Such a Parcel of Rogues in a Nation

"No" campaign rally

Fareweel to a’our Scottish fame,
Fareweel our ancient glory;
Farewee ev’n to the Scottish name,
Sae fam’d in martial story.
Now Sark rins over Solway sands,
An’ Tweed rins to the ocean,
To mark where England’s province stands-
Such a parcel of rogues in a nation!

What force or guile could not subdue,
Thro’ many warlike ages,
Is wrought now by a coward few;
For hireling traitor’s wages.
The English stell we could disdain,
Secure in valour’s station;
But English gold has been our bane-
Such a parcel of rogues in a nation!

O would, ere I had seen the day
That Treason thus could sell us,
My auld grey head had lien in clay,
Wi’ Bruce and loyal Wallace!
But pith and power, till my last hour,
I’ll mak this declaration;
We’re bought and sold for English gold-
Such a parcel of rogues in a nation!

                                         Robert Burns (listen to the song from Steeleye Span here)

The Scots had barely started voting yesterday morning when Guttenplan from The Nation wrote that

‘Alex Salmond’s fairy-tale story of a seamless transition to a land of milk, honey and oil wealth, with the Queen still smiling on the currency and where no one has to pay for Scandinavian-style social welfare, has more than a dash of wishful thinking. But if Scotland wakes up on Friday still bound to England not by solidarity or a shared vision but by fear of the higher prices or higher taxes that probably would be the cost of independence, it will be even harder to banish Burns’s scathing refrain:

“We’re bought and sold for English gold
Such a parcel of rogues in a nation!” ‘

I don’t know whether a 55% ‘no’ vote qualifies as a landslide defeat. But ‘the people have spoken’ as the saying goes, their call is final and unquestionable. It’s a huge blow. Everyone accepts the rule according to which in the end, the numbers give the definite answer. But let’s think about something: has the democratic game been properly played? Can we accept the ‘no’ as the true expression of the sovereign will? (Ever so ironically in this case, since the sovereign will allegedly speaking only speaks…to deny itself this very nature).

I don’t think that the rules were fairly respected. Every run-of-the-mill liberal will tell you that for an election to mean something, there needs to be a properly conducted public deliberation. When an entire state backs one side with all its symbolic might; when key figures such as Barroso ominously weigh in; when journalists accross the board recklessly taunt the independentists; when lobbies and CEO’s muster everything they have in store to create fear for one’s economic survival – when such a powerful mesh of vested interests gears up, can we truly say that public deliberation has been properly conducted? I think not.

Those who voted no are not ‘a parcel of rogues’. They are the victims of a wanton campaign against emancipation. Go to Westminster, to the board of Marks and Spencer who said that the Scots would have to pay more for jam and tea if they were independant; or ask about Melanie Reid from The Times who thought of the Scots as ‘spoilt, selfish, childlike fools’: there you will find a nice, fat parcel of rogues. But those who voted, and most importantly those who relentlessly campaigned in favour of the yes for more than a year, they must be praised for their dedication, their continuous effort against the powers that be.

I don’t personally know many of those, but as cheesy as it may sound I’ll say this to the one I’ve had the luck to briefly meet: thanks David Aitchison.

2 réflexions sur “Such a Parcel of Rogues in a Nation

  1. Pingback: David Aitchison: Forward | National Collective

  2. Pingback: David Aitchison: Forward | FreeScotland

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