DETERMINANTS OF INDEPENDENCE SYNOPSIS AND STRATEGIES

The final paper in the excellent Professor Alf Baird ten paper series. 10. Synopsis & Strategies Synopsis Context In 2014, ‘No’ voters opted for Scotland to be ruled by what to many Scots seems an alien political ideology from another land. They voted for England’s 533 MP’s (i.e. 82 per cent of UK parliamentary ‘sovereignty) to doContinue reading "DETERMINANTS OF INDEPENDENCE SYNOPSIS AND STRATEGIES"

DETERMINANTS OF INDEPENDENCE SYNOPSIS AND STRATEGIES

The final paper in the excellent Professor Alf Baird ten paper series.


10. Synopsis & Strategies

Synopsis

Context

In 2014, ‘No’ voters opted for Scotland to be ruled by what to many Scots seems an alien political ideology from another land. They voted for England’s 533 MP’s (i.e. 82 per cent of UK parliamentary ‘sovereignty) to do as they wish with Scotland and its people. Is this really what most Scottish people want? To be ruled over by another people, another culture and language, another identity and nation and political ideology? Crucially, what is stopping more than 45 per cent of Scots from voting for independence?

Meantime the SNP leadership depend on holding another dubious ‘Section 30’ UK sanctioned referendum based on an irregular (i.e. local government) voting franchise in order to secure Scotland’s independence. Is this a sensible strategy? Is there no other valid, constitutional, legal and democratic route to secure independence? The question of independence is about the right of the ‘Scottish people’ to self-determination, the key word here being ‘self’. Must Scotland’s vote on self-determination include a veto being given to ‘peoples’ of other national identities and national allegiances? Must Scotland’s people depend on the grace and favour of England’s MP’s in granting a ‘Section 30’ order in order to even hold a referendum?

The context in which Scottish independence is often discussed therefore raises many questions, and not least what independence actually means or why it is necessary. Arguably the harder questions have still to be answered. That is the knowledge gap my book ‘Doun-Hauden’ has sought – to identify and analyse the real Determinants of Independence?

Methodology

In order to answer these and other relevant questions, the methodological approach developed and applied in the context of Scottish independence has involved ‘grounding out’ a theoretical framework from analysis of data collected. The framework and sub-title of the book is collectively considered to represent ‘The Socio-Political Determinants of Scottish Independence’. 

Behavioural Determinism assumes our actions are reflex reactions developed in us through environmental conditioning. In this, it is necessary to identify and analyse the key aspects relating to environmental conditioning and related factors that determine and hence enable or act to block independence.

The main title of the book, ‘Doun-Hauden’, reflects, in the Scots language, the conclusion of the book based on the evidence presented and analysed: that the Scottish people are oppressed within the UK ‘union’, and; that they and their nation are treated as a colony and will continue to suffer oppression and exploitation until independence (i.e. decolonisation) is secured.

The methodology employed resulted in development of a structured framework which can be applied to investigate, analyse and better understand the phenomenon and dynamics of Scottish independence. Here a framework-based analysis helps to: elucidate the reality of Scotland’s socio-political situation and status; highlight the challenges that the Scottish people need to overcome, and; indicate how these challenges may be overcome in order to secure Scotland’s independence.

Culture 

Culture is our customs and beliefs, transmitted through language. Cultural Imperialism involves promoting the culture and language of one dominant nation in another, which is a common feature in colonialism; in Scotland’s case this involves the imposition and domination of a British Anglophone culture. Cultural Imperialism-creates and reinforces an alien cultural hegemony which results in an Anglophone Establishment that is anti-independence. Here the theory of ‘Enculturation’ reflects the domination and prejudice of a supposedly ‘superior’ Anglophone elite culture that is imposed on Scots, and Scots speakers in particular, the latter rendered subordinate and their Scots language considered invalid

This results in the Scottish Cultural Cringe, a feeling of cultural inadequacy extending to self-hatred, which is closely related to the psychological condition known as‘Internalized Racism’. Here there is an illusion of culture, which is a primary tool elites use to retain power, particularly in a colonial environment. 

Culture and (national) identity are closely connected. The independence of a culturally oppressed people is therefore a fight for a national culture (Fanon). A peoples’ quest for independence is thus dependent on a national culture and hence on national consciousness, the latter a function of culture and language.

