The voice of reaction

if the Tories are vacating the terrain of unionism, should progressives be rushing to take it? Should we be defending the union from break-up? Few on the left would instantly rally to the cause. Yet we may have to. First, a separate England could well be a Tory one-party state for decades to come. English votes for English laws could see a Conservative grip on the English public realm that will be near-impossible to loosen. English progressives have relied on the Scots and Welsh as a taming, civilising force. Without them, England could march ever rightward. (Jonathan Freedland, Guardian, 5 July 2006)

So the English are incapable of governing themselves without the Scots…

It’s all very well to hark back to the enlightenment and speak of dynamic leaders from the safe haven of London. For those of us who live here, however, the prospect of Scotland severed from the UK and left to its own devices is terrifying. We fear that the leaders we have now are the leaders we would be stuck with. We lie awake at night worrying that the former trade unionists and councillors who lead us now would lead us, unrestrained, in the future. (Jenny Hjul, Sunday Times, 25 June 2006)

… or is it the other way around.

Fear of independence, distrust of democracy and of the people, whole nations reduced to relying on the patronage of a ‘civilising elite.’ For all Friedland’s talk of ‘English progressives’, this is he authentic voice of reaction.

"This is the way," he says, "that the British tried to interpret community divisions in India between Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs and Christians. To Indian nationalists, it looked a further example of divide and rule, emphasising the divisions. The way that the British are handling it today makes one wonder whether the cultural confusion that the British had then has now been brought back home." (Amartya Sen, interviewed by James Harkin, Guardian, 18 February 2006)



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