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Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by RobStark, Sep 17, 2014.
Sorry - I know its humour, and don't want to get deep into this - but the Scottish people have spoken for the Union in a free and democratic vote - despite a referendum campaign drawn up in favour of the Nationalist campaigners. Scotland is not an occupied country and is in partnership with England, Wales and Northern Ireland to constitute the United Kingdom. This has been so since before the founding of the United States. An articulation of the unionist cause by George Galloway MP is given below, not to score points but just for the general interest. Galloway is a great speaker -contentious, stubborn, independent thinking, and unafraid to take on anyone - including the US senate. In other words a fine example of a scotsman! Mel Gibson on the other hand....:cursing:
Audioboo / George Galloway argues independence is the greatest threat to Edinburgh
Just keep having a referendum with the same simple question on a regular election day, with the frequency being decided by the the majority on the last vote and new voting population. Can do something similar for Northern Ireland and Wales. It's not like any of the nations joined with England in a referendum.
I'll bite! The Scots first shared THEIR king (James 1 /VI) with the English in 1603. He proposed a full union. This eventually happened a 100 years later when the Scots Government bankrupted themselves in an imperial adventure in Darien and the Act of Union came into being. Bear in mind the Scots were divided into catholics and protestants, lowlanders and highlanders and most often fought themselves rather than the English, but despite hiccups, Scotland flourished in the 18th century and contributed to the enlightenment (David Hume), the Arts (James Boswell, Robert Burns), Science and Engineering (James Watt), and Modern Economic Development (Adam Smith). In the 19th century, Canada was effectively run from the Orkney Islands, and the modern indiustrial city of Glasgow was developed. Scottish soldiers and sailors were prominent in the British Armed Forces and the Empire from the late 18th Century onwards. Dont start me on Wales, and especially Northern Ireland!
Its not all pretty - there was a lot of blood that accompanied the trade and commerce (as with every other state), but the British have been at the forefront of the development of the modern liberal democracy for the last two hundred years. It would be impolite to consider how the United States was formed and expanded. I dont recall the natives being given a referendum. before or after independence!
While I do agree with your basic premise lets not get carried away.
Did the Irish get a referendum? How about Britain's India? How about the American Colonies?
GB did not establish sovereignty over 3/4 of the worlds surface by being liberal democrats and all around nice guys.
If the Kingdom of Great Britain had simply granted the colonist their full rights as subjects of the Crown and given them representation in Parliament this whole American Revolution business would have been swept aside.
History is always written by winners, as shown by those balladeers singing IRA songs in bars. Actually the secession of the Irish state in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century was largely a democratic one - with the election of a nationalist majority( after decades of mismanagement and intermittent rebellion/ terrorism) The rebellion of the Protestant north against separation was not an English establishment master plan and only the outbreak of WW1 suspended Irish Home Rule. The 1916 Easter Uprising was a failed coup by plotters supported by the Germans. It was the subsequent repression by the English Commander that outraged 'ordinary' Ireland and engendered of the subsequent clampdown and civil war. (remembering that there were two civil wars fought - one between the British and the IRA and the second between Irish Nationalist Factions
The point is though the Scots and the Welsh and the Northern Irish (or about half of those) are not repressed by the British - They ARE the British. And it is not a co-incidence that the British and the US have been the most successful states in History - partly because their statehood and cultural identity is a multiculural and multi-ethnic. There are many states with multiple minorities, but very few that consciously embrace this and forge a new identity (perhaps the Swiss and the Canadians). Having said that.the Union Jack flag represents something very different in 2014, compared to 1914
Anyway I am jealous of you. You have a Tesla!:love:
Sinn Féin was elected, declared Independence, then was banned. And actual guerrilla warfare ensued.
Not a referendum then peaceful negotiations followed by peaceful separation.
The Scots were repressed in the distant past by the English.
Banning of kilts,bagpipes,and the traditional clan way of life in general.
Now the English subsidize the Scots.
Now, the Queen has her own bagpipers and Prince of Wales wears a kilt.
But historical grievances die hard. Many African Americans want compensation for slavery.
Sometimes a country, not just an ethnicity, wants its own state for its own sake. Pride and self-determination.
It's OK to ban bagpipe though, right? :wink:
I was watching most of the coverage on the BBC last night, and have been following it closely over the past few weeks. The one thing I found more impressive than anything else (and politics aside) was the simplicity of the vote. One person, one vote, and the majority wins. How refreshing. I've still not figured out the US college system (having now lived here through 3 elections), but it's far from simple. Personally I'm glad it went to a No vote, I think that's to the benefit of Scotland and the union.
I dont think it is quite that simple. As stated up until 1916, the majority of Irish people were loyal or at least indifferent to the British Crown - Hundreds of Thousands of Irishmen enlisted in the British Army and fought loyally. As stated the subsequent repression ignited a fire, although there was of course a strng sense of national identity and grievannce over the hundred years previously. This was molded by the success and failures of generations of politicians and landowners. Attitudes would be very different in Dublin compared to the West (especially after the famines). History isnt all black and white, but definately British Governance over Ireland had some very dark patches.
