Actually, a few days more than a year.
So, what’s happened during this time?
The Middle East:
The Arab Spring seems to have degenerated into winter. Most of the countries that threw off their old dictators seem to be squabbling about which new dictator is going to replace them. It does seem that many Moslems have a death wish: only problem, is it theirs or ours?
So-called Islamic fundamentalists seem to be popping out of the woodwork all over. Personally, I have no problem with Moslems, as such. It’s fundamentalists that give me nightmares (of whatever religion/denomination/sect). Looking back a few hundred years at the wonderful things the Christians did makes me wonder whether we’ve any right to judge them…
Palestine, Libya, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan: and they’re only the main ones. Similar disruptions are found in virtually every Moslem country. Religious tolerance is not an idea that’s taken hold over there yet. Still, it took us a while, too (and hasn’t made it to much of the US, either!)
Putin, the New Tsar of all the Russias, is insinuating his tentacles into many of the countries that once formed the USSR. The obvious one is Ukraine, but this is far from the only place that the Russians are probing, all in the name of ‘Protecting’ Russian-speakers. Protecting them from what? Freedom? Democracy? OK, many of the old ‘SSR’s are far from free or democratic, but the ones that are mainly being targeted, now that the war in Chechnia has quietened down, are not particularly dangerous to Russian speakers: Ukraine and the Baltic states.
Unfortunately, the USA have lost the will to stand up to Putin (or maybe it’s just Obama) and the Europeans are terrified that Russian gas will be turned off, and that the lights will go out all over Europe (as will the heat!). I’ve admitted my cynicism before, but any country that allows itself to become completely dependent for a vital service on a single, historically (and recently) hostile country needs its bumps felt: European Governments seem to have taken leave of their strategic senses.
So, the Jocks voted to stay part of the UK. Good thing too, from their point of view, although the vote was uncomfortably close. It was significant that the place that had the greatest support for independence was Glasgow. This is also the place that’s exported the most Jocks to England. I’d rather expected greater support for independence from the Highlands, given the rather less than brotherly treatment meted out to the clans during the clearances…
Some of the statements made by both sides struck me as being positively childish as well as unrealistic. The Pros stated that they’d refuse to accept any part of the UK national debt, that they’d continue to use the pound as their currency even if the Bank of England refused to let them and that they’d automatically become part of the E.U on the same – or better – favourable terms as the UK. Come on, guys. What make-believe world do you live in?
- Refusing the National Debt would undermine the new nations financial credentials: no-one would want to deal with a country that arbitrarily dishonours a debt.
- Using the pound would put them at a huge disadvantage as they’d have no control over their own currency (and, anyway, see below).
- There was no guarantee they’d be allowed to join the E.U on any terms more favourable than those granted to the other recent joiners, and they’d almost certainly have to join the Eurozone…
The antis said that ‘we’ wouldn’t allow ‘them’ to use the pound – as if we could stop them. Lots of businesses said that they’d move to England (or the ‘rump’ of the UK, anyway) and leave Scotland: Some might, but I suspect a degree of BS in the statements.
To cap it all, HMG promised that, if the ‘No’s’ won, they’d push through a solution to the ‘West Lothian’ issue and prevent Scottish MPs from voting on purely English issues. Purely coincidentally, this will destroy any chance of Labour being able to govern, as much of their support is from Scottish constituency MPs. Oops. (Or ‘O.K, yah’ depending on your point of view…)
Well, it’s been a quite exceptional summer, after a seriously damp winter and spring. Weeks and weeks of sunshine and low rainfall (although the balance has been re-established a bit recently). One thing I notice is that there have been very few “Ah, that’ll be Global Warming” lines trotted out despite the warmth and dryness. Are the Climate Change deniers in the ascendant, have the media actually taken time to study the word of the Scientific establishment and finally realised that ‘climate’ is not ‘weather’ except in the broadest sense, or is it simply not newsworthy any more? I suspect the latter.
I promise to be a better and more frequent blogger in the future…