Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Where's our Abe Lincoln?

Abraham Lincoln, was the first, and some say last, US president who drew his political philosophy primarily from the Declaration of Independence and Lockean classic Liberalism:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
Fine ideals for an impressive man and ironically for a committed believer in independence Abe was a unionist: Lincoln guided the fragmented America through a civil war, successfully uniting disparate states and ideologies for the first time since independence - setting the United States on a course to become the dominant force in world politics, founded on, as he said in his Gettysburg Address
government: of the people, by the people, for the people
Lincoln understood the strength to be derived from the creation of a united America, diversity was something to be embraced and he created a stable political system with strong representative federal and local government, and maintained a low profile as a President - leaving Congress to write the laws while he signed them.

At this time of nationalist separatist politics I see no real debate in the UK, and believe me we need it.  Westminster is devoid of politicians who put a convincing, compelling argument in favour of the strength of our union of disparate states.  In fact it would appear that our politicians are obsessed with reductive inward socio-political segregation. I wish I had a buck for every middle England, the north, the south, nationalist, 'why we are different' political statement I hear or read - I'd buy a ticket out of here.

The result of the next general election, a Conservative victory I have no doubt, will only help further alienate the Scottish electorate and reinforce the nationalist sentiment (sen-ti-ment, noun: A thought, view, or attitude, especially one based mainly on emotion instead of reason).  Without a popular and convincing advocate for a United Kingdom in Holyrood or Westminster, I fear the election of a Conservative UK government will gift the SNP all it wants, irrespective of the rights and wrongs of separation.  The National Conversation is a discussion premised on independence, I can see no real debate - where are the advocates for the other side of the argument, you know - the benefits of the Union?

Without proper debate we may be making the biggest mistake in Scottish and British history, will the Scottish Abe Lincoln please step up?


  1. Given the current state of the US and the post civil war history of that "nation" it might have been better if North America had been broken up into their component parts. I hold that small nation states are the most democratic and desirable of political structures. States should not be allowed to have populations larger than ten million - tops.

  2. I wasn't asserting a definite stance, but asking for a debate - so thank you scunnert. I think you may be correct in some respects, but Germany, which has a system similar to the USA. Their Federal and Lander system is an example of local devolved government and successful federal government, which has withstood reunification, the credit crunch and remains the largest net exporter in the world.

    The USA has particular fiscal issues (their defence budget and fiat money to mention two), but notwithstanding is still a powerhouse and probably the most successful nation of the 20th century.

    The 21st century will probably also be dominated by the large nations - including China, India and Brazil - with the exception of China these are also large nations based on stable regional and federal government. Vires in Numeris?

  3. There is no doubt that large states will dominate the near future in terms of economic and military might - two reasons to avoid that trap in my opinion. True also that devolved government within a federal system can work efficiently.

    I live in Canada where the provinces have enormous power in taxation and legislation over most areas of life. Quebec for example controls its own immigration and conducts, to some extent, its own foreign policy with embassies around the world. Half the people in that province would still prefer independence.

    If asked most Albertans and British Columbians probably would as well. See - it's not the things they can control that gets up peoples noses but the things they don't.

    Vires in Numeris? Perhaps - for a while. It's obvious that this is a common belief in political circles as states seek ever greater conglomeration and ever increasing immigration. Ultimately democracy in particular and life in general is degraded by such policies.

    Anyhoo, I'm more of an In vino veritas kinda guy.