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Scottish Referendum Not Avoiding The Future

Politics / Scotland Sep 21, 2014 - 12:58 PM GMT

By: Andrew_McKillop


A Close Run Thing
Glasgow, by far Scotland's biggest city voted Yes to independence by a large majority and 71% of under-20's in Scotland also voted Yes. For UK premier David Cameron and especially for English Labour Party politicians who depend on their “Scottish safe seats” it was a close run thing. Pandora's Box was not entirely closed and will stay half-open.

Talk about “political road maps”, which do not exist for Scotland but supposedly exist for solving the Israel-Palestine conflict reveals several things. These roadmaps lead nowhere and have lost all credibility. However, the important hidden role of these roadmaps, which in Scotland's case include “more devolution”  is their proven ability to do nothing, waste time, and delay the future – but they can never avoid it.

Rationally speaking, all that this heroic timewasting produces is pent-up and frustrated change. This only lasts a certain amount of time before there is the predictable “break in series” and one analogy is as follows. Stack up enough agents of frustrated change and throw them down on the floor like broken glass or a flask of mercury – but don't be surprised that the change which happens is what we call “inchoate”. This means unpredictable and uncertain, not fully developed, and often a bad surprise.

Changing from a known future to the exact opposite – which is an unknown and undefined future - is part and parcel of the general retreat from rationality in our western society, and increasingly worldwide. This is future avoidance, to be sure, but not future prevention. The root cause is simple – fear of the future.

Already more than 20 years ago, US historian Francis Fukuyama enjoyed massive book sales and huge media exposure for his theory that “history is dead”. Later he denied it or in theocratic terms he “recanted”, but the elite and media support he got was a telltale sign that western fear of the future is real. If history is dead, there is No Future.

No Future was a key one-liner of Britain's Margaret Thatcher, in and from the early 1980s when she fervently promoted the New Economy. From that moment on, her English Tory party was dead in Scotland. Today it has almost zero Scottish seats. The English Labour Party may be able to hold on in Scotland, for a while, but the English Tories are dead in Scotland – for over 20 years.

Harmful Numbers
Why are English Tories so unpopular in Scotland? Ask Scottish people. Next, you can ask them why they have to suffer rule by a Westminster government dominated by Tories – who almost totally do not exist in the Scottish political landscape. Their race and species is extinct! English voters may be sufficiently bemused or stupid to go on electing the hand-me-downs of the Thatcher era, but that music stopped playing in Scotland – at least 20 years ago. This is a fact.

Ten years after Mrs Thatcher quivered with passion announcing there is No Future especially if you are Scottish, Francis Fukuyama published his theory which gave a major role to the New Economy as an agent in his claimed process of “historicide” or the death of history. His theory was a useful intellectual prop for the already-waning “economic revolution” started by “neolib” politicians such as Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan. Old things like “dirty industries” except of course Scottish North Sea oil, were haram in the newspeak of Thatcher. Redundant Scottish workers could crawl away and die.

Obviously if we have no past and no future and inhabit the Eternal Present, there will be plenty of time for semi-hysterical politicians like Mrs Thatcher “to work miracles”, and will remove any need for historical justification of their New Economy. In the UK as in the USA, the defenders and promoters of “new liberalism” or neoliberalism claimed they were operating a strict “economic agenda”. This was completely false. They certainly included a social, moral and ideological agenda, of Get Rich Quick at the same time. Charles Ponzi, and later on Bernie Madoff were there to show them the way!

From the start the New Economy was totally rejected by Scottish voters, and had a “metaphysical domain” involving complicated things like ontology and epistemology. But this very simply meant dumping millions of persons in the gutter. There was “No Alternative”! It was “normal”.

Old metrics of the economy, like national budgets and the trade account were “old stuff”. They were not wanted on board – like the human victims of the New Economy scam.

Keep Scamming
It was soon impossible for political animals like Thatcher to explain and communicate their “moral agenda” using mass politics and mass communication, and in Scotland she threw in the towel very fast as her English Tory party, in Scotland, shriveled to absolutely nothing. As in England, where it was easier to get votes due to the gullibility and self-satisfaction of the English, the same problem was explaining why the metaphysical and ideological domain, called “values”, and the empirical fact-based domain, called “knowledge” were fantastically different. Why Scotland should produce oil to prop up the English New Economy, and then have its own industries, jobs and lives destroyed to do it, was “rather hard to justify”.

With a very high voter turnout and a very solid 45% of Yes votes in Scotland the cat is now out of the bag. The English can keep their New Economy and their “multicultural” ghettos, their bankers, brokers and trader parasites sucking the lifeblood out of the economy. Scotland doesn't want it or need it.

