After Scotland’s independence, is a better togetherness feasible?

Image © The Laird of Oldham at Wikimedia Commons

By stewartb

There’s no getting away from it, once Scotland is independent it will still share an island with whatever the rest of the dissolved Union opts to call its new state.

With the pandemic, the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the present stresses in the global economy, it seems timely that mature nation-states with shared values and regional proximity are in the process of restating commitments to co-operation.

The five Nordic states, the Faroes Islands, Greenland and Åland have all just done so, recognising the benefits of working more closely together in times of crisis. The Ministers for Nordic Co-operation renewed these commitments in a declaration approved at their meeting in Halden, Norway, on 27-28 June, 2022. Symbolically perhaps, Halden sits right on the border between Norway and Sweden.

This re-affirming statement emerged:

‘Our vision of the Nordic Region as the most sustainable and integrated region in the world commits us to ensuring that the Nordic dimension is included in all our decisions and that in the event of any future crisis, we will work together to the greatest possible extent to make sure that our close Nordic sense of community is maintained. As ministers for Nordic co-operation, we consider this a collective responsibility.(my emphasis)

Source: https://www.norden.org/en/declaration/declaration-ministers-nordic-co-operation

The new declaration calls for the ministers to meet when a crisis strikes and make sure that Nordic perspectives are taken into account before national decisions are made. The declaration commits ministers to play their part in ‘ensuring rapid and good communication and exchanges of information in order to limit the negative consequences of crisis-management decisions as far as possible’.

Anne Beathe Tvinnereim (Norway), the current chair of the Ministers for Nordic Co-operation stated. “The pandemic underlined how important it is for our countries to stand together in crises. In several areas, co-operation worked well, but COVID-19 also brought many new challenges. The important thing now is to learn from all those experiences, both the positive and the negative ones. The people of the Nordic Region have made it clear that they want to see closer co-operation in areas like contingency planning, and we take that message seriously,”

Key areas currently being advanced further in terms of co-operation include:

  • learning from the pandemic on health-related matters
  • on ‘societal security’, building on the earlier Haga Declaration which envisioned: ‘A robust North without borders. The vision aims for a society with decreasing vulnerability while strengthening the capability of handling serious accidents and crises and restoring functionality
  • through NORDEFCO, the Nordic Defence Cooperation.

Notably, the Halden declaration emphasises that politicians have a particular responsibility for ‘the situation in areas where peoples day-to-day lives involve crossing national borders’.  During the meeting the ministers met with the ‘Freedom of Movement Council’.

This Council is a politically appointed body, set up by Nordic governments to promote freedom of movement in the region for both people and companies. It was formed in 2014. The chair rotates annually between the national representatives in line with the Presidency of the Nordic Council of Ministers. The chair and the Secretary General of the Council of Ministers have the overall responsibility for work on freedom of movement.

It holds that: ’Promoting freedom of movement is about creating a more open Nordic Region, where it is possible to relocate, commute, study and run a business across national borders without getting bogged down in grey areas or caught up in ambiguous red tape. An open Nordic Region benefits us all.’

Given all of the above, it’s worth stating this for the avoidance of any doubt: there is no pressure from citizens or their politicians to merge the independent Nordic nation-states. There is nothing deemed incompatible between independent statehood and deepening co-operation – where there is trust and shared values between neighbouring states and between related, proximate communities!

So despite implications to the contrary in some Unionist quarters, there is no reason – given respect and goodwill set alongside mutual self-interest – why independent nation states occupying the islands of Great Britain and Ireland, including an independent Scotland – could not, should not pursue a shared vision and establish similar enabling, co-operative structures.

This should be done for two basic reasons. Firstly, not to lose unnecessarily the best of what already exists between the different countries – between Scotland and the rest of the present UK and, despite current tensions, what still exists between Ireland and the present UK. And secondly, to evolve and further enhance co-operative/co-development relationships over time.

I’d like to think that AFTER Scotland becomes an independent nation-state such co-operative agreements will be widely seen as sensible and attractive, even in Westminster. BEFORE independence they well be dismissed out of hand as irrelevant or impossible by some!

