Sunday, August 17, 2014

Scotland's Panama Canal

One hundred years ago today, the first ship passed through the brand-new, U.S.-built Panama Canal and now, a century later, Panama owns the canal outright and is one of the most prosperous nations in Central America.

It's a grand story, but it should be a Scottish story.

You see, back in 1698, the brain trust of Scotland hatched a plan; they would raise money from everyone in the country with two coins to press together, and then they would dig a Panama Canal to the Pacific and control the world.

It was a bold idea, and quick as you can pour a pint the money was raised as part of the "Darien Scheme".

Suffice it to say that things did not go according to plan!

Though the Scheme was backed by between a quarter and half of all the money circulating in Scotland at the time, it floundered under poor planning, disease, food shortage, and a lack of any real desire for goods from the other side of the world.


When the whole thing went bust, nobles, landowners, town councils, and ordinary tradespeople were left ruined.

What to do? 

Why, simple enough: sell yourself to the English for the price of a massive economic bailout!

That bailout was called the "Act of Union,"
and was completed in 1707, joining the Kingdom of England and the Kingdom of Scotland (previously separate states with separate legislatures and one monarch, but the potential for two monarchs) into a single, united kingdom called "Great Britain".

And what is the legacy of all this today?  

Well, a referendum on whether Scotland should be free again will take place on September 18, 2014, a month from now.

The referendum question, as recommended by the Electoral Commission, is: "Should Scotland be an independent country?" 

Or, in short, should Scotland be Scotland again, as it was before some half-wit greedy Scottish drunks decided to dig a Panama Canal almost 400 years ago?

We shall see what is said at the time of election, but at the moment the vote for independence does not look good.


Ian Logan said...

I must say that I am disappointed at your portrayal of Scots as drunks. Why are Scots the only ethnic group in the world that people feel fine about insulting?

One of the reasons that Darien failed was because king William (himself a Dutchman banned all English merchants from trading with the Scots and ordered his navy not to give assistance to the Scots.

As for next months referendum. don't be so sure.

PBurns said...

But you're OK with half wits, LOL. Okay. :). You might look up per capita alcohol consumption back then. Everyone was drunk all the time!

PBurns said...

Some fun stuff from 1700 -- use the Google.

Still a problem. This was sobering ;)

Ian Logan said...

Pat the referendum is about the future not the past. It is about democracy.

Two questions.
!/Do you believe that a country should run its own affairs. Yes or no?

2/Do you believe that Scotland is a country. Yes or No?

Here in Scotland we are being bombarded day after day with unionist scaremongering and insults to our intelligence. We even had Obama sticking his twopence worth in. To his credit he sounded less than convinced himself. But it went down a storm here an American President lecturing us on independence from the UK. That will be the America that went to war for the very same reason.

Please take some time to investigate the links that I included in my comment. If you believe in democracy you can't decry the Yes campaign.

Contrast the blogs with the unending propaganda from the MSM and the BBC in particular. They would make Pravda proud! Plenty on that in Newsnet Scotland.

Thanks in anticipation.

Ian Logan said...

Forgot to add.

Currently we have a Tory / Lib. Dem coalition in Westminster governing us.

Scotland has more giant pandas than Tory MPs. :-)

PBurns said...

All for it, and I would vote for it if I could. But it's your country to self-determine. The Brits seem to think that too. The same kind of vote occurred with Puerto Rico. They voted to stay, but I suspect that had to do with wanting American tourists, exit immigration to NY, and the U.S. military to protect it all, as well as billion dollar tax subsidies to make pharmaceutical companies locate there. Not sure the same equation is in play for Scotland!