Scotland has decided to remain a part of the United Kingdom, and rather convincingly too: 28 councils ‘no’ vs. 4 councils ‘yes’, 55% ‘no’. Thank <<insert mythical being here>>! But, as the BBC keeps telling us over and over until the words have now lost all meaning, “a vote for ‘no’ is also a vote for change”. So here’s some serious pros and cons as I see it now that Scotland has voted ‘no’ to independence.
…wait. Why was I pro-union, again? Oh, shit!! Can we do this vote again please, and this time really irk the Scots so they vote ‘yes’…
© 2014 Bryan A. J. Parry
I usually now post blog updates to The Doggerelizer every Monday, four times a month. However, I have to break with that today and write an emergency blog entry.
Tomorrow is the most important vote in this country for a very long time indeed, the result of which will be felt forever — no joke. Tomorrow, Scotland goes to the polls to answer this simple question: Should Scotland be an independent country? If a simple majority votes ‘yes’ (that is, 50.01%), then Scottish independence is guaranteed.
I am on the verge of tears (seriously). I am a patriotic Englishman. But I’m also a patriotic Briton. And the idea of the country I love so much, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, — the country that defeated Hitler, that invented capitalism, that invented almost all sports worth playing, the country of the Beatles, and so very much more besides — breaking up absolutely breaks my heart. I am a unionist through and through. Why? It doesn’t really matter, I just am; why do you like salsa music, the colour red, or football? You just do. The union with Scotland resonates deep in my soul.
But I’m also 100% behind this referendum. I am fundamentally committed to national democracy (see my campaign to force the British government to recognise Somaliland, a campaign which would, ironically, more likely find favour within an independent Scotland). Therefore, any nation which demands independence must be allowed and helped to achieve this, thereby becoming part of the brotherhood of nations. Simply put: if Scotland vote ‘yes’, my heart will be broken, but I will accept it gladly as a national democrat.
I won’t rehash the arguments for us being better together. There are many, and I think both Scotland and the remainder of the UK will indeed be better together. But of course neither will sink into oblivion if Scotland secedes from the Union. Life will go on. But both nations, I feel, will be diminished — albeit, the leftover stump of the UK rather more profoundly.
I won’t go through the arguments, as it will be longsome and you’ve probably already made up your minds. Simply put, though: together, Scotland and England (and, yeah alright, Wales and Northern Ireland, too) have achieved some of the greatest feats mankind has ever seen. The lists of great thinkers, artists, and deeds of these two nations, united in one and joined at the hip as the UK, is almost endless. Scotland is a great nation and has always punched well above its weight. Just look at their amazing thinkers, like Adam Smith, their incredible sportsmen, like Andy Murray, and their wonderful writers, from Burns to Iain Banks. Scotland has nothing to fear from independence. But Scotland and the rest of the UK are so much better, have achieved so much more, and can continue to achieve so much more — together.
I didn’t worry about the referendum’s outcome until the ‘yes’ vote snuck ahead in the polls. Then I felt physically sick. Blasé nonchalance turned into gut-turning nausea and fear.
Please, Scotland, vote to stay with us. This is a beautiful ‘marriage of two mindes’ that should not end and to which we should ‘not admit impediments’. We haven’t even fallen out! It’s like a long-term couple, perfectly at ease and comfortable with each other — but perhaps slightly bored of the sex — who decide to have an open relationship. Except that if that doesn’t work out, the hubbie and wife can just agree to not do it again. Yet if Scotland votes to secede, it really is all over for good.
Two more thoughts before I leave for a restless night of unsleep.
1. Why have the 800,000 or so Scots who live in England been denied the right to vote? This vote will change the fate of their nation (be that Scotland or the UK) forever. This is a despicable travesty, and only Alex Salmond is responsible — well, Cameron is too for agreeing it. Neither clearly care about national democracy and the views of the Scottish (as opposed to “Scotlandish”, if you will). I wonder why Salmond set the vote up this way. Nothing to do with English-dwelling Scots being more likely to vote against independence, is it…?
2. Just heard that, in a desperate last bid to save the Union, all three main British parties (Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat) have voted to change the British flag if Scotland votes ‘no’, so that the saltire is place in the foreground and not the background…
Just a thought. You know what else makes Great Britain “Great”? The vote in Scotland has been condoned by Westminster. So if Scotland votes ‘yes’, it will become independent. This country uniquely understands democracy. Contrast this with Spain, where Catalonia is denied such a vote; and if it goes ahead with such a vote, it will be deemed ‘illegal’. See here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-29234242
© 2014 Bryan A. J. Parry
Scotland is going to vote on Thursday 18th of September. The outcome will decide if Scotland stays as part of the United Kingdom or becomes an independent nation. If the people in Scotland vote to leave the UK, that means that the left-over part of the United Kingdom might have to change its flag; the Union Jack gets it’s blue, after all, from the Scottish flag.
I came up with some alternative, Scotlandless UK flag designs. I believe this was 2012, but it may have been before. Either way, I posted my ideas up in July 2013, and then again more recently. Check out my posts here and here.
The Metro newspaper had an article (12th Sept. 2014) with what the Flag Institute believes should be the flag of a Scotlandless UK (below). Look familiar? As you can see, I think that qualifies me as a genius: yes, Bryan A. J. Parry invented the British Flag (kind of). I expect the cheques in the post any day now…
© 2014 Bryan A. J. Parry
OFFICIAL PETITION TO FORCE THE UNITED KINGDOM GOVERNMENT TO OFFICIALLY RECOGNISE SOMALILAND AS AN INDEPENDENT AND SOVEREIGN NATION
Petition closes on 17/02/2015 at 12:31.
