Tag Archives: Scotland

Fractured Nation

Apologies for the lack of posts recently, and that this one is very much ‘off the rails’ (and in fact doesn’t mention public transport at all).

People have voted to leave the European Union. Note that I did not say “the United Kingdom has voted”, because certain areas, including all of Scotland and a few parts of Wales (such as Ceredigion) returned a majority for ‘Remain’.

When I heard the result of the EU referendum, I was instantly terrified that ‘Great Britain’ could now be doomed. I wasn’t going to vote in the referendum, but had a sudden change of mind in the evening on polling day and voted remain primarily because I expected Scotland to vote remain, and I wanted to be on their side to keep Britain together and hence keep Britain great. I don’t want another Scottish independence referendum, as I have a strong emotional attachment to ‘Great Britain’ as the union of England, Wales and Scotland. I consider myself to be Welsh too, but I think my attachment to Great Britain is even stronger.

As I have noted before, Dan Snow, on the BBC’s “Panorama Live” programme following the 2015 general election, voiced the opinion that most of Scotland really wants to stay British. He stated that we are being driven apart by the divisive First Past The Post (FPTP) voting system. I feel that the EU referendum has had the same effect, it has been incredibly divisive; the conspiracy theorist in me says that it was deliberately called by the Conservative government in order to split everybody else so that the EU-related rift in the Conservative party looks normal. If that really was the reason for the referendum, it certainly seems to have succeeded.

I feel that, with Scotland, we can keep Britain great, inside the EU or out. It will be hard work, we need to ditch FPTP and the people need to be involved; in designing its replacement, in deciding what relationship we have with the EU in future and in determining which regulations to keep following exit from the EU.

My opinion is that Scotland, England and Wales are countries, but they aren’t independent countries. We need a system that reflects that, with self-governance for the member-nations with the UK government dealing with issues that only independent countries need to worry about (like defence).

Sorting that little lot out could take some time. So could sorting my head out after such a jolting result, so it might be quite a while before I write another blog post.

Regardless of when you’ll hear from me again; now and forever,
Keep Britain Great.

Don’t Ruin The Flag, And The Climate

Flag of Scotland flying above Edinburgh
The Saltire In The Sky
Not long now… In just 17 days time, on the 18th of September (2014), Scotland will vote on whether to become an independent country. Although most of the predictions say that Scotland will remain part of the union, I am slightly concerned that the outcome of the referendum could be a surprising ‘Yes to independence’. While I am in favour of devolution, to the maximum extent possible, both at home in Wales and in Scotland, I do not want to see the United Kingdom broken up.

To start with my most trivial concern, removing the Scottish Saltire (Saint Andrew’s white cross on blue) from the Union Flag would ruin the appearance of the flag. Of course it is not clear whether Scottish independence would in fact result in a change to the flag, but I do think it would be rather dull without the blue background.

Oil/Gas rig in the north of Scotland
Fossil fuel extraction in the far north
There are far greater concerns however. The north sea oil and gas reserves have featured quite prominently in the debate over Scotland’s future; economics however is not one of my strong suits. I cannot understand why the economy is regarded as such an important election issue and what effects it, but as far as the Scottish independence referendum is concerned the gist seems to be if Scotland can extract enough oil and gas it will have a strong economy. As George Monbiot once said: there are enough fossil fuels left to fry us all. If Scotland becomes independent, it may well be founded on the basis of the fundamentally unsustainable continued burning of fossil fuels.

We are stronger together, in the face of threats to the natural world and national security alike; perhaps even the economy although, as I’ve already suggested, I really don’t have a clue about that. Thus, I say, the United Kingdom needs to stand united, stand tall and face it all together. They say the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, I hope this is true and that we can work together to counter all the threats the world throws at us. Again, as Monboit said we need to leave the fossil fuels in the ground, an independent Scotland reliant on extracting fossil fuels for its prosperity is all we need.

ScotRail trains outside Edinburgh
Departing The Kingdom? Well, this is a transport-centered blog, had to stick a train photo in somewhere

I don’t often agree with members of the Conservative party, but for once the prime minister has said something I agree with wholeheartedly: Scotland, “we want you to stay”.