….. and now Ukraine and Bosnia!
Incredible! But there it is. In today’s Independent, Boyd Tonkin wrote an article with the following headline and strap,
Ukraine is a country divided against itself. Watch out, Scotland
If Scotland votes yes, supporters of the union will find themselves citizens of a country that commands none of their loyalty
Often we find that the headline doesn’t match the article content but not here. Tonkin spends almost 1000 of his 1500 or so words describing Ukraine and his knowledge of the background to the troubles and only then does he move his sights to home.
He starts with
A house divided, we tend to think, cannot stand. But how much fundamental disaffection can a country take? This is not just a teaser for foreign-affairs buffs. After all, the United Kingdom – that ramshackle old jalopy of a polity, tied together with string and myth – is wheezing towards an abyss of its own.
No ifs or buts: ‘abyss’
He goes on in continuing ignorance,
Come September, the Scottish referendum presents a painfully perfect lose-lose scenario.
Let’s call it off now! How can we possibly continue when we have ‘a painfully perfect lose-lose scenario’?
But Honkin’s ignorance knows no bounds.
No, we shouldn’t predict barricades on Princes Street or bonfires on the Royal Mile. Edinburgh will not burn like Kiev. Yet believers in a multinational state that has – despite or because of its anomalies – lasted since 1707 will find themselves suddenly thrown into citizenship of a country that commands none of their loyalty.
At least in the early of days of independence, half the country will not care to fly its new flag. Non-unionist Scots have long-practised skills in cultural separateness. For a large, restive unionist minority, the same would not apply. Have Alex Salmond and his team planned enough for the outcomes of a narrow-scrape victory? Without alarmism, it doesn’t seem absurd to direct them to the rocky history of post-Communist Europe. Secessionists who dream of Norway and Denmark should at least take a peek not just at Ukraine but into the long nightmare of Bosnia – shaken again this month by disintegrative protests.
He’s confused is poor Boyd. At the start of this passage he asserts correctly that ‘Edinburgh won’t burn like Kiev’ but by the end he says we should take a look ‘not just at Ukraine but into the long nightmare of Bosnia – shaken again this month by disintegrative protests.’
Some might say that in his ignorance Tonkin demeans us. No! He demeans himself and his newspaper. He demeans the cause of unionism.
And he does independence another favour. They can’t help themselves.
PS This final extract didn’t fit neatly into this piece and so I stick it on clumsily as an afterthought.
At least in the early of days of independence, half the country will not care to fly its new flag. Non-unionist Scots have long-practised skills in cultural separateness. For a large, restive unionist minority, the same would not apply.