In the case of the UK ... A union all the way
Since the Acts of the Union in the 1700s, Great Britain has been a powerful force in the world
I searched in the past months to no avail. I read in search of a reason to help make the case for the secession of Scotland. In all honesty, however, I failed.
This is not to dismiss the strong nationalist feelings of some Scottish people and their desire to be independent. The United Kingdom was formed gradually and united under the same flag the Scots, the Welsh, part of the Irish population and the English.
Since the Acts of the Union in the 1700s, Great Britain has been a powerful force in the world.
Its citizens maintained colonies and businesses as well as cannons and garrisons across the world. It was said that it was the kingdom upon which the sun would never set.
Failed Scottish bid
Back to the present and the failed Scottish bid for independence and I must say that a thought could be voiced in favor of a Union that might have started by the sword but metamorphosed over the past seven centuries to become a union of equals.
Special privileges drive a wedge in society, equality keeps the peace, wars kill, peace builds.
Today’s Britain prides itself on being multicultural and tolerantMohamed Chebarro
The Scottish, the English, and the Welsh have a history of love and hate preceded by many philosophers who called for Unions across the ages - imperial, autocratic or more democratic and egalitarian.
If I can borrow some sentences to support the case for a Union, the words would be those of Victor Hugo, the French philosopher. He delivered an essay at the opening of the peace congress held in Paris in 1849 which looked for solutions to the issues that troubled humanity since its birth. Hugo wrote then to promote peace not war, unity not discord, amongst nations. His words became a cornerstone 100 years later in developing the European Union.
“The decline in international animosity, the disappearance of frontiers from maps and of prejudices from hearts, a movement towards unity, a softening of manners, an increase in the level of education and a drop in the level of penalties, the dominance of the most literary, that is to say the most humane, languages; everything is moving at once, political economy, science, industry, philosophy, legislation, and is converging upon the same end, the creation of well-being and benevolence...”
How I saw Great Britain
This is how I saw Great Britain, before the talks of independence of Scotland, the Welsh bid to protect their language, the Irish unionists and republicans and their vision for a United Northern Ireland or a divided one.
This is how I saw Britain when the challenges of conflict clouded the skies of London and Belfast prior to achieving peace that was followed by transfer and power sharing not only in Northern Ireland and Scotland but also in Wales. Hence devolution made its first steps towards decentralization as a better means of government and not as a result of narrow nationalistic sentiments.
Today’s Britain prides itself on being multicultural and tolerant. If you were to visit any city north or south of the isles, you are usually able to practice any dialect from the Indian sub- continent to the Caribbean. Walk the streets of London, Glasgow or Birmingham and you will be able to savor food from the Middle East, North Africa or Vietnam. Visit any doctor’s clinic, local authority office, registry office or police station and you will have access to guidance leaflets in Urdu, Arabic, Hindi, Pushto in addition to other main stream European languages.
Now, citizens across Britain ought to go back to Hugo and others to look at Great Britain as a brand and an umbrella that transcends petty nationalists feelings for the common good, an imperfect one sometimes but a work in progress no less.
Mohamed Chebarro is currently an Al Arabiya TV News program Editor. He is also an award winning journalist, roving war reporter and commentator. He covered most regional conflicts in the 90s for MBC news and later headed Al Arabiya’s bureau in Beirut and London.