Language

Language and culture intersect to form our identity, who we are, and how we think. Language defines and unites a nation. Linguistic Imperialism seeks to marginalize and destroy indigenous language. The aim of Linguistic Imperialism is linguistic genocide or ‘linguicide’, which is the death of a language, and with that the removal of a minority peoples’ identity. Removal of a language is intentional, and inevitable when it is not taught, as is the case with the Scots language. 

Loss of language therefore undermines our sense of identity and sense of belonging. As language and culture give us our national consciousness, without them a peoples’ motivation for nationhood and hence sovereignty is diminished and eventually lost. Language policy in Scotland within a UK Anglophone dominated society therefore aims to deprive Scots of the Scots language, to kill it off, and to diminish the desire for Scottish nationhood. This also explains why language is the most common rationale for self-determination of ‘people.

Culture and language are therefore key factors in the formation of national identity. The divide in the Yes/No independence debate is at root linguistic; that is, it is broadly between Scots speakers who identify as Scottish and who mostly tend to vote ‘Yes’, and the ever-increasing Anglophone population in Scotland who identify as British and who tend mainly to vote ‘No’. Hence the desire for and against Scottish independence is heavily influenced by our culture and language which serve to determine our (ethnic) identity.

Demographics

Between 3 and 4 million Scots have left Scotland since the UK union, which is more than half the present population. This was the largest loss of people in Western Europe for a country of Scotland’s size. Over the same period the largest ethnic migrant group coming into Scotland comprised of people from England. 

Outbound mainly comprised working-class Scots, whilst inbound flows are historically oriented towards a professional and managerial class mostly from England. This has led to an Ethnic and Cultural Division of Labour in Scotland within the ‘UK Internal Colonialism Model’. Hence a very large portion of the Scottish population has effectively been displaced since the UK union began. 

Scotland today has the lowest birth-rate of all nations in Britain, which may in part be due to a lack of affordable housing, limited access to better paid jobs for indigenous Scots, and dubious educational policies. Economic under-development of a people and nation is also known to parallel linguistic underdevelopment in a colonial environment. 

Population displacement has significant consequences for independence primarily because people of rest-UK heritage are the least likely ethnic group to vote for Scottish independence. The colonial nature of ongoing demographic change coupled with ‘national’ voting rights given to an ever-growing population of people now living in Scotland who do not primarily identify as Scots, therefore serves to hinder the prospect of Scottish independence. Uncontrolled demographic change in Scotland and a national voting franchise based on residence prevented independence in 2014 and acts to diminish the likelihood of a ‘Yes’ vote in any future referendum. 

Colonialism

Scotland’s enforced EU exit by the UK Government and the blocking of an electorally mandated Indyref2 demonstrate a colonial status. Colonialism is defined as a people who are subject to: external political control; economic exploitation and plundering, and; settler occupation. Scotland’s present reality reflects all three features. 

Scotland is also subject to what is known as Internal Colonialism which involves: an Ethnic and Cultural Division of Labour favouring the oppressor group, and; continued economic underdevelopment. The rise of an independence movement reflects theethnic solidarity of indigenous Scots speakers and is viewed as a consequence of Internal Colonialism and its oppressions.

Colonial domination involves racism and prejudice and may develop into fascism. The UN regards colonialism as a ‘scourge’ (a form of punishment) on a people, which should be ended through self-determination. Postcolonial theory defines colonialism as a ‘disease of the mind’ which adversely affects both the colonised group (through development of a subordinate ‘colonial mentality’) and the coloniser (racism, prejudice, and fascism). 

Devolution may be viewed as a colonial ‘bone’ thrown to natives to chew on. The UK devolved regime is now administered by a dominant National Party (SNP) which has made its own ‘accommodation with colonialism’; such political stasis represents a common theme in the decolonisation process leading to an unnecessary delay in independence and permitting state oppression and persecution of independence campaigners to intensify. This leads to conflict, and the creation of new National Parties seeking independence with greater urgency. 

In this regard independence may also be defined as decolonisation involving the liberation of a people from colonial oppression.

Nationalism

The motivation for independence depends on a peoples’ national consciousness, which is not nationalism. Many Scots have a confused sense of identity due to the long-term effects of Cultural and Linguistic Imperialism and Colonialism which serves to limit national consciousness or desire for independence. 

