, and criminals, many we are told, come from Eastern European countries!

      • catalanbrian says:

        Well why bother with your earlier post when you were bewailing the ease of obtaining British citizenship? This is a separate matter, and in any event I think that you will find that the UK has always had a thriving sex trade, has always had fraudsters and criminals, most of whom are home grown. You paint with a very broad brush in blaming these activities on Eastern Europeans, the vast majority of whom are hard working people whose aspirations are the same as yours and mine.

      • Linda is right: there is statistical evidence that Eastern Europeans commit a disproportionate amount of crime in the UK. That’s another reason to oppose mass immigration (uncontrolled from the EU). But the key arguments on immigration are the pressure that excessive numbers place on social cohesion and social imnfrastructure, and the failure to match immigrants’ skills to the needs of industry.

      • catalanbrian says:

        You have not read, or have deliberately misunderstood, her original post which was about getting British citizenship, not about people moving to the UK from within the EU. Or perhaps you are just letting your prejudices get in the way of informed comment.

      • Ex-expat Colin says:

        Leave out the general level of anti social/criminal behavior that we are largely accustomed to – we know about it. Its whats added by the extremists in the EU (and UK) that matters…the added level of problems created without the merest consideration of impact.

        Low level skills – labourers of all the building trades,cleaners and land workers.
        The inability of the southern european states to control their south/east facing borders.
        The inability of France to do most anything that makes sense.

        I consider domestic electricians and plumbers to be in the low order skill level and know very well what immigration is doing to our own workers in those fields. I often get the feeling that the technical tests they take today are poor – multiple choice questions for one. C&G is not what it used to be.

        The qualifications for a right or privilege to gain citizenship/residence is too low in UK and Europe. Its a huge p*ss take at our expense!

      • catalanbrian says:

        You mention, amongst others,land workers, yet only the other day I heard the NFU ( I believe) stating that they are desperately short of workers to pick agricultural produce and they wanted to employ workers from outside the EU to fill this shortfall.

        And whilst we are on the subject of low skilled workers coming in from outside the EU (you make the point of certain states inability to control their borders) you should remember that anyone who is in the UK illegally is not allowed to work legally. There are, however, plenty of employers who, in order to make a quick buck by not paying the right rate, will happily employ illegal workers. That needs to be stopped. Don’t blame the worker, blame the system that allows employers to get away with this.

    • Ex-expat Colin says:

      NFU and others can want what they like, but have to go through a sponsor procedure most likely. Don’t know, don’t care. There is a big dole queue here and in my view those on it should do a simple job if nothing else available…simply work and support yourself!

      Anybody here illegally is up for grabs and working illegally will be their problem and that of our police….again. The system you refer to is the dumb child of the EU and is now costing the UK to enhance the northern border of France. The p*ss take gets longer by the day!

  9. Ex-expat Colin says:

    And now Nicola Sturgeon takes up the cudgel with a threat….from the Scottish people. She said she’s not making the threat, they are…give us the goods or else.

    Looks like we in rUK are going to get robbed and battered with fried Mars bars?

    Neverendum not far away.

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