Very young children are completely ego-centric, until they get out of toddler-hood they still lack the mental development needed to understand that they are not the centre of the universe. Amongst other things this means that very young children, as they start to grasp the concept of family relationships first understand those relationships that involve them. So they quickly understand that one individual is their father or mother, that others are their grandmother and grandfather and their aunties and uncles. But what takes them longer to understand is that the individual who is their aunt is also their mother’s sister and their grandmother’s daughter. These latter are relationships which do not centre on the child
In the theory of cognitive development of the famous French child psychologist Jean Piaget, this ego-centrism is characteristic of what he terms the “preoperational” stage of child development. The egocentric child assumes that other people see, hear, and feel exactly the same as the child does. It’s only later, children grow and progress in their cognitive development that they start to understand other relationships and how relationships which do involve them fit into a network of wider relationships which includes relationships which do not centre on the child, as they do so they also start to understand that other people have their own points of view, and see things differently from how the child does.
As far as Scotland and Scottish independence go, British nationalism and its apologists are all too often still stuck in the infantile preoperational stage. They appear incapable of grasping that people in Scotland might perceive things differently, and crucially cannot comprehend the possibility that Scotland could develop relationships with other nations which do not involve England and the rest of the UK.
It would be nice if we could be certain that the Anglocentrism of British nationalism was simply a normal developmental stage that it was going to grow out of, but sadly that’s not the case. It’s very much a feature of the beast. British nationalism is quite literally infantile in a crucial respect. It perceives everything in terms of how it relates to England. That’s one reason why British nationalists are very quick to decry the desire for Scottish independence as being motivated by anti-English racism. In their infantile ideology there is no place for the concept that there is such a thing as a distinctively Scottish understanding of Scotland’s place in the world. Therefore if someone wants Scottish independence that can only mean that they must hate England and the English as that is the only possible explanation for Scottish independence that can be comprehended in an Anglocentric world view.
The infantile Anglo-centric nature of British nationalism was on full display in a recent article in the Sunday Times by Gillian Bowditch. The article itself lurks behind a paywall, however its gist was that Scotland is too small to “go it alone”. There’s a lot to unpack in those three little words. Her argument was that with all the problems currently besetting us, the pandemic, Brexit, Scotland needs its neighbours. There is, she tells us,” Simply no way a country the size of Scotland can go it alone in such times. We need to co-operate, share supply chains, and boost our buying power by collaborating — both at a governmental and business level”. Ironically Gillian has “live without fear” in her social media bio. Except you Scotland, you should be afraid, very afraid.
Firstly and most obviously Scotland is not too small for independence. The European countries of Malta,Iceland, Luxembourg, Belgium, Denmark, Cyprus, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, the Irish Republic, Croatia, Slovakia, Slovenia, the Netherlands, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Moldova, Albania, Kosovo, North Macedonia and Switzerland are all smaller in area than Scotland’s 77,933 square km. Notably most of them lack the wealth of natural resources with which Scotland is blessed.
The nations of Iceland, Norway Ireland, Croatia, Lithuania, Latvia, Slovenia, Estonia, Cyprus and Luxembourg all have fewer inhabitants than the 5,463,000 population of Scotland. Scotland’s population is only slightly smaller than those of Denmark, Finland and Slovakia, all of which have, like Scotland a population between five and six million.
Scotland is a medium sized European nation. Many of the countries which are smaller than Scotland in area or population are more prosperous and have higher standards of living than Scotland does as a part of the UK. Scotland is not small, it’s merely smaller than England, but when you are an Anglo-centric British nationalist that’s the only comparison which counts.
However more importantly, becoming independent does not mean that Scotland is “going it alone”. It’s British nationalism and Brexit which want to go it alone. It’s hypocritical in the extreme for a columnist in a Conservative supporting newspaper to tell us that we need to co-operate, share supply chains, and boost our buying power by collaborating with neighbouring countries. Well, quite. It’s galling to be told that we cannot break off relationships with our neighbouring countries by a neighbouring country which has insisted that Scotland break off its relationships with every other country apart from it. The lack of self-awareness is staggering.
There is precious little cooperation between countries going on in the United Kingdom. There is however a great deal of the largest nation in the UK dictating to the smaller ones what they have to do. There’s a British government which can’t even be bothered with the pretence of consulting with the devolved governments, far less is there is there the slightest sign that it takes their views and opinions on board and adapts its policies accordingly. British nationalism has no use for cooperation and partnership. It must be the master who dictates the terms to subordinates who must know their place and be grateful.
The entire point of independence is not to go it alone. It’s to allow Scotland to build and develop healthy and productive relationships with other nations as an equal and a true partner, not as a subordinate. British nationalism cannot comprehend that. Independence means growing up and escaping the infantile world view of British nationalism.
NEW MODERATION POLICY
In the wake of recent events I am determined that this site will not become a home for bigots and conspiracy theorists. They will not be welcome here. Moderation is the most stressful part of running a blog, but this site is going to continue to make the positive case for independence. With this in mind as of today a new moderation policy is in force.
Anyone who attempts to use this site to post hatred, bigotry, or conspiracy theories will be banned. If you attempt to insult and abuse anyone you will be banned. This site has a zero-toleration policy for homophobia, transphobia, racism, and misogyny. Failure to respect this will result in a ban.
If you intend to spend the next four years undermining the SNP, the Scottish Government and the pro-independence parties that the great majority of independence supporters voted for, you can do so somewhere else, because you’re not going to do it here. The reminder that has regularly appeared on this site is not a serving suggestion. It will be rigorously enforced. If you don’t like this rule – there is a small x at the top right of your screen. Click it, close this page and go elsewhere.
This is your reminder that the purpose of this blog is to promote Scottish independence. If the comment you want to make will not assist with that goal then don’t post it. If you want to mouth off about how much you dislike the SNP leadership there are other forums where you can do that. You’re not welcome to do it here.
Scotland will have another independence referendum at some point in the next couple of years. Until then, this blog will continue to publish articles which – I hope – are amusing, entertaining, and which help to educate Scotland on the need for independence. However in order to do so I need to eat and pay my bills. Due to my reduced productivity and the limitations imposed on me by my health, this year I am asking for half the amount I’ve requested in previous fundraisers. I hope to raise £5000 which will go towards supporting myself for the next year.
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