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Scotland is an unwon cause.
February 6, 2014 10:16 AM   Subscribe

It is beginning to be appreciated, even in London, that Alex Salmond might just win his independence referendum in September. The break-up of Britain will have begun, David Cameron will have to contemplate being Prime Minister of a rump country — and HMS Britannia will be sunk, not with a bang but a whimper.
posted by Chrysostom (115 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
If it takes destroying Britain to destroy the current conservative surveillance/police state taking root there, it might be worth it.
posted by Naberius at 10:27 AM on February 6 [21 favorites]


The English are always talking as if Scotland and the Scots don't matter. If that's the case, stop talking and just let it go. Scotland will make a very interesting independent nation.
posted by pracowity at 10:32 AM on February 6 [8 favorites]


How are the English not pouring money into Scotland in the form of government assistance, civil projects, whatever?

It's my vague understanding that financially Scotland would be worse off if they secede, why would the government not go to great lengths to remind those on fence of that?

The entire thing is just bizarre, and I'm sure generations of my ancestors are rolling over in their graves at the thought that secession is even a real possibility, let alone likely.
posted by madajb at 10:33 AM on February 6 [1 favorite]


Problem is, with Scotland and its Labour seats gone, the Tories have that much better a chance of dominating England for the foreseeable future.
posted by MartinWisse at 10:33 AM on February 6 [6 favorites]


exactly MartinWisse. the tories would benefit electorally from an indy scotland. labour would be the big losers. they've been getting a free ride on the coattails of scotland ever since thatcher made the tories irrelevant there.
posted by iboxifoo at 10:38 AM on February 6 [1 favorite]


How are the English not pouring money into Scotland in the form of government assistance, civil projects, whatever?

Apart from being loathsome in the eyes of the Tories as a general principle, this policy would basically turn Scotland into the UK's version of Quebec, which the rest of Canada generally sees as a sort of whining brat that keeps threatening to take its toys and leave unless it is given the biggest piece of cake.

Canada has been pouring money into Quebec to get them to not secede and leave a large hole in the middle of the country for decades now. At least one government has fallen over it. They still throw riots every so often when they feel some of that largesse is at risk of being withdrawn, or that it isn't sufficient, and this has created massive resentment throughout the rest of Canada.

Doing this in Scotland would most likely preserve the union in name only. It would be one country legally, but TFA talks about a cultural unity that would be seriously undermined if the rest of Britain felt their taxes were being used to bribe Scots into staying.
posted by Naberius at 10:39 AM on February 6 [5 favorites]


Wales and Cornwall still hanging in?
posted by BrotherCaine at 10:41 AM on February 6 [2 favorites]


I'm English, but with a Scottish father. I'd probably move to Scotland to live somewhere that is both left wing and English speaking.

That said, Paddy Power are currently offering 1/6 for a no vote against 7/2 for a yes. The money certainly isn't on Alex for now.
posted by jaduncan at 10:42 AM on February 6 [1 favorite]


What happens to the National Health Services then? Will the Scots have to make their own?
posted by Renoroc at 10:42 AM on February 6 [1 favorite]


The Scots already have their own NHS. It is planned to continue that, and the NHS has much more robust political support in Scotland than amongst English parties in any case.
posted by jaduncan at 10:44 AM on February 6 [6 favorites]


The Scottish NHS is already separate, the bigger question is what to use for a currency.
posted by Lanark at 10:45 AM on February 6 [2 favorites]


Haggis.
posted by Naberius at 10:48 AM on February 6 [35 favorites]


BrotherCaine: "Wales and Cornwall still hanging in?"

I think Welsh independence polls at about 15%. Plaid Cymru is not the force the SNP is, and I believe the Welsh assembly has fewer powers than the Scottish parliament.

That said, a successful independent Scotland would likely increase the support for an independent Wales.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:49 AM on February 6 [6 favorites]


Problem is, with Scotland and its Labour seats gone, the Tories have that much better a chance of dominating England for the foreseeable future.

Surely that cuts both ways; from the article: "Blair Jenkins, the chief of ‘Yes Scotland’, has taken to summarising the essence of the issue as ‘No more Tory governments. Ever.’"