The UK/England exerting political control over Scotland involves an oppressiveTrans-national nationalism which: imposes a British ‘One Nation’ political ideology, and; inflicts Cultural and Linguistic Imperialism and an Anglophone CulturalHegemony on Scotland. It is primarily these features of imperialism and colonialism which enable external political control and power over a people and territory in order to facilitate their economic exploitation. 

Scottish independence is therefore arguably less about nationalism per se; rather, it is primarily about self-determination. Self-determination is about liberation, freedom and, for oppressed and colonised peoples’ independence is also about decolonization. 

Conversely, the UK is an Imperial construct and in terms of political ideology represents ‘Trans-national nationalism’ which is an aggressive form of nationalism involving: occupation and assuming political control over neighbouring countries;domination of other peoples through imposing on them another culture and language, and; economic exploitation. The inevitable outcome of Trans-national nationalism is oppression and exploitation of a people through colonialism, which in turn gives rise to the motivation for independence of an oppressed group.

Institutions

As Scotland is controlled by an Anglophone unionist Establishment, the meritocratic elite reflects an Ethnic and Cultural Division of Labour. This depends on and perpetuates sociolinguistic prejudice, reflecting an Anglophone elite Cultural Hegemony. It results in social exclusion primarily of ethnic Scots speakers. In this way ethnic discrimination becomes institutionalised in society. 

Segregation and protection of a Cultural Hegemony (and its values and symbols) is ensured via an educational divide maintained through private/independent (i.e. colonial) schools and elite universities aimed mainly at the privileged (Anglophone) group. Top positions in Scotland’s social institutions and commerce are advertised primarily in the metropolitan centre of the dominant core nation (England) and thus are mainly targeted at (Anglophone) elites there.

A range of negative outcomes reflect this institutionalised Cultural Dislocation. This includes continued economic underdevelopment of the peripheral nation and its people, social inequalities and poverty. Health impacts for the oppressed group include a schizoid personality, mental health issues, depression and anxiety, in addition to various other aspects commonly associated with oppression of indigenous or aborigine peoples.

Oppression also comes in the form of what passes for justice, which is rather a misnomer in a colonial system at least insofar as the indigenous native is concerned. This is reflected in Scotland having the largest prison population per head in Western Europe, in the ongoing state persecution of leading independence campaigners, and in the immunity automatically afforded to those on the colonial side. Meanwhile the ‘theft’ of the territories extensive resources and assets is permitted to continue.

Constitution

The constitutional status of Scotland, taking account of the Brexit related court case outcomes, serves to demonstrate the legal simplicity of a signatory state party withdrawing from a treaty-based union. So, what is stopping Scotland doing likewise? Is Scotland a sovereign people and nation, or not? Who represents this sovereignty? Is it Scotland’s elected national representatives, or is it MPs in Westminster who represent other (i.e. foreign) countries and their peoples outside Scotland?

The 1707 Treaty of Union created the present UK alliance and Scotland is a signatory party to that Treaty. Unilateral withdrawal from a treaty under international law is a matter for each signatory party (ECJ). Treaties are upheld only if they remain in the national interest of a sovereign people. When they are no longer in the national interest they are ended.

The sovereignty of the Scottish people is acknowledged by both UK and Scottish parliaments, as is the Claim of Right. Scotland’s elected national representatives therefore hold Scotland’s political sovereignty and have the right to exercise it on behalf of the people.

A referendum is not required for independence ‘as a matter of law’. As Scotland’s national representatives hold political sovereignty it is they who must exercise this sovereign power in order to secure independence. As the ALBA Party proposed, a majority of Scotland’s elected national representatives may negotiate Scotland’s independence and withdrawal from the UK Treaty-based alliance. This would respect the sovereignty of Scotland’s people and the fact of the Treaty.

Ethnicity

The Scots represent an ethnic minority group in the UK. Within a colonial environment, which involves racism and prejudice, there exists ethnic discrimination of native Scots speakers and culture. Colonialism and Anglophone cultural and linguistic domination has created the Scottish Cultural Cringe which has serious health impacts for the people. Ethnic discrimination has become normalised in Scotland, which limits personal and intellectual freedoms of indigenous Scots, and is the root of inequality in a colonial environment. 

