Sunday, May 18, 2014

Interview with Matthew Warwick, Student at The University of Aberystwyth

Pearl of Tyburn.:  Tonight we are speaking with Mr. Matthew Warwick, a native of Hampshire, England, who is currently studying at The University of Aberystwyth in Wales. Good evening, Mr. Warwick.

Matthew Warwick:  Good evening.

P.T.:  Could you tell me something about yourself and your upbringing? Also, do you have any particularly religious affiliation?

M.W.:  Well, I was born into a white middle-class family, and one that is rather nautical. My father is in the Royal Navy and my mother has done various jobs working with children. I have lived in Hampshire in southern England since I was 3 years old.

My Family is not strictly Christian, but we attended church at Christmas and Easter at least, and I consider myself to be both a Christian and have a Christian culture.

P.T.:  How long has your father been in the Royal Navy, and what is his rank? What sort of things does he do on a daily basis?

M.W.:  He's a Captain, and this is his 31st year of service. He joined in 1983, the year he graduated Britannia Royal Naval College. He has a new 'job' every couple of years or so. Depends entirely on his current job. He's done everything from navigating small patrol vessels to commanding a frigate to developing new tactics and running day to day operations.

P.T.:  Has he been involved in any ceremonial events, and have you been able to take part in them?

M.W.:  Sometimes, yep. I’ve been to the Christmas service aboard HMS Victory, most I can recall were when I was younger and father was in command of a frigate. There were several during that time surrounding her deployment and refit. It consists of singing, meeting senior officers, and drinking mulled wine.

P.T.:  Do you ascribe to any political party?

M.W.:  I do not belong to any political party in particular, but I do have a conservative/liberal type mindset, though. Too often these days governments try and tell us what's good for us. I'm more in favour of trusting people to run their own lives, providing you don't give everything to them on a plate. I'm quite traditional, prefer to spend within one's means, hold the idea of personal freedom and free speech very highly, etc.

P.T.:  What do you view yourself as being: British or English first?

M.W.:  I've always seen myself as British first and English second, however university in Wales and meeting more fellow Brits has made me feel more English these days. Still it's nice to have the choice of going to Scottish and Welsh universities and being in the same country. There’s no real difference than if I went to university in North England while I come from the south, for example.

P.T.:  What do you personally see as the main benefits of keeping the Union in tact in lieu of the Scottish Independence Referendum?

M.W.:  I think that the main benefits are cultural more than anything. Arguments can be made all day about the economic benefits or costs of succession, Scotland undoubtedly has more international clout as part of the UK but that is irrelevant if the people of Scotland aren't seeking international influence etc. However, the notion of being British is important in my view because I was brought up as British. Not as an Englishman - as a Brit.

P.T.:  What do you think about diversity within the individual nations?

M.W.:  Yes, both English and Scottish cultures are unique and should be treasured, but together as Britons we have achieved remarkable feats and are continuing to achieve such feats. Being a citizen of this union allows us to keep this extraordinary relationship intact, and allows it to further flourish in the future. The union generally works for both Scotland and England, even if there is some imbalance at Westminster. Scotland gains in many ways the strength of England, and England gains some of the vibrant culture of Scotland.

P.T.:  What are your thoughts about the position of the UK on an international level?

M.W.:  As part of The United Kingdom both Scotland and England have a significant international influence and key role to play in all aspects of international life. It is a case of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. I admit my case will be easily dismissed by many of those in favour of Scottish independence, but for those such as myself, the idea of the United Kingdom is hugely important.

P.T.:  How do you think the British military benefits from all parts of the union, particularly Scotland and Wales?

M.W.:  Scotland plays a significant role in our military. There are several Scottish battalions all of which have illustrious histories, there are key airbases and radar installations in Scotland, and our nuclear deterrent and larger ship building yards are all Scotland based. As for Wales, some army battalions, air bases and lots of RAF flight training is carried out there. But it is less significant than Scotland by a long way, at least currently.

P.T.:  What about defense?

M.W.:  Scotland faces no threat of invasion, so no worries there. There'd likely be significant cooperation between rUK and Scotland over security issues. In the slim chance that the Scottish government would get everything they stated in their White Paper. They’d probably have enough of a military to maintain their own interest providing they didn't want an overseas deployment option.

P.T.:  I guess the situation would be similar to the Republic of Ireland, which I never really think of as much of a military force to be reckoned with

M.W.:  Scotland would have a stronger military than the RoI, which isn't saying much at all. RoI's military is as close to non-existent as is feasible. Irishmen who wish to see active service join the British army.

P.T.:  With or without the threat of invasion, it sounds like Scotland will be considerably weakened if she “unplugs” herself form the Union. What do you think an independent Scotland will lose without "strength", which some proponents of separation seem perfectly willing to ditch in favor of an imagined Utopia?

M.W.:  International clout of all kinds and financial strength. If an economic crisis were to strike again Scotland would struggle - it would not be able to bail out Scottish banks. As for the international bit, it's their choice if they don't want the influence, but international influence is very useful.

P.T.:  What’s your reaction to the Nationalist antipathy towards nuclear power in Scotland?

