Daniel G. Williams
What were the lessons of September 18th? Perhaps one of the lasting legacies will be a rejuvenation of minority nationalist politics with independent sovereignty as its goal. For against the neoliberal capitalists and businessmen of the globalising Right, and against the modish trans- and post-nationalists of the Left, the proponents of an independent Scotland represented the belief that the harms of liberal nationalism are not intrinsic to it, and are, in fact, the result of the illiberal chauvinistic intolerance of centralised imperial states. What distinguishes nationalism from chauvinism for the minority nationalist is a willingness to extend the same rights to other peoples that one claims for oneself.
I am writing these words the day after the Scottish Referendum. In a sense it was none of my business, but I took it personally. It was the intimation that a new normal – in the conduct of politics, and rippling beyond politics – might really be possible. It was about hope for me: about the idea of beginning again – knowing what we know, learning what we've learned; about a country very near to my own starting over with proper, humane priorities – putting people first.
The Scottish independence referendum was very much noticed in Cornwall, and it brought the ongoing campaign for a Cornish Assembly back into the spotlight. In fact, this issue was a focus for most of the local media coverage. Of course, the Cornish press wanted to find an angle that has relevance to local people. The Cornish media can be quite inward-looking, which means that UK-wide and global issues are often overlooked. The Cornish coverage of the Scottish referendum, in contrast, was more open, bringing out political commentators from across the spectrum, with almost all arguing that Cornwall, too, needs more powers wrested from central government.