Post-colonial Britain is still resented as a ‘Victorian dinosaur’ as well as a victim of Thatcherite de-unionisation rather than her privatisation program. But as an Imperial force, Britain was once truly peerless, monopolising its global trade and imposing its industrial might! However, the law of entropy does not lie, and it is ironic that the USA and a burgeoning Tiger economy of India have both, in their own way, been British colonies that have gained superpower status as a result of kicking the British out! Britain may be dwarfed by these economies but it can cherish being allotted an ‘assist’ in enabling these superpowers to be so powerfully competitive, and also take some credit for providing a blueprint of what to do and what to avoid in 20th and 21st centuries new Imperial formulations, notably to not ‘export’ by mass colonisation and resisting the post-Imperial EU club of the coast line from northern to Mediterranean ‘discover’ countries tied in with the linguistic diaspora of English, French, German, Spanish and Portuguese, that wants to hide guilt by indulging and commiserating with each other and pretending to welcome Eastern Europe as equals.
Britain had 2 types of colonial activity: firstly, to acquire and prospect underdeveloped regions with potential as strategic, that Britain did not want to get into the hands of a rival. Secondly, those with natural raw materials with or without trade routes that were established and rich in dynastic cultural sophistication and its accompanying wealth and exotic jewels silks etc., with amenable leaders and access to local recruitment to police and protect ‘British investments’ for immediate or gradual British ‘takeover’. Establishing colonies were meant to reassure of Britain's long-term commitment to trade etc. but were actually seen as invasive impositions monopolising local regional and international markets subsumed under British control, a reinforcement and enforcement of British industrialised manufacturing of goods ostensibly to modernise British colonies and to give access (often by the building of transport links) to new markets. All rather standard stuff, but that is not the complete version
There is a narrative that today's India (like 18th century USA) won its freedom not to abandon any British legacy but to counter-exploit by India cherry-picking and assimilating the economic English infrastructure as well as adopting methods, institutions, and language to augment what is identifiably Indian.
Clearly fellow ribbon (Spain, Portugal, France, Britain and the low countries) the “Atlantic European discover countries” experienced ironically similar responses in their own d-imperialising process, and in fact contemporary Britain today is dwarfed by such ex-colonised countries who have avoided much of the colonising process of the 19th century by economic and cultural dominance internationally. In fact, the universal 21st century Imperial acquisition is not land or people, but the international currency of language. Britons today often refer to the supremacy of the USA as a reason for the English language being so popular, but India also uses English as an International language that has been entrenched but largely forgotten, that another billion-plus people use English as a second language. That retains recently why English is viewed as the linguistic common denominator of post-Imperial, post-colonised globalisation, and India's army of graduate English speakers may have also overshadowed loyalty and monopoly of American English by having a population over 3 times the size of the USA. Surely, to future-proof English as ‘the International language’ is in the hands of India!! Indeed, being able to speak and write in any language in the 21st century that had its day in Victorian 19th century reflects the dynamism by dynastic legacy of a small northern European archipelago in the northern hemisphere that is truly staggering! But then I'm and ex-TEFL teacher.
There is a further consequence of imperialism - it causes military global conflict and mutually exhausts the protagonists! After WWII, Britain was left derelict. Sense of national swagger depleted, its sense of entitlement and deference scandalously exposed its structural disrepair from a post 1945 welfare system and its colonies demanding independence! Who would have wished that ‘perfect storm’ on anyone! Sporting chance society had been replaced by decay and social malignancy. When Macmillan said “the British had never had it so good”, he meant the British were never going to recover the same cache International status and morale. Competitors were enjoying themselves at our expense and the sickman of Europe Britain was back-peddling! It had become a resentful Rackmanesque burlesque and not the ‘landmarkers in the heartland of potential of today”.
Surely just as the EU bonds itself together through especially the ribbon of Atlantic low countries, common ex-Imperial experiences as connectors to the bloodbank and the existence of its benevolence and wisdom shared to all of the EU. But it is because of the internal differences within the EU that makes ex-Imperial nostalgia-sharing of foibles, failures, irresponsibilities and punishments become overblown and overshadow the very petty differences that are brushed under a carpet that does not fly magically in full EU colours!
