The Question is this:
Are the Scottish proponents of continued Union with England purely mercenary or simply suffering from a Stockholm’s type delusion – is there another possibility?
Before investigating the concept of a large section of our populace suffering from the Stockholm Syndrome, it is necessary to examine the background of the nation or nations involved.
Can it be so simple to apply Stockholm’s to our nation that it doesn’t even need, as in my case, either a psychology degree or convoluted logic to demonstrate how simply the facts fit the case.
Our present Union construct of four quasi-devolved nations, evolving since the legal construction of the UK in 1926 is simply an ongoing dialogue that’s principally between the Scots and English, Holyrood and Westminster. Key to this is in understanding that for a captive to exist there has to be a captor. If the traditionally disseminated Union story of voluntary assimilation by both nations into one government, of a benign rescue by London of a debt burdened near bankrupt Edinburgh is factual there can be no case for Stockholm’s.
A look at the history behind the creation of this “Gee-Bee” perception and the psychology that maintains it proves fascinating.
Prior to our present quasi-devolved state construct of four nations there is the older Union by Treaty of two sovereign nations, that of England and Scotland from 1707.
That the Scots never wanted that treaty is self evident to any student of history. Anyone doubting this fact needs only to examine the facts. In Scotland it was signed in secret, with the supporters fearing for their lives. Daniel Defoe, King William’s paymaster and agent of subterfuge within Scotland in the lead up to the Treaty of Union also recorded in his journals that more than 9 in 10 Scots were against the Acts.
It is well documented that Darien was a failure, leaving many nobles near bankruptcy. Not so well acclaimed is the historical fact that it was English and Spanish collusion that were substantial drivers in the failure. Darien’s demise was engineered in London.
With the demise of Darien many Scots in opposition to Union perished, others of the ruling class were near destitute, and although the nation itself remained debt free and relatively wealthy, it was this ruling class which sold their votes to avoid penury.
Effectively we have a captive / captured situation.
There have been many attempts by the Scots to dissolve the Union that prove this, from rioting at inception to a parliamentary act some five years after, two open rebellions and other home rule acts, petitions and finally devolution.
On the oppressive side there have been “the clearances”, “the banning of name and dress” proscription of weapon, and educational acts prohibiting use of our native language. In all it leads to a picture of what can only be accurately described as cultural genocide.
There are examples in living memory, from the simple act of repression created by ignoring the 1952 National Covenant to overturning the 1979 referendum by invention and insertion of a “one time” constitutional hurdle. In the devolution settlement of the 1990’s Scots voted for a “Parliament”, Westminster then “granted” an “executive”.
Having set the background stage it is opportune to see if the current proponents of Union with England, claiming Scotland’s best interests as dear to the heart, still act simply from personal self interest as their forebears did, or are principally victims of the Stockholm syndrome.
On the surface at least it is apparent that those projecting vacuous or unsubstantiated reasons for Scotland remaining in this present union “stronger together” “Britishness is a state of mind” have no apparently hard credible arguments, but almost without exception these individuals or organisations have benefitted substantially from espousing that view. Arguably for them the captor has been kind; they have been elevated above their peers.
Stockholm or personal profit is for the reader to decide – for without a credible third argument appearing, it would appear to be an either/or situation.
No other viable explanation appears to exist, as Annabelle Goldie, ex leader of the Conservative party in Scotland publically confirmed to the UK Prime Minister David Cameron on the weekend of October 1st 2011, “Scotland is not subsidized, the UK would be poorer without Scotland”. The Union proponents have still failed to give Scots a hard and fast third option, they still, after three centuries and counting, have not given the average Scot a solid Union benefit.
Ms. Goldie herself here clearly states “Scotland would be richer” outside the Union, simple interpretation of her statement must mean that Scotland is poorer within the Union. Ms. Goldie therefore supports poverty to a greater degree than is required for her nation, asking why she and those like her take this position is certainly legitimate.
What is Stockholm’s Syndrome?
An accepted definition of the Stockholm syndrome: An extraordinary phenomenon in which a hostage begins to identify with and grow sympathetic to their captor.
Named for an episode that occurred in Stockholm in August, 1973 when an armed Swedish robber took some bank workers captive, held them for six days and stole their hearts. The Stockholm syndrome is not limited to Swedes.
Patty Hearst, heir to the publishing fortune, was kidnapped in 1974 by the Symbionese Liberation Army. She later joined the SLA and participated in a bank robbery with them.
More recently, Elizabeth Smart was kidnapped by a couple for 9 months. Elizabeth repeatedly had the chance to run away or ask for help but did not. It is now generally believed that she had the Stockholm syndrome, in which she formed emotional bonds with her captors.
