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There's a part of the heavens some call the Via Combusta. It means 'The Fiery Way,' and has an ominous reputation, stretching as it does between the claws of the scorpion through the coils of the serpent. I imagine it stretching through the veins of Britain; bright stars above, flames on the road. What is happening all around us? What are we becoming?

It is so hard not to draw parallels with the early 30s, I'm giving up trying, and instead will ask the question: Does Britain Actually Need A Fascist Revolution?

Perhaps war has its uses. War wakes people up

After each World War, even as victors, we lost; the first one bled us dry and signalled our descent from the foremost place among the world powers. The second one we had to fight because invasion was coming, and it led to a crystalisation of excellent ideas and ideals: the NHS, the welfare state, the realisation that if your homeland is fit to die for it should be fit to live in. But Germany's lessons seem to have been more profound; the general awareness that all the racist resentments against Jews throughout Europe culminated in such an evil as to never be forgotten throughout humanity's history, and a shame that nation still shudders to bear.

Maybe this is Britain's tragedy. Maybe the thing we need, once and for all, is to know what it is like to feed on the poison of nationalism until the pustule bursts, and everything is left stinking and dirty. But we shouldn't need it; we learned all right. The real tragedy is that we got the lesson via WWI, and we learned it hard, but not well. A hundred years on and what am I seeing on FB walls and all over the net?

Britain First rubbish being shared with depressing regularity. Anger at the Daesh manifesting as 'justified' racism and cultural disdain. There's one with Winnie doing the old two finger salute, with the caption: 'Fuck off muslims! We didn't win two world wars to hand ENGLAND over to you!!!' Apart from the sheer stupidity of it (No-one is asking anyone to hand England over to anybody) the emphasis makes it sound as though Winnie won't surrender Albion, but he might be persuaded to part with everything west of the Severn and north of Hawick. There seems to remain this hatred of other bubbling away underneath, as if we never really learned on our own account what extreme nationalism leads to; apparently the loss of a whole generation of young men between 1914 and 1918 doesn't count. And then there's the whole ECHR thing. No, we won't be told what our human rights are by some external court way off in Europe, we'll have our own court, upheld by our own ideals! So let's consider; if anyone has a human rights problem, who is it likely to be with? Possibly their employer but also possibly the government, given recent anti-freedom legislation. Do we think the government will defend the rights of the individual against the desires of the government? Do we think at all?

Hitler frightened many and hurt many more, but it must not be forgotten how immensely popular he was, how he courted Germany through patriotism and wounded pride. Do we need the kind of salutary lesson in humanity that Germany got? It's as though every other lesson, the war poets, the footage, the graves, the memories, the diaries, the wounded, the cruelty, the ruined land, the rubble of cities, the concentration camps, the starving, the crippled, the lost and the dead, these just wash over us because we weren't there and all we know is that we won. We once understood the limits of winning. What do we understand now?

If we don't have an answer, a good answer, we're off again down the Via Combusta, all along the Fiery Way.

Via Combusta
smokingboot: (default)
So it's done and dusted - for now. But the fallout is interesting and could lead to great things. There is so much that has disturbed me about this campaign. On a personal level, I realised that the Union loves Scotland rather more than Scotland loves the Union, and that my dreams of living up there might not be such a pleasant reality if I am judged by my accent and birthplace. I came across an undercurrent of nationalism, sometimes soft edged, unconscious even, but still there.

An associate of mine from the studio printed one of Rabbie Burns' more unpleasant pieces about the evil English and the woes of 'English gold.' She wrote at the bottom that we should substitute the word 'English' for 'Parliament,' but even so, it was an unpleasant thing to read and I marvel that she couldn't find a non racist piece to demonstrate her point. Another more rational friend mentioned that in the event of Independence, to cut the Scottish off would be petty and cruel... then, a few comments down in his discourse, he talked about the possibilities of negotiating Spain out of using its EU veto in the hope of 'weakening the UK.' So England refusing to aid Scotland as a fledgeling state would be cruel, but Scotland sabotaging the English state would be OK. Said friend means well, but there was no getting away from the twin standard to which he was adhering, of which he seemed unaware.

From what I could make out, the road to freedom seemed to lead through using the BoE as a guarantor for any and all spending and then working backroom deals to scupper the UK in order to get into the EU. Never mind the utter stupidity of working to weaken the very currency you are relying on to build your utopia, the sheer doublethink of it was enough to harden the heart - as was a comment this morning I read, someone describing Scotland now seeing England as 'prey' after a demonstration of 'snivelling weakness.' So if the UK agreed to share the pound in style of the Euro, and take upon itself all the debts of a spending Scotland, it would be a fool to be despised and used for as much as possible out of sheer historical malice; and if the UK stood by its already declared intention not to share the pound, it would be the evil empire trying to destroy Scotland. Scotland might give up many things for Independence but not its scapegoat.

To make matters worse, the guilt tripping of Scottish No voters has been difficult to avoid, on the net at least. Maybe this is why the polls indicated a closer run fight - perhaps No voters knew how Yes voters would respond, and kept quiet. There are of course, claims of rigging the vote - and perhaps it has happened in isolated cases, who can say? But I find it hard to believe in some uber conspiracy from Westminster to rig it from the start, because if that was the case, Cameron would have stayed silent, knowing that he need do nothing. He certainly wouldn't have created a constitutional crisis and handed so much ammunition to his closest rivals on the right. Whatever happens now, his position is weaker; not as weak as Milliband's but still... Though there have been plenty of comments suggesting that Yes voters should just get a grip and accept the will of the people, I believe there should be an independent recount just to be absolutely sure of the result. But even here, there is a kind of hysteria; after all, if the votes were rigged then the outcome can't be the fault of the No voters, and if the No voters were genuine, then welcome to democracy in action.

There's a fury, a raw emotional response, and I can understand it in a way: there are photos of Mel Gibson as William Wallace looking on in disbelief as the Scots vote 'against freedom'; Hollywood comes to Holyrood. The worst I have seen is a list of companies and businesses that 'frightened' Scotland, meaning said companies warned that Independence might be bad for trade. The idea is to boycott these companies for daring to speak out and 'scare' people. So what happens if people don't buy Tunnocks teacakes, don't shop in Tescos, don't use the Royal Bank of Scotland? Does this affect the baddies in Westminster? Hardly. All that happens is that local people who work in these places get laid off, unemployment rises and the economy shrinks, just as Scotland needs to boost its economy...without which there is no hope for Independence!

Personally, I am for Independence if this is what Scotland really wants. The vote didn't seem to indicate that, but if it does at some point in the future, if those bampots in Westminster renege on their frantic promises, Scotland will only ever have that independence if it has a central bank, its own currency and its own resources with which to guarantee that currency. Scotland must be able to pay pensions and wages and mortgages, to sustain its own infrastructure. Given that, I think it could thrive independent of the South. I never felt that England or Spain was my home, guess I always considered that to be Scotland. But would I be happy in a place where a significant number need to hate my kind, my voice, my background, in order to have an identity of its own? There's a slight forlornness about not belonging anywhere, but that will pass. Love Scotland always but in the end, guess I'm a traveller.


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