THE DETERMINANTS OF INDEPENDENCE INSTITUTIONS

Paper 6 in the excellent ten part series written by Professor Alf Baird. 6. Institutions ‘Every colonial nation carries the seeds of fascist temptation in its bosom. What is fascism if not a regime of oppression for the benefit of a few? The entire administrative and political machinery of a colony has no other goal. TheContinue reading "THE DETERMINANTS OF INDEPENDENCE INSTITUTIONS"

THE DETERMINANTS OF INDEPENDENCE INSTITUTIONS

Paper 6 in the excellent ten part series written by Professor Alf Baird.


6. Institutions

Every colonial nation carries the seeds of fascist temptation in its bosom. What is fascism if not a regime of oppression for the benefit of a few? The entire administrative and political machinery of a colony has no other goal. The human relationships have arisen from the severest exploitation, founded on inequality and contempt, guaranteed by police authoritarianism. One should not be too surprised by the fact that institutions depending, after all, on a liberal central government can be so different from those in the mother country. This totalitarian aspect which even democratic regimes take on in their colonies is contradictory in appearance only. Being represented among the colonized by colonialists, they can have no other.’

(Albert Memmi)

In any society it is establishment elites who hold and exercise power and run the nation’s social institutions. The establishment is not the centre of official power, but rather the whole matrix of official and social relations within which power is exercisedPoliticians may comprise the centre of what we know as official power, but this is not where power is exercised on a day-to-day basis. Holyrood and Westminster may pass laws, agree annual spending budgets and signal broad policy aims but MSP’s and MP’s do not themselves spend the money or implement policy decisions; they rely on establishment elites running the many social institutions including government departments to do this. Often this implementation is done in ways that the establishment itself considers important, which will inevitably be subject to biases and values held by the elite.

Enculturation’ refers to the imposition on a society of the social values, behavioural norms and the culture and language of power wielding elites. In Scotland, the culture and language of Anglophone elites, many of whom are educated in elite schools and universities – in England as well as in Scotland – differs from that of much of the rest of society, and most importantly differs from Scots speakers. The latter mostly remain excluded from holding key positions in Scotland’s social institutions and are thus excluded from an establishment elite exercising power and determining spending and policy priorities, and are therefore rendered marginalised.

Nelson Mandela referred to the state’s many ‘social institutions’ and the need for them to serve the people rather than oppress them, as is often the case, particularly in societies where there exists an ethnic divide or a ‘cultural division of labour’. Oppression may be instinctive for power wielding elites running a nation’s social institutions, more especially when much of the elite reflects a ‘superior’ culture and language to that of the indigenous people it rules over. This is perhaps also likely where the establishment elite holds allegiance not to the host nation (i.e. Scotland)or to its indigenous people but instead, in colonial fashion, holds allegiance to the values of another ‘elevated’ or ‘superior’ culture, language and national identity (e.g. Britain/England).

The term ‘subaltern’ people, attributed to Gramsci, is used to identify the social groups that are excluded and displaced from the socio-economic institutions of society. Scots speakers, now more especially limited to the working class, should not therefore be surprised that they are excluded from running many of the institutions in thay’re ain laund. This reflects a rather long-established process given that: ‘From the seventeenth century on, English military and political control in the peripheral regions was buttressed by a racist ideology which held that Norman Anglo-Saxon culture was inherently superior to Celtic culture’. 

Many Scots therefore suffer from two key structural impediments and disadvantages within an Anglophone elite dominated society, namely: being working class and speaking the Scots language. That Scotland’s social institutions continue to be run by a predominantly Anglophone and unionist establishment elite which is opposed to Scottish self-determination and independence should not be a surprise; a colonial reality implies that institutions in Scotland are primarily there to protect Britain/England’s interests and this includes the devolved Scottish Government. 

In any colonial environment the institutions of state must therefore be expected to be colonial in nature and in terms of their objectives. Here it may be anticipated that anAnglophone unionist establishment elite controlling Scotland’s institutions will use various means to oppose and stall policies and initiatives which might negatively impact colonial priorities, including for example the blocking of a Scots Language Act. They will also seek to delay and take actions necessary to prevent Scottish self-determination and independence, as reflecting an allegiance primarily to the British state.

