PASSPORT

A GUEST ARTICLE FROM REGULAR CONTRIBUTOR PETE YOUNG FROM SCOTNEWS WHICH IS BASED IN DENMARK.

Passport

The train leaves at 7.26am from Copenhagen. Thanks to the Great Belt tunnel and bridge you now travel direct to Hamburg. There’s no need to disembark anymore, the ferries between Sjaelland and Fyn stopped sailing years ago.
The Danish IC train continues across the middle island, over another bridge to Jutland, and down through historic Schleswig-Holstein.

I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve crossed the border to Germany. Until the Great Belt connection opened, it was mostly via Gedser-Travemunde which, on arrival, gave you views of the DDR’s Baltic coast. Sinister watchtowers stretched as far as the eye could see. That was the land of Stasi informers, show trials, the smearing and demonisation of anyone who didn’t toe the party line.

However, the most popular maritime crossing to Germany is Rødby-Puttgarten. Rødby was once a ‘boat train’ port. These days, far cleaner hybrid ferries whisk you over in about 40min. But most passenger ferry routes will probably close within a decade. That’s because the latest transport infrastructure project is already underway.
Tunnel construction has begun on the southern Danish island of Lolland. An undersea connection that may, one day, become the backdrop to some Nordic crime drama, will emerge on the German island of Fehmarn. When it’s complete it will enable even faster rail transport between Scandinavia and central Europe. Night trains are already being revived as EU states co-operate on clean, fast city centre to city centre rail – green, sustainable transport.



After several decades, the prosperous independent country I arrived in has seen huge changes to its transport infrastructure. It’s testament to what a small indy nation can achieve when it retains all of its revenues.

With England voting to leave the EU it seemed inevitable that we Scots would abandon the Treaty of Union. Who didn’t imagine back in 2016 we’d all be citizens of an indy Scotland in Europe by 2022? Alas, the vehicle to independence lost its way as Nicola lost her nerve.

So, having been recently granted Danish citizenship, I decided to apply for a Danish passport. I’m simply too ashamed and angry to be a subject of the ‘British’ state anymore.
When you reach a certain age, travelling 1st Class on the ‘Danske Statsbaner’ isn’t much more expensive. You’ll notice the seats are bigger and further apart. There’s complimentary coffee, tea, and biscuits. It’s ‘hygge på skinner’ as the Danes might say, ‘cosyness by rail’. You need to have your passport on cross border trips even though no one ever wants to check it. All that No Borders propaganda by astroturfer Malcolm Offord during indyref, is actual reality on a trip between Denmark, Germany and France. To all intents and purposes, there are no borders for the European traveller. Ironic then, that voting No in 2014 has created nothing but barriers for we Scots to the rest of Europe. Still, Offord got his seat in the Lords for his services to the Union of Unequals.



Speaking of passports, a new agreement among the Nordic nations makes it far easier to hold dual citizenship. The new dual citizenship agreement is for the Nordics only. Although Germany has a Baltic coast, ferry connections to Scandinavia, and a land border with Denmark, it is not included and never asked to be. The issue is no doubt one of size. At 80 million plus, Germany just doesn’t fit with Nordic populations.

But imagine for a minute it had been Germany and not England that exited the EU. There may have been a stream of Germans crossing the northern borders before the deal was done. In countries of 5-6 million an influx of between 500,000 – 1,000,000 ‘incomers’, could create a huge change in population demographics.

In that hypothetical situation, should those incomers been granted full voting rights? ‘Of course not! That’s a preposterous idea,’ you may say. You might point out that dishing out franchise rights willy-nilly could lead to the country suddenly having a huge foreign minority with substantial political clout at the ballot box. Political parties based south of the border may even use money and influence to promote themselves throughout Denmark. That’s just not on, not here at least.

Hypothetical obviously, but were that unlikely scenario to occur would we accuse Danes of ethnic nationalism if they denied recent southern incomers voting rights? Would we wag a self-righteous finger in their direction, while shouting, ‘Why aren’t you Danes more civic?’ Or ask ‘Why don’t they just accept that if you live in Denmark you automatically become a Dane?’ We might even feel inclined to portray them as rabid, ethnic nationalists who are anti-German.

