9/20/2005

The Lost Tribe of Scotland

Last night, I dreamt I went to Muck again...
My opinion of the television programme which is probaby Scotland's finest ever, Weir's Way, and of its presenter Tom Weir, are articulated perfectly in this review by Cameron Borland. There is no word of exaggeration in it.
Last night's journey was to the island of Muck. Mr. Weir interviewed an Aberdonian incomer to the island who had started a business selling wooden crafts objets.
And then the following phrase came into my head -
"We weren't doing so well with native crafts".
Years ago, I heard these words spoken in a TV interview with a Mashantucket Pequot tribal elder from Ledyard, Connecticut, as the reason for their construction of the Foxwoods casino.
And then it hit me...
As much as Scotland might have the will to be independent, it does not possess the means. The critical problem for us will be the creation of an environment where there are not only thriving cash generating industries here, but also that the profits of such industries are retained, invested and spent here.
Under the reservation system, the tribes have autonomy over their own affairs and are largely exempt from state laws, so it is very much easier for them to ensure that profits from such ventures stay within the tribe.
Precisely this problem was brought into focus today by the news that planning permission has bee granted for the construction of a £120m casino and hotel complex at Ibrox Park. The operators of the casino will include Americans, so a portion of profits will be transmitted back to the United States.
What can we do to overcome such obstacles to national enrichment, and the betterment of our people?
Somehow, I don't think we'll be allowed to become a reservation.

2 Comments:

Blogger Canadi-anna said...

Casinos and the like are very sad places.
Private investors(native, foreign or any other)are sapping the local fools dry which is pathetic, but any government involvement (as is always the case with Canada's casinos)is just plain wrong.
You said a while back that any country that relys on tourism to sustain its economy is a failure (paraphrased of course). I think the same goes for casinos. They are the absolute wrong way to raise revenue because they don't build people up, they destroy.

1:39 AM  
Blogger The g-Gnome said...

CA

Oh yes, absolutely. In systems like Scotland's or Canada's, they're socially destructive open invitations to the Russian mafia.

What I was trying (and failing) to articulate is that the particular status held by the reservations enables them to retain money within their economy. It also enables them to circumvent restrictive state level gaming laws. The combination of these factors enabled the Mashantucket Pequots to find a market-based solution to their long-standing poverty problem.

It wasn't a free-market decision, dependent as it was on exemptions from state laws on gaming afforded by the privileged legal status of reservation, and quite clearly the development was intended to be solely for the benefit of one particular group. This is not a fact at which the Pequots are likely to be the least embarrassed.

An independent Scotland could not survive with its current economic structure. The one thing that Celtic peoples are good at doing is talking - God, we can talk! However, if our nationalists are committed to the fact of an independent Scotland, not just an idea that keeps them on the £49,000 Scottish Parliament gravy train, then they need to apply their minds as to how to make our economy fit for independence and how it will be maintained thereafter. I see no sign of such intellectual exercise from them.

And I just wish to God one of their leadership had the guile and lateral thinking ability of the Mashantucket Pequots, because without it, an independent Scotland would degenerate into a Celtic bantustan.

8:20 AM  

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