We, the people of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, assert the right of self-determination for all nations. We believe that any nation has the right to strive for independence and democracy and become a full-fledged member of the brotherhood of nations. And that brings us to the issue at hand.
“Somalia”. What images does this word bring before your mind’s eye? I imagine “pirates” and “poor people” are amongst the first. And this is a great shame, for the Somali people have a rich culture worth so much more than our collective pity or, indeed, fear. And one example is that set by Somaliland. Somaliland, the former British colony which united with the rest of (Italian) Somalia in 1960, but which declared its independence in 1991. After almost twenty-five years of struggle, Somalilanders are busy building a vibrant democracy and free civil society. However, the fragile nature of the region means this project is not secure. And it is jeopardised terribly by the international community which stubbornly refuses to formally recognise Somaliland as an independent nation.
The United Kingdom, as the former colonial power of Somaliland (but note, not of the rest of Somalia), has a particular duty to foster democracy in the region and engender stability for Somaliland.
Therefore, we the British people demand that our Government of this United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland formally recognise Somaliland as an independent nation state.
PLEASE SIGN THE PETITION
If we get 100,000 people to sign, the British government will be obliged to dignify this campaign with a response.
You can help to make a difference by forcing our government to confront its responsibilities to truly help build and effect democracy around the world.
ABOUT THE PETITION STARTER
This petition was started by and is the initiative of Bryan A. J. Parry. He is a political activist (amongst other things) and passionately believes in liberal democracy and “good” nationalism, i.e., all nations being able to choose their own fates for themselves (so long as they do not, in so doing, deny other nations of same right). He believes in a worldwide brotherhood of nation states respecting and helping one another to build a brighter, democratic future for all of them, where the will of the people of each nation is heard, recognised, and put into effect.
For more information, please contact the petition starter, Bryan Parry, by using the contact form on the following page: https://doggerelizer.wordpress.com/contact/
© 2014 Bryan A. J. Parry
I’m a huge Ricky Gervais fan. So I’m always excited when there’s news of an upcoming Gervais project. But the news of Gervais’ latest project has filled me with excitement, and diarrhoea. First, I’ll take you back to 2003:
That’s the end of The Office … [my] sort of legacy … So many people in the past have let me down, I think so many of my favourite comedy sitcoms/writers and actors have gone just one step too far. The quality goes down, you suddenly think, I don’t want to see this again, its repetitive or just poor! They have taken the money and run and I don’t want to do that. I don’t want people to say or think that of me.
Gervais talking there. Therefore, the news that Gervais is making a film of The Office, to be called Life on the Road, seems to be proof that he’s getting desperate and really has jumped the shark (Life’s Too Short, anyone?). This movie actually scares me. Is he going to ruin the perfect legacy of The Office? Has he “taken the money and run”?
Gervais is, all due disrespect to the haters, a genius. Fact. The Office alone proves it. Magnificently written and brilliantly acted, Gervais’ performance as David Brent was flawless: every word, every look, every facial twitch was spot on and every bit the equal of, say, Cleese in Fawlty Towers.
But he’s also lazy. And his recent projects have all been characterised by laziness. Life’s Too Short is a cheap Extras rip off, with Warren Davis doing a pathetic and embarrassing impersonation of David Brent; I can hardly bare to watch it, even alone, eyes closed, drunk. And I love Gervais’ collaborations with Karl Pilkington – The Ricky Gervais Show and An Idiot Abroad – but they are, nonetheless, quite lazy too. The formula: Gervais and Steve Merchant chat and take the piss out of Pilkington. Even Gervais’ stand up, funny as it is, has a certain sloppiness to it: think the “Chris Tarrant” anecdote which was the supposed grand finale to Fame. And let’s not mention his lame attempts at being an interviewer: he was too egotistical to act as foil to his guests. Which brings me on to the next point.
The one project since Extras which wasn’t lazy, Derek, was self-indulgent. Set within an old people’s home, that show could’ve gone down as one of the most socially relevant, beautiful, brilliant, and important sitcoms ever. But the incredible miscasting of Gervais in the title role, as a mentally handicapped man, single-handedly ruined the show. Gervais just isn’t a good actor. That’s not a criticism, but trite fact. He’s a brilliant writer, stand up, and comic mind. But he hasn’t got the acting chops to portray such a character. And who cast Gervais in that role? Answer: Gervais. What self-indulgence! And self-indulgence and egotism have often attached themselves to Gervais’ projects. If only Ricky Gervais could have gotten over himself.
Therefore, whilst Gervais really is one of my idols (I rank him up there with Sellars, Cleese, Ben Elton, Ianucci, and Linehan and Matthews), I am worried. He can be lazy, he can be self-indulgent. The Office ended so beautifully, so perfectly, the character arcs were so neatly concluded, that an Office movie seems to be asking to fail. It’s like when Only Fools and Horses carried on after Delboy became a millionaire: the character’s journey was already satisfyingly and naturally finished. Continuing it was a bad idea from the get go: and, yes, post-millionaire Only Fools turned out to be an embarrassing, legacy-ruining, let-down.
So Ricky Gervais really is dicing with artistic danger here. There’s no need to bring back The Office. But he is. So he needs to drop his egotism, stop being lazy, and hopefully, he won’t ruin his own legacy. And touch wood, Steve Merchant, who seems to be a marginally moderating influence on Gervais, will be in tow. The only way to do this film is to make something flawless. “Never go back”, they say, “you’re bound to fail”. It’s a law of the universe. I hope The Office movie is the exception to that proven rule.
Watch this space.
featured image from http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2011/06/10/article-0-0064B02900000258-752_468x312.jpg
Derek image from http://i.telegraph.co.uk/multimedia/archive/02191/derek_2191238b.jpg
© 2014 Bryan A. J. Parry
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