Of course, in the real world, most rational thinking Danes have an entirely normal attitude to their far larger southern neighbour. And the feeling is reciprocal. Both countries are popular holiday destinations and weekend getways for each other’s nationals. Old animosities have gone. The WWII occupation of Denmark by the Nazis is viewed as an aberration.

The simple fact is, a large country like Germany would fit no better in the Nordic Council than England would work in a British Federation. However, a future Celtic Council, modelled on its Nordic equivalent, could be a goer. Ireland, Scotland and Wales have much in common. Population size, Celtic heritage, and not least, centuries of being dominated by London.

In the decades that I’ve lived as an immigrant, I’ve never once voted in a national election or referendum because I’ve never been included in the electoral franchise for either. It’s never bothered me. I could vote on what affected me locally and in EU elections, so certainly not disenfranchised. Only on issues pertaining to the constitution and national government have I been excluded, until now. The simple reality is, I wasn’t born in this country. Yes, I now have full citizenship rights, but no matter how long I live here I will never be a Dane, it’s physically impossible. My roots are elsewhere, and my heart is still Scottish. To pretend otherwise would be disingenuous. We are who we are. Fortunately, Danes do not demand you deny your heritage or renounce your other citizenship in order to receive theirs.

The nonsense some Scots gush about incomers suddenly becoming Scottish by merely moving here appears to be based on a kind of national insecurity, a cultural cringe, or perhaps fear of asserting our own distinct Scottish identity.

For most people, it takes time to settle in another country, and the majority arrive for purely personal reasons. Integration is a longer process. Polling recent arrivals to gauge their attitude to indy seems rather distasteful and a tad exploitative. Incomers have little interest in our constitutional struggle. And why should they, it’s not their fight. In fact, many of our newly arrived cousins from England may be directly opposed to we Scots running our own country.

Of course, if you’ve lived the greater part of your life in another nation you may come to adopt that nation’s customs, language, identify with its heritage, and even with the national aspirations of its people. This is a beautiful experience that can enrich our lives. But it takes time. The next logical step would be to apply for citizenship.

One day that will be possible in Scotland. But this is far different from a student studying for six months, a second home owner, or a Brexit refugee who at heart still views Scotland as greater England and is opposed to ending the Union.
If there is to be a future indyref, the 2014 franchise must be re-considered to take into account the massive influx from our far more populous southern neighbour, post-Brexit.

In all the years I’ve lived as an immigrant, it never once occurred to me to demand full franchise rights of my hosts merely because I moved here. That would have, at best, been impolite – and at worst, entitled and arrogant on my part. I moved to their country, I had no right to demand anything of Danes at all. I’ve always found displays of British entitlement abroad toe-curling. Danes voted to reject the Euro and refused to ratify EU treaties that conflicted with the nation’s constitution. Who was I to tell them otherwise?

‘That’s all very well but we’re not independent,’ I can hear someone saying, stating the blindingly obvious. We may not have full autonomy, but we are still a nation. We never stopped being a nation. If we believe that anyone who lands in Scotland is to be automatically granted full voting rights, including on matters concerning our historic struggle for independence, we perhaps don’t believe we are a nation at all. 

It is also the height of folly to imagine all of the post-Brexit incomers moved here to support our cause. To be honest, if our future Yes vote franchise is to be determined on polling the attitudes of incomers, to see if they’ll vote for our national cause, we might as well pack it in. The plain truth is, many of our southern neighbours still view Scotland as they view Wales, and as they once viewed Ireland. It’s not their fault. They have been conditioned to think this way since birth. For many, Englishness is synonymous with Britishness. Scotland, to them, is no more than a glorified English region with people who speak funny. This attitude won’t change in the short term. 

In the absence of citizenship, full voting rights on constitutional issues should be based on long-term permanent residency – not a recent move or a transient stay.

