Tuesday 4 June 2013

Balkanisation blethers

George Robertson
George Robertson (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Former general secretary of Nato, Lord George Robertson, fairly characterised the inanity of anti-independence scaremongering when, at a recent Royal Society of Edinburgh conference, he raised the spectre of the "Balkanisation" of Europe as a consequence of the democratic process of self-determination being played out in Scotland and elsewhere.

Foolishly eschewing the option to draw a discrete veil over his Balkanisation blethers in the hope that it might be soon forgotten, Robertson later sought to clarify what he meant in a letter to The Scotsman in which he wrote,
"I cannot see why Scotland’s separatists recoil at the entirely appropriate use of the word separatism, and why the word ‘Balkanisation’ is also too potent for them. The dictionary definition of Balkanise is ‘divide (a region or a body) into smaller mutually hostile states or groups’. That seems to say it all. If the break-up of Britain was to become the model for tomorrow’s Europe, then our future will be bleak indeed."
The following is the text of a letter responding to Robertson's reported remarks which The Scotsman declined to publish. I publish it here with the permission of the author who prefers not to be identified.
Dear Sir,

My dictionary provides the same definition of "Balkanisation" as Lord Robertson's but Lord Robertson makes the unwarranted assumption that Scottish independence (or indeed independence for Catalonia, Flanders or anywhere else in Europe) will automatically result in the mutual hostility that is part of the definition of Balkanisation. I would suggest that the way in which the UK government has recognized the right of the Scottish people to choose their future and the way in which to date the process has been agreed means that others are looking with interest to Scotland as an example of just how Balkanisation can best be avoided.

In a united Europe I would suggest that Balkanisation is far more likely to result from others seeking to copy the British approach to participation in the European Union than from Scotland, and others perhaps, seeking to join that Union on equal terms with the other member states.

Well said, that man!
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  1. Would that be "Baron Robertson Of Port Ellen" you're referring to? Baron Robertson's Pro- Unionist quotes are totally unbiased, and Baron Robertson has not gained a single thing for his long time support of the Union.Baron Robertson is just a "regular Baron"

  2. Great article with some very good points - looks like Lord George is stuck in a Balkan time warp, even the Balkans have moved on to enjoy greater democracy. Britain's role as world super power is over,we just can't go on borrowing billions from others to fund the state's appetite for war.

    1. Hi, Paul

      Good point about the "time warp". I have been frequently moved to comment on how the voice of the anti-independence campaign seems to be speaking to us from somewhere in the past.

  3. It was often said of NATO that it spent its time and massive resources preparing to re-fight the last war. His Lordship fitted in with that philosophy perfectly.

    1. Again the reference to an obsession with the past. Seems it's not only me who thinks these people are dinosaurs.