Robin Yassin-Kassab

Archive for the ‘Scotland’ Category

British Political Breakdown: An Explanation

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An explanation for why British politics is in such a mess:

In 2016 Prime Minister David Cameron gave the right wing of the Tory Party what it wanted – a referendum on British membership of the EU. He expected the result to be an overwhelming vote to stay in the EU, because leaving was clearly such a bad idea. Tragically, however, this coincided with Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the opposition Labour Party. Corbyn – a fossilised teenager from the early 70s, a propagandist for Assad and Putin, and a conspiracy theorist – had opposed EU membership for decades. This meant that the Labour leadership failed to oppose Brexit, and that therefore no substantive criticism of this far right idea was made from the left. It also coincided with years of anti-migration rhetoric from all major English parties and from almost all media. Therefore 52% of people voted to leave the EU.

From that point on, Britain became ungovernable. This is because people had been promised things which were impossible – for instance, that immigration would be dramatically reduced while the economy would continue to grow. Or that British trade would increase while barriers were put up to trade with Britain’s neighbours and closest partners.

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Written by Robin Yassin-Kassab

October 21, 2022 at 3:59 pm

Posted in Scotland, UK

Why I’m Voting Yes

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Photo0035I’ll be voting for Scottish independence in next month’s referendum, and obviously not for ethnic-nationalist reasons – I have no Scottish blood as far as I’m aware (although the Scots may have some Syrian), and my mixed-up accent is far more English than not. Furthermore, I reject the simplistic ‘Braveheart’ narratives of uninterrupted Scottish victimhood. There’s an ex-mining town not far from here named Patna – after the Indian city – and in Sri Lanka the tea plantations bear Scottish names. Scots played an essential role in the British empire, and over the centuries Scottish as well as English landlords and industrialists have exploited the poorer Scottish classes (at some points driving them off their land en masse).

I’m voting yes because Scotland has a different political culture to England. It doesn’t contain that consmerist-suburban ‘middle England’ mainstream; the mainstream here is social democratic. If the Scots had taken control of their North Sea oil resources in the 1980s they may well have established a national oil fund, as Norway did, and perhaps today Scotland would not be Europe’s murder capital, nor the life expectancy in east Glasgow so depressingly low. What actually happened was that Thatcher spent the oil money in the boom years on privatisation and tax cuts, and used Scotland as a guinea pig for the most unpopular Tory policies, such as the Poll Tax, brought in here a year before England. Scotland has never voted Tory – as Alex Salmond says, there are more pandas in Edinburgh zoo than there are Scottish Conservative MPs – but it keeps suffering Tory governments. This is an evident democratic failure.

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Written by Robin Yassin-Kassab

August 17, 2014 at 3:04 pm

Posted in Scotland, UK