The thing about independence
We are on the eve of a historic vote in Scotland.
After more than 300 years and shared history, the Scots are about to decide on a referendum to reverse this and proclaim independence from the United Kingdom. At this point is seems, as Wellington said at Waterloo (where he heavily depended on his Scottish forces) “a near run thing”. Tomorrow we will find out whether the Yes or No side prevailed.
When I wrote The Excalibur Parchment I postulated (in the words of a Druid leader) about the growing movements for independence around the world. She reveled in the fact that in Wales and Scotland an independence movement was mounting and that similar demands were popping up in Brittany in France and Cornwall in England. She notes too that Quebec and the Kurdish people are demanding nationhood while the Czechs and Slovaks, Bosnians and Serbs had already achieved their goals. All this was written before the Scots decided to proceed with their referendum.
What is it that leads people groups firstly to coalesce around a shared heritage and, secondly, to create a sense of nationhood that ultimately results in the calls for separation and independence? Is it simply a return to the old tribal or clan mentality that some have suggested? Or is it something deeper; a yearning for a simpler and more controllable present and future? Certainly the current globalization has complicated our lives and made us more and more vulnerable. Big Brother is alive and well and we fear him. (I wonder if Orwell was mocked and ridiculed when he wrote 1984; that his premise was ridiculous and could never happen).
It is perhaps a combination of the fear of the uncontrolled future and a rose-coloured view of the past that powers these independence drives. On an individual level we do it, don’t we? ‘Back then’ we remember all things were good; the weather was perfect, everyone was safe and life was wonderful. So too, when the ‘tribe’ or ‘clan’ was our primary governance model it was closer to those affected and there was a greater sense of being and of control. Those were the good old days, the days when heroes walked the face of the earth protecting the people.
Ah, that it was so. The reality is that often there was incredible grinding poverty, starvation and most certainly vulnerability on the political end of the spectrum. The sad reality is that these small ‘nations’ and tribes and clans began to merge into larger units in order to survive. It is the way of human history. From the beginning of time and the onset of evil, people have preyed on each other. Being a big nation or small tribe was no protection against the ravages of an ever changing and, basically, malevolent world.
That’s the ultimate power behind the pagan Druids as they seek to manipulate the ebb and flow of history in The Oak Grove Conspiracies. There is an evil force in this world—our Druids were part of it—and it is deeper and more intrusive than even a fictional band of Druids can imagine. I believe firmly that Satan and his demonic forces are indeed real and increasingly impacting our world. Here’s just a few of the groups exhibiting the uncontrolled hatred and violence that marks their controller regardless of their religious (or non-religious) background: Hamas, ISIS, Boko Haram, Al Queda and its various offshoots, Hezbollah, Al Shabaab and others. Then there are the political, economic and territorial machinations of the Putin regime trying to destroy the independent Ukraine having already seized Crimea.
Seeking independence in and of itself is not a bad thing. But if big nations are falling prey to the economic trial and tribulations of today’s global economy, never mind the malicious machinations of satanic groups, what hope do smaller more vulnerable peoples have?
Independence—whether for the Scots or the Welsh or any other group—has a profound rallying heart pull on the people. Shared heritage and history, cultural and linguistic ties are incredibly strong and are a hugely motivating force, sometimes against the harsh realities of this 21stcentury world.
For all their longing for a misty long distant past, the Scots have also to remember an equally profound and glorious history as part of a united kingdom. They have had a lot to think about and consider these past months. Tomorrow will tell the tale.
Whatever they decide, one thing is sure. Yes or No, I will still love the bagpipes. And I will still love Scotch eggs and yes, even haggis!