Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Flower of Scotland and the world since '68

This is a very early performance (1968) of the Corries singing Flower of Scotland, which has since become the (unofficial) National Anthem of Scotland.

And the world has changed considerably since '68.

In the spirit of Flower's theme, there has been a decisive global move toward devolution, home-rule, and self-determination. In 1999, Scotland seated its own national parliament for the first time in centuries. The pro-independence Scottish National Party not only openly holds seats in the government, but at this time, holds the most seats of any party (though lacking a majority)..

The Soviet Union, so mighty in 1968, is but a memory, having been devolved through peaceful secession into smaller republics in 1991. The Iron Curtain (1945-1989) and the Berlin Wall (1961-1989) are no more. Even Czechoslovakia managed to have a peaceful split into two smaller nations in 1992.  It goes without saying that orderly devolution is far more peaceful and less disruptive of hearth and home than violent revolution.

And the momentum has carried the spirit of independence across the Atlantic.  In 1995, Canada did not prevent the people of Qu├ębec (whose own parliament was renamed the National Assembly in 1968) to hold a referendum on independence (it failed by less than a single percent). In our own day, secession is being openly discussed in American political discourse, and both Left and Right have rediscovered the great American virtue of nullification.

The spirit of Flower of Scotland transcends the hopes and dreams of the Scots highlanders and lowlanders.  It is the universal spirit of freedom, of the throwing off of the chains of tyranny, of reminding government that it is our servant, not our master, and sending them homeward "tae think again."

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