Stockholm syndrome is a term used to describe a paradoxical psychological phenomenon wherein hostages express adulation and have positive feelings towards their captors that appear irrational in light of the danger or risk endured by the victims, essentially mistaking a lack or perceived lowering of abuse from their captors as an act of kindness.
The FBI’s Hostage Barricade Database System shows that roughly 27% of victims show evidence of Stockholm syndrome. It also appears more prevalent among women. This therefore begs the question, “is this why Scots women consistently lag behind Scots men in polling for a Yes vote?”.
While there is still disagreement as to what factors precisely characterize incidents that contribute to the development of Stockholm syndrome, research suggests that hostages may exhibit the condition in situations where the following four factors are present:
· They feature captors who do not overtly physically abuse the victim.
· There is a long duration before resolution.
· There is continued contact between the perpetrator and hostage.
· There is a high level of emotion involved.
How it can apply in the case of Scots supporting Union.
Firstly hostages who develop Stockholm syndrome often view the perpetrator as giving life by simply not taking it. In this sense, the captor becomes the person in control of the captive’s basic needs for survival and the victim’s life itself.
It is relatively simple to place this into context, with Westminster controlling all taxes, welfare, pensions and much of criminal and social justice systems.
Secondly the hostage endures isolation from other people and has only the captor’s perspective available. Perpetrators routinely keep information about the outside world’s response to their actions from captives to keep them totally dependent.
Following three centuries of death, deprivation, clearances, execution, proscription and exile, dating from a time well prior to the signature of the Treaty Of Union through the present Scots now live in a reasonably just society, arguably more so than in England.
One should consider however that in the 20th century alone there was more than one occasion when censorship was rife and directed by London. This included the reported issuance of provisional orders for English armour to take to the streets in 1919 and in the 1960’s [Glasgow] through the ’74 gagging of McCrone. There were innumerable instances of atrocity that went unreported during the fall of empire to maintain the appearance of “benevolence” to the dispossession of the Diego Garcia inhabitants.
The condition of censorship continues in the present decade as we escape illegal wars and in the last week alone the attempts at suppressing the antics of “Prince Harry” are just a recent example. Corruption is endemic in the state, it’s rarely reported as such, and it’s only a miniscule percentage of offenders that is ever held to account. Even the state needs examples on occasion.
For three centuries and more, the people of Scotland have now largely obtained their information through Anglo centered, London based media, where censorship is rife, often simply by omission, and through the 20th century has been controlled, in disproportionate fashion by the BBC, with the greater portion of funds provided by the nation of Scotland directed towards production facilities in and around the English Capitol.
This was forcibly underlined during the recent Scotland Act, 1998, whereby the Media and broadcasting was specifically noted as a power reserved to the Westminster Parliament. At the Olympics we just witnessed the obliteration of anything with the potential to demonstrate to the world, during Westminster’s showcase, that there might actually be a nation called Scotland.
The message delivered through these media over decades, often subliminally, is that the Scots are now a race of “Subsidy Junkies”. Scots are also informed that they could not survive as an independent nation (while the UK attempts to simultaneously convince nations larger and smaller, from the BVI to India that they CAN survive), and that the voice of Scotland would be mediocre on the international stage. It omits to point out that within the Union presentation on the world stage the voice of Scotland does not exist.
Scots are also informed that as a member of the Union the international community views them with respect and dignity, which is obviously incorrect as demonstrated by such internal stories printed by the often perceived Scots sycophantic press. Everything is filtered through Westminster.
The Scots world view has therefore spent almost the entire time of Union being shaped by London. Scots see the world largely through London’s selective lens; even the weather maps on BBC television contain subtle minimizing psychology.
Thirdly, the hostage taker threatens to kill the victim and gives the perception of having the capability to do so. The captive judges it safer to align with the perpetrator, endure the hardship of captivity, and comply with the captor than to resist and face murder.
Clearly the attempt, almost successfully, was made to destroy an independent national identity and erase that culture from amongst the Brotherhood of Nations. Through encouragement of divisions along ethnic/religious divides, clearances, and two unsuccessful risings, the realm of Scotland was to be relegated to simply “North Britain” throughout the eighteenth, nineteenth and much of the twentieth century’s.
It is in fact not uncommon to still see the phrase “North Britain” used in print, video and other media post 2010. That it was largely successful on the international stage is evidenced by the fact that to the world community at large, England and Britain are interchangeable phrases for the same identity. Scotland is not perceived as a nation in its own right by much of our world.
