This morning I came across this…
Be it Scotland or South Sudan, Kurds or Catalans, the nationalist dream of independence is often tempered by a harsh reality
Nobody would dream of suggesting similarities between supporters of Scottish independence and the crack-brained inhabitants of the anomalous “dukedom of Burgundy” in south London who secede from the UK in the uproarious 1949 Ealing Studios comedy classic, Passport to Pimlico.
Most importantly, the Pimlico palaver ended happily with a negotiated deal,… But as Alex Salmond and the Scottish nationalists are doubtless aware, past and present secession movements around the world have not usually enjoyed such cosy outcomes.
The author Simon Tisdall then goes on to list some nations which have separated or have separation movements and which had problems.
The thing I find puzzling about the article is the connection of any of these places to the current situation in Scotland and the reason for only selecting countries that have had problems for his article rather than looking at succesful ones too.
Why doesn’t he want to mention the list of countries that have gained independence from the United Kingdom, including Australia, Canada and New Zealand, for example.
He could have also mentioned Norway and Sweden who split up and it didn’t seem to do them any particular harm.
Obviously looking for full marks in alliteration, rather than full marks for having a cogent point, he divides it all into 3 groups, Secession Successes, Secession Setbacks and Secession Successions, all of which seem to be a bit mixed-up.
For example, The Czech Republic and Slovakia are mentioned in passing in the introduction but he doesn’t even put that one in the “Successes” part.
The only point I can think he is trying to make is “Ooooohhh Independence Baaaaad”.
You’d probably expect better from an assistant editor of the guardian but hey-ho. He has written other articles about national international affairs in which he seems to misrepresent or not know what was actually going on.
For example, he seems to believe that it was Thatcher that convinced Bush Sr to attack Iraq in 1990. I’m dubious about that but there’s a (very) outside possibility that it is true. However, what he goes on to say…
Bush got the message eventually, announcing that he was “drawing a line in the sand”. Despite entreaties from Egypt’s president, Hosni Mubarak, and others to allow an Arab solution, Bush told Saddam to get out or face military action. In the event, Saddam was evicted in 1991 in Operation Desert Storm – the first Gulf war.
…neatly skips over the fact that Saddam offered to withdraw but was ignored and the attack went ahead anyway.
He goes on…
In much of this, Thatcher’s Britain was often intimately involved. Despita4_booe the rhetoric of subsequent prime ministers, it was perhaps the last time that fading British power really did punch above its weight.
Now, nobody would dream of suggesting similarities between Simon Tisdall and the crack-brained loons at Fox News and their my-country-right-or-wrong rants, but I think that last part that I put in bold seems to be what he really worries about – the secession of Scotland probably won’t be too good for that fading British power.
That might well be why he wrote an article listing as many negatives as he could think of sticking “Scottish Nationalists” into it somewhere, however spuriously.