Tue | Dec 6, 2016

We have a Bruce to lend England

Published:Sunday | September 14, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Daniel Thwaites

Daniel Thwaites

Say what you want about Bruce (and I do!), when proverbial push came to shove in West Kingston, he sent in the troops and reclaimed the breakaway province of Tivolistan for Jamaica. Despite many indications that it had set up its own state, including a presidency, police force, and judiciary of crocodiles, ultimately, it was not permitted to defect and devolve from the rest of the nation-state.

Right now, England needs a Bruce, because this bredda, Prime Minister David Cameron, cannot manage this part of the work. Clif-twang (remember him?) would say he cannot monidge de wata.

Like you all, I'm reading that the United Kingdom might be amputated by a vote for independence in Scotland. Technically, the Scots are going to the polls on September 18 in a referendum to determine if they, after all, want 'independence' from the United Kingdom. The vote excludes any Scots living outside of Scotland, but includes anyone 16 years and up. The youth vote is heavily skewed towards independence, proving that youthful egotism and ignorance are worldwide phenomena. Unfortunately, recent polls suggest support for the Independence movement is growing, and that there's a real danger the United Kingdom may break apart. What kind of madness is this?

There's ancient history of Scottish resistance to English hegemony. The story goes that another Bruce (Robert, not Golding) kicked the English out of Scotland in the early 14th century, and that the English were forced to stay out till the crowns were united in the early 17th century. So they've had historical enmity, but my God, man, doesn't it go by and by after a few hundred years? This is like the old woman who confided to me that her husband of 50 years was "a dishonest person" because of an unfortunate failing in 1963. Let it go.

Truth is, though, this independence movement is about modern grouses, not ancient quarrels. And while Scotland has been given massive concessions and increasing autonomy over the last few decades, it has only fed and fuelled secessionist sentiment.

If the 'yes' vote wins, it will result in diminished geopolitical influence for the United Kingdom. I'm aware that we post-colonials are supposed to look at that outcome with glee because of resentment for wrongs, real and imagined, attributed to the old Empire. It is as if the historical wake of the British has been nothing but negative. But I don't think so. I quite like the (relatively) free speech, free press, free association, free elections, and free markets that the Anglo-American alliance has basically underwritten for the last 65 years or so. And I'm thankful that I will be long gone by the time China's government is telling the local newspapers what they can and cannot print. By then, The Gleaner will be 280.

'TOO MUCH CIVILISATION'

So something is going very badly wrong when Great Britain's leaders are sitting in on a polite discussion about whether the United Kingdom should be destroyed instead of sending an advanced force to crush the Scottish rebellion. To me, it looks like they've really gone soft, and right now it's difficult to understand how the sun never set on this nation's possessions, territories, and colonies. I'm reminded that there's a thing called 'too much civilisation'.

If you draw back a bit, the blame goes to the monumental bumbling that led to the First World War. This is when the West basically committed suicide, and this business of splintering empires into ever-smaller parts became the vogue. It's gone so far that the mania for fragmentation has washed ashore to the United Kingdom itself. If allowed to happen, it won't stop there. Welshmen, Catalans, Basques, Venetians, and everyone else with a historical grudge and a capable politician will be next in line.

Keeping a state together isn't necessarily pretty work. This Queen, Elizabeth II, has decided to sit on her haunches and say she's uninvolved. That's a bad decision. With all respect, I think this is a time when she needs to earn her keep.

Although an independence vote is no immediate threat to the Crown, it is to the Union. I believe her namesake, Elizabeth I, would have done very differently. That Elizabeth didn't take threats as lightly. She even beheaded her cousin, Mary Queen of Scots, who, by the way, was also mother to James VI, the homosexual King of Scotland who united the crowns of Scotland and England when he succeeded childless Elizabeth to the English throne as James I.

Today, the North Sea oil is what the Scottish National Party has on its mind, and leader Alex Salmond has them feeling that they can live off it in some kind of welfare utopia. All the hard questions about what portion of the UK's debt it will assume, the currency to be used, and whether there will be an open border have been shelved for later. So, too, has all the important business of whether the new country would be part of NATO or the EU, neither of which is guaranteed. Former PM John Major says Scottish independence raises whether the United Kingdom would retain its prized position as a permanent member of the UN's Security Council.

Anyway, the bottom line is, I think we can help! We could lend a hand to the old stepmother country and show her a way to handle these things. Way I see it, they need to give our Bruce a consultancy to Cameron. Back home, the West Kingston commission of enquiry can chill until the Scotland situation is sorted. Check it out: Alex Salmond, who thinks of himself as a Mandela, is really like a Dudus of the north, and dem need fi clawt him out, cross-dress him, and send Rev Al to fetch him. Long time Miss Lou did tell dem 'bout colonisation in reverse.

Daniel Thwaites is an attorney-at-law. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com.