Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Economic Growth, Colonisation and Scottish Unionism

A fantastic visualisation of economic growth below by Hans Rosling for BBC4.

It shows how life expectancy has changed over the last 200 years and more for 200 countries. Interestingly he shows how it can be broken down into regions and rural:urban areas.

One interesting focus is on how independence helped former British colonies improve their health dramatically in a short space of time. Scotland's role in the British empire was and is shameful and we haven't even begun to atone. While there are encouraging records of Scots mutiny against orders, examples of disgrace are legion.

In more recent examples of imperial adventure we can point to evidence of abuse in Afghanistan and Iraq. The process of dehumanisation can and will turn many morally upstanding citizens into colonising soldiers who abuse subjugated populations. Studies show that it is not difficult to have people administer pain to another by convincing the subject that it is good for the victim.

This is not an attempt at justifying or excusing those aspects of Scotland's shameful imperial record but understanding the process that lead to it.

I believe that much of the blame for Scotland's involvement belonged to its aristocracy (which is really part of a small club called British) - democracy was still a long way off.

This Scottish elite which prospered so much from empire under the patronage of Lord Melville formed the basis of modern Scottish unionism. It undermines the aspiration of the people by attacking it along the lines of both class and identity. It does this job and takes the consequent kick-backs.

In Northern Ireland colonisation was effected through the process of turning those from a specific population into second-class citizens and by educating them that their culture was of limited value. This policy was rolled out across the empire.

When the class struggle looked like it might be lost this Scottish elite absorbed the Scottish Labour movement into enough of its trappings to have them do the job for them.

Watch the video and consider the average life expectancy of certain areas of Glasgow and how it is among troubled third-world nations like Ghana. Perhaps we should consider these parts of Glasgow as Labour colonies kept in a state of abject poverty in order to beat their votes out of them. At the same time their history, language and culture were denigrated as part of the pincer movement.

Guards posted to suppress personal volition - the oldest imperialist trick in the book:


voiceofourown said...

Of course, the argument is that Scotland is not a colony as we perpetuate our own constitutional situation.
Not a very sophisticated view but persuasive enough for many.
Personally, I think it is striking how many similarities there are between Scotland and colonised nations. Our national psychology, our cultural cringe, health problems, the stagnation of our national image, our self alienation, lack of benefit from our own resources - I could go on.
One thing is clear, state propoganda is as effective a means of psychological colonisation as any of the more basic methods.

voiceofourown said...

A wee image that keeps popping into my mind is of Michael Bates (blacked up to play Rangi Ram in It ain't Half Hot Mum) talking of 'we British'.
The cheerleaders for the union among the Scottish hoi polloi are probably as despised by the British establishment as that kind of character was in India. Merely useful idiots who feel superior through their assumed association with the ruling class.
A Roman historian (I'm afraid the name escapes me) ridiculed the English who took on their language and customs to elevate themselves socially, noting that they were merely enslaving themselves by denigrating their own culture.

Mr. Mxyzptlk said...


Unionist economics

First principles

England- one for you and one for me
two for you and one two for me
three for you and one two three for me

so thats Three (thank you very much kind sir) for Scotland

and six for England

thats how its dun....easy really

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