Media Watch: Gore Vidal on Independence

Celebrated American political commentator Gore Vidal, who sadly died on Tuesday, on Scottish Independence: 

“Well I don’t necessarily quite understand what devolution – well, I understand devolution itself, which was the granting of a Scots parliament which… can only lead to independence.

I’ve always thought it a good idea to let people go who do not want to be involved in nation states. And this would be the same for the Basques in France (Ed: He means Spain), and the Kurds over in Turkey, the Bretons in France again, and Northern Italy would like to leave the South. Let everybody go. Everybody hates the nation state. And why should they be jammed together – it’s only because of conquests in the past. And it does no good. It gives the central government all sorts of powers that it ought not to have over the citizens.

I would see ideally, a common-market of all Western-Europe and as much of the East as can come in. Which would be a coming together jointly for trade and the common currency which is a very dicey matter – I think at the moment. In other words that Edinburgh deals not with Westminster, which deals with Brussels. Edinburgh deals directly with Brussels as an independent sovereign nation, with it’s own legal system (well, you already have your own legal system here).

There are many differences and why bother to tie yourself with the South East of the island, which has very different interests from what is going up here. Besides, you have all the money, unless Mrs Thatcher took all the oil away. I gather that she went up here and went pump, pump, pump and went away carrying tins of oil. But I would say that a lot of the wealth of the British Isles is up here (in Scotland). And I think you would be much more comfortable as a rather more strict intellectual polity and become the brains of Scandinavia. This is a Scandinavian country really. So you would go from here over to Norway, over to Sweden, Denmark and Finland. This would be the sane cortex, to move physiologically to parts of the brain, of Europe.”


Taken from an interview with STV in 1998

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  • Mark MacLachlan

    There’s a sizeable French Basque community seeking autonomy too, so you’re both right!

  • National Collective

    Good point.