In the case of Scotland, as was also evident in Ireland, the independence struggle,according to Professor Edward Said, was initially ‘not regarded as an imperial or nationalist issue; instead it is comprehended as an aberration within the British dominions’. Said disagreed with this argument and, in the context of Ireland he stated that: ‘the facts conclusively reveal otherwise’in that the British/English ‘considered the Irish to be a separate and inferior race’. Here, as Albert Memmi stated, racism always lies at ‘the root of colonialism, and is an aspect likewise closer to Scotland’s doorstep than many appear to think.

Scots also need to be conscious, more especially in light of ongoing persecution of leading independence campaigners, of the fascist tendencies inherent within colonial regimes.  Scotland already has the highest prison population per head in Western Europe, which tends to be the most noticeable outcome of an oppressive justice system, a justice system now increasingly found to be malicious as well as politically influenced. 

If Scotland is treated as a colony, as earlier analysis here and elsewhere has established to be the case, then it may reasonably be argued that its governing and social institutions, and the establishment elite running them, must also be colonial in nature, and this includes the justice system. This also relates to Professor Michael Hechter’s finding that Scotland’s institutions promote and perpetuate a ‘cultural division of labour’ within the ‘UK internal colonialism model’, which implies that the culture and values of Scotland’s establishment elites differ from that of the indigenous people. Such cultural and linguistic differences become noticeably evident to many Scots the first time they enter into a courtroom, classroom, hospital, government office, or a commercial environment.

A further consequence of discriminatory practices favouring a specific ethnic group over another, is that much of Scotland’s Anglophone managerial and professional class recruited from outside of Scotland may lack in-depth knowledge of Scotland, or have knowledge of the Scots language and therefore of Scottish culture. The elite don’t need this knowledge, of course, as knowledge of Scotland (or any colony for that matter), and its indigenous people, culture and languages, is not a pre-requisite to be the leaders or managers of Scotland’s social institutions within a British political and colonial hegemony. This also relates to Albert Memmi’s conclusion that ‘a colonial meritocracy tends to be mediocre’.

Those appointed to manage Scotland’s social institutions do not therefore need to know much about Scotland, nor demonstrate any national allegiance to the country, certainly so long as it remains a colonial appendage to the ‘mother country’.Anglophone elite domination to a large extent represents external (i.e. colonial) control over Scotland’s social institutions and hence external control over Scotland’speople, land and resources. Here we begin to move closer to the reality of what independence is really about, by referring to the words contained in the 1916 proclamation that founded the Irish Republic, viz: ‘the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland, and to the unfettered control of Irish destinies, [is] to be sovereign and indefeasible.’

The notion that being Anglophone should determine one’s opportunity and positionand hence privilege in what is naturally a nonAnglophone ‘Scottish’ and Scots speaking nation clearly reflects ethnic discrimination and relates to unjust and prejudicial treatment against the indigenous (Scottish) people. As this institutionalised discrimination is oriented towards an ethnic group (i.e. Scots speakers) who are also prevented by the ruling Anglophone group from being taught thay’re ain mither tongue, this then raises the likelihood that at root such oppression is indeed racist. This finding fits with the conclusions of Professor Michael Hechter inhis study of ‘internal colonialism’ within the UK in which he states that, where: ‘long-term differences in aggregate rates of development (between the Celtic periphery and England as core nation) are the result of ethnic stereotypes, it is appropriate to speak of institutional racism’. 

Hechter further maintained that institutional racism within the internal colonialismsituation also helps explain: ‘the persistent pattern of economic disadvantages which characterized the Celtic lands’ of Scotland, Wales and Ireland within the UK union.This finding should not be so surprising given it is well established that colonialism always involves racism (and also results in the under-development of a people and their nation) and that, according to Aime Cesaire, colonialism is based on the proposition: ‘that there was a superior race’ (and that) ‘the circulation of colonial ideology – an ideology of racial and cultural hierarchy – is as essential to colonial rule as police and corvee labour’.

