Wednesday, November 29, 2006

If Bosnia, Croatia and Kosovo, why not Scotland?

Isn't it interesting that those who were so keen for the Yugoslavian Federation to break up- and who did all they could to demonise the man who tried to hold it together- are now horrified at the prospect of the break-up of the United Kingdom?

Apart from the period 925-1102, the only time, prior to the 1990s, that Croatia had existed as an independent state was in WW2, when an independent Ustashe state was set up by Hitler. And it can hardly be said that Bosnia, Slovenia, Macedonia, Montenegro and Kosovo have stronger historical claims to statehood than Scotland.

If I were a very wealthy- and vindictive- citizen of the former Yugoslavia, I would be channelling money to independence parties not just in Scotland,Wales and Cornwall, but to Basque, Catalan and Andalucian separatist groups in Spain too. And I would also be trying to get independence movements up and running in Texas, California, Vermont and New Mexico.

Don't get me wrong. I think it would be a very sad day if the UK were to break-up. Ditto Spain and the US.
But it does make me angry that the sound, common sense arguments that are applied in favour of federalism in Britain and elsewhere, were deemed by 'the international community' not to apply in Yugoslavia.

UPDATE: Many thanks to reader Cal for writing in to point out a factual mistake in the original post.
Prior to the war-time Ustashe state, an independent kingdom of Croatia did exist from 925-1102. I have amended the post accordingly.
Even allowing for the earlier kingdom, I still think it's fair to argue that Scotland, an independent nation until 1707, has stronger historical claims to statehood than Croatia.


David Lindsay said...

The United Kingdom is my country, and no one has the right to take it away from me.

Real Labourites did not struggle so hard and for so long to secure power only to hand it over to people beyond our control. Or rather, what little of it was left after Heath’s Treaty of Rome (opposed by Labour), Thatcher’s Single European Act (opposed by Labour) and Major’s Maastricht Treaty (opposed by far more Labour than Conservative MPs).

Likewise, we see the United Kingdom as the means of bringing the conservative benefits of Socialism (see 'Trident', on my blog) to as many people as possible. This simply would not be an economic option for an independent Scotland, an independent Wales, or a “United Ireland”, each inherently more selfish, either than the United Kingdom as presently constituted, or than any rump left behind by the secession of any part of the Union. And the European Union is simply too large for Socialism.

Furthermore, the Commonwealth is the extension of the Union’s inherent generosity of spirit. It has been scandalously under-used for decades, not least because, with the Union from which it is inseparable, the Commonwealth is one of the strongest monarchist arguments (see 'Long To Reign Over Us', also on my blog).

Anonymous said...

Croatia was an independant country a few times in history 925AD-1102 was its first kindom. But their history does go back further then that.

The history of Croatia is covered with times when they believed in the the freedoms of people. The republic of Dubrovnik was the first country to recognize the United States. Dubrovnik was the only major port in Europe which did not recognize slavery or allow slave ships into the harbor for trade. So while they were once occupied and ruled by Hitler for 4 short years. That was not the only time in history we had a country.

There is quite a bit of history coming out of that region. Even from the other countries you mention.

But EVERY group shouldn't be slammed for having a right of an independent country.

So please check into your history before you decide to rant about things before you call people VINDICTIVE?!?!

Neil Clark said...

Many thanks for writing in Cal.
But you've misread the piece. I'm not saying that the inhabitants of the former Yugoslavia are vindictive, only saying that if they were vindictive, and pro-Yugoslavia- they would be doing all they could to encourage separatist movements in other countries.