The horizon or beyond?

The principle of Scotland’s right of self-determination is of little worth or utility if there is no process by which that principle can be put into practice and the right exercised. After the principle comes the plan. Which is also dependent on process. Without a process, the plan doesn’t even qualify as a plan. It is, frankly, idiotic to dismiss process.

Scotland’s right to decide is not in doubt. And even if it were, we must proceed as if it isn’t. Attend to the words of Alasdair Gray: ‘Work as if you live in the early days of a better nation!’. Take those words literally. Assume the mantle you wish to wear. Use the power you intend to own.

Yes! I am talking about UDI! But not Catalonian UDI! Because, Gerry, Scotland is NOT Catalonia. The constitutional arrangements are very different. I am talking about Scottish UDI! A form of UDI designed for Scotland and our circumstances.

For Gerry Hassan – and he is far from alone in this – independence is a theoretical thing. A matter of academic interest. For me, independence is a practical thing. A matter of the survival of my nation as it is threatened by the imperial ambitions of the British ruling elite. Gerry is happy to discuss how we think about restoring Scotland’s independence. I am primarily concerned with how we do it. He can ignore the practicalities of process. I cannot.

I have no objection to academics bringing their learning to the narrative of Scotland’s cause. Thinking is good. Thinking about principles is fine. Essential, even. I don’t protest against Gerry Hassan urging us to think about the principles underlying Scotland’s cause – the principles of democracy and the right to develop our own political culture as opposed to having an alien political culture imposed upon us. What I object to in the strongest terms is academics and others telling people they don’t need to consider the practicalities – the process.

We need action! We need the right action! We need that action urgently! There can be no action absent a process for that action to follow. The insistence that process can be ignored comes from those who are content to gaze at the horizon. For those of us who want to go beyond that horizon, process is essential.



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7 thoughts on “The horizon or beyond?

  1. Hassan often seems more political commentator than academic. I don’t see much in the way of theoretical analysis far less development of theoretical frameworks or detailed research method in his writings. The bourgeois Left dislike nationalism because they don’t quite understand it. They confuse nationalism with the need for decolonisation where ethnic groups seek national liberation, and ignore the fact that independence movements always depend on the solidarity of an oppressed ethnic group. The bourgeois are relatively content with the status quo, or Devo this or that, even in a colonial environment with half the population living in or close to poverty, their resources plundered, cultural inequality and and socio-linguistic prejudice all around. The bourgeois Left view independence as a matter of left or right, socialism or capitalism, which it is not. They deny that colonial oppression and exploitation exists because they do not personally or as a group suffer much from it. All the great postcolonial writers – Fanon, Cesaire, Memmi, Said – have nothing but scorn for the bourgeoisie which in colonialism “turns its back more and more on the people”, much as we see in the partying, profiteering and mischief of political elites, including so-called ‘nationalists’. An academic would surely know that independence is decolonisation.

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    1. A retired academic (the definition of upper-middle-class guilded-pension bourgeois), who has devoted his life to the study of maritime infrastructure and it’s economics has convinced himself that Scottish nationalism is decolonisation. I think that’s about it.

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      1. Even the UN regards self-determination independence as decolonisation.

        The study of global maritime trade and therefore how nations interact takes one closely into the activities of imperialism and colonialism. Often the first thing a newly independent state does is invest in its underdeveloped seaport infrastructure and resurrect its historic trading links away from an exploitative and dominating ‘mother country’. Independence and the ending of resource/trade exploitation are closely related.

        Also worth remembering that some of today’s middle class were formerly working class and one never forgets where one comes from and the different values learnt there.

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        1. I think it’s more true to say that the UN’s Declarations relate to decolonisation because at the time they were past decolonisation was a live issue. But it is not difficult to adapt this to modern conditions because even where they explicitly mention colonisation and/or decolonisation they are statements of principles which must be universal and therefore applicable to Scotland. The right of self-determination being the most obvious example.

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          1. Yes Peter, postcolonial theory may be applied today just as in the early 1960s when initially guiding UN principles on self-determination and decolonization, the latter intended to bring an end to the former empires and their wilful exploitation and destruction of national cultures and peoples. Every independence movement usually has good reason to seek liberation, even us Scots, though the complete understanding of a people regarding their oppression remains rudimentary. Perhaps this recent article will be of interest:

            Click to access The-Socio-Political-Determinants-of-Scottish-Independence.pdf

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