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UK Devolution

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Figaro, Aug 30, 2007.

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To what extent do you support devolution in the UK?

  1. I support greater devoution with a view to independence for Scotland & Wales.

    21 vote(s)
    38.9%
  2. I support greater devolution but would like to see Scotland & Wales remain in the UK.

    10 vote(s)
    18.5%
  3. The current level of devolution is OK / Don't Know / I am indifferent to devolution

    16 vote(s)
    29.6%
  4. I think the devolved institutions have too much power but should be allowed to exist.

    2 vote(s)
    3.7%
  5. I oppose devolution and would like to see the disollution of all devolved institutions.

    5 vote(s)
    9.3%
  1. SonicX

    SonicX Chieftain

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    Nah, I actually meant to give 2 examples (Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia), I was just a tad bit too fast in my writing :)
     
  2. GinandTonic

    GinandTonic Saphire w/ Schweps + Lime

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    We dont.

    English Lit comprises literature IN English.

    For English Lit I studied English, Scottish, Welsh, American, Canadian and a hat full of Irish writers, not to mention French, Russian, Italian, Spanish writers in translation.

    If you want to specialise it is possible. Hell it's even possible to study American literature ;)
     
  3. Figaro

    Figaro Tywysog

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    But you still didn't study anything in Welsh (not even in translation). How can you claim to have studied British literature?
     
  4. Disenfrancised

    Disenfrancised Beep Beep

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    Because we read what people from Britain (including Welshies) thought and wrote about. The language its stored in is not as important as the person and the context. As for reading Welsh literature I rememeber reading some poems by Henry Vaughan at one point.

    I've read an english translation of 'War and Peace' - is that still Russian literature or is it now 'english' merely because its been translated ;)? Just so with the stuff written by Welsh people in Englis.
     
  5. GinandTonic

    GinandTonic Saphire w/ Schweps + Lime

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    I did study something translated from Welsh at A level, lady author but I forget the rest after 12 years. Quite liked it, but I knew I wasn't targeting to revise it for the exam so mine was a rather cursory analysis.

    I didnt claim to have studied British Literature. I studied Literature IN English. Not British literature, not English national literature. Nationalism was not the issue in my degree.
     
  6. Verbose

    Verbose Chieftain

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    But isn't the point that "British" is a problematic concept?

    It's obviously not the most intuitively self-evident basis for a collective identity. Either it needs more work, or it's likely to get scrapped.
     
  7. GinandTonic

    GinandTonic Saphire w/ Schweps + Lime

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    Well fact is most Welsh people want to remain part of the UK. The first referendum of a national assembly voted 75% against it, and the second passed with a majority of 6,712 votes on a turnout in the low 50%'s. People just dont really care.

    As to what Figaro says about everyone identifing themselves as English, Welsh, Scottish or Northern Irish it's misleading.

    I identify myself as European, Anglophone, British, English and a Londoner. Identifing as a Londoner does not mean I want London to break away from England, the UK, Europe, the Commonwealth or turn it's back on the Anglophone world.

    TBH I dont believe nationalism of any flavor has anything positive to offer the world. Some nationalist politicians may make a positive contribution despite the handicap of such a self-centred and small minded idealogy.
     
  8. Figaro

    Figaro Tywysog

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    I'm using the language as an argument to promote the idea of there not really being such thing as British culture (Or rather, there is, but it hasn't any more meaning than terms like "European culture"). Britain is an island of several nations and languages; Welsh and English cultures have no more in common than those of any other two languages.

    Nor do I want Wales to back away from Europe nor to turn its back on the Anglophone world. I do however want to be governed by a government that adresses my interests and that supports and promotes my own cultures and language.

    It always amazes (and rather annoys) me when people compare Welsh and Scottish independence to independence for London/Yorkshire/Dorset/my town/my block/my bedroom, as if they have no more credentials as a nation than those. What about the British Empire? Was India's bid for independence unjustified, self-centered, nostalgic, backward looking, idealistic? Was the US, a country which at the time of independence had far more in common with England than Wales or Scotland did, merely being awkward?
     