Hardly seems fair to expect Scotland to remain in the UK and suffer under its headlong rush toward austerity solely to serve as a brake on that tendency, when they could be free of it altogether.
posted by enn at 10:50 AM on February 6 [14 favorites]


Yeah for a while the SNP was saying they could just use the Euro but the recent sovereign debt crisis has made that look less attractive. Keeping the pound sterling works as a stopgap but would maybe be tantamount to accepting colonial status if left too long.
posted by Wretch729 at 10:51 AM on February 6 [1 favorite]


I think the problem with the 'No' campaign is that it's so focused on the economic argument - and nothing else - that they are having to go further and further with it to make any traction.
Hence why you have Secretary of State for Scotland coming out today saying Scotland would not be able to use the pound if it votes for independence, which just sounds a bit desperate.

There are plenty of non-economic reasons to vote for independence. Don't want nuclear weapons in Scotland? Vote yes. Think the bedroom tax and government victimisation of disabled people is unfair? Vote yes. You get the idea.

Also, the independence campaign is just edgier, cooler and more grass-rootsy, which is a problem for the 'No' campaign. Particularly as we're in an age with growing suspicion of the establishment.
Actors, musicians, writers (whether Scots or not) have largely come out in favour (eg. Iain Banks, Irvine Welsh, Simon Pegg, Sigur Ros, Liz Lochead, Alasdair Gray).

And on the 'No' side is Susan Boyle and Sharleen Spiteri from Texas.

Also, Labour would have won each of the 1997, 2001 and 2005 elections with workable majorities without Scotland's MPs.
posted by TheAlarminglySwollenFinger at 10:54 AM on February 6 [9 favorites]


What kind of country, Salmond and his colleagues will ask, rejects the chance to govern itself? It is a good question. The answer, of course, is a country that rejects as false the choice between two identities. You can be a Highlander, Scottish and British — just as you can be Cornish, English and British. Even so, Salmond articulates a vision of a better, purely Scottish future in ways that no unionist politician has yet matched.

The author is clearly against Scotland leaving. So, is there some truth to this? Are the Scottish proud to be British?
posted by ignignokt at 11:00 AM on February 6 [1 favorite]


So if they do split, could England rebuild Hadrian's Wall and stop people going over the border?

What about utilities? Internet lines? Could England switch those off?

Could, in theory, Scotland become independent and the be invaded by the English army?

I'm not suggesting that England should do any of those. Well maybe Hadrian's Wall, because that would be cool. The concept of breaking the union has alway seemed bonkers to me. If separation is possible, who knows, maybe the above scenarios are also possible...
posted by 13twelve at 11:00 AM on February 6


The English are always talking as if Scotland and the Scots don't matter. If that's the case, stop talking and just let it go.

The English never started talking about Scotland and appear to be utterly indifferent. Hong Kong roused more interest than Scotland, and nobody much cared about Hong Kong.
posted by Segundus at 11:00 AM on February 6 [2 favorites]


One of the biggest conceits in our miserable lives is that the nation state and its population are one and the same. Everywhere I read 'The English think...' or 'The Scottish are...' It's just rubbish. And it annoys me every time.
posted by Monkeymoo at 11:03 AM on February 6 [20 favorites]


As someone with dual UK/Canadian citizenship, I'd be just as sad to see Scotland leave the UK as I would be for Quebec to leave Confederation.

I'd also put the chances of either actually happening at approximately the same odds: 0.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:04 AM on February 6 [2 favorites]


13twelve: "So if they do split, could England rebuild Hadrian's Wall and stop people going over the border?"

Hadrian's Wall lies a fair bit south of the current England-Scotland border.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:08 AM on February 6 [5 favorites]


Cameron's wall then?
posted by Grimgrin at 11:11 AM on February 6 [3 favorites]


The Scottish Parliament has so far been more democratic, more inclusive, and more representative than the UK Parliament. As an expat Scot i'd love to see what they will do with expanded powers. I'm firmly on the Yes side.
posted by rocket88 at 11:11 AM on February 6 [5 favorites]


but TFA talks about a cultural unity that would be seriously undermined if the rest of Britain felt their taxes were being used to bribe Scots into staying.