However, let’s not be naive: the big outstanding question is what a Westminster-centred, English/British establishment mindset is capable of in terms of positive, progressive adaptation to a radical change in circumstance!

7 thoughts on “After Scotland’s independence, is a better togetherness feasible?

  1. An independent Scotland will have a positive attitude towards cooperation with any other state which shares our values and wishes to obtain mutual benefits.
    So,no problem with Ireland but England will almost certainly be a different proposition.
    They will find it very difficult to share an island with other independent states who do not do as they are told by London.
    We saw the threats issued by the Tories when Ireland refused to KowTow to their Brexit demands.
    In their minds,England being in charge is the way it has always been and is the natural order of things.
    We should assume the worst and prepare for it.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Absolutely correct.

      With the best will in the world you cannot work with a ruling class system that is incapable of fairness, honesty or reliability. Such traits would require a level of political maturity that the English ruling class are incapable of attaining.

      Eire handled Brexit wonderfully by quickly moving to bypass England altogether. They developed alternative links to Europe, developed their ports and so on. They basically stated – you cannot be trusted on any level.

      The English solution was for Eire to become British again, thus solving their own NI problem. That lack of self awareness is astonishing, but not surprising.

      I think if Scotland moves for Independence they will respond with force, and once the masterstroke of forcing the ‘UK’ Supreme Court to rull in England’s favour predictably happens, thus proving the union is a sham, we need to be prepared and get the UN in to defend our position right from the off.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. After the reality of Scotland being Independent is defacto
    Then what is left of the UK
    Is entirely upto them as to their response when Scotland offers it a handshake to embark upon
    A harmonious,sensible,progressive and mutually equitable relationship
    For them they are at a crossroads of historical signifigance and one of dire peril or opportunity
    Place your bets folks, but if you study Westminster form upon such matters
    No need to guess as to which way they shall turn
    Why -a successful Indy Scotland adjacent to their elite and powerful will prove fatal to their established order as their subjects peer over the fence and stare upon as they would put it “A green and Pleasant Land ” & ” Full of Hope and glory ”
    And subsequently turn suddenly upon their oppressors and elite masters (civil war )
    Ireland indeed is fortunate in that a body of water separates them, but indeed it is the EU that is the inpenetrable bulwark that keeps Westminster tethered by the strong EU chains holding off Mad English attack dogs, Republic of Ireland per capita is now 58% richer that the UK and very soon will be twice as rich
    Scotland not rejoining the EU is a no brainer

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The reason I believe the English will get violent to retain its Scottish resource is this very one. If we get independence and make a go of it, which we will with out lucky resource and geographic profile, the ordinary English people will look at us, and Eire and go after their own rulling class.

      We literally cannot save the English from themselves – the only way we can push them into saving themselves is to dump them with their ruling class and let them work things out for themselves.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. John
        I concur, a old dog can never learn new tricks
        Hence the prospect of a very real English Civil War 2 is not as far fetched as you can imagine
        There is a universal law that applies to Empires as they enter its final demise
        It is usually fast and furious
        Ending up in a State that becomes a utter but dangerous irrelevance in its death throes

        Like

  3. The EU is a larger combination of States and community. Formed after WW2 to stop starvation and war. To enhance people lives and equality.

    The UK is the most unequal place in the world.

    Like

  4. Very good points, stewartb.

    Vote Leave said even if we left the EU, we wouldn’t stop being European. At least they said ONE thing that was true! In the same way, by virtue of the fact that Scotland is part of the British Isles, all 4 nations – whatever their political differences – will all still be British and are going to have to find a way to work together. In fact, be more like the EU and for the same reasons.

    This present Union is dying, if not already dead. The sensible thing would actually be for all 4 nations to get together and decide what to put in it’s place. Because we still share the British Isles and something has to. A mini-EU (GBU?) would, perhaps, have worked. I don’t know if it would now. Even if WM would agree. (Ooh! Look up there. What’s that pink thing with wings?)

    I hope John’s wrong about the violence against Scotland. Maybe we need to consider camps along the Border for English refugees though.

    Like

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