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Scottish independence?

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So it appears that Scotland will hold a referendum on the question of independence from the UK, sometime in 2014. The Scottish government and the UK government have been negotiating the details of the referendum for a few weeks now. Here is some of the BBC's recent coverage on it:





If the Scots actually vote for independence, this will be the first time a new country gains independence in Western Europe since the 1940s (and only the second time in the last hundred years).

Personally, I am opposed to Scottish independence. Although I strongly sympathize with the sentiment behind it (and who wouldn't want to be independent of David Cameron?), the fact is that true independence for a country the size of Scotland is effectively impossible in this day and age. Even if legal independence was achieved, Scotland would still have to take orders from the EU, the IMF and other international institutions, it would have its monetary policy set by London (the Scottish government wants to keep the English pound as currency), and its small size would give it very little bargaining power in the face of powerful multinational corporations.

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Although I am not really into politics. I did however find this news interesting. I don't really know much about the Scots and their main reason for doing this.

Maybe they just want some small difference in laws. Just like how the states in America have different laws.

If it can be done with some discussions, why not? It would be a great example for the rest of the world.

It would be like a divorce where the 2 parties remain friends. Good example for Belgium :) ...if the Scots succeed.

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Secession of a country is always a sentimal issue only: it is a play on emotions of the masses by a couple of power-hungry activists, who are unable to gain power within the larger state. It would provide a costly moment of turmoil, in which a number of regional politicians and companies seize as much assets left by the unified regime as possible, but also damaging the middle class, which loses mobility due to administrative barriers. Any rational reflection of the problem would lead to refuse the secession. Higher expenditures on administration, infrastructure or healthcare, impractical borders within banking and telecommunication sectors, slow-down of long-term development projects, conflict potential by thematization of national differences... And of the positive reasons, what could be attained by a secession? Scotland has no special natural or human resources, which would give it an opportunity to speed up development, like in case of South Sudan or Norway. There are no religious or linguistical obstacles to unified administration, a matter of debates and conflicts which shattered Yugoslavia, but still can be endured in Belgium or Ukraine. Or Northern Ireland in the UK's case. It won't run from EU's or eurozone's problems as well, because formal independence doesn't move the money.

In short, it would be a mistake, complicating lives of many.

And hi all again, btw ;)

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  • 2 years later...

Well, ladies and gentlemen, it's time to bring this thread back from the dead after over two years, because today is the big day! Today, Scotland decides. Is it going to be independence, or the end of Alex Salmond's political career?

For a long time, the result looked like a foregone conclusion, with polls showing a massive lead for the "No" side (against independence). But, over the last several weeks, the "Yes" campaign has made tremendous gains, such that some polls have even put them in the lead (very narrowly), and most polls now have the difference between the two sides smaller than the margin of error.

This is going to be close.

But, in all likelihood, the result will still be No. Which is a bit of a shame, considering the fact that I have recently been persuaded to (weakly) support Scottish independence, as opposed to being staunchly against it.

The types of arguments that changed my opinion are best summarized in this article:


Essentially, the situation we are now facing is one where even in the case of a No vote, there will be further devolution in the UK and Scotland will get all the costs of independence with none of the benefits. So they might as well go with full independence instead. In addition, Scottish independence would severely weaken the ability of the British state to serve as the junior enforcer of American imperialism around the world.

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So yesterday, Gordon Brown (of all people) delivered a passionate speech for the "No" campaign. Who knew he had such fire in him? He spent his entire time as Prime Minister displaying the emotional range of a lump of coal.

But, even more shockingly, if you pay close attention to the video, at 1:40 Gordon Brown proudly proclaims:

"From each according to his ability to contribute, to each according to his needs. And that is the best principle that can govern the life of our country today."

So there you have it, comrades. Gordon Brown promises that if Scotland stays in the UK, it will get communism! :D

Maybe he was possessed by the ghost of Karl Marx. That would explain the sudden passion...

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And, as expected, Scotland voted No, by 55% to 45%.

Now the question is, what next? More devolution, as the No camp promised? Or are they going to go back on that promise? And what's going to happen to the SNP and the Scottish separatist movement - are they going to fade away from politics, as the Quebec separatists did after narrowly losing the 1995 referendum to break from Canada, or are they going to remain strong and try to get independence again in 10-20 years?

...and is Gordon Brown getting ready to lead a proletarian revolution? :D

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I'm a little surprised that no other Brits dropped by to offer their thoughts. But then I suppose I didn't either, and I'm probably the person here with the most investment in the matter.


For the record, I voted yes, and I did it because I'm tired of the left/right split between the constituent parts of the UK. Scotland is broadly left-leaning and has in recent years been betrayed by the two big left winger parties: Labour and the Liberal Democrats, whom we brought to power and thanked us by either supporting or becoming conservatives. People are so jaded here even UKIP are getting a toe in the door.

England, on other hand, is broadly right wing and wants to split from the EU, a position vehemently opposed north of the border. England is a larger country and has more political clout, and I just don't want to walk the path that Cameron and his slimy ilk seek to drag us down. And in Westminster, there just isn't a better alternative.

Additionally, simple mathematics tells us that a smaller country has an easier time voting out a government that displeases it.


Not that the decision came easily. I tend to overlook economic arguments because I'm ambivalent about the very worst happening (global economic collapse) and anything smaller than that hardly seems worth getting out of bed for. But the SNP, who would at least initially have dominated an independent Scotland, are opposed to nuclear power, which I think is a mistake. There would also have been the danger of Alex Salmond's dream of partnership with the rest of the UK being unworkable when one or other party grew stroppy and disagreeable.