There's already resentment. The Barnett Formula allocated percentages of funding to parts of the Union based upon population back in the 70s. Changes to population have not been reflected in the formula since, as it was too much of a political hot potato to cut funding to Scotland. As such, government spending is already biased towards the non-english countries.

If it were translated to cash terms, central government spending per head would be:
England £7,121
Scotland £8,623
Wales £8,139
Northern Ireland £9,385

It's easy to argue this is a good thing; poverty is higher in Scotland than the south east of England, and transferring funds from wealthier regions around London to poorer areas is part and parcel of being in a shared society, but it does not play well in poor areas in northern England, especially when Salmond is trumpeting, for example, no university fees and better funding for elderly care, as people see it as being paid for with English money, and that devolution should have brought more changes for England.

There's also been resentment over things such as the closing of the English Portsmouth naval yard, with the work going to Scottish naval yards - it's been widely assumed that it was done as a sop to save Scottish jobs; it will be reversed in the event of independence.

Plus saving the Royal Bank of Scotland with massive amounts of money, yet not putting any real limits on it.

You also have to factor in the West Lothian question.

"For how long will English constituencies and English Honourable members tolerate ... at least 119 Honourable Members from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland exercising an important, and probably often decisive, effect on English politics while they themselves have no say in the same matters in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland?"

As a result of the partial devolution that set up the parliaments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, there has been quite a lot of grumbling that England does not have one; they only have the national government at Westminster. Which rather points out the unfairness of having say, Scottish MPs voting on matters that will only affect England, as they have been devolved in the regions. It's worth pointing out that devolution is much further along in Scotland, with considerably more power allocated to its Parliament than in Wales or NI.

Personally speaking as an Englishman, I rather wish them well in the debate and referendum. I've watched the scottish debates on Question Time, and its pretty fascinating.

But ultimately, it's down to the Scottish themselves to decide how they want to proceed, precisely as it should be. I think either way, it will redefine the English/Scottish national relationship, as even if the No vote wins (and it's still ahead) the pressure for 'devo max' will be pretty irresistable. And I can hardly blame scots for wanting to get away from the Tories governing from hundreds of miles away in London. Even down here in southern England, it often feels like everywhere further away than the Home Counties is basically an afterthought to Westminster.

Yet we do have a strong shared history and culture, and the SNP's white paper was a masterpiece of wishful thinking and money out of nowhere. I also find it amusing that the Euro that seemed so attractive to the SNP has been ditched, and they're now focused on a sterling currency union that seems pretty much incompatible with independence.

If the scots believe President Salmond is the way to go, then full power to 'em, and it's not like the border is going to suddenly spring barbed wire and landmines.
posted by ArkhanJG at 11:15 AM on February 6 [11 favorites]


It's worth remembering the vote isn't until September and hasn't been able to poll majority support yet. Not sure why this has turned into Scotland week in the international media, maybe because of the BP guy's statement.

There's always muttering going on about any regional sovereignty debate because of the precedent it might set elsewhere in Europe. (Notably for the Basque country or Catalonia in Spain, Belgium, Brittany, etc. This is also a factor that makes whatever happens in the Balkans (e.g. Bosnia, Kosovo, etc.) more fraught for the EU.
posted by Wretch729 at 11:16 AM on February 6 [1 favorite]


Well, they were colonized by wankers. So of course I think we should support Scottish independence.

However, one concern I have is the possible effect of Scotland leaving the UK (or Quebec leaving the rest of Canada) on other separatist movements worldwide. Would there not be a large psychological boost given to all sorts of separatists all over the world, if relatively stable places like Scotland etc were able to separate successfully and thereby set an example? And might this not provoke some serious backlash against these movements by governments more willing to use force against their own people than the UK has (recently) been? Not that this should necessarily change Scots' opinion on the matter, of course.