When our nation finally gets around to issuing passports and granting citizenship we’ll presumably have our own criteria with reference to residency, knowledge of Scottish culture, and so on. In fact, we could even go as far as the Icelanders who insist that, as a new citizen, you take an Icelandic name. With its tiny population, Iceland tries to protect its culture and heritage. Of course, we Scots might not want to go down the road of insisting. But we could offer future new citizens the opportunity to adopt a Gaelic middle name on citizenship. Not coercion, just a choice. A way of connecting their future with our past. I imagine some new Scots might just adopt a Gaelic name with pride.

If you’re heading to Paris, the second and final change comes in Frankfurt. From there a French TGV whooshes you to the magnifcent Gare de l’Est arriving just before 9pm.

As mentioned, Malcolm Offord’s ‘No Borders’ propaganda is reality in a Europe of self-governing, independent states. Passports are rarely viewed on these trips. Only one country seems obsessed with closing borders, and it’s not Scotland.

In ‘The Scottish World’, author Billy Kay mentions Scottish nationality:

“In 1513, dual nationality was granted to Scots living in France and in 1558 this was reciprocated for the French living in Scotland. France was also a haven for Scots students, with a Collège des Écossais established in Paris in 1326 by Bishop Moray…”.

You know, visiting my son in Paris feels like coming home, in more ways than one.

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32 thoughts on “PASSPORT

  1. Agree with all Pete has said. However it is moot. There is not going to be a referendum for anyone to vote in. Under current and favoured future leadership, the SNP is simply the most successful unionist party in Scotland. I’m not sure devolution is safe in their hands but the Union sure seems to be.

    Liked by 11 people

  2. That was a really interesting article Pete. I was especially interested in the new train line to Hamburg. I lived 12 years in Hamburg until the middle of the 80’s, having been driven out of Scotland by unemployment, and now I find myself after being even further afield, back again in Hamburg, but not being allowed to return to Scotland as I have an un- desirable German wife. We had been planning to live in Scotland but Brexit has put paid to that and that bitter pill is even more bitter when I see the inaction of this dreadful SNP Govt.

    In the 70’s travelling to Denmark we always travelled by road over Puttgarden and then often onto Romo. There used to be a lot of friction in these days, with Danes more than a bit pissed of with the Germans and their holiday houses, which I believe has cooled down now due to new ownership rules.

    Living and working in Germany I never expected to have the right to vote in the Bundes elections. Why should I, as a foreigner have a say in constitutional matters. I was totally shocked in 2014 about the franchise for the Indyref. I had accepted that I wasn’t allowed to vote as I had been out of the country too long but for 2nd home owners and other short time residents to have the right to vote really pissed me off. This should never be allowed again.

    I think I’ll be trying out the Danske Statsbaner in the near future.

    Liked by 11 people

    1. The Great Belt connection is an incredible bit of engineering. The new tunnel to Fehmarn is already underway and will be even longer. EU states have a long term plan for high-speed rail which could shift a lot of people off planes. This summer the Stockholm-Berlin night train service restarted after popular demand to see eco-friendly transport. The route crosses the bridge & tunnel between Malmoe-Copenhagen then to Germany via the Great Belt connection. In the ‘old days’ I remember carriages being shunted onto the boat-train ferries – slow going as carriages had to be lashed down with huge chains! Incredible thing is, on top of all these bridges and tunnels Copenhagen has a brand new Metro. Too wee and too poor they are not. Meanwhile in Scotland…

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Excellent article, and it gives us a peek behind the curtain of what Scotland could do on the transport front if it were independent, HS2 eat your heart out. We really need to exit this union, or we’ll be stuck in Groundhog Day for god knows how long, alas Sturgeon won’t be our saviour.

    O/T

    Any word yet on the SSRG’s article on showing how Westminster broke the !707 Treaty on multiple occasions?

    Liked by 7 people

  4. Excellent article – but what chills me to the bone is the words:
    That was the land of Stasi informers, show trials, the smearing and demonisation of anyone who didn’t toe the party line.

    This is the iScotand that Sturgeon and her crew would build if they had to build one at all. It is the Scotland in “union” they are building today. I heard that strong people can be murdered by the weak because they don’t realise in time it is their life they are fighting for. We are fighting for Scotlands existence against the “union” on one side and fascism/Stalininsm on the other. We need to wake people up but how? The scandal damn has to burst.

