The Pole’s thoughts on Scotland’s Independence.

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When it comes to my view on Scotland’s independence, I posted a short teaser in the matter a few days ago (http://wp.me/p4hxzk-3r). I would like to share with you more of my thoughts in the subject.

Separatist movements are not new in Europe and the issue as such should not surprise anybody. What I find very interesting is how people of different nationalities within Britain perceive Scotland’s attempt to win back its independence.

Well, even the terms I am using here might prove unacceptable for many: is Scotland not free now?; is Scotland not sovereign already?; what is it that Scottish people would gain after splitting from the Great Britain?

The vast majority of voices in the discussion focus on economic matters. Both sides – the YES and the NO campaigners try to prove one another wrong and incompetent in maths. For me, the focal point of this discussion is not where it should be in a first place.

Everybody with at least basic knowledge of economic theories should know that there is no smart way to see into the future. We can predict, we can run scenarios, we can do our best, but nobody can give any guarantees on how the future will look like for sure. This is because all these predictions are based on certain human behavior pattern that is expected to occur but due to its human aspect it is in fact totally unpredictable.

Economy is a social science and as such is moving and changing constantly. In democratic societies, the parliaments take responsibility of managing the national economy, which in short is: firstly, reacting to nation’s behaviour and moods and, secondly, trying to mould this behaviour and mood. Countries’ parliaments are more or less successful in these efforts of understanding their own people and rule in the way that serves these people the best.

Back to the Great Britain, there are quite a few questions to be asked:

  1. Is the current system of shared responsibilities in some aspects of national economy and politics and split responsibilities in other aspects the best possible way to serve the whole country and each of four British nations that form the Union?
  2. Could we say that the areas in which national parliaments have a decision-making autonomy are overall less “important” that those which are managed by Westminster?
  3. Do all the nations within the Great Britain have truly equal opportunities and are the voices of Belfast, Cardiff and Edinburgh heard as clearly as those coming from London?
  4. Last but by no means least – is current political union actually a legitimate union providing the signatories were bribed and blackmailed by the most powerful party?

The pro-unionists might oppose here, saying that it does not matter what are the answers to above questions and that there is no one universal truth anyway. The Great Britain is one country now, acts as an old marriage and as such is allowed to have better and worse days and is allowed to make mistakes. The Union has been working for centuries  well and it is this union who gave birth to “the most extraordinary country in the world”.

The union treaty was signed in 1707 and it is true, it has been around for a while now. Since then, the Great Britain has been really great and powerful, conquered quite a few new lands and “tamed otherwise uncivilized people”. As a matter of fact, until today, some strongly believe that colonization was the best thing that could have happened to those colonized.

Well, I am Polish and my country had quite a complicated past. My personal opinion is that that was mainly due to our interesting but unfortunate geographical location, exactly on the crossing between the West and the East and the North and the South. As soon as business pioneers started trading internationally, no matter which trail they followed they must have crossed Polish soil. Those, who controlled Polish land, controlled the flow of goods and had a right to collect transfer fees and taxes. Easy money! Poland was attacked many times by foreign powers and in 1794 as a consequence of a political partition performed on Poland by three empires – Austria, Russia and Prussia, our existence as a sovereign country ceased completely. For 123 years, until 1918 we were a part of other countries, we were dependent. Generations came and passed in an occupied Poland; generations were denied the right to learn their own language and to cultivate their own culture. But we persisted, we fought to win our freedom back. We have never lost our identity, we maintained our Polishness. We stayed proud, unique and strong in our hearts and minds. Who knows where Polish people would be now if the turbulent 20th century with its two world wars did not happen. Again, we persisted, we fought, we negotiated, we stood for our right to sovereignty and we won. It took a lot of lives and a lot of tears but we were at last independent.

Maybe, if the partitions of Poland continued for another long 183 years, maybe then, we would not be so sure anymore what nationality we belong to. Maybe, we would think of ourselves as of a part of a bigger Austro-Prussian-Russian family. Maybe we would not mind if major decisions regarding our lives were taken not in Warsaw but instead in Moscow or Berlin. Maybe we would accept if our natural resources were treated as “common and shared” and maybe we would be fine to see how the income from these resources was distributed. Finally, maybe we would not see anything awkward in the fact that we speak German or Russian and not Polish.

