Uno diverso in Toscana, che crede, in questa nostra madreterra, in questa fugace vita, in qualcosa di diverso.

giovedì 15 ottobre 2015

Should Scotland Remain or Leave?

The Scottish National Party (SNP) Conference has opened today in Aberdeen speaking words of wisdom. Nicola Sturgeon wants to win the next Scottish election, in May 2016, focusing on Scotland's everyday issues.

The 2014 Scottish referendum established a paradigm of peaceful, civic, inclusive debate on self-government. It was an example of moderation, pragmatism, inspired by a Gramscian idea of liberation as a bottom-up, long-term process. We all know how the referendum ended: 55% of those who voted were influenced by Gordon Brown's promise of a modern Home Rule for Scotland.

Many think the free people's choice was manipulated by a fear-mongering campaign, but the independence camp also committed errors. For instance, it was unprepared to address the terrifying difficulties awaiting a country that wants, or is forced, to leave a monetary area. The way the masters of the Pound threatened the Scots with bank closures, was a harbinger of what the Eurozone bosses were later to say to the Greeks, or how the Spanish centralists are now threatening Catalonia.

By the way, all this happened only one year ago and yet it seems like a century. The Scottish people seem to feel ever more uncomfortable with London's establishment. Home Rule debates in Westminster are likely to produce all too little, too late. To use the impatient words uttered by the old socialist and nationalist leader Jim Sillars, the Scottish people still want power, unrestrained power to do things for themselves.

While many believe a second independence referendum might be urgent, now it seems the SNP conference may be planning to call it later than expected.

But there is a problem: the Brexit referendum is approaching, and its outcome will be more important than any possible second Scottish referendum, in our view. Scottish national and social evolution will be greatly accelerated by the Brexit referendum.

One may or may not want a United States of Europe, but the present situation, in which most constraints are dictated to the Europeans by an unaccountable bureaucracy in Brussels, cannot last. Those who are still committed to Europe as an area of free circulation and job opportunity have to acknowledge that old and socially regressive policies, like the so-called CAP (Common Agricultural Policy), require revision and probable repatriation (yes – this is the language used by the UKIP and one of the rationales attracting poor people from British peripheries to its populism). Last but certainly not least, most Europeans (including the English and the Scots) clearly want lasting peace, but this requires getting out of a decrepit – and recently ever more dangerous – institution, that is, NATO (and yes – this is a Corbyn-style statement and one of the rationales attracting ordinary people to his so-called old leftism).

To meet these challenges, a profound change is needed in the European political agenda. The same old narrative about the «necessity» of a more democratic, less neo-liberal, and austerity-free continental integration, within a sort of European super-state, is no longer either adequate or sufficient.

Whatever the Brexit result, the Scottish public opinion should then express a strong determination to be part of the necessary reformation process of the European treaties, since it is unlikely that the European status quo might survive the present European political crisis and Eurozone failures.

On this regard, our modest proposal is the Scottish national movement should urgently discuss presenting a second ballot to the people of Scotland, possibly on the occasion of the Brexit referendum, which would ask them to decide:

Whether, in the event the United Kingdom as a whole votes for or against European Union membership, should Scottish institutions have the power needed to independently and, if necessary, separately participate in the reformation or separation negotiations that will necessarily follow?

The question is important and a good answer, in our opinion, would be YES.

Both Scottish effective Home Rule or viable independence, are possible only by reaching reasonable agreements, not only with the rump United Kingdom, but also with the wider European framework.

The Scottish national movement, along with many other peoples in search of freedom and justice in this changing world, must act faster and more creatively, keeping in mind a Tom Nairn's statement: a world of peer, smaller states, a global web of strong local democracies, may be the sole tolerable universal order (Nairn, 1997, p. 134).

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