    Liked by 10 people

    1. Good post Marion.

      “This is the iScotand that Sturgeon and her crew would build if they had to build one at all”

      Quite which is why they can never be allowed to be in charge of iScotland. In some ways it’s just as well they have no intention of achieving it. What needs to happen is for Yes voters to wake up and realise that the current leadership (sic) is taking them for mugs.

      Liked by 7 people

    2. The comparison with the Stasi state is not unmerited. Who’d have thought those who took over from Alex would be so quick to destroy and discredit what he built up. This sort of thing doesn’t happen by chance, some pre-planning must have been involved, which suggests the possibility of long-term, high-level infiltration of the SNP by our openly hostile neighbour.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Agreed IndyScot – Sturgeon has survived too many scandals and mis steps that would have finished any other FM. She cannot organise her sock drawer and every initiative of her administration is a mess and yet her political grip is iron and her MSM image golden. This cannot be happenstance. We are being destroyed by our “own” government.

        Liked by 2 people

  5. Four years ago I visited Scandinavia and one of the many things that impressed me about Denmark was the ease with which people could travel from Copenhagen to outlying areas. The rail system was excellent. Since then I have used Denmark as an example of how successful a small, independent country can be. On the subject of the franchise we should no longer be frightened of being called ‘blood and soil’ nationalists and do what most other countries do, that is, retain the franchise for general elections for citizens and residents of an agreed duration of time. Students, second home owners and people not resident here should not have the vote in a referendum which would decide the future of our country.

    Liked by 10 people

  6. A good article Peter, reminding us of what an independent Scotland could still be.

    A friend of ours, a long time independence supporter, came to visit today. Eventually the discussion got round to independence. When my wife and I said that we would no longer vote for the SNP while Sturgeon and her clique hold power the sparks began to fly. Our friend could not understand that Sturgeon is not to be trusted, insisting that she and the SNP are the only way to get independence.This kind of conversation must be taking place all over Scotland, where genuine independence supporters are falling out with each other over the new style SNP.

    I hope that Alba will stand in every constituency in Scotland at every opportunity with the maximum of publicity. The sooner we get free of this rancid so called union the better.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. The 2015 GE result was a virtual mandate to end the Union. Instead the 56 trooped down south to pay homage to the monarch and offer her their fealty. Robertson did nothing to insist Better Together promises were kept. The current malaise began right there, imo.

      Liked by 4 people

  7. I wish people would stop being so small-minded that they call the EU (or even EU countries that are members of the Schengen zone) ‘Europe’. You need a passport, with a visa, from Edinburgh or London, that needs to be registered at a post office on arrival, if you go to Moscow, which is in Europe. Europe ends at the Azeri / Irani border. The EU ends at Slovakia. There is a part of Europe where the official religion is Buddism, and obviously it’s not in the EU.

    Britain allows their citizens dual citezenship with any country that allows dual citizenship, just like Denmark. So what?

    Funnily enough, that entitles you to vote in elections in both countries you are a citizen of, no matter how long you have lived there.

    The Danes voted against becoming EU citizens. Danmark has greater immigrant-hysteria at government regulation level than Britain. Verging on Nazi.

    Is the Nordic dual-citizenship whatever-it-is similar to the Britain/Ireland one?

    As far as public transport goes, the Scottish government can’t even get it together to introduce an Oyster Card kind of thing, never mind getting ferries built, and in reality, leaving the UK wouldn’t make the slightest bit of difference to that situation. If the aurthor’s heart is in the Highlands, instead of on the 13:23 to Hamburg, he should be blogging about that.

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    1. Most normal sane people understand when ‘Europe’ is being used to mean the EU. They also know that Iceland, Norway, Switzerland etc. are Europe. These normal people are of a large enough mind to cope with these often unspoken informal rules of political discussion. On the other hand, those with no imagination and a psychological need for pedantry for some reason do not understand these informal rules.
      Well there you go.

      Liked by 2 people

  8. One interesting thing about Denmark is that it may be the only country in the World to have officially declaired ghettos.