Maybe. 183 years might have made a difference.

Someone may wonder, what is my point actually.

In the beginning of this post I said that the whole discussion about Scotland’s independence is being approached, in my opinion, from the wrong perspective. This perspective is a bit too narrow, a bit too “here and now”. It should be more about principles.

Scotland was an independent country for centuries and has proved that is perfectly capable of managing its own matters. The fact that Scotland has been in the Union for more than 300 years has little to do with Scotland’s ability to stand on its own feet. Poland’s case proves that being occupied and dependent does not necessary erase nation’s identity and culture that has been grown and cherished for centuries before.

The Scottish people have now this amazing opportunity to get back what is theirs and they can do it in the most peaceful of ways.

If this indeed happens, if the Scots would believe that they can truly have their own country back; if the English stop their cheeky heart-breaking divorce propaganda and leave the Scots to decide on their own future – yes – then I will happily agree with Mr Cameron – the Great Britain will prove to be really extraordinary.

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2 comments

  1. Interested to read your comments.I would like the present Scottish Government to make an immediate declaration to all resident Polish nationals in Scotland ,stating that in an Independent Scotland their continued residence in a free Scotland will be guaranteed forever and that they welcome their contribution to our country`s finances and the active role they make in embracing the Scottish way of welcoming people from all over the world in our country.I ask this of them for one reason.We need the Polish vote in the YES campaign.There are dark forces at work who are attempting to spread panic and fear among Polish migrants in our area of Lanarkshire that in the event of a YES vote they could face repatriation to Poland due to the uncertainty of Scotland`s position in the EU.A statement of intent by the Scottish government is needed to quell these fears.The 2015 election in the UK however is a real cause for concern for all migrants to this land.There will be a Tory government in power,supported by UKIP and a referendum on the UK`s membership of the EU.All the rhetoric and all the opinion polls held in England all show a frightening trend that will pose a threat of repatriation of migrants to the UK from the former communist block countries its UKIPs stated aim.Vote YES and remove this threat forever and please vote for security in a country that welcomes you and say NO to the fear mongers in the Better Together camp who are spreading these vile lies.They win a NO vote come September then its the English electorate who will decide your future in the UK and with UKIP getting its way on immigration policy I would be very afraid of what they have in store.Immigration policy will be set by people who want an end to migration and Scotland will have to follow the decisions made at Westminster.So stop the fear campaign ,vote YES and be part of the effort in making our beautiful country a success under Independence and free from the colonial power of the UK,you have everything to fear from them ,nothing to fear from us.

    1. Hi Tom and thanks for your comment.

      I am not surprised that “dark forces” as you call it are using any arguments they can think of in support of a NO campaign. This is their right in the end of the day. Would be great if the recipients of all these witch-like futuristic scenarios could exhibit higher degree of vigilance, not to say intelligence.

      In civilized countries law does not work back, so there is no worry for those who already legally live in Scotland.

      This is why I like your suggestion addressed to current Scottish government that the statement should be issued to migrant workers and any foreign residents in Scotland to assure them that their current rights as residents would be retained in an independent Scotland. The right to stay can indeed be guaranteed. The fact that all residents not only Scottish will actually have a vote in September’s referendum, further supports the idea of involving now all non-Scots in the independence campaign. Yes, migrants votes might make a difference!

      When it comes to what will change in the future, this is and will be an open question, as this will be down to new governments and parliaments. We cannot be sure on whether English rule will be worse or better than Scottish. We don’t know what future holds. Future Scottish leaders might prove useless and incompetent too. We are all human. We are not perfect.

      My point however is that even if these new leaders will not be the greatest, they will be Scottish, yours, own, born and bred in the bonny land of Scotland. Technically you, the Scots, should have a chance to communicate with them better and influence their decisions in a more effective way.

      Independence campaign, on both sides, is heating up now and I am looking forward to what this discussion is still to bring.

      As for me, I guess it is clear what my heart and my consciousness are telling me to do.

      Have a good day,
      🙂

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