According to my history books and Hollywood they gave as good as they got! You can draw almost anything from History - for example the English (or their antecedents) controlled Edinburgh and the Southern Scotland before the Scots (a small Irish tribe) landed in Scotland. So History can tell you many things
It is true that the rebellous highland clans were repressed after 1745, But this was led by the lowland Scots as much as London, and cme after a violent eruption, not to free Scotland, but to replace the king with their own, Bonnie Prince Charlie, so even they recognised the British Crown. It was as much to do with clan and class as race. Some loyal clan leaders did very well out of it and theri descendents have the stately homes and tiles that show it
It would be fairer to say that we pool our wealth and resources, as explained by George Galloway.
Scottishness (or at least the dress sense and the tartan decoration) is an invention of Sir Walter Scott the novelist and the Victorians.
Thats a hard one. Palestinians still cry for thei land and property, but Israeli jews were often diplaced from around the middle east as well as Europe. I would imagine that most African American politicians would state that such an approach would be counter productive and demeaning.
Exactly and that is why Scots demonstrated theri pride and self determination by voting to stay in the Union. Rightly they were suspicious of nationalists who wrapped themselves in a flag and whose main argument was that if you did not vote for them you were not a true Scot. They couldnt even name the currency they would adopt.
Anyway climate change, populaion rise and diminishing resouces will put pressure on smaller nation states in the 21st century. Electrification, Renewables and collective support are the ways forward
Majorities have their own problems. Mob (in the sense of mass of people, not criminal organizations) mentality comes to mind.
Maybe, but I think in a civilized nation where 100's of thousands are voting, things are normalized out, even if there are local mob factions.
The problem is not just faction. There are fevers that grip a nation. The day after 9/11, Bush could've gotten 90% approval to nuke the city of his choice.
If I could make only one amendment to the U.S. Constitution, it would be this: no law can be passed without two votes of Congress, separated by at least two years. The first vote defines the bill. The second vote, which crucially cannot occur until after an intervening election, is a simple yes or no: should the bill become law. The bill cannot be altered in any way for the second vote.
An awful lot of bad and divisive law would be stopped this way. Of course, good law would be slowed down as well, but it would eventually get through, and with a lot more durable support than things like ObamaCare or the Patriot Act.
How would such an approach deal with issues that have a timeline of a few months? Just give up on addressing such issues entirely?
Federal law is forever. If we're going to pass a law today that remains in effect for 100 years, it can wait a couple years to kick in.
There would need to be some parallel mechanism to deal with genuine emergencies. Declaration of war, for example, has to be immediate if you're under attack. Perhaps require a 2/3 vote for that and similar things, like disaster relief bills. I'm not sure how exactly to define it, but there's an obvious qualitative difference between laws that change the structure of government -- new entitlements, new agencies, new rules that everyone must obey -- and laws that just release funding for existing government functions, e.g. hurricane relief, extra staff for CDC during a disease outbreak, etc. Of course, you'll always have scoundrels claiming that their pet cause is an emergency and is technically an existing function, just like people abuse the budget reconciliation process and the Commerce Clause today. I don't have plan to repeal human nature.
Another approach to the same general goal would be to require a 2/3 majority to pass a law, but only a simple majority to repeal it. But the two-year delay seems better because in a moment of passion, like after 9/11, you can get a transient 2/3 majority for all kinds of daft ideas. Even if people wanted to repeal it all a few years later, it would be quite hard to do that in practice. Laws really need to be few and far between, backed by a broad-based and durable consensus, and generally permanent. Laws are the foundation of civil society, and therefore must be stable so can be built upon reliably.
From the passing attention I pay to politics these days, it feels like every event is designed to be an emergency in national politics today. So I think, given current political climate, everything would go through your "emergency" path.
Indeed. The only thing that gives the Constitution power over elected officials is social consensus. As each generation becomes less educated about history and philosophy, they care less about the rule of law as a concept, and the consensus erodes. The president says "I'll go around Congress" and the people cheer, because they don't understand the structural importance of separation of powers. The enduring appeal of action by a benevolent dictator is the greatest danger to any free republic. Padme Amidala put it well: "So this is how liberty dies... with thunderous applause."
It's not at all clear that the US still has a constitutional consensus, in which case none of this matters. It seems most people are content to watch Red and Blue gladiators stage pro-wrestling fights over phony issues while both sides quietly feed the lobbyist-industrial complex. We're $17 trillion in debt and we're starting a brand new war in the Middle East -- but hey, Ray Rice hit his girlfriend, so let's drag the NFL before Congress.
Yup. And when someone says "hey, what that guy is doing is wrong" a chorus replies "but the other guy did it too." Sigh.
Give it time, we'll all just jump off a bridge I guess.
Well, since reality is just too depressing lately, and we already have a Star Wars reference in this thread, I offer the following delightful essay from 2002:
The Case for the Empire | The Weekly Standard