    Like

  9. I visited Norway a few years ago. Roads were being upgraded in ways we can only dream of, tunnels were bored through mountains leading to small villages and towns all the way up the west of the country, with complex bridges over Fiords and rivers in the most difficult of locations.

    On the subject of who can vote in our constitutional elections, we need to make sure that only people born here and permanent residents of longstanding should qualify, people who have retired here should not be eligible. I know of a number of elderly retirees who will always call themselves English no matter what. Whilst handing out election leaflets one gent told me we were not fit to run a country as we could not even speak properly. Another got annoyed at ‘Scotland The Brand’ leaflets as he maintained we are all one UK in an angry voice, a picture of the Queen above the fireplace and Union Flag type. Just a small sample of the abuse we have to endure. A number of these people had and have children and grandchildren at Scottish Universities, giving perhaps six plus unionist votes from one property which was initially only a holiday house before retirement. This is common in the South of Scotland and North East Fife areas that I am familiar with. One chap told me he could postal vote in England as well as here in General Elections.

    I also think we should all send links to articles like this to local YES Group members as I have found in the past that some can be outside the loop. At one YES meeting a few years ago nobody properly understood the Holyrood D’Hondt voting system, so nothing surprises me.

    Liked by 5 people

  10. Absolutely right. I could not fathom at the time why Swinney went along with conclusions of the Smith commission. The SNP were not bothered a toss about the outcome of that. I saw that then and it is becoming clearer now, the why of it. The rot was set in early.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Peter writes:

    “The simple fact is, a large country like Germany would fit no better in the Nordic Council than England would work in a British Federation. However, a future Celtic Council, modelled on its Nordic equivalent, could be a goer. Ireland, Scotland and Wales have much in common. Population size, Celtic heritage, and not least, centuries of being dominated by London.”

    That paragraph brought to mind a 2016 piece by Fintan O’Toole in the Irish Times. He called his putative political construct (the perhaps tongue-in-cheek signalling) ‘SCINI’ —

    THREE-STATE UNION MAY BE ANSWER TO BREXIT by Fintan O’Toole (Irish Times, 26 July 2016) —

    “But, as Theresa May was reminded on her visit to Belfast yesterday, the shape of These Islands is shifting. The people of three of the five parts (Scotland, Northern Ireland and Ireland) now see their relations with the rest of the world in one way while those of the other two (England and Wales) see them very differently. The new division is, of course, created by Brexit, and it forces the three parts of These Islands that wish to remain in the European Union to think very radically about how they relate to each other. To think, that is, about a new union – of Scotland, Ireland and Northern Ireland: SCINI. This is crazy talk, but sometimes history forces us all to think urgently about ideas that were previously the exclusive property of cranks.”

    https://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/fintan-o-toole-three-state-union-may-be-answer-to-brexit-1.2734041

    A few days later this Irish Times item was picked up in an article elsewhere by Aidan O’Neill QC, who (rather more poetically than O’Toole) baptised his imaginary confederation ‘INIS’ —

    ‘INIS FREE? TOWARDS A SCOTS-IRISH UNION by Aidan O’Neill (Verfassungsblog.de, 29 July 2016) —

    “In that spirit, and taking the approach of ‘la longue durée’ to Fintan O’Toole’s suggestion, we might find some historic precedent for setting up a Scottish Irish Union (sans et contre l’Angleterre) in the campaign of Edward Bruce, younger brother of and then heir to Robert Bruce, who in the year after his brother’s 1314 victory at Bannockburn, sailed to Ireland from Scotland with a sizeable fighting force and there allied with native Irish fighting against Anglo-Norman magnates owing fealty to the English crown, and had himself proclaimed High King of Ireland.[…] A post Brexit union of Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland would certainly be one way of achieving what the majority of the electors of Northern Ireland and Scotland who voted in the Brexit referendum sought to achieve, namely to remain within the EU and retain their EU citizenship.[…] What, then, to call this newly expanded member state ? The acronym for Ireland, Northern Ireland and Scotland is INIS which is the Gaelic for Island, as we are reminded (again by WB Yeats) in his poem The Lake Isle of Innisfree where, he tells us, we ‘shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow’.”

