Liberalism and nationalism

Sir Ming said in a recent interview that “there is a sense in which liberalism and nationalism are the antithesis of each other.”

I guess he means that liberalism is partly about creating equal opportunities for all people, and that doesn’t mix well with borders and national laws. However, I’m sure Sir Ming doesn’t seriously propose to abolish all countries anytime soon, and if he did, he would be violating another liberal principle that says that decisions should be taken as close to the involved people as possible.

Scottish independence is not about building up new borders – Scotland is already a legal and political entity – but about removing a superfluous and top-heavy construct: Great Britain.

So long as Scottish independence happens within the EU, there is no reason to assume it would violate any important liberal principles.

Besides, if Scottish independence is so terrible, is Sir Ming implicitly asking for Ireland and all the British colonies to come back to the UK? Surely Scottish independence isn’t any less acceptable for a liberal than Irish independence?

Scotland in the EU

There is an article in The Herald today about how Scotland is routinely being ignored by Westminster in EU matters: “Scotland’s interests are being routinely forgotten, ignored and dismissed by Whitehall officials when they seek to influence policy and law-making in Brussels, according to a leaked government report.”

The current arrangement clearly doesn’t work. I think the best solution would be Scottish independence, but a fully federal UK (as proposed by the LibDems) might also do the trick.

The West Lothian question

On Tuesday (16/1), it’s exactly 300 years since the Act of Union between Scotland and England was ratified (taking effect on 1st May).

This has of course prompted a lot of newspaper columns to be written about the likelihood of Scottish Independence and so on. Another related topic that was discussed in the Sunday Herald today was the West Lothian question. One aspect of this that I’ve never seen discussed but which I nevertheless find important is this:

When the Scottish parliament was created, the number of Scottish members of the British parliament in Westminster was reduced to reflect the fact that many Scottish questions were not to be decided in London any more. However, if the Tory idea of barring Scottish members from voting on questions affecting only England is adopted, this is entirely wrong. If the Scottish members are reduced to voting on very few topics (foreign policy and so on), surely they should be overrepresented on those topics to reflect that it’s a union, not a unitary country.

However, I’m not going to press this topic too much, since I’d prefer Scottish independence anyway. 🙂

Scottish Independence with a Scandinavian Slant