Overall though, it was the negativity of the No campaign that got to me. For every promise, suggestion or plan the Yes campaign put forward, we received a version of "No you can't" from the No.

Keeping the pound "No you can't"

Staying in the EU "No you can't"

Being financially stable "No you can't"

Following the example of Iceland "No you can't"

A relentless stream of patronising, parochial negativity. We were treated like children, told that not only were we forbidden but we were incapable, needing the guiding hand of Westerminster to keep us from hurting ourselves. Only towards the end, when the polls shifted, did anyone in Westminster even try to take the Yes campaign seriously, and even then the Prime Minister gave his big speeches in London.



I can't say I'm surprised by the result. Change is scary, and fear is a powerful motivator.


But I don't think we're finished yet. The referendum was a hasty move, brought about when the SNP were still in the flush of power. But the causes that prompted it were old and haven't gone away. Scotland still watches the anti-EU, UKIP-led conservative resurgence with wariness. We still smart from the betrayal of the Lib Dems and remember the damage wrought by Thatcher. It's common to characterise the Yes campaign as nihilistic separatists but in truth we were pushed to this. Scotland has stepped back from the edge, but somehow I doubt the independence movement is going to die out. Too many broken promises to forget, too much risk in becoming complacent.


As for those devolution promises being kept? I won't hold my breath.

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  • 2 months later...

As for those devolution promises being kept? I won't hold my breath.

Those promises were broken in the first week and to the trend of the NSA whistle-blowing reaction, a couple months later it's like nothing happened at all.

Which, I guess in a sense, is exactly what did happen.

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I was a bit excited about the prospect of Scottland becoming independent. Now, of course it was not going to be a smooth road after that if it happened. The EU backed London on it and had that "you can't" discourse Dante was talking about because there's s much seccesionism on the continent fueled by the austerity measures that it could've sent a tidal wave of splits. Especially dangerous because the whole Ukraine thing.


I mean a new country wouldn't automatically be admitted in the EU if it split from an EU-member, because beaurocracy and because the new politicians and Gvt. must proove they can handle the whole thing now that they're independant from the former policy-maker. Though I guess it would be a faster and less bumpy road than for other countries.


Also I read that the independence movement relied not only on the oil fields but also on the naval shipyards. By law, UK's war fleet is only to be serviced by UK based shipyards, so the idea that Scottland would cash in on maintenance and building for UK navy (as i read in the news) would not work. Even the oil is tricky because the Shetlands threat to split from Scottland if Scottland splits from the UK. So the whole matter needs to be pondered better. If the economics are discussed the first time during the damn referendum it's normal that people would go with the safe ride. The prospect of no oil, no shipyard contracts, import/export tax with the EU untill accession and minting your own coin in the meantime is not a great future to look up to. Again, that is what I was reading on the news.


I mean these things need to be discussed and a whole strategy must be put in place for after independence. Plus people have to recognize you. Then you must open embassies (damn expensive) get your own army and stuff...


I have sporadically followed the Catalan struggle but also I don't know if there was such a debate also. Also there are growls of discontent in southern Germany, as being the richest stated in the federation, not really happy about paying so much money to support the rest of Germany. Also north Italian seccesionism based on the same economic factor.


Maybe Dante can tell us more about the atmosphere during the referendum. :)

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  • 2 months later...

Excited. Whether for or against, it was an enthusiastic time. That enthusiasm, that sense of involvement in government was stronger than it's been anywhere in the country for decades. It's still ongoing, if beneath the surface. Yes there was some bitterness, some unfortunate behaviour, but overall the feeling was one of witnessing history. I remain hopeful that the next election will see a high turnout north of the border (and not just because a large section of the population is turning to my point of view), and contrary to many expectations, the SNP remain very strong here.


In no small part because Labour betrayed their roots, the Liberal Democrats betrayed everyone and the tories are just bastards anyway.


What's happened since the referendum is more interesting to me.

Did the Westminster government keep its promises, made in the last desperate few weeks when it looked like the Yes campaign might actually win?

Pfff of course not. The very next day the Prime Minister made a statement to the effect of "well Scotland had its time in the limelight so now lets talk about poor neglected England." Seriously.

Alex Salmond stepped down, and immediately announced his intention to run for a seat in the House of Commons, which pretty much everyone seems to agree is a really canny move. It would enable him to maintain a high profile and continue to influence the political landscape, but in London, without overshadowing his replacement as First Minister or being accused of interfering with the Scottish political establishment.

And having won their victory the three main parties did what they do best and immediately went back to squabbling in England about England. Is anyone surprised? Only the hopelessly naïve. Does anyone care? Only the people going "told you so."


What's REALLY depressing me is that in their desperation people are turning to UKIP. I'm currently able to swallow my distaste when my neighbours say things about Nigel Farage having a point but it's only a matter of time before I snap and start screaming at people to wake up and smell the scapegoating.


I suppose my feelings at the moment can be summed up in two words.

Smug: because I was right, and I like being right.

Bitter: because everything I was right about is stupid, harmful crud that could have been avoided.


Roll on 2016 I say, it's been WAY too long since an election and I while I expect another defeat at the hands of the apathetic majority I am itching to see the complacency of the big parties result in at least a partial evisceration.

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