  9. GinandTonic

    GinandTonic Saphire w/ Schweps + Lime

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    Devon has more in common with the Gower than either do with London. Northumberland has more in common with the Borders than either do with London. I was livid when Maggie nixed Londons government, now we have Ken back from his undemocratic exile I'm happy again.

    What you want is sadly of little concern - Scots poll under one in three being for independence, and the Welsh lower than that. You are entitled to your minority view, just as the Londoners I know who dont want to subsidise every other ward in the UK are entitled to theirs.
     
  10. Figaro

    Figaro Tywysog

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    In terms of demographic, maybe. I'm sure parts of the south of France, or China, or Brazil have similar demographics to parts of Wales. What does that mean as far as culture is concerned?

    So my view is somehow less valid for being a minority? I am "wrong" simply because people disagree with me? Besides, maybe those figures are correct now, but peoples views change all the time. Sixty years ago the NHS was a deeply controversial idea, but today nobody would dream of getting rid of it. The US were against joining WW2 but opinion shifted and now they see the crushing of National Socialism as a great US victory. Majority of opinion doesn't make you *right*. And you didn't answer my question about India.
     
  11. -0blivion-

    -0blivion- Musically inclined

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    Your opinion isn't wrong, its irrelevant in the current political climate
     
  12. Disenfrancised

    Disenfrancised Beep Beep

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    Nope, they were treated far worse and more recently than the Welsh, are non-contigious and far away, and there is a much greater gap between the cultures than between the English and the Welsh and no intermixing.

    Yep ;), they had it good (look at the French rule in Quebec, the fact that the taxes were raises in order to protect the colonies, and that the actual tax burden was much less than the subjects back home were paying). But the lil' buggers just wanted more! But again the points of non-connectness and no intermixing (it was all one way, i.e. English in america but no Americans in England, very different from the English and Welsh today) hold.

    Ah, Democracy. Of course in 60 years things might have changed and enoguh people will agree with you, though the demographic trends point otherwise and we'll probably be part of united Europe by then anyway ;).
     
  13. Figaro

    Figaro Tywysog

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    But it's only by people's having different and new opinions that political climate will change. So please don't use words like "irrelevant" and "of little concern", not because it offends me but because it reinforces the view that Wales is always neglected :p

     
  14. Disenfrancised

    Disenfrancised Beep Beep

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    Distance introduces management costs and ineffeciencies - how could India be adequately represented in Westminister (back then) when it was a months journey for their delegates?

    :wow:...differences of degree are incredably important - its why people get told off for littering, but massively fined for oil spills. Even if they were being oppressed (which I dispute has happened in the last 100 years), the benefits to everyone outweigh the costs. India and Wales are different on more than one level.
     
  15. Figaro

    Figaro Tywysog

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    Wales has been oppressed more recently than you think. In the late 1800s a study (by English investigators) into standards of education in Wales noted that very few children could "read or write or even understand speech," though they noted that a child reacted better to a question when it was posed "in its own language"... well DUH, they couldn't understand English; it would take an absolute retard not to understand that. They *could* read, write and speak, just not in English. Speakers of Welsh in schools would be ritually humiliated and punished. No government provision was made for Welsh-language schools until the middle of the 20th century.

    In the 50s, Liverpool's council decided that the city needed more water, and despite massive protests by locals and condemnation by 35 of 36 Welsh MPs, a valley containing one of the last mongolot Welsh communities was flooded (without local planning permission), destroying homes and scattering the populace.
     
  16. Verbose

    Verbose Chieftain

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    I'm not surprised. Being "British" has always seemed like an unproblematic option-extra for the English. From my experience of Welsh, Scots, and Irish of various hues it may often be less so. The interesting question is if there is a growing disenchantement with the whole project of being "British" together.

    In actual practice there are massive amounts of things making people in the UK conform in attitudes and behavior. You can't get Welsh people to watch subtitled TV for instance, which is daft as small languages like Welsh stand to gain immensely that way. It's just that the dominant attitude to TV is for it to be monolingual, with voiceovers whenever someone not speaking the dominant language gets on the tube. It becomes really strange in Welsh TV-news, when everyone on it gets a Welsh voice-over, rather than a Welsh subtitle. Welsh language TV mirrors English language TV in a situation where it would do better to mirror say Norwegian TV.
    I think the point is that we are still very much collectively represented within the framwork of nation states. Any collective which feels it is being short-changed by the present nation state, which is this union in the case of the UK, has a legitimate gripe, one which isn't necessarily about nationalist ideology in the first place.

