Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Scottish Energy and Independence?

Scotland continues to lead the way in renewable energy conversion and plans to meet, rather exceed, their 2011 goals. That's only 3 years from now, by the way, for anyone who thinks it would take too long to convert away from oil in the US. This article, reporting the announcement of construction of Europe's largest windfarm, notes that energy from Scottish renewables already exceeds that from nuclear. Today, not ten years from now, Scots are getting their energy from wind, water, etc. Is there anything the Scots can do that we, Americans, can't?

For more articles reporting the dynamic conversion in which the Scots are engaged, check the links in my right-hand column, Scottish Links.

The article I linked above mentions Alec Salmond, and it's improbable that American readers know who that is--here's his brief from Wiki. There's an interesting situation brewing between the Scots and the English. When I first started seeing this idea in the news, I thought it was just references to antiquated ideals of Scottish independence, but as I kept reading, I began to realize there's a real sentiment in Scotland, some in England, for the Scots to go it alone. (This article gives a brief review of events leading to today's position.) Naturally, not every Scot is in favor of independence, but the party headed by Alec Salmond continues to spearhead the effort.

The Brits and Scots have an interesting parliamentary arrangement (devolution) in which the Scots convene a kind of Scottish sub-parliament under the umbrella of the greater British parliament. The Scots hold seats on both, and Scots vote on both, but only Scots can vote in the Scottish parliament, although they receive general monies.

The Brits complain that they don't have a say over what happens to that money, because only Scots get to vote on Scottish-only affairs. Scots, though, also get to vote on English-only affairs. In effect, the Scots (if they had enough power) could block funding to an English program, yet approve it for a similar Scottish one. See the problem?

The parliamentary organization of Great Britain is wa-aa-aay over my head, so I'm in no position to judge, but it's fascinating to watch this ancient, historical dispute continue into modern times, played out in national politics.

Even if Scotland remains tied to the government of Great Britain, they will soon be energy-independent, relying on their native, renewable resources, and that is a far greater independence in this energy-crazed world.


Michael Follon said...

The use of the term 'Brits' is one I have seen elsewhere and, in most cases, shows a misunderstanding about the status of Brits and Scots. The term 'Brits' is derived from the name [Great] Britain which was the name of the country created by the Treaty of Union in 1707 between Scotland and England.

As an aside, I noticed from your profile that your 'number one' favourite film is 'Braveheart'. That film has a lot to answer for -

'For the director and scriptwriter of the film, the concern was not liberty but the taking of liberties...An opportunity to portray Wallace as he was and at the same time, to bring his story, unadulterated, to the audience, was spurned.'

SOURCE: 'WILLIAM WALLACE' by Andrew Fisher, page 279, ISBN 0 85976 557 1,

'The lack of an understanding of the context has led to the easy acceptance of material that is at best questionable and at worst fraudulent. This is most evident in the film 'Braveheart'. Not content with relying on Blind Harry's largely fictitious poem ' The Wallace' as the sole source of material, the writer, Randall Wallace, simply changed the story to suit a script that made no sort of historical sense and has, in fact, deprived Scottish people of part of their history by effectively undermining the factual material...Although 'Braveheart' did help to make Scots more aware of their past, the damage done to our perception of Wallace and the early period of the Wars of Independence is incalculable. If it is true that a picture paints a thousand words, how damaging is it when the picture is a fantasy?'

SOURCE: 'WILLIAM WALLACE: The True Story of Braveheart' by Chris Brown, page 125, ISBN 0-7524-3432-2.

The 'Sanitization' of Scottish History - http://follonblogs.blogspot.com/

Morning Angel said...

Thank you for your comments! I think I used the term Brits for the "sound" of it opposed to Scots.