As UK’s General Election is set to unfold on May 7, Editor-in-Chief DREW GOWING looks back at Scotland’s attempt to defect from the United Kingdom, why the SNP is staging a coup with a Hung Parliament, and why the formation of Alliances are the only way forward for the civilized world.
When Scotland tried to defect from the United Kingdom last year, nearly 4M Scots responded to the referendum for independence with a resounding “No.” And now we know why. With the UK’s General Election set to unfold on May 7, the Scottish National Party has staged a coup. Shifting support from Labour to the SNP means that no single party will have a clear majority. In short, they’re creating a Hung Parliament.
Some history. The Kingdom of Scotland and the Kingdom of England were once thriving, independent countries during the Middle Ages. After fighting a series of wars during the 14th century, the two monarchies entered a personal union (the Union of the Crowns) when James VI of Scotland also became James I of England. Scotland and England united to form the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707 due primarily to the economic problems caused by the colossal failure known as the Darien scheme: Scotland’s attempt to become a world trading-nation. And 300 years later the topic hasn’t changed much. Prominent issues raised during the referendum included which currency an independent Scotland would use, public expenditure, EU membership, and North Sea oil.
Coalitions are the foundation of politics. But they’re always based on self-interest and common cause. This year’s art house movie PRIDE caught the nation’s attention due in part to being inspired by an extraordinary true story. It was the summer of 1984. Margaret Thatcher was in power and the National Union of Mineworkers were on strike, prompting a London-based group of gay and lesbian activists to raise money to support the striker’s families. Initially rebuffed by the Union, the group identifies a tiny mining village in Wales and sets off to make their donation in person. But as the strike drags on, the two groups discover that standing together makes for the strongest union of all.
So when we spoke to Sir Alan Duncan this month about coalitions, we were particularly interested to know how a former Oxford grad and Oilman became the 1st openly Gay Conservative Member of Parliament? Or when we spoke to Anne Sebba about her new book “Jennie Churchill: Winston’s American Mother” we were particularly curious about why and moreover how the most iconic Prime Minister of the 20th century converted a Cold War into a military alliance that saved the modern world? “Its no surprise,” the author says, “that the man who re-united England with its former colony was raised by an American Mom.” And herein lies the coordinate. Compact, alliance, and coalition rely on a single premise: point of view. Unless or until we accept that universal constant, the human family consigns itself to conflict.
While Scots are notorious for their tempers, it’s worth mentioning that the Church of England promulgated anti scottsh literature during the middle ages that characterized scots as lawless savages. That very rhetoric can be seen and heard within this General Election of 2015. Whether or not they hang or even destroy the current administration what’s clear is that the Scots have lived up to everything England wrote, criticized, or ever expected of them.
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