On preview, Wretch729 said it already.
posted by demonic winged headgear at 11:22 AM on February 6 [1 favorite]


I so hope that Scotland wins their independence referendum, even if they actually claim that independence extremely slowly, and the Tories take England for a bit. I'm afraid that neither England nor Scotland could afford the affirmation of existing British policies, both Tory and Labor, that would be sent by losing the referendum.
posted by jeffburdges at 11:23 AM on February 6


Upon independence, I plan to travel to Edinburgh to present the Scottish business community with prime opportunities I have been studying for investment in a presently remote and underdeveloped corner of Panama.
posted by ocschwar at 11:25 AM on February 6 [28 favorites]


Hadrian's Wall lies a fair bit south of the current England-Scotland border.

I've heard (mostly) tongue-in-cheek requests by northerners for Scotland to "take us with you," so a new wall could be surprisingly farther south indeed. ;)
posted by Celsius1414 at 11:26 AM on February 6 [3 favorites]


A fun political game to play is the idea of the reverse referendum: who in the rest of the union would vote for Scotland to stay within?

That's especially interesting for Northern Ireland. Given a vote, would England, Scotland, or Wales vote to keep NI inside the Union? My bet is no. Though maybe more now than in the 80s.

Then, if Scotland goes, and makes a good show of it, how long until Yorkshire, or Cornwall, make their own noises? Understandably, at any rate.
posted by DangerIsMyMiddleName at 11:26 AM on February 6


I don't think it's particular as a case for keeping the British union (and in my heart, my Scots ancestry and my time living in the north of England lead me to hope for independence) but I do wonder whether the broader move toward devolution of power and smaller nation-states that Scottish independence is part of is a good thing in terms of the ability of governments to stand up to multinational corporations. I'm thinking of this in terms not just of trade, but environmental regulations and the like. At least there should be the EU for the Scots and the Basques if they go independent, assuming the EU will have them.
posted by immlass at 11:28 AM on February 6 [1 favorite]


The author conflates Britain with the United Kingdom. Great Britain as a geographic and cultural entity won't perish with a yes vote. The island won't be torn asunder, and the combined history of British peoples won't be erased. Just because you cheer the athletic, cultural and intellectual accomplishments of people from all over Britain doesn't necessarily mean you want most policy set in London. When lots of people in a region consistently feel that their priorities are always irrelevant to the state, don't be surprised that they want to separate. A separate national identity is only one part of the equation.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 11:28 AM on February 6 [5 favorites]


What about utilities? Internet lines? Could England switch those off?

Scotland already seems to manage its own water and sewerage, through Scottish Water. Energy is largely supplied by Scottish Power, and it appears that the bulk of, if not all, power supply in Britain is privatized. If there's any infrastructure in place that the English Government owns or has a claim to, they will not shut it off or dig it up if there is any chance they can recoup some funds by selling or whatever the equivalent of leasing it might be in any particular case.

So to the question of whether England could "switch those off", I'm going to have to say no, very unlikely if not impossible.
posted by Hoopo at 11:32 AM on February 6 [2 favorites]


I'm personally more curious about the effect of Scottish independence on Unionist movements within the United Kingdom --- to wit, Northern Ireland. The unionists consider themselves to be proudly British and Irish --- but not English. Ulster Protestants are often called Scots-Irish, because of the ancestral connection there; the cultural link is with Scotland and not the Home Counties...if Scotland's independent, does that not undermine the cultural, emotional claim there?

Of course, likewise as with Scotland, I think the practical economics are on the unionist side, and if you had a vote today probably a strong majority of both Catholics and Protestants in NI would take London over Dublin. But I can't help but wonder if you wouldn't feel like a bit of a sucker, a bit desperate and clingy, loving the union so much and then watching the English wave the Scots goodbye with a shrug...
posted by Diablevert at 11:33 AM on February 6 [5 favorites]


Last year I was in Germany and a group of upper class English -obvious to even my eye from the way they spoke to the way they dressed - sat down at a table nearby and began drinking.

One of them failed to drink his entire pint in one sitting, and the entire table proceeded to chant over and over again, "Worse than Scotland, worse than Scotland!"

