Thursday, 24 April 2014

How London Lost The Scots

Another day another rant.  Today we are told that, officially, the Cornish are a minority.  It depends on what you mean by Cornish, assuming that all those distant urban second home owners are not and perhaps the retired from here and there. Or are they now?

Also, the mothers of some of one minority group are being urged to discourage them from going to Syria to fight for a cause and then returning to carry on the fight here.  Today, London is no longer "English", it is a collection of minorities as are other urban areas, The gang disputes, some armed, are part of the scenery. 

Currently our media is spending a lot of its non celebrity time and coverage on the centenary of the outbreak of the The First World War and what followed it.  In the context of the coming Scottish Referendum they would do better to look back fifty years and after.

On the web there is footage of the 1968 disbandment of The Cameronians, the 26th Regiment of Foot which has no successors.  It was a moving and very sad occasion when one of the finest and proudest regiments of the line was scrapped without one leading figure of the government showing up.

This was part and parcel of the Wilson government's Army reorganisation which was ill thought out and botched; done in haste and with little awareness or recognition of the role played by many regiments in their local communities, notably in Scotland. 

Inevitably, it was a blow to many and to what the Union really meant.  The whole business was a Westminster farrago done to balance the books, or rather unbalance them in a different way.  There was little consultation and less attention paid to wider considerations.

Not to be out done, the successor Conservative government under Heath looking at the problems and financial state of many local authorities after inflation decided that the easy answer was a large scale reorganisation for 1974.  It amounted to a revolution of local government and health services coupled with a strong dose of centralised control.

Much of it made little sense in England or Wales and even less in Scotland.  One major feature lost in the Westminster smog was the particular and different nature of community and administration in Scotland where there had a strong tradition of local awareness and management.

The entry into Europe was a Westminster driven project, how far this has been good for Scotland or not is arguable.  It has not been good for the Union as governance and law has shifted to Brussels. Also, I recall, the UK once had a thriving fishing industry given away by London.

After 1979 the Conservative attempts to reorder and redefine the economy and the world role of the UK was London centric and weighted to the South East of England.  One part of the failures of that period was the effect of the unlucky takeover of the National Union of Miners by Scargill and his Yorkshire cronies.

Personally, I have little doubt that if Mick McGahey, with whom I was acquainted, had become President, for all his Left wing beliefs he would never have made the mess that the Yorkshire mob did in addressing the needs of the coal industry.  The backwash and consequences of that impacted with severity in Scotland.

If you add to that the knee jerk reorganisations of the Conservative years and then the creative destruction of the Labour Blair and Brown era you are left with the diminishing number of those who do vote having a profound distrust of politics and politicians and a disenchantment with a London centred and obsessed media.

Where that vote will go and to what purpose may well be to parties other than those of the longer past.  In Scotland, often it is to the SNP.  If London has little or nothing to offer them Brown's appeal to save the Scottish Labour Party will not be enough.

In 1914 it was a dangerous and unpredictable world in which blinkered and aggressive elites collided in a war that should not have happened which changed both the maps and societies. 

In 2014 we are in a dangerous and unpredictable world where what might start as a local crisis or squabble in any of the unstable areas could turn into something worse.

In London we have governments that know little and understand less and more and more without counterweights from across The Atlantic Isles to correct the balance of power.

The picture above is where my flesher ancestors once killed the beasts before the Royal Burgh built an abattoir in the mid 18th Century.

1 comment:

  1. That's the nearest you've ever got to 'going below the line' as they say at the Guardian...