The votes prove that a defective and degenerate “great new trick for the economy and society” does not work in Scotland. The overlay of rigged markets “creating value” and the underlay of rigged social and metaphysical values never worked in Scotland. The split personality of western society and its culture has deepened and widened and the Scottish referendum vote proves it.

Until well into the 18th century in Europe, social philosophy and moral values and the pursuit of meaning were treated as part and parcel of what were later called the empirical sciences. They were lumped together as “natural philosophy”. Fact-based science and the central concerns of metaphysics including ontology and cosmology, were then recognized as different and separate. Moral problems, for example, could at best only be partly-resolved by fact-based empirical science.

As we know, western society simultaneously purports to be “knowledge based”, while its political systems and social philosophy are claimed to be “value based”. This is a dangerous mix-and-mingle when a defective ideology like Thatcher's Tory doctrines take hold.  The “value based goals”, such as creating wealth mutated to pumping up equity indexes, as a surrogate, and replaced the main or exclusive “knowledge based” parameter of economic performance, measured by economic data. This data was declared by the “Neolibs” to be unimportant and unrelated and invalid for their broken backed post-1980s new economic revolution! 

The Sorceror's Apprentice
By 2008 and the supposed “Lehman Bros moment” - in fact a global financial crisis - we mutated from the Neoliberal End of History to No Economic Future. The real neoliberal end of times.

The 1980s political and ideological fantasy called No Future, by Mrs Thatcher herself and following the post-2008 crisis is now the reality of No Economic Future. Scottish political economists surmize the damage may only have been due to English politicians desperately trying to avoid the future, a kamikaze act only in self-defence, a call to arms after pushing hard on the panic button to save their own dirty skins, but the result was a very bad surprise.

Whatever the upstream causes, we have to return to Goethe's parable of 1797, of the Sorceror's Apprentice, to understand what happened. Goethe's parable draws on myths as ancient as those of the Sisyphus Complex. Like its ancient forbears it says “Don't mess around with what you don't know”.

In other words bad surprises tend to be recurrent – not good surprises. Originally perhaps only an attempt to avoid or delay the future and “protect the pyramid of power”, the process multiplied itself and ran away out of control. Scotland was collateral damage for the failed English attempt to defeat the future and prevent it happening.

Accelerated by the later Internet revolution, the process became ever more like the Goethe fable. The urgency, for the western elites of the 1980s and 1990s was to smother and douse the fires of troubling empirical knowledge proving that their New Economy was a total flop from the moment it started.
And a disaster for society. To be sure we had bloodbath epic showpiece battles like the 1991 Liberation of Kuwait – with more than 100 000 Iraqi civilian deaths – but this was all for oil and free flowing market principles – exactly the same that condemned Scotland to mass unemployment.  There will be resistance and it is coming.

American writer Charles Johnson in his 1986 short-story collection 'The Sorcerer’s Apprentice: Tales and Conjurations' used the image of a bag of broken glass or mercury deliberately thrown down on the floor, causing a chaotic mix in which liberationist as well as reactionary and random violence strands multiply simultaneously in a context of social confusion, and out of control. Not “seemingly out of control”. No, out of control.

We therefore have a Sorceror's Apprentice fable for our times. What started out with the early 1980s elite quest to steamroll a new economy and ramrod a new pseudo-society into place - where childish belief supplants knowledge and credulity replaces conviction – broke out to spheres as widespread as morals, international relations and geopolitical change. Politicians like Mrs Thatcher flirted with chaos on a daily basis – their inheritors will get it.

By Andrew McKillop


Former chief policy analyst, Division A Policy, DG XVII Energy, European Commission. Andrew McKillop Biographic Highlights

Co-author 'The Doomsday Machine', Palgrave Macmillan USA, 2012

Andrew McKillop has more than 30 years experience in the energy, economic and finance domains. Trained at London UK’s University College, he has had specially long experience of energy policy, project administration and the development and financing of alternate energy. This included his role of in-house Expert on Policy and Programming at the DG XVII-Energy of the European Commission, Director of Information of the OAPEC technology transfer subsidiary, AREC and researcher for UN agencies including the ILO.

© 2014 Copyright Andrew McKillop - All Rights Reserved Disclaimer: The above is a matter of opinion provided for general information purposes only and is not intended as investment advice. Information and analysis above are derived from sources and utilising methods believed to be reliable, but we cannot accept responsibility for any losses you may incur as a result of this analysis. Individuals should consult with their personal financial advisor.

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