When I asked why, later, one of them replied that it was well, Scotland, and not much was worse than Scotland. He said it so casually, and so full of contempt for the country that I - an American surrounded by much racism and other isms - was very shocked by his attitude.

I know that group did not represent English people as a whole. But whenever I hear about Scottish independence, I think about that moment. A lot.
posted by barchan at 11:36 AM on February 6 [21 favorites]


"It's my vague understanding that financially Scotland would be worse off if they secede, why would the government not go to great lengths to remind those on fence of that?"

Let us turn to the Financial Times from a few days ago;
Not exactly a bastion of support for Yes.

"Even pro-unionists accept that the country has all the ingredients to be a viable nation state"

"“Although Scotland enjoys public spending well above the UK average – a source of resentment among some in England, Wales and Northern Ireland – the cost to the Treasury is more than outweighed by oil and gas revenues from Scottish waters”

"If its geographic share of UK oil and gas output is taken into account, Scotland’s GDP per head is bigger than that of France. Even excluding the North Sea’s hydrocarbon bounty, per capita GDP is higher than that of Italy. Oil, whisky and a broad range of manufactured goods mean an independent Scotland would be one of the world’s top 35 exporters."

------
Also it does not necessarily mean the end of Tory governments i am all for a well formed Scottish Conservative party fighting for support in an independent country and if they gain a majority they should be the government. It just means we get the government we vote for.

This should be a spur for other areas to seek greater autonomy.

The currency union could be stopped quite simply by Osborne saying no right now and making it clear it would not happen and then let the markets react. it is better to have a transition to another currency rather than a sudden change. He has only ever dared say "highly unlikely"
posted by stuartmm at 11:36 AM on February 6 [4 favorites]


Celsius1414: "I've heard (mostly) tongue-in-cheek requests by northerners for Scotland to "take us with you," so a new wall could be surprisingly farther south indeed. ;)"

Certainly, you might expect Berwick-upon-Tweed to be interested.
posted by Chrysostom at 11:42 AM on February 6 [1 favorite]


I for one cannot wait to vote YES and am confident that the majority of my countrymen and women will do likewise. I've heard very few people discuss the Better Together campaign with any sort of enthusiasm let alone passion apart from a couple of ex-Labour MPs who still cling on to New Labour's obsession with international power and finance at the expense of social values and standing up for the ordinary working person. It won't be easy but it will be worth it to be rid of London orientated political class who took us into illegal wars, financial disasters and continue to shift their policies to the right. I sincerely hope that when our friends and family in England, N Ireland and Wales see us thrive and continue to lead the way in energy, health, social issues, human rights and sensible military and foreign policy (goodbye Trident!) they'll be brave enough to follow our lead. We've tried to do it within the union and have been shackled and held back. Come September we'll be a nation again, despite all the obstacles being thrown in our way by those who don't want to see this now disfunctional relationship end in an amicable divorce.
posted by Caskeum at 11:42 AM on February 6 [17 favorites]


I do wonder whether the broader move toward devolution of power and smaller nation-states that Scottish independence is part of is a good thing in terms of the ability of governments to stand up to multinational corporations.

An understandable worry, but let's face it, large and powerful nation-states are not exactly doing a bang-up job on that front.
posted by Foosnark at 11:43 AM on February 6 [11 favorites]


"Canada has been pouring money into Quebec to get them to not secede and leave a large hole in the middle of the country for decades now. At least one government has fallen over it. They still throw riots every so often when they feel some of that largesse is at risk of being withdrawn, or that it isn't sufficient, and this has created massive resentment throughout the rest of Canada."

Wow, I had no idea that Preston Manning was a mefite named "Naberius".

"I also find it amusing that the Euro that seemed so attractive to the SNP has been ditched, and they're now focused on a sterling currency union that seems pretty much incompatible with independence."

Both are bad ideas. The problem with both is that currency union without fiscal union means that Scotland wouldn't be in control of its monetary policy and therefore its economic policy. This is the problem with the euro.