    I mean, it's not as if the British concerns about handing power over Britain to Bruxelles is simply an effluence of a British nationalist ideology now, is it? There are actual concerns about how things will work out locally, I would say.:)

    It's still easier to drive from southern Wales to northern Wales by going through England than through Wales. I've tried both. Had Wales been a nation state of its own, it would have been a national priority to have at least one decent major road connecting the north and the south.
     
  17. Mozza

    Mozza Chieftain

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    But there you show your utter ignorance. England is made up of several former countries, Wessex, Mercia, East Anglia, Rheged, Cornwallum, Kent etc etc, each of which are just as valid former nations as Wales, or indeed any of the constituant countries that make up Wales.

    When all's said though, the only real argument against Welsh independance is that the people of Wales, in the majority, do not want it. Were they to vote for independance I would fully support that right, as would the UK, since policy for almost 100 years now has been that should any UK territory vote for independance it will be granted. What you are talking about is forcing a Welsh government on a people who do not want it. This is undemocratic and morally wrong. There is a healthy rivalry within the UK, just as there is with between States in the US, but that doesn't mean they want to start kicking each other out of the respective Unions.

    The truely ironic thing is that the only part of the UK that would benefit in real terms from a break up of the Union is England.

    As for Scotland, Northern Ireland would pale in comparison to the civil war that would happen were independance forced upon Scotland. I have far to many close friends in Scotland to want that to happen.

    Interesting trivia; it was actually the Scottish Parliament, not the English Parliament, that first proposed the Act Of Union. An act which the English initially rejected. Indeed if you trace the UK's political history, it is, if anything, a continuation of the Kingdom of Scotland.
     
  18. Virote_Considon

    Virote_Considon The Great Dictator

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    So were left-handed people. Much more recently than the Welsh. Do you support the new Democratic Republic of Left-Handers, too?

    Why? Because a couple of dissenting minority views represent the entire Welsh population?
     
  19. Verbose

    Verbose Chieftain

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    It would be a valid analogy if "Left-handed" was a collective identity tied to a specific piece of geography and history.
     
  20. Verbose

    Verbose Chieftain

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    You know, Ernest Renan in 1882 held a short lecture on the topic "What is a Nation?", where he observed that the most important aspect of forming a nation is for the constituent members, the collectives making it up, to forget.

    Modern nations have all forgotten massive amounts of their history as a necessity for being able to form a unit. Renan's example was of course France, cobbled together from all-sorts during the Middle Ages, just like England.
    In England all the descendants of those Wessexers, Mercians, East Anglians, Rhegeders, Cornwallers, and Kentians have forgotten enough not to make these viable collective identities anymore. Browbeating someone for not remebering these once-upon a time polities is a bit redundant, as a prerequsite for the modern English sense of collective identity is fo no one to remember these.

    Wales and Scotland are only different in that there is still an active historical memory making up a local collective identity. But it makes all the difference. Disregarding it equates telling people they should forget who they are. It's neither feasible nor popular, it tends to amount to saying "You people are history, so you don't matter", which is factually incorrect as they are still around in the here and now.
    Do it, and someone like Figaro will recall things like the "Welsh Not" campaign in Welsh schools in the early 20th c. actively designed to kill the Welsh language.

    Now, do the English agree with the historical policies designed to kill off Welsh (in which case they should kick themselves for leaving the job half-finished)? The 19th c. liberal Renan would probably have urged the English to make sure to snuff out Welsh and Scottish identities asap, as it would be a necessary requirment for making "Britishness" a working proposition.

    Or do the English today disagree with these policies, in which case it would seem unavoidable to admit that a great wrong was done to the Welsh, and that the present disadvantage of Welshspeakers in relation to Englishspeakers in Wales is in considerable part due to historical repression?

    If the Irish can cast off on their own, why not Wales or Scotland? Actually, the recent success of Ireland might even give heart to those Welsh and Scots who would like such a development.

    Would it be easier for Wales to become a "New Ireland" within the EU as a part of the UK or as an independant nation?
     

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