Sunday, April 29, 2007

"If You Fight For Me You Get To Kill The English"

Stephen: "Excellent."

It seems appropriate to be thinking of Braveheart with all the talk of Scottish independence these days.

Certainly the Scottish papers, and some famous Scots, have already had their say on the subject. It does sound like SNP is poised to win the upcoming election, from what I read...

But here is a different perspective. I have been waiting for someone to compare and contrast the movement for Scottish independence to the situation in Canada with Quebec, and finally, it's arrived. I'm damn glad I didn't have to write it myself. Now I just get to pick it apart.

Okay, I jest. The reality is, the author has nailed a few things down. I would take it even further. There is one distinct difference between Canada & Quebec and Great Britain & Scotland - Quebec was never a nation. It was a French colony. In this respect, I view the situations in a different light. Quebec is fighting for something it never actually had, recognition as an independent country, while Scotland existed as an independent entity before becoming part of Great Britain.

I have mixed and even conflicting views on these issues. Nobody wants to hear what I believe about Ireland. And why should they? I don't live in Ireland or Scotland, or even England. I have no right to tell these people how to live or run their country.

In Canada, however, there are some who are tired of hearing Quebec whine. I know those who say, "If you're going to go, go and be done with it."

I hope that, whatever happens, the Scots are more thorough in processing their decisions and charting their future than we have been. Another election, another talk of referendum. Ho hum, yawn. Can't really get too anxious about it, as it isn't like we haven't been there before. My amusement is that the Western Separation movement took a backseat with the election of Harper, and the sign on the highway reading 'Western Separation: Long Overdue' was replaced with 'More Power For the Provinces' when Harper was elected PM. Of course, if the Liberals force an election (I will hate them forever, because there have been enough damn elections lately and can we not just have a fucking break?) and oust the Conservatives the sign will change back, and I predict talk of Western Separation will increase dramatically. After all, it's one way to keep Ottawa from getting its grubby hands on Alberta's oil money. And considering how the Liberals like to spend our money I'd be nervous about electing them. Sponsorship scandal, take 2.

(Please note, I'm really just supremely pissed at the notion of another election.)

One interesting thing from the Toronto Star article:

The probable compromise, analysts say, is that Scotland may well face a referendum on independence as early as 2010 – but the option would be just one of several choices, including the option of remaining with Britain but gaining more powers over Scottish affairs. Scottish political researchers trying to take the public pulse are looking to Newfoundland for inspiration on ways to adapt the multi-option referendum that completed the Canadian project of confederation, in 1949.

"Newfoundland was given multiple choices in the referendum that brought it into Canada," said Nicola McEwen, senior lecturer in politics at University of Edinburgh's Centre for Canadian Studies.

McEwen's colleague James Kennedy, acting head of the university's Canadian Centre, suggested that facing multiple choices, Scots might be inclined toward the pragmatic middle. A made-in-Scotland version of Canada's "sovereignty-association," perhaps.

Whatever happens, it will be noteworthy. I resided in Europe during the fall of the Berlin Wall, so I have seen history in the making up close and personal, and have my own chunk of the Iron Curtain as well. This vote won't be as dramatic, but here's hoping that whatever the future holds for Scotland it will be positive for all involved. The worst thing about the situation in Canada is that it's gone on so long it's impossible to undue the offense. Many English-speaking Canadians feel they have bent over backwards to accomodate the 'spoiled child' that Quebec is, and still Quebec demands more and more and more... and they are fed up. How much of that is government and media manipulation is hard to say.

All I know is right now, I'm glad it's them and not us.

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