M.W.:  I understand why there's reluctance to keep nuclear weapons, even though I think it brings several benefits as well as being strategically important.

P.T.:  What do you think of the currency issue that Scotland faces and the argument over Pound Sterling?

M.W.:  I think that independence while keeping Sterling would not be true independence. Fiscal union requires political to work properly. If Scotland want independence, they can't really expect to keep Sterling - if the other options aren't appealing, then that's just a cost of independence that must be considered.

P.T.:  What do you think about the monarchy, and the unifying role it purports to play?

M.W.:  You will not find a stronger supporter of the monarchy. I will take the embodiment of our history, tradition, values, morals, as well as the advantages of having a completely non-political head of state over an elected one any day.

P.T.:  How do you think Scots feel about the monarchy?

M.W.:  Depends who you ask as always. Less supportive in general than England, but the SNP says it'd like to retain the Queen as head of state.

P.T.:  Do you think they mean that, or just don't want to stir up controversy?

M.W.:  A few years back, I believe the SNP stated it'd prefer a republic. So it's hard to be really sure. Their current pro-Queen stance may just be a way of convincing the Scottish people independence wouldn't change everything about their lives

P.T.:  What do you think about this referendum trying to connect with the 700th anniversary of Bannockburn and charges of “corruption” they use to try and discredit The Act of Union?

M.W.:  Cheap trick to ignite some Scottish patriotism and therefore gain more votes. Don't think it'll have much effect. I don't know enough about the Act of Union to comment properly, but I'd guess its lords and politicians being lords and politicians.

P.T.:  In brief, what do you think of the claim some Scottish nationalists bring up about the current Scottish monarchy being “illegitimate” because the House of Stuart was overthrown back in 17th century?

M.W.:  I know nothing of such claims, but if we're going to start calling this monarch and that monarch illegitimate, we may as well attempt to trace the House of Wessex and name its eldest living descendant King or Queen. Something that is clearly a bit silly.

P.T.:  What do you think about the way that the referendum question is phrased, putting “Yes” for independence and “No” for the Union?

M.W.:  Another cheap trick to encourage people to vote yes, but I think people are cleverer than politicians realize and again, I doubt it'll have much of an effect.

P.T.:  What do you think about Salmond and the way he is running the “Yes” Campaign?

M.W.:  Salmond can only be described as slimy. I can't trust him at all - he has no chance of being a big fish in a big pond, so he's trying to make the pond smaller. I also suspect he likes the idea of being President Salmond, the man who liberated Scotland from their tyrannical English oppressors. Some of them up there are just a bit deluded.

P.T.:  What’s your opinion on “Better Together” and how they running the “No” campaign? Do you have any suggestions for them in these final months before the vote?

M.W.:  BT hasn't impressed me. It’s been far too negative about things. Scaremongering. My suggestion to them would be to focus more on the positive aspects of union.

P.T.:  As an Englishman, what’s your opinion on David Cameron and his encouraging English people to call their Scottish friends and relatives to urge them to stay in the Union? I know it was sort of controversial.

M.W.:  Well, I've been encouraging my Scottish friends to stay in the union for certain.

P.T.:  I personally applaud you :-)

How do you think people might be affected by emotionally, especially those with families and jobs that transcend the border?

M.W.:  If it were 'full' independence the effect might be more, but so much of what the SNP propose involves things continuing as normal so as not to make it seem too massive. I think it'll definitely leave a scar, nevertheless, and cause a divide in the minds of some people.

P.T.:  What do you think will become of the British identity throughout the UK should the Scots break away? Should the union remain in tact, do you think this experience will engender a deeper sense of unity?

 M.W.:  I think it'd remain intact, but slowly start to wear away over the course of decades providing the political independence remained. I don't think a deeper sense of unity will arise from an independence referendum, no matter the result.

P.T.:  What do you think would engender a deeper sense of unity long-term? Like the states have in the USA under a federal government? Or vaguely similar, you know what I mean!

M.W.:  If a federal system could be made to work, I think that would be a positive. More balance in political decision making and economics, as well as more nation wide events such as those of 2012 would be needed to engender a deeper sense of unity.

P.T.:  What do you think of the fluctuation in the polls, showing the “Yes” vote rising, and who do you think is more likely to win?

M.W.:  I'm slightly concerned about the rise, but not too worried. I still think “No” is more likely to win, especially with the currency issue.

P.T.:  To wrap things up, what are you pursuing in University and what type of career might you be aiming for? Also, what about your personal interests, hobbies, and goals in life?

M.W.:  Well, I'm a student of International Politics and Military History, and the type of career I'm aiming for would involve politics, the foreign office/civil service, or the military.

As for personal interests, I am a keen cricket fan supporting Hampshire and England, I enjoy sailing, reading fantasy, Sci- Fi, and historical fiction, and I take part in medieval reenactment of 12th century Britain. My general interests are reading, current affairs, history and cricket to put it another way. As for my life goals, I'd like to make a difference to my country's future, but if I die having enjoyed life and a nice home with a wife and possibly children I shall die content.

P.T.:  That’s lovely, Mr. Warwick. I hope you will be able to fulfill your goals. Thank you very much for taking the time out for this interview.

M.W.:  My pleasure

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