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Scottish Independence: A Naive Dream

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As the Society’s Caribbean Representative I cannot help but weigh in on the debate going on in the United Kingdom following the impending referendum on whether Scotland should become an independent nation, which would of course put an end to the entity we now know as the United Kingdom and change the political face of Britain and Europe for years to come (assuming of course that the yes vote is passed), however after taking a look at some of the issues put forward by the Scottish nationalists, I’m convinced that the campaign is more of a scare tactic than anything else filled mostly with anti-English sentiment and does not represent all the facts. I’m by no means blaming the Scottish National Party (SNP) for all the misconceptions out there, but one thing is clear is that the Scots will be by no means better off should the vote go in SNP’s favour.

ballot_box_scotlandMany Anglophobes, not only in Scotland but all over the world, will no doubt be keen to support the ambitions of the SNP to be an independent country for no other reason than the fact that they still view English control of Scotland as a symbol of national subordination. However, those who do take this view do not truly understand the nature of the relationship between the two Kingdoms. In truth England does not dominate Scotland any more than Scotland rules England. The union between the two entities is not a forced one but one of mutual co-operation. Contrary to popular myths told to stir up anti-British sentiments, England has never annexed Scotland. Instead, the union between them is one that was approved by the parliaments of both countries to end hostilities and make the Realm a much stronger union than they would have had had they remained separate. The 1707 Act of Union is every bit Scotland’s doing as it is England’s, in fact, Scotland was keen to have the union of the two Kingdoms just to ensure that the English Parliament didn’t change the rules concerning the royal line of succession, which was in dispute at the time.

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The Last Queen of Scotland

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Tomorrow, the people of Scotland will face perhaps the most important day in their centuries-long history. They will assemble at polling stations to answer a simple, yet simultaneously complex question.

‘Should Scotland be an independent country?’

The United Commonwealth Society has, so far, been silent on the matter of the Scottish referendum. Our official policy, as written on our Proposals page, reads as follows:

The UCS recognises the democratic right of Commonwealth citizens to self-determination, and would welcome an independent Scotland or Quebec into the Commonwealth should their citizens wish to separate. However, it is our preference that both Scotland and Quebec retain their current status within their respective nations.

It is true that, to an extent, that our proposed Commonwealth realm union would not be significantly hindered should Scotland choose to become an independent realm, as those backing independence propose. Should they be interested in joining the union, there will be no barrier to their doing so that would not be faced by any other member. In this sense, therefore, there is no conflict between a ‘Yes’ vote and realm union.

The Union Flag projected on Edinburgh Castle during the REMT

The Union Flag projected on Edinburgh Castle during the Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo
Photograph: Patrick Grieco

 

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A Marriage Intervention

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I think Scotland’s government is having an affair.

In fact I know that Scotland’s government is having an affair. The subject of the government’s desires, the allure of power, and the illusion of a better life as a single, separated country from the United Kingdom family.

Just like the average married couple who split, but live in the same town, Scotland will keep bumping into the divorced United Kingdom. How awkward!

It will be awkward and will not go as smoothly as planned. What if the UK sees Scotland signing an agreement with a foreign country completely at odds with the UK’s way of thinking? The collection of islands that make up the British Isles could become very, very small. Ask Ireland.

But Scotland’s flirtations with the single life is not entirely her fault. You see, the UK is also to blame. It has neglected Scotland’s emotional needs. Sections of industry have been decimated because of national and global events. Unhelpful policies have been forced onto her and made life extremely hard. Maybe the UK has been too controlling, wanting to know Scotland’s every move, or worse, has the UK given her so much freedom under devolution that Scotland thinks the UK has given up or given the impression that you can live a single life while married.

King James (I / VI) likened the union of crowns to a marriage. A royal, cultural and political marriage.

Flag of the United Kingdom (C) UCS 2014

Flag of the United Kingdom (C) UCS 2014

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Our Union Jack

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"Our Union Jack" by Jon-Paul Teasdale

UK Regional Office Update

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After a successful first meeting of the UK Regional (UKR) Officers, held on 26th June 2014, there are some changes to announce to the organisation of the UKR Office.

First I would like to welcome Andrew Wright as our new Northern Ireland Officer. He took up his appointed post from 22nd June 2014.

Due to other commitments Kevin Ruiz is no longer able to fill the Gibraltar Officer position. The Council wishes him well in his endeavours. As our Gibraltar Officer position is now vacant we will advertise the position again shortly with our other vacancies.