With the euro, as some unfortunates are discovering, monetary policy is the purview of the European Central Bank which, in turn, is essentially an arm of the Bundesbank (not really, but ECB policy is closely aligned with German interests). What's best for Germany probably wouldn't be what's best for Scotland.

With the pound sterling, monetary policy would still be determined by the Bank of England, as it is now, which would be much less inclined to be concerned with Scotland's worries in the event of independence and a currency union.

An independent Scotland would be best having its own currency and therefore entirely in control of its monetary policy and therefore of its economic policy, especially if it had to deal with a sovereign debt crisis.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 11:46 AM on February 6 [9 favorites]


In the Charles Stross version of Scottish Independence, I think Bitcoin would clearly be the national currency.
posted by Elementary Penguin at 11:48 AM on February 6


What about utilities? Internet lines? Could England switch those off?

Scotland is a net exporter of energy. England does not cut the power to Scotland, Scotland cuts the power to England.
Scotland is self-sufficient in water, and it's only the problems of distribution (the reason the UK doesn't have a national grid for water) that means it doesn't export that too.

I'm English, lived in Scotland for years and I'm going to agree with Caskeum that the Yes campaign has got so much more enthusiasm than No - though I do know a few people who are on the No side. It's so telling that the Prime Minister dare not get involved in the campaign because the whole country hates him so much that he would provide a boost to the opposing side.
posted by Coobeastie at 11:57 AM on February 6 [10 favorites]


> As a result of the partial devolution that set up the parliaments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, there has been quite a lot of grumbling that England does not have one; they only have the national government at Westminster.

There's an interesting parallel to this from the Soviet Union; to quote Geoffrey Hosking:
In the first decade or so of the "Union of Soviet Socialist Republics" the Soviet leaders actually pursued an anti-Russian policy, deliberately discriminating against Russians in order to build a multinational community without leading or subordinate peoples. Lenin proclaimed "I declare war to the death on Great Russian chauvinism". He instituted the "affirmative action" programme known as korenizatsiia.

Non-Russians were awarded their own administrative territories and accorded preference in educational and promotion policies to ensure that they could run their new mandates. Russian settlers were evicted from the north Caucasus and central Asia.
There was not even a Russian branch of the Communist Party. The Russians had exactly the same kind of resentment described here, and it led to a toxic brand of Great Russian chauvinism that is still playing out today.
posted by languagehat at 12:00 PM on February 6 [2 favorites]


I live in Scotland, but cannot vote here.

The result is that how this comes down may affect me more than most (although it may not, it's hard to say what will happen), and there's not a lot I can do except keep watching with great interest.
posted by kyrademon at 12:12 PM on February 6 [1 favorite]


I've heard (mostly) tongue-in-cheek requests by northerners for Scotland to "take us with you," so a new wall could be surprisingly farther south indeed. ;)

Given the perception that Westminster governs as if the UK consists of the Home Counties and England consists of London, you could probably just use the M25 as the new wall.
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:13 PM on February 6 [10 favorites]


Here's an interesting thing from the 2011 Census:

71% in England have no British identity.
74% in Scotland have no British identity.
74% in Wales have no British identity.
52% in Northern Ireland have no British identity.

I'm willing to bet that this is not well known outside of the UK.
posted by Thing at 12:15 PM on February 6 [4 favorites]


My gut instinct says that I'd quite like Scotland to be independent, though not for the Ra-Ra-Ra reasons the SNP would, because frankly I don't really hold with their nationalist sentiment. (I wouldn't be more attatched to a Holyrood government than I would be to a Westminster one.) I'd love for the country to be governed from Edinburgh rather than Westminster for a number of reasons, and I love Alasdair Gray's sentiment of "Live as if you work in the early days of a better nation", which is a lovely motto. The problem with it is twofold.