Scotland’s universities are worthy of analysis here in that the higher education sector remains heavily focused on recruiting academics mostly from outside Scotland. The institutionalised market-oriented strategies of Scotland’s universities have resulted in the ‘Scottish’ academic becoming something of an endangered species; today,barely 10 per cent of academic staff in many departments in Scotland’s elite universities are Scots, which implies that around 90 per cent are not Scottish, and with the ‘Scots’ ratio even less at professorial level. It also remains rather a big assumption that Scotland’s universities are attracting, as they claim, ‘the best talent’from outside Scotland as clearly this discriminatory policy has done little to benefit the Scottish economy, which remains in a long-term weak and largely underdeveloped position, as has been the case throughout much of the period of the UK union.

For many decades there has likewise been a dearth of Scottish researchers sponsored to undertake PhD work in Scotland’s universities and instead a heavy emphasise placed on attracting mainly rest-UK and overseas students to enrol for higher-fee courses, including PhD study. A very limited number of Scots holding doctorates implies few lecturers and professors in Scotland will be, or indeed are,Scottish. Significant numbers of students from outside Scotland holding PhD’s, many gained in Scotland’s universities, fill this self-created ‘void’, aided by supportive British visa offerings. 

Such institutionalised discriminatory practices serve to squeeze out aspiring Scots who, as a result, are lacking in educational and intellectual opportunities in their own land. According to Audit Scotland it has become more difficult for Scottish student applicants to be offered a place in a Scottish university. At the same time, the doors remain held open to higher-fee students from other countries who are now allocated most student places, particularly in Scotland’s elite universities, including premium fee courses such as medicine. Scotland thus has a shortage of medical doctors largely because its Anglophone-elite run universities refuse to enrol adequate numbers of Scottish students to study as doctors in their own nation, with excessive entry requirements merely creating a further institutional barrier for Scots.

A further consequence of this practice is that few of the senior academics or other experts and intellectuals daily wheeled into Holyrood committees or Scottish television and radio studios to give their views and advice will be Scottish. This serves to reinforce the rather less than subtle message, perpetuated by the British msm more generally, that only an Anglophone elite holds sufficient intellectual knowledge and expertise to lead and manage Scotland’s social institutions, implying that indigenous Scots speakers do not. In essence, with fewer Scots speaking intellectuals active in the general discourse of society in Scotland this conveys a message of Scottish inferiority, further reflecting a colonial reality. 

UK appointed civil servants already staff departments in the Scottish Government, in the Holyrood parliament and in a wide range of state agencies in Scotland. In addition, the UK Government’s creation of 13 new UK ‘regional hubs’ includes a new office in Edinburgh which will house 3,000 civil servant staff. The hubs form part of renewed government efforts to move more civil servants out of London; the government want to move 22,000 civil servants out of central London by 2030. According to The Times, senior civil servants ‘are already looking at Rightmove to see what they can buy for the cost of a terraced house in East Dulwich’ in anticipation of a possible move to ‘regional’ cities such as York and Edinburgh. ‘And they like it. They are looking at substantial Edwardian villas in Harrogate’, and no doubt similar property gains in and around Edinburgh tooSuch a policy is evidently not about creating jobs or opportunities for Scots in higher managerial and professional positions; this is about Scots continuing to have inflicted upon them an Anglophone unionist hegemony and establishment elite running their institutions, andprovides another illustration of an exploitative and discriminatory colonial environment.

Institutionally, Scotland therefore exhibits the perpetuation of not only social segregation but a class and caste system oriented towards Anglophone elites (and increasingly also international elites, particularly in academia) that is grounded in socio-linguistic prejudice which institutionalises social exclusion. ‘Attainment’ for many Scots remains a forlorn ambition for the enlightened, yet more of an inconvenient nuisance to Scotland’s dominant Anglophone unionist elite ‘running’Scotland’s institutions, and without much thought either way as to the end result of prevailing practice, which is the ethnic discrimination and marginalisation of Scots in their own land.

