A little bit of (Yorkshire) politics

Posted: September 18, 2014 in Features and opinion, Random wifflings
Tags: , , , ,

I don’t usually talk about contentious issues here. My one attempt left me quivering with anxiety. In general, I dislike arguing over complicated issues on the internet. The medium encourages foolish hyperbole. It is too swift to force proper reflection, too slow to allow timely reaction, too distancing to facilitate rapport. It makes it too easy to see those who disagree with you as enemies. Misunderstanding, tangential ranting, rage escalation, lack of complexity and outright twattery are the sorry results. And that’s just on my side. I avoid it. If you’re brave enough for it, more power to you.

Actually, the above is fairly contentious. I’ll take my initial statement back.

Never mind all that. Today Scotland is voting on independence and I want to say something, hence the exception.

I hope the Scots don’t go. If the UK breaks up, what does that say? The world’s full of states teetering on the brink of fragmentation, and fragmentation increases the scope for conflict. Britain’s time as a world power will be well and truly over. The split will be acrimonious and cripple both nations for years to come. I like Scotland. I like Scots. I never thought I’d see a time when the island of Great Britain played host to two separate states. It makes me genuinely sad.

Still, if the Scots vote yes, I’m not going to blame them. The political situation in the UK has become distasteful, even meaningless. We’re ruled by a tiny elite of public schoolboys who are fixated on London. The regions of Britain, the wellsprings of modern technological society, are neglected. Social inequality has become entrenched once more. Nobody in power, whether economical or political, seems overly concerned with anything other than themselves. We’ve got a Victorian society without the self-assuredness or the charity.

Politics has been reduced to evasive soundbites and cynical targetting of marginal constituencies. We are no longer ruled by our own consent, something the Scots have rightfully been furious about for some time.

Whether the Scots go or stay, it’s time something is done about the London-centricity of politics. That’s the real issue here, not some long-held emotional desire of the Scots for self-rule. London is not the centre of the universe, no matter what Londoners might think. Sadly, I think it might take the shock of Scotland departing to make those in power wake up to it. And they really have sleep-walked towards a possible “yes”. Complacency doesn’t cover it. Arrogance might.

And if the Scots do go, well… Yorkshire has more people than Scotland and a larger economy, once oil is taken out of the equation (Don’t quote me on that. My friend, a staunch Yorkshireman of Scottish extraction funnily enough, told me that, so I may be wrong). It’s tempting to follow suit, and leave the Old Etonians to play with their corrupt banker pals in a southern rump.

Once upon a time, I ended up in a bizarre conversation with a middle-aged, exiled Rhodesian woman in a bar, who went on at length about how “we” (i.e. white people) only wanted to bring “they” (i.e. black people – with a dark imperialist emphasis on the “black”) education, industry and so forth. “Is that so bad?” she said repeatedly, and “I just wanted to know what you beautiful young people thought about it”. Strange as neither I nor my pal were that gorgeous, even then. Anyway, her gentle but forceful tirade turned against the EU. “I just don’t think it’s right that my beautiful London should be ruled from Brussels”. To which I rejoined, “And I just don’t think it’s right that my beautiful Yorkshire should be ruled from London.”

I was half-joking then. Staring down the barrel of Scottish independence, I’m not so sure. For some reason, today I’m thinking of Hereward the Wake.

  1. redfox4242 says:

    I have been aware of this issue in the UK. I am a citizen of the United States and I don’t want to express an opinion about the internal issues of another sovereign country. It’s not really my place. I have friends in Scotland and London and I wish them the best possible life.

  2. JWUsher says:

    I don’t think there’s anything contentious here Guy. Any reasonable person must be able to see that whatever the vote the status-quo cannot continue. A yes vote will leave the current government in tatters and all the traditional political parties tainted with complacency, being the generation that divided a country will leave none of them covered in any glory and, logically, it will have all of the regions asking, “Why not us?” The current system simply isn’t working for the vast majority of the country and political disengagement is high and growing, something has to change.
    I never thought I’d say it but we should of taken John Prescott’s idea of local devolution more seriously. At the time I thought “Who needs more politicians.” Now I feel it was a lost opportunity.
    If it’s a No then the “Devo Max” that has been thrown as a desperate, last minute raw bone to the Scots will cause resentment in the regions, in Wales and N Ireland and even in London (and if it’s not implemented riots in Scotland, I feel.) Then of course, you’ll still have Scottish MP’s able to vote on rest of the UK matters, which is a ridiculous democratic anomaly that is highly unfair and will create even more resentment.
    Tomorrow’s result worries and excites me equally, I don’t want Scotland to leave the Union even though I know it’s their right to do so if the want but whatever the result something has to change for all of the Uk, and we have to make sure it does and not lose this opportunity.

  3. tsuhelm says:

    “And I just don’t think it’s right that my beautiful Yorkshire should be ruled from London.”
    I would have given you a rousing applause and plied you with free drinks all night!

    I will miss Scotland as well but actually believe that it is a painful but correct way to go, centralised government has had its day (they had there chance to make it work over the last few centuries and blew it) so now bring in the new.

    • guyhaley says:

      There is still time. For the drinks, that is. Always time for drinks.

      • tsuhelm says:

        Upon resolution of a few technical issues I will gladly take you up on that!

        YORK -hometown is presently 7001 miles away (thanks google for that 1!) and Argentina presently going through a financial implosion is turning my hard earnt wage into peanuts… so getting from one place to tuther is mindbogglingly difficult, throw in wife and 2 kids who wont be too happy for my solo jolly to Yorkshire for a few pints…and we are in the realms of quite unlikely in the near future…

        But when I am near lets do it, lets make time for beer time 🙂

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