Ethnic discrimination also results in Internalized Racism (or Appropriated Racial Oppression) which involves: the appropriation of negative stereotypes by an oppressed people; their subordination and deprivation is considered (by the oppressed group) to be deserved; the ready devaluation of one’s own group; patterns of thinking that support maintaining the status quo, and; oppressed group members seeking conformity with oppressor group culture, which makes them discard their own culture and language. 

Ethnic culture and language, and hence national identity, is marginalised and ultimately destroyed through colonialism and Cultural and Linguistic Imperialism, which is its intention. Higher levels of Appropriated Racial Oppression explain why many ethnic Scots oppose even their own independence. Ethnic oppression is therefore a significant contributory factor in Scotland’s anti-independence ‘No’ vote. 

Moreover, the blocking of Scottish independence and hence rejection of Scottish citizenship by non-Scottish voters may also be considered as ethnic discrimination, for they are blocking the inalienable right to self-determination of another ethnic people.

The development of ‘Appropriated Racial Oppression’ as a consequence of colonialism therefore explains Scotland’s constitutional dilemma whereby many ethnic Scots vote against their own nationhood and hence reject their own national identity and citizenship, and refuse their own liberty, whilst accepting continued cultural domination and oppression by another ethnic people as somehow deserved.

Self-Determination

Self-determination of ‘a people’ is a cardinal principle of the UN Charter. Here, the definition of ‘a people’ is based on their holding the same specific and identifiable traditions, culture, ethnicity, history and heritage, language, religion, sense of identity, the will to constitute a people, and common suffering. Self-determination independence is regarded as decolonisation by the United Nations. 

In the process of self-determination there should be no external interference: no other countries or peoples should be involved; no external media influence; and the voter franchise should include primarily the ‘people’ seeking self-determination. Few if any of these requirements have been respected by the UK administration in the case of Scottish self-determination.

The self-determination process is mainly considered relevant for colonies. Despite the socio-political reality of Scotland’s colonial subjugation, constitutionally the Scots are a sovereign people and Scotland remains a signatory party to an international treatym -based alliance. A sovereign people must retain the right to withdraw from a treaty-based agreement. Scots therefore have the right to independence and self-governance however this may be determined: either by unilateral withdrawal from the Treaty, or via self-determination decolonisation.

Precis 

Independence of a people and nation is never primarily dependent upon general policy matters far less on any political promise for a people to be better or worse off;rather, the motivation for independence is dependent on national identity and national consciousness. The basis of Scottish national identity and national consciousness is the indigenous (i.e. Scots) language and culture. 

Scotland’s population today retains a mixed and confused identity reflecting a linguistic and cultural divide that is colonially determined; this is no accident given over three centuries of colonial and cultural domination resulting in ‘a moribund culture and a rusted tongue’.

The Scots’ choice here and options for any colonised people is between independence (liberation) and assimilation (oppression). Independence is first and foremost, therefore, a fight for a peoples’ national culture. This realisation forms an essential basis and foundation of any subsequent quest for ‘a peoples’ economic and political independence, and holds regardless of political ideology a people may adopt thereafter. 

The Socio-Political Determinants of Scottish Independence framework outline critical aspects of societal power and control which are presently inhibiting Scottish independence. The ‘grounded theory’ framework criteria reflect a predominantly colonial and hence oppressive and exploitative environment for indigenous Scottish people which forms the main rationale for independence. 

Scots striving to secure national independence should be able to use the framework to their advantage, by focusing on each of the determinants and developing appropriate strategies, and; by truly understanding what independence is about (decolonisation) and why it is essential (liberation). Hence the framework may be used to develop understanding, and as a strategic analytical tool and aid to secure Scotland’s independence and liberation from oppression.

Strategies

Withdrawal Strategy

A majority of Scotland’s national representatives may exercise and assert Scottish sovereignty by revoking the Treaty of Union, as it began. A democratically elected majority of Scotland’s national representatives should initiate Scotland’s withdrawal from the UK union as soon as possible. 

The British State may or may not wish to contest Scotland’s national representatives’ right, as representing a signatory party to the Treaty of Union, to withdraw the sovereign nation and people of Scotland from the UK union. Should this be contested, the courts may be asked to opine on the matter.

