allegiance

Should Effie Deans pledge allegiance to an independent Scotland?

 

“How can we expect new arrivals to be loyal to our country if those who have been here for centuries have no loyalty, no patriotism and in the end no honour.” Effie Deans 26/08/16

According to Effie Deans, all of those campaigning for Scottish independence are disloyal, unpatriotic and dishonourable. As a way of reaching out to the other half (possibly by now more than half) of Scottish people, I’d say her line of argument is flawed. Below is my comment on her blog:

What sanctions do you envisage against those of your fellow citizens (or should that be subjects…?) who refuse to take this pledge of allegiance Effie? In the unlikely event of such a deeply foreign requirement being introduced, I like many others would not under any circumstances make such a pledge. My passport is British through an accident of birth as it were; I enjoy the rights and protections of any other citizen.

The fact that I’d prefer a Scottish passport, and to live in an independent Scottish republic doesn’t make me disloyal, unpatriotic or dishonourable Effie, it simply means I feel no affinity for, or desire to be part of, the United Kingdom of great Britain and Northern Ireland. I imagine millions of other people throughout history have been in similar situations: the inhabitants of multi-national empires like Austria-Hungary, Russia and Turkey pre world War 1, Balts & others in the Soviet Union, Irish people pre 1921.

Part of living in a democracy means allowing people choices. As someone on record saying that immigrants to Scotland who voted Yes in indyref1 were acting treacherously, you obviously have an axe to grind. I’m sure you are quite unapologetic about your views, but it will and should turn most reasonable people’s stomachs. I’m sure there ARE many immigrants in Scotland who feel British first and Scottish second or not at all. I know there are also many who feel passionately Scottish, and (treacherously in your view) campaigned for a Yes vote.

If there were an alternative to having a British passport (an EU passport perhaps…oh, wait…that isn’t going to work now either is it…?) I’m sure many in Scotland would avail themselves of the opportunity. From the little I know about the Ahmadiyya community, I’m sure they would have no problem advocating Scottish citizenship, and loyalty to an independent Scotland if and when it happens; why should they?

No doubt those in charge of previous multi-national states which fell apart considered those advocating secession traitors or perfidious, but that didn’t stop Czechs, Hungarians, Poles, Balts, Arabs, Irish etc., etc. campaigning for their independence.

In short, whilst we may indeed have much to learn from the Ahmadiyya community, the requirement for citizens to pledge their allegiance to a state they don’t believe in most definitely isn’t one of the lessons. In addition few of us would accept guidance on this issue from someone who is quick to label others traitors, call for future indyrefs to be banned, and who has expressed a preference for living in Putin’s Russia rather than an independent Scotland.

You may be viscerally opposed to independence for Scotland Effie, and refuse to accept that it is a “real” country, but please at least try to show a modicum of self-awareness and realise that many (and probably by now a majority) of your fellow Scots don’t share your views. In the event that independence does happen you’ll be free to retain your UK passport; I somehow doubt we’ll be requiring you to make an oath of allegiance to the new Scottish state. Perhaps that just shows our nationalism is more progressive and civic than yours?

(Effie’s latest missive “Should British citizens pledge loyalty to Britain?” can be found here: https://effiedeans.blogspot.co.uk/2016/08/should-british-citizens-pledge-loyalty.html?showComment=1472298026725#c7777989577866735090 )