Managerial and professional jobs in social institutions in independent countries such as Denmark and Norway would never be primarily advertised in or sourced from Berlin, whereas Scotland has aye advertised all its best and high remunerative jobs in its much larger neighbouring country’s metropolitan capital, London. Moreover, for anyone to take up a senior public post in Norway or Denmark or in other independent countries they would normally be required to speak or at least unnerstaund the indigenous language as well as perhaps English, whereas there is no such indigenous language requirement for recruitment in Scotland. In Scotland’scase, ‘inferior’ Scots speakers are forced to adjust their speech and assimilate, in true colonial style, to the language of the usurper.

The leaders and professionals appointed to manage and run social institutions in Scotland are not therefore required to speak the Scots language, nor do they need to be able to understand what Scots speakers might be saying to them; this includes school teachers responding to Scots speaking children in the classroom, as well as doctors in a hospital, forcing the Scots speaking child or patient to ‘adapt’ their speech. In some local authority areas of Scotland today (e.g. Borders, Dumfries and Galloway) over half of all high school teachers are from England, and around a third of teachers in Scotland overall are from rest-UK. Here the cultural capital of an Anglophone elite and its hegemonic power structure differs markedly from that of Scots speakers, the latter not holding the same opportunity for social mobility within a stratified society. 

Scots might consider here that the ability to speak and understand the Scotslanguage (as well as, perhaps, English) should be a condition of employment also at higher levels within Scotland’s institutions. On the contrary, the reality is that, in their efforts to eradicate Scotland’s indigenous Scots language, Scotland’s Anglophone unionist establishment elite controlled social institutions aim and purpose is to suppress Scottish culture, and with that to diminish Scottish identity, in turn holdingback the natural development of the Scottish people and their nation through continued colonial rule.

Colonialism, which involves Cultural and Linguistic Imperialism and racism, leaves Scotland and the Scottish people subject to continued colonisation, discrimination, exploitation, marginalisation and oppression. Scots need to understand that, within the UK ‘union’ arrangement, Scotland remains an occupied country and a colony; this is reflected in the fact Scotland’s social institutions are run predominantly by an Anglophone unionist establishment elite hegemony whose allegiance is not, and never can be, primarily to Scotland. Within this colonial straitjacket Scots speakersremain ‘doun-hauden’, regarded by an institutionalised Anglophone elite as inferiorand ‘subaltern’, as is their nation, and hence they are mostly excluded from positions of power, the latter reserved for an Anglophone elite, many of whom are not Scots, and which involves ethnic discrimination.

For Scotland and the Scottish people to be permitted to fully and naturally develop unhindered, the Anglophone unionist/colonial domination and control of Scotland’s institutions, and hence ‘the scourge of colonialism’, must be ended; this can only be achieved through independence and the return of sovereignty to the Scottish people.

MY COMMENTS

It is never easy to tell people their country is being treated as a colonial possession of the neighbouring country but Professor Alf Baird is not merely telling us this he is outlining precisely how it is being done and providing concrete examples of the methods being employed to maintain full control of our nation.

This type of revelation and explanation will always meet opposition not least from those operating the systems but also from the go slow devolutionists who fear this type of information provides ammunition to those who seek much more effort and urgency in the battle to establish Scottish Independence.

As an opponent of the go slow, do nothing approach currently being followed by the Sturgeon Administration I am delighted to publish the entire ten part series on my blog.

SNP readers might like to reflect on much of the content in this series. It is not difficult to recognise many of the characteristics in the devolved SCOTTISH Parliament with administrations that are happy to co exist within a colonial framework.

In particular they should be very aware of the rise of fascist behaviour in Scotland and the growing persecution of political opponents through the use of false or contrived charges and the very definite attacks on Freedom of Speech through the introduction of contentious legislation such as the Hate Crime Bill and GRA.

We are living in very dangerous times and I certainly believe the prospects of winning Independence are being severely damaged through the oppressive nature of these attacks on our key freedoms.

I am, as always

YOURS FOR SCOTLAND

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