Posted by: rosa alba | August 8, 2014

London Calling: the name’s Bond, Backwater Bond.

We have received a call to arms, or the bonds of citizenship: the exortation to remain part of the Union, with all our wealth and exports, and convenient parking garage for Trident.  
Before examining the concept of citizen (versus subject) and the concept of a bond, let’s look at the list, though not in detail (there is enough out there).
It includes David Starkey, Will Melling, Cliff Richard, Dan Snow, Bruce Forsyth, Ronnie Corbett, “Victor Meldrew” – admittedly those last two Scots but who have made their name and living in London, perhaps the best and only authentic example of the Best of Both Worlds.
One has to ask did they vet the list thoroughly before going ahead.
Cliff Richard was at least tangentially referenced  in one or two of the early Elm Guest House/Westminster Paedophile articles (in both Scriptonite,  and The Telegraph

While certainly some, if not many, of these characters have previously been less than complimentary about Scotland – David Starkey for one. The information is out there on Wings Over Scotland, Bella CaledoniaWee Ginger Dug, Newsnet Scotland and elsewhere of their belittlement, derisionand lampooning of  Scotland or plain, ill-informed bigotted commentary.  Reference has been made to some of them being tax evaders. Many are significant donors to the Tory Party (Cilla Black and Bruce Forsyth).

More than just the squibbiness of this tactic’s appeal to the average, thrawn but also insightful  Scot with his/her love of Satire,  the failure to produce a list of clean advocates for the Union (clean in past opinion, clean in putative past criminal activities, clean on fiscal probity)  perhaps sums up the amateur, half-cocked nature of the Better Together initiative.
If we add in the recycling the same old arguments (the three-way pole dance at yesterday’s FMQ at Holyrood), the failure to produce a positive argument for the Union that is not based on military glory that exploited other nations or ran fuelled by the blood of fallen twenty-year old men, or when events align, a sense of nationalism born of adulating those who were born with silver spoons in their mouth to inherited position and priviledge, that costs the tax payer a pretty penny: the picture becomes one that no one seems to have answered to my satisfaction, articles on Derek Bateman’s page notwithstanding: whst does it mean to be British.
For me any concept of Britishness involves – and solely – my passport and my theoretical reliance on British Consuls when I travel. It rates no more highly than my travel insurance provider, and putative emergency healthcare, if needed. 
But that is not the whole picture:  for me Britishness means bonds, but not of citizenship:

I looked up the definition of “bond” in Chambers 21st Centurry Dictionary:

Bond, noun1 something used for tying, binding or holding. 2 (usuallybonds) something which restrains or imprisons someone. 3 something that unites or joins people together • a bond of friendship. 4 a binding agreement or promise. 5finance a debenture. 6law a written agreement to pay money or carry out the terms of a contract.

That the definition of unity or junction is the third definition of the word, surrounded on either side by definitions of indebtedness or imprisonment says it all; there are other definitions which involve bricklaying and glue.   I do not want to be in a bond to anyone, under these definitions. 
That there have been moves in the US Congress, as reported in The Telegraph to table a resolution that:

that the House of Representatives believes that a united, secure, and prosperous United Kingdom is important for U.S. national security priorities in Europe and around the world

is something I find worrying, on a level of International Law and the recognised and acknowledge concept of self-determination.   It is also worrisome in terms of who is in the pocket of whom, and what may (or may not) be expected reciprocally for such an endeavour to have been made, albeit by few Representatives.  The irony of a nation that – through violence rather than peaceable ballot-box and civic movement, chose to separate itself and self-determine independent nationhood from the incipient United Kingdom, and its British Empire is obvious, and borders on  self-evident hypocrisy.

It brings us to the concept of citizenship:

citizenship noun1 the status or position of a citizen. 2 the rights and duties of a citizen. 3 a person’s conduct in relation to such duties.

citizen noun1 an inhabitant of a city or town. 2 a native of a country or state, or a naturalized member of it.

The rights and duties of a citizen, a native of a country or state.   If you define Scotland as a country (one of the four “home countries” that make up the United Kingdom) there comes with it an identity of citizen of said country.  Derek Bateman – in discussion with Professor Tomkins of Gasgow University, has discussed this at length, more ably than I, as mentioned above. But perhaps that is the real heart of the debate: self-identity, which flag we chose, which country we cheer for at football, which (of the several) anthems makes our heart swell. 
Or cogently, since the debate HAS shifted from that to both the ability to make significant political decisions (true self-governance) and what the tenor of these decisions would reflect, a place where we are now asking, what recent political decisions (or indecisions) make your heart swell.

Scotland was among the first nations to stand up against the humanitarian abuses in Gaza and offer financial aid,  specialist medical services (from our still fully free and public National Health Services)  and asylum to refugees from Gaza.   I had never been so proud of my wee but honourable Scotland. 

On Wednesday in response to letter from constituents (and emails, and Twitters) a number of Members of the Scottish Parliament , including Dave Thomson, Roseanna Cunnigham, Marco Biagi and Patricia Ferguson debated the plight of adherents of various religious (but to a large extent Christians) around the world, persecuted for their religious believe: and moved to condemn this and called upon the UK Government, with its place on the UN Human Right’s Council, to raise the issue there and effect collaborative action on the part of the world’s nation states.

This debate took place the day before any statement by the  United States of America to get involved in the matter of ther persecution of Iraqi Christians, before the UK Government made its stance and before the issues of the persecution of  Christians burst into high profile media articles on our mainstream media.

On the  same day that the Scottish Government condemned the persecution of Christians and those of other faiths,  the Scottish Government also  voted to remove Trident from Scotland, both of which debates you can read here:
These two decisions filled me with similar pride to the decision on Gaza, a decision and humanitarian stance taken when the UK Government  was still aligning itself with Israel. As a citizen  of the world, an internationalist (which is much spoken of at present) I consider my responsibility to safeguard the Human Rights of others in the world, and to ensure equitable distribution of the world’s resources (including water),  which includes agricultural knowledge and technology, renewable energy knowledge and technology, scientific knowledge and technology,  medical knowledge and technology, pharamceuticals, educational resources,  and shelter.   My responsibility as a citizen of the world is to do this without account to the profits of multinationals or individuals.
My rights as a citizen of the world are to demand that the representatives I elect do this on my behalf (and I have both the responsibility and the right to insist that they do).

Beyond the issue of a  government at Westminster which is not representative of the Scottish people’s voting pattern, beyond even a government at Westminster which is driven, with exceptions, to self-serving profiteering and careerism,  this is the clarification of why I will vote Yes, and why, Bu Choir – You Should: I want my Scotland to be a nation with a place on Councils of the  UN and other Global NGOs – to take its place –  a country where given “the giftie…tae see oorsels as ithers see us”  we are not a louse but a country  which is principled, respectul and honorable, which is conscionable, not because it is about reflected glory or pride, but because it is the right thing to do as a brother (or sister) to citizens around the world. 
Power in the hands of  the people to use for  people everywhere.

This is my Scotland, in which I have pride, in which I believe and in which I place my trust:

Breathes there the man, with soul so dead, 
Who never to himself hath said, 
This is my own, my native land! 


  1. Well Said!

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