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An imaginary account of Scotland's 'independent' future

As this columnist predicted on September 19, 2014, the fatal day when the results of the Scottish independence referendum were announced, this partition of the United Kingdom would lead to ultimate instability and disaster, writes Farrukh Dhondy.

columns Updated: Sep 16, 2014 22:59 IST

As this columnist predicted on September 19, 2014, the fatal day when the results of the Scottish independence referendum were announced, this partition of the United Kingdom would lead to ultimate instability and disaster.

Already, in the last five years we have seen the mass migration of Scottish Catholics to Iraq, fleeing from the terror of the resurgent Calvinist forces which Alex Salmond, the so-called Qaid-e-Black-Label, in his secular speeches attempted to suppress. We have seen the instability caused by the oil-field riots of Aberdeen and the attempt by the Hebrides to secede and form their own ‘Hebridistan’. We have witnessed the 600% inflation of the Scottish Poond after the European Union refused to accept the new nation as a member and now we see the ultimate effect of this division and divorce of nations.

Last week, the armed forces of Scotland under General McBurger pulled off their military coup and declared martial law, suspending the beleaguered government of prime minister Mary McContrary, whose whereabouts and those of her Cabinet after the coup are still unknown. A spokesman for the chief martial law administrator assured the world’s press that McContrary and her ex-Cabinet colleagues are in a safe place for debriefing and there will certainly be no beheadings or crucifixions. They are being kept in custody until they reveal the numbers of their private accounts in Switzerland and Dubai.

General McBurger flew yesterday to Beijing to discuss the English military threat and the leasing of military bases in the Orkneys and concessions for the exploration of North Sea oil to the Chinese.

Prime Minister Muhammed Ahmed of Britain has responded to this threat by calling a conference of the Northern Alliance to impose sanctions on Scotland. England will now suspend the passports of acts travelling to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. It is believed that the Estonian National Folk Orchestra has also declared a boycott. Chancellor Angela Merkel, while endorsing the sanctions, told the German newspaper Das Kapital that it was ‘too little too late’. The French Prime Minister, Madame Le Pen, initially proposed that there should be a Europe-wide boycott of McDonald’s but withdrew her statement when it was pointed out that the fast food chain was, in fact, American.

After the coup and the suspension of democratic government it is clear that history will judge the partition of the United Kingdom as a tragedy and Scotland as a failed modern state.

If history is to be fair, it will also record that in 2014 there was a Tory-Lib Dem coalition in Westminster with only one Tory MP out of the 59 from the whole of Scotland. There were eleven Lib Dem MPs and 40 Labour MPs in that parliament so it was clear that Scotland at the time suffered a democratic deficit. They were virtually unrepresented in the Westminster parliament on the day they decided to secede from the 300-year-old alliance of the United Kingdom.

The Scottish Assembly of the time, with limited powers and a very narrow majority for the Scottish Nationalist Party led by the Qaid-e-Black-Label, passed legislation which was far to the left of the Westminster coalition’s ideological stance. Scottish students had free higher education whereas English universities charged their students £9,000 a year, which the government would lend them and recover with interest when they started earning.

Scotland had always been a bulwark of socialistic policies and sent a majority of Labour members to Westminster, maintaining a democratic presence there. Scotland has given Britain several prime ministers including Gordon Brown.

David Steel, former leader of the Lib-Dems and now a Scottish Lord, was sitting next to me at a Reform Club dinner and said “You know India was really a Scottish empire, but we cleverly blamed it on the English!” The list of governors general, viceroys and administrators bears him out.

The English at the time of the referendum based their campaign for the unity of the kingdom on historical sentiment and on the contention that Scotland was dependent on the Pound Sterling’s cachet and on the subsidies that the Scots received from more prosperous England. The contrary campaign for Independence claimed that Scotland was subsidising Britain through its oil revenues and that once their country was independent all the crumples of the division of the armed forces, the disentanglement from the sterling, separate membership of the European Union and the sharing of assets could be routinely ironed out.

That proved not to be true. The Scottish Poond didn’t do well, Scotland was rejected by the EU, it got a raw deal from the division of the armed forces and even the oil revenue with the current state of exploration and drilling, dwindled.

What the people who wanted Independence didn’t anticipate was that this fissiparous tendency would lead to further demands for separateness. Already the Orkney Bahini has begun an agitation for their indecipherable accent to be declared a national language. The demands for Orknadesh will inevitably grow and Scotland will face division.

General McBurger has promised free and fair elections next year. We shall wait and see.

Farrukh Dhondy is an author, screenplay writer and columnist based in London. The views expressed by the author are personal.

First Published: Sep 16, 2014 22:36 IST