    https://core.ac.uk/reader/44680378

    I must mention (with great respect) that I fault O’Neill for failing to note Prof. Alexander Broadie’s convincing contention that the influence of John Duns Scotus was implicit to the Declaration of Arbroath —

    JOHN DUNS SCOTUS AND THE IDEA OF INDEPENDENCE by Alexander Broadie (chapter in The Wallace Book, John Donald Publishers Ltd, 2007) —

    “Scotus was the great philosopher of freedom in the Middle Ages.[…] Before moving on to the question of the relation between Scotus’s political theory and Scottish politics, I should add that Scotus, in political theory as in so much else, was his own man. None of his contemporaries and predecessors produced a theory quite like his. Some did describe a form of social contract theory, although in that feudalistic age very few endorsed one, but nevertheless Scotus’s form of the theory was unique, unlike that of any of his contemporaries and predecessors.[…] There are several elements in this doctrine that we have to take with us into the question concerning the major political scheme in the minds of Scottish political leaders in the two decades after Scotus devised and taught his doctrine. The first element is that of a social contract. The people are to choose their ruler by agreeing among themselves as to who the ruler should be. Secondly, and consequently, the people also choose the principle of transference of authority. This is crucial. It is not that the people choose the first ruler, and that thereafter the question of who is to rule is out of their hands; on Scotus’s scheme, it is never out of their hands.[…] The independence of the people resides, more than in anything else, in their freedom to determine who will rule; and having determined this, the people’s will is not followed by a period of passivity – their will is not switched off. They remain watchful, judging the quality of the job done by the person they have elected and ready to withdraw their consent to his rule if he fails them. In this collective act of self-determination lies their independence.[…] I have argued that Scotus’s theory of freedom is articulated in the two great declarations that were issued within a few years of his death. […] My conclusion is that while Wallace was fighting for Scottish independence, Scotus was developing precisely the intellectual framework that the Scots within a few years would deploy in the chief documents that defined that independence. I also believe it possible that the documents in question were compiled with Scotus in mind.”

    https://erenow.net/common/the-wallace-book/5.php

    Liked by 5 people

  12. Peter. I like the article because I’ve done exactly the same thing.

    Went first to Norway for a year, then Germany 14 years, several years in Denmark, Copenhagen/Gentofte and later in Århus and finally back to Germany for the last 30 years.

    Was in Europe before the UK and I’m still here after they chickened out. My passport was UK but I was a European living with ever widening borders and freedom. I could always vote as an immigrant in all the local/European elections but not for German or Danish federal ones.
    For me that was a perfectly logical situation, I was well integrated but it never really crossed my mind to tell the Germans/Danes how to run their country.

    Till 2016 and the complete fk-up of Brexit since then.

    The thing that disgusted me most was the utter failure of the SNP/SG to stand up for Scotland and prevent the humiliation of being forced by England to leave the EU against the majority wishes of the population.

    If I wanted to stay free there was only one thing left to do. January 2020 I applied for German Nationality and was accepted.

    Dual Nationality of course as I need my UK passport for when I can apply for my SCOTTISH one. 🙂

    Liked by 5 people

    1. I think I’ll be going the same way as you Graf; try to get German Nationality and then Dual. My Red passport is running out at the end of next year so I’ll have to apply for the blue one, and hopefully I won’t kick the bucket before I can get my hands on a Scottish one.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Scots are on their own. If they go indie or stay with Britannia no one on the world stage would be THAT bothered.
    Besides, the German funded, covid obsessed EU may not last the decade. What the Scandies do in their pitch is their concern, most Scots have little in common with them socially, culturally or politically; simply pie in sky dreaming to imagine so.
    The Scottish independence movement ought to reboot, start up from zero, start using the grey matter, concentrate on the issue in hand and by word and dead challenge the status quo.
    And you need young people interested and fired up by the cause, to me all about old men and women and what might have been.
    Small wonder there is a problem with off message wokery and identitarianism.

    Like

  14. There won’t be a Referendum under Sturgeon and if there is it will be under the same franchise as Sturgeon knows it will likely fail. She’s too content with devolution so will put Independence off as long as possibly.

    Liked by 1 person

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