Sunday, November 18, 2012

Clinton doesn't just oppose "separatism" - he opposes democratic self-determination

Our old friend Duncan Hothersall was full of beans yesterday about the supposed 'endorsement' of the No campaign by Bill Clinton. In truth, of course, it was no such thing - the comment Clinton made was vacuous and full of creative ambiguity, and as Jeff Breslin has pointed out, was entirely misconceived if it was intended to subtly steer listeners towards the 'correct' conclusion. Both unionists and nationalists agree that it's possible and desirable to be both Scottish and British, thanks all the same Bill, so there's no need for you to worry your pretty little head over that issue. Indeed, the SNP were quickly able to confirm that their philosophy is entirely in accordance with the one Clinton set out, and while they were at it they could also have pointed out that they share Clinton's fervour for motherhood and apple pie.

But if we leave aside what Clinton actually said, and turn our attention to what he almost certainly thinks, then perhaps Duncan has a point. You see, Clinton has form on this. During his presidency, he launched an utterly disgraceful intervention into the internal affairs of a neighbouring state by not only coming down firmly on the side of the federalists in Quebec, but also by disputing Quebec's right to seek independence even if the majority voted for it. In case anyone doubted that this position was part of a wider belief-system, he astonishingly went out of his way to commend Russia's "rightful" defence of its national sovereignty in Chechnya (while quibbling about some of the specific methods used to do this).

This is the problem, Duncan - Clinton doesn't just oppose 'separatism', he also opposes democratic self-determination. He's an unreconstructed 'territorial integrity' dinosaur, who thinks that the vested interest of an international elite in keeping all national borders exactly as they are should trump the democratic will of citizens.

Is that really the sort of friend you want, Duncan?

As you might have guessed, I'm not Clinton's greatest fan - all he really achieved in office was the effective disenfranchisement of millions, who were hoping for a slightly wider choice in 1996 than between two right-wing Republicans. The fact that Dick Morris ran his campaign that year says it all. In a sense, the George W Bush presidency was a monster of Clinton's own creation - after eight years of triangulation, it's little wonder that many liberal voters were sick of being told they had nowhere else to go, and either stayed home or voted for Nader.


  1. Even if Clinton did endorse the campaign (which I agree, he didn't), would it make any difference to the average Scottish voter?

    With all due respect to President Clinton, his take on what it is like to live in Scotland under the UK government is of no real interest to any of us.

    I don't suppose that it unreasonable to suspect that senior American politicians will keep a weather eye on what happens in Scotland, because of the UK's importance as a bag carrier for the USA. They may worry that a diminished rUK might have a bit of a job convincing the rest of the world that they were still due a seat on the Security Council. The rest of the world may feel this a good time to rid themselves of the UK.

    And the UK's inability to find somewhere to dock their WMDs may give some momentum to this move.

    But none of that should worry the average Scot, working out whether or not they will be better off under Edinburgh or London rule.

    I wish we could give every waverer a short break in Norway!

  2. I assume Bill drapes his house in black and has a quiet bread and water dinner every 4th of July on Separation Day.

  3. Yes, I gather the American declaration of independence is known in the Clinton household as 'The Historic Error'.

    I also liked this tweet from Oldnat -

    "Clinton must also think carving a separate Israel out of Palestine was wrong. Does he say that to US Jewish voters?"

  4. "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness"

    I fear Mr Clinton is guilty of "Unamerican Sentiments". He is no more than a lollipop.

  5. Given America's history - where the north violently opposed the secession of the south against the south's wishes - I'm not surprised Clinton holds that view.

    Unfortunately for Clinton, Cameron and Salmond have already signed the Edinburgh agreement.

  6. Clinton thinks he has the right to speak from his high and mighty Ivory tower and "instruct" those not living under his direct protection how they should conduct themselves does he now?

    Well I've a wee piece of advice for him. Stop trying to tell other countries how they should or should not live their lives and start worrying about the future of your own country Bubba.

    As to what others have said, I agree, the Clintons obviously do celebrate Independence Day but mourn Separation Day!