If there remains a dispute, then the matter may be taken to the International Court of Justice. The ICJ would then seek to settle the matter in accordance with international law by giving advisory opinion.

Decolonisation Strategy

If the sovereign Scottish people via a majority of the nation’s national representativesare for some reason deemed unable to lawfully (or otherwise) withdraw from the UK union, this would mean that Scotland and its people do not have full sovereign or political control and are therefore considered by law (or otherwise) to be a territory or colony of the British State.

Scotland’s democratically elected representatives may then approach the United Nations (C-24) with a view to having Scotland ‘Listed’ as a colony to be decolonized.With UN support, Scotland may then, if required, undertake to hold a referendum on independence and ending ‘the scourge’ of colonisation.

Any referendum voting franchise would need to first, using established criteria, define the Scottish ‘people seeking self-determination, and to ensure there is no external interference and influence of the process, as was arguably the case in 2014.Similarly, there should be no external interference or influence permitted from any actors or organisations (e.g. MSM, UK government, politicians, agencies, corporations etc.) from outside Scotland in any Scottish self-determination referendum process. In this regard the voter franchise should be adjusted in line with the recent UN-sanctioned referendum in New Caledonia which employed a range of secondary criteria including a required period of residence in the territory before qualifying for a vote.

Scots Language Strategy

A peoples’ naitural language or mither tongue is clearly far more important than a mere means of communication. A peoples’ language defines who they are and gives them their national identity and culture which forms the basis of national consciousness. Scotland’s cultural liberation, the protection of Scottish National identity, and the objective of equality in society, depends on a comprehensive Scots Language strategy. This strategy requires a Scots Language Act as an urgent priority.

The Scots language should be made the national language of Scots and given authority as such. English should be seen as an ‘administrative’ language, not as a ‘superior’ language which facilitates the cultural domination of the Scottish people and enables their economic exploitation. A key requirement is to teach the Scots language in schools at all levels, and at universities, in addition to English. All peoples from other nations seeking to work in Scotland (or apply for citizenship post-independence) should be required to have an acceptable level of knowledge of the Scots language. This is especially important in education, in social institutions, and at higher managerial levels generally.

A national Scots language strategy is therefore fundamental for equality and in lifting up a downtrodden and under-developed people and nation, to prevent their continued or future domination by another culture, and to protect and maintain thesovereignty of the Scottish people.

MY COMMENTS

I am extremely grateful that Alf approached me to publish his excellent Ten part series on the Determinants of Independence on the Yours for Scotland blog. I was delighted and honoured to do so. It is an excellent work, educational, thought provoking and enjoyable. I know that because that is what the readers of this blog have told me. It has been enjoyed and appreciated and many have said it widened their knowledge about the challenges and many aspects of driving the case for Independence forward.

Perhaps however the greatest gift it has delivered is highlighting the enormous dangers of pursuing another referendum without wholesale changes away from the deeply flawed franchise that cost us victory in 2014 and which would form an even greater barrier in the future given the unchecked invasion of incomers from elsewhere in the UK, PRIMARILY from England that has taken place since 2014.

I should have been able to put a specific number to that invasion but the census that should have taken place in Scotland in 2021 was postponed until 2022, because of COVID. Miraculously it did take place as scheduled in England, Wales and NI who also had COVID at the time. It is much more likely neither the Scottish or English Government’s saw any benefit in this information being known prior to the Scottish elections last May. It might have frightened the natives as it surely will when the information is published next year.

This is why the alternatives routes to Independence laid out by Alf assume such importance. Sadly the time may not be now. Like so much else about improving Scotland we need a committed, nationalist Government whose overriding priority is to secure Independence and willing to pull out all the stops to make it happen. We currently have a devolutionist Government who have assumed the role of the colonial administration of Scotland with gender reform and the Hate Crime Bill as their priorities. While they remain in place we are a long, long way from success…and the British State and media know it.

We need to make these papers more widely available throughout Scotland and to that end Alf hopes to be able to produce the papers in booklet form for wider distribution. Costs are being investigated and publishers are being contacted. It is likely a crowdfunder will be organised for this purpose once costs are known. I will certainly support such a move and I hope the many thousands who have read and enjoyed these papers will do likewise.

I am, as always

YOURS FOR SCOTLAND.

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