 

To summarise the UKR Office consists of the following:

Jon-Paul Teasdale – UK Region Councillor / UK Regional Representative

James Nilsson-Forrest – England Officer

Robert Clayton – Isle of Man Officer

Andrew Wright – Northern Ireland Officer

 

More information of the Officer’s activity will become available as they develop through our usual membership channels.

If you are not already a member click here to visit our membership page and find out how to join.

 

Jon-Paul Teasdale

UKR Representative

Commonwealth Day Reflection

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Many people at the time would not have realised the significance of the 10th of March this year, but thanks to an inspiring initiative by the Virdee Foundation’s `Fly a Flag for the Commonwealth’, people were given a reason and a means to celebrate our great Commonwealth family. Across the British Isles, Commonwealth flags were flown and town and city halls up and down the country held special flag raising ceremonies to share in the celebrations.

Fly a Flag for the Commonwealth Logo 10th March 2014

Fly a Flag for the Commonwealth Logo 10th March 2014

By a chance encounter with the Councillor organising the event (Councillor C. Ready), I was invited to Wigan Council’s planned event on the steps of Wigan town hall. I was burning with pride that my hometown was joining in the first national celebration of the event. I got to meet the brilliant Jenny Meadows, the medal winning athlete competing in this year’s Commonwealth Games, as well as Lord Smith, the leader of Wigan Council and the Mayor of Wigan Councillor Rotherham. Read more

The Maple and the Palm

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Canada-Caribbean relations was a hot topic in the media and Facebook/Twitterverse this past week.

Flag of the Turks & Caicos Islands

Flag of the Turks & Caicos Islands

The most topical reason for the surge of interest was the visit of Turks & Caicos Islands Premier Rufus Ewing to Ottawa for a meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. An offer from Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall to join the prairie province, later matched by Prince Edward Island Premier Robert Ghiz, launched a flurry of activity on Twitter. Pundits and amateur observers alike speculated whether the long-sought goal of Canadian annexation of the Islands would finally be achieved. Read more

Newly Appointed Officers for England; Gibraltar and the Isle of Man

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Following the creation of the United Kingdom Regional Office an advert was posted in the member areas for Officers to represent the Society within the UK region. From the applicants and available members three Officer positions have been created.

I am pleased to announce that the following members have been appointed to be Officers within the UK Regional Office:

 

England Officer – James Nilsson-Forrest

Gibraltar Officer – Kevin Ruiz

Isle of Man Officer – Robert Clayton

 

Once the Officers have settled into their roles a further advert will be published for the remaining positions available.

I would like to thank all those that took the time to be involved in the process and I wish the new Officers good luck in their appointed roles.

Jon-Paul Teasdale
Representative – UK Regional Office

 

Realm Union in the News

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The idea of a Commonwealth realm political union has come up in the news in recent days.

IEA Brexit PrizeThe surge of interest was prompted by the awarding of the IEA Brexit Prize. The award, granted by the Institute of Economic Affairs, sought the best blueprint for the United Kingdom after its proposed departure from the European Union.

Andrew Lilico, in his latest blog entry with the Daily Telegraph on the day of awarding, proposed a quasi-EU union of the CANZUK nations: Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. Read his entry “The key Brexit question: who will our new pals be?” here.

Our friends at Commonwealth Exchange earned third place for their entry “Old Friends, New Deals”. Find a link to their submission on their website. We would like to offer them our warmest congratulations for their achievement!

Among the entrants was United Commonwealth Society member, and longtime Anglosphere and Commonwealth advocate, James Bennett. Mr. Bennett’s entry also advocated realm union as an alternative to continued EU membership. Although ultimately eliminated, we have not seen the last of his submission. Watch this space for more news as it comes!

Towards CANZCERTA?

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The Australia-New Zealand Closer Economic Relations Agreement (ANZCERTA) was signed on 28 March 1983, paving the way for a much closer economic relationship between the two Pacific realms and serving as an example to be copied by other Commonwealth nations.

Brent Cameron, a longtime UCS member and advisor for the Commonwealth trade advocacy organisation Commonwealth Exchange discusses the potential for Canada to join the agreement in “Towards CANZCERTA?”.

Click the image below to visit the Commonwealth Exchange site.

Towards CANZCERTA?