That makes the business of celebrating the victories and the achievements retreat further under the subconsciousness and beyond European perspective. But that subconscious unresolved issue has been sublimated into the achievement of winning firstly the Cold War and secondly rehabilitating ‘Eastern Europe’ ex-Warsaw Pact countries to integrate into a continental economic and social organisation (EU). The UK can take its share of responsibility in uniting East and West Europe into the EU - but that job is done! Europe is largely stable but the UK is still seen as too close to the USA. Why? Reagan and Thatcher were the anti-Soviet alliance that broke the USSR - the USA and the UK have evolved but still suffer from residual grievances from East Europe, especially from ex-adversaries. I wonder if ex-Warsaw pact Eastern Europe of the EU would have voted the UK out before any Brexit vote because Britain is still seen as the voice of America? History provides excuses and permits for vengeance, and in ‘Homeland’ Brexit was backed by Russian covert influence – why? Why wouldn't Russia want to dismantle a Western EU? Unless you’re well informed, the Cold War end has had 32 years to conceal Russian expansionism beyond the memory knowledge but not the prejudices of a post-Cold War generation - perhaps the UK chose nil-point to exit the EU too? I believe we’re seen not as liberators or contributors, but as too close to the heart of the EU whilst entertaining English-speaking America and emerging Indian Asian superpower English spoken by the army of India graduates.
But isn't the UK leaving the EU because it feels powerless over its own sovereignty? We're not leaving from a position of power - we're leaving the EU in order to re-empower ourselves with or without the USA.
It is perhaps a fact that we've not just underestimated our own pro-USA policies but also we’ve underestimated the legacy of the Soviet Union to Eastern Europeans? Fear of ‘foreign interference’ which many Warsaw Pact countries led them to join NATO, also applies to all of the European Zone. Some switched sides from the 1st World War to the 2nd and then to the Soviet Union's influence - no wonder why Eastern Europe fears the EU and is suspicious of other ex-Warsaw Pact countries in wanting to join the EU, as well as the influence of North America on Europe via the dollar. Many from the EU might suspect that Brexit might get an American ‘new deal’ to soften the blow for even transform the UK into a dominant European competitor with a back door open to the USA? Britons could get an ‘unfair’ advantage out of the blocks of the post Covid economy! Will the EU be different after Covid? Will it have its own catharsis or will it sustain trade unions fighting markets and business or will it support an EU agriculture like trade unions that had enjoyed a century of influence and monopoly not just via their creation of the Labour Party but also by the products of their industry being able to impose its importance via the monopoly of trade within the Empire?
So why not ‘affiliate’ by enfranchisement throughout the Empire? Perhaps Imperialism ‘safeguarded jobs’ in Blighty that were considered more important than a powerful series of ‘sister trade unions’ that would protect and incentivise all? Socialism by day, imperialism by night?
Fortunately the self-build democracy paid for by Capitalism is one of self-help that built the NHS and we Britons must accept that out of many types of capitalism, small/big governments, aristocratic or organic models, that may not be as successful as we may find in or at out of Brexit. Political diversity is a by-product of both red tape, or ideological yellow and white tape of a ‘crime scene’, but I believe that British Capitalism has evolved into a second wave of post-industrial economy of second generation technology that just might be the least imperfect outcome by self-determination, but most helpful for others to follow. Who knows if Soviet pastiche or parody or nightmare self-fulfilling prophecy of Capitalism in Russia today will take the British Brexit experiment as a precedent to follow suit?
But we do know that we could live in a global market of post-colonialism even if the British Empire's pre-empted its ‘colonies’ by beating it to the punch at the time. But it beat more powerful nations to the punch because Britain had to feed its industrial revolution and stabilise its domestic social class Victorian system and its precarious but dynamic GDP that exposed a virtual absence of social welfare during Dickensian times. Today’s EU mutual imperialism blurs national identity and often leads to nations needing to reassert their nationhood by bite-sizing their economies.
Scotland may want another referendum on Scottish independence but that could encourage the emendations ‘Scotland is a colony of England's Imperial annexations’ mentality so why plunge Scotland’s independence into an EU-wide devaluation of national identity by the very loss of sovereignty that Scotland would demand from a SNP victory in a hypothetical referendum? Trash-talk and running-down England is more of a takeover than a plea for help! Indeed, how would such a Scotland redact its Britishness? How would Northern Ireland and Wales welcome a Scottish nuclear exit too? Which part of the rest of Britain would a non-nuclear Scotland shove Russian or Warsaw Pact countries warheads to? Cornwall,Ulster, Powys? What sort of independence for Scotland to no longer need deterrent require a slide to multiply warheads targeting Scandinavia? Is deterrent no longer a deterrent for Wales, Northern Ireland and the home counties of England? Does the Scottish Captain take the first of the dinghies rather than go down with the ship honourably?