Our voice is not “stronger within”, it is decidedly gagged.
The dominant faction of the Union (England) began apparent moderation of these policies as the twentieth century wore on. It is arguable the moderation took place after Westminster perceived the case as “won beyond redemption”. When Scots returned a Tory majority vote in the 1950’s that opinion was likely catalyzed.
The centuries of abuse also arguably left the most solid underlying impression in the national identity of the common Scot that both the ability and the will were present on England’s part for an attempt at utter extinction of the national Scots identity should it become a necessity. Endurance and compliance could, in large part, prevent this. Even in today’s Olympics, when Scots athletes proudly display the Saltire it is, for the most part, simply edited out – like the attempt upon Scotland herself from history through Westminster’s control of broadcasting.
With a referendum approaching the overriding theme from the Union is negativity. Scots have heard all the doom cries, possibly more than could have been expected. Everything from expulsion from Europe to bombing our airports, Scots have been promised fiscal and literal death. Perhaps NATO would be a good idea to give us allies and forestall English aggression – the overtone is unmistakable.
Lastly, the captive sees the perpetrator as showing some degree of kindness. Kindness serves as the cornerstone of Stockholm syndrome; the condition will not develop unless the captor exhibits it in some form toward the hostage. However, captives often misinterpret a lack of abuse as kindness and may develop feelings of appreciation for this perceived benevolence. If the captor is purely evil and abusive, the hostage will respond with hatred. But, if perpetrators show some kindness, victims will submerge the anger they feel in response to the terror and concentrate on the captors’ “good side” to protect themselves.
The captive nation (Scotland), from the apparent perspective of a mass of individuals within the nation could be said in many/most cases to observe the union as “Kindly”.
This is because it ensures in the present day and age that a roof is still available, as is nourishment. What appears more difficult for these individuals to understand is that these same mechanisms would in almost all scenarios still exist without the union, perhaps in greater plenty and with greater security.
The Union and its proponents self edit the atrocities, the abuses and the practiced cultural genocide, highlighting instead warm and fuzzy “better together” images, without ever explaining exactly how we are better together.
It remains to be seen what the outcome of austerity will ultimately be with respect to the Union as Scots witness the dismantling of the socially beneficial aspects of the United Kingdom. It may alter the “kindly” perception enough to create a substantial difference.
These scenarios are apparently subconsciously discounted by media and politicians alike, with phrases such as “Scotland’s wishes to be considered” (a statement by Liberal Democrat Nick Clegg with regards to Scots being forced to change the date of their national elections by Westminster).
The incredible issue here is that these statements can be portrayed as acts of benevolent kindness rather than an inalienable right in a democratic society! Somehow rather than generate a universal national anger, these comments instead are apparently seen by many less astute Scots with a type of “we’re being cared for” perspective.
When only 3% of Scots residents view themselves as “British” foremost, it seems appropriate to enquire how this Union survives. Furthermore, what, if any, are the driving factors for its survival outwith the probability of the almost universally unhealthily decried Stockholm Syndrome or England’s economic need.
Throughout the last three hundred years there have been a great many notable cases which reflect the fact many of us, past and present, arguably, very strongly arguably, suffer from the Stockholm syndrome. There are very few equally notable exceptions.
In cases where Stockholm syndrome has occurred, the captive is in a situation where they have been stripped of nearly all forms of independence as well as their basic needs for survival, and the captor has effectively gained control of the victim’s life.
Some experts say that the hostage regresses to, perhaps, a state of infancy; the captive must cry for food, or in our case natural sovereign powers, or remain silent, and exist in an extreme state of dependence.
In contrast, the perpetrator serves as a 'mother' ﬁgure protecting the 'child' from a threatening outside world, including law enforcement’s deadly weapons. The issue with Stockholm’s is that it is insidious; it is invisible to the sufferer.
We can only conclude that, as a nation, it is past time for Scotland to take her position of responsibility in the global community. It is time for individual contribution, for individual recognition. It is time to cease being Scots in failure and “Brits” when triumphant. It is time to stand proudly once again.
This is where we stand today, but with a referendum due in 2014, and those who would vote “No” appearing to opt for decades more privatisation, austerity, asset stripping and social policy decimation is there any other ready explanation than that posed above?
For those who would vote “No” in the referendum, knowing that by common consensus they will be poorer if they do, they should ask themselves why they would deny their own Sovereignty, why they would further impoverish themselves and their children.
The definition of foolhardiness has been said to be repeating the action and expecting a different outcome. As the Union has undeniably failed most Scots, it is amongst the most unequal nations on earth. Individuals who would vote “No” must surely question their choice.