Welcome to constitutional asset stripping and selective ‘Imperial memory’, whilst wanting to share post-colonial ‘victimhood’ and post-guilt self-promotion of the EU club. Does name dropping Scotland become an aspiration not a historical fact of British conquest? Didn't post-modern deconstruction become obsolete after the end of the Cold War? Would Scotland ditch Britain because the Soviet threat had ended? Isn't at a calculated form of opportunism?
This may break new conceptual ground! A loyal ex-Imperial equal being as opportunistic as its colonial forebears In enjoying a monopoly of political horse-trading by blaming ‘deadwood’ and occupying by ‘moral authority’ a Board Room advantage over its ‘business partners’. Or was it's just Westminster, Whitehall and the City of London that was the true nemesis of Scotland and not the UK and all the British?
This is a new formula of Imperialism – exploitation, colonialisation and then abandonment without taking responsibility? Or not? Durr…! Or is this the new formula perfected by 20th century America? Economic and cultural Imperialism without having responsibilities of colonising? A tart sour taste of tartan? Or should all the British ‘go home’ but all the Scots remain? So when did remain not mean remain? Or were Scots hoping that rest of the UK would vote for a constitutional change that Scotland had rejected in their independence referendum? Britain remains Britain and the SNP wants to leave? EU but not “OU but ‘own you’”? Or will the EU feel nationalism in Scotland will be a breath of fresh air… together with all the other nationalism's of ex-Imperial ex-colonial nations of the EU? Perhaps the SNP might have to abandon some of the nationalistic colleagues of ex-Warsaw Pact nations and the yoke of ‘no global migration’ since the war means no ethnic African or Asian diaspora communities and therefore probably little tolerance for the rest of multi-ethnic EU? Will the SNP remain nationalistic then? Is this the right moment to advance the cause of nationalisms right now?
What part of ‘old Europe’ does ‘Auld Scotland’ want? Or will the EU see ‘Caledonian Thistle’ as a breakaway from the breakaway from the EU? Too Scottish? More English than the English? Or will the EU see Scotland as the rekindling of an over-taxed, unbalanced state public sector, run by all too powerful trade unions, permanently the Socialist sickman of Europe? Ironically, will the EU say Scotland is too close to England to validate true independence, or will the EU blame Scottish nationalism for provoking Brexit and in turn destroying working class English voters class allegiance to the Labour Party? The EU may ask ‘what has Scotland done to England and pan-European social class electrical electoral loyalties just to impose a grubby nationalism from the 17th century? Paradoxically, the EU may see Scotland as too close to the very ‘English cynicism and opportunity’ that Scotland claims to be divorcing? An unwanted nationalistic form of fly-tipping on the political continent of the EU?
But what right does the EU have to judge the motivation and particular identity of all Scots? Maybe Scotland will create a domino effect concerning nationalism in Catalonia, Galicia, the Basque country etc. that the EU cannot and will not foist on a big United Spain player as a consequence of Scottish independence? How on Earth can a EU wide policy benefit Scotland when Scotland may cause more trauma than Brexit to the EU? Could an independent Scotland face more central EU direction than Westminster, Whitehall and the City of London ever could? Out of the furnace and into a national funeral pyre? Is there any sense of abandonment, any guilt, or is there sublimated satisfaction at metaphorically ‘burning the English witch’ at the very stakes of Scottish nationalism and that are too high to be meddled with by giving way to deep-rooted anxiety, fervour, and enmity. Full Scottish independence will take decades and a ‘Fortress Murrayfield’ is no replacement. It's a hard flog that will mean partial betrayal by Scot on Scot, not just with Britain that may dismay Scots and also rattle ‘Britain's cage’! Britain may slow-roll or speed-up any negotiations if they’re to its advantage!
Independence for Scotland might upgrade Welsh, Northern Irish as well as English sense of community together - bonds could be strengthened and not loosened! Maybe Scots are going to feel for the first time the ire of Britain hostile towards Scott in every sporting contest - is that a ‘switch’ Scots are prepared for? You don't jump ship, steal all the life boats and then expect people drowning around you to respect your life choices! Sure, Scotland is your back yard, but your front lawn is Britain’s - you do you want to concrete over it to make way for a driveway or a bypass. Politics does exhaust all the romance and the self-righteous payback time; what's left? Not enough votes and perhaps too many enemies!! Do Scots want to disappoint, ostracise, get stigmatised, rejected and humiliated? Do Scots really want to know what it is like to be English? Do Scots want to trade places with the English?