Firstly, though in the long run – and I'm talking maybe 100-odd years – it may be beneficial for Scotland as a whole, it will be economically brutal in the short term, and no politician who gives a shit about their poll numbers (which is all of them) are going to be willing to sacrifice their careers for the greater good/long-term payoff. There are so many unanswered questions: what happens to the BBC? What about NATO? What about the oil which the SNP consistently say is ours but which is probably already within 20-odd years of being exhausted? What currency do we use? Do we automatically become a member of the EU? Will Scotland be responsible for the relevant portion of the UK's national debt (George Osborne says the treasury will cover this, but ultimately we'll still owe it)? The fact that the SNP's advertised plan is to extricate itself from the Union within 18 months (!) makes me think that they know they're going to lose the referendum vote, because there's no way they could sort all that out within such a short timeframe.

The second issue is that if Scotland becomes independent, we're essentially condemning large swathes of England to a permanent Tory majority rule they didn't vote for, and as someone who (hackneyed internationalist socialist that I am) feels more solidarity with the regional English working classes than the landowning Scottish gentry, I'd feel pretty fucking awful about that.
posted by Len at 12:21 PM on February 6 [5 favorites]


The second issue is that if Scotland becomes independent, we're essentially condemning large swathes of England to a permanent Tory majority rule they didn't vote for

This earlier comment seems to indicate otherwise ("Also, Labour would have won each of the 1997, 2001 and 2005 elections with workable majorities without Scotland's MPs").

Does anyone have what the UK Parliament MP breakdown would be with and without Scotland for the past few elections?
posted by Chrysostom at 12:32 PM on February 6 [1 favorite]


Many years ago, when I was but a college lad, I was playing some MUD in which one section involved fighting on the side of the Scots. One room was where the English King would spawn and noted "if he is here, perhaps you can strike a mighty blow for Scottish freedom!"

My friend Tom leaned over my shoulder and intoned in a solemn voice "_I_ blow for Scottish freedom."

This led to a continuously escalating running gag amongst our group, culminating in bumper stickers with Floyd the Barber on the left and I BLOW FOR SCOTTISH FREEDOM on the remainder finding their way onto the sign in front of the North Carolina Republican Party Headquarters.

The above helps illustrate why I am in favor of this referendum, as well as why I didn't get into a very good college in the first place.
posted by delfin at 12:41 PM on February 6 [2 favorites]


Would there not be a large psychological boost given to all sorts of separatists all over the world, if relatively stable places like Scotland etc were able to separate successfully and thereby set an example?

oil and gas revenues from Scottish waters


Move along, America, nothing to see here, nothing to see...
posted by Rykey at 12:49 PM on February 6 [1 favorite]


So if they do split, could England rebuild Hadrian's Wall and stop people going over the border?"

Hadrian's Wall lies a fair bit south of the current England-Scotland border.


Antonine Wall it is then.
posted by Panjandrum at 1:06 PM on February 6 [2 favorites]




Please no. For the rest of us remaining in England+Wales, please Scotland stay. Without it, England+Wales will simply become a fully privatised and commercialised HELL ON EARTH.

NHS and BBC will be privatised within a matter of months and the Labour party and left-politics would simply be crucified.

All us lefties would want a union with Scotland ... oh, hang on ...
posted by rolandroland at 1:12 PM on February 6 [2 favorites]


In my capacity as King of Albania, I once again remind the Scottish people of my standing offer to have Scotland and Albania join in personal and dynastic union. We've even got a possible flag at the ready. Let me know, Scotland.
posted by Flunkie at 1:15 PM on February 6 [3 favorites]


I'm unfamiliar with the Spectator. Is the best argument they can muster for Scotland to stay in really, "Guys, being British is really, really cool. You don't even know how cool it is, but I assure you it is." in an Arnold J. Rimmer voice?
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 1:16 PM on February 6 [6 favorites]


Wow, I had no idea that Preston Manning was a mefite named "Naberius".

Good God, another Manning? Who's this one QB for?
posted by Naberius at 1:17 PM on February 6 [4 favorites]


Okay okay so I want the independence to happen

Just so I can have the UK version of saying 'WE'LL THAT'S IT I'M GOING TO CANADA'
posted by litleozy at 1:18 PM on February 6 [4 favorites]


Quebec, which the rest of Canada generally sees as a sort of whining brat that keeps threatening to take its toys and leave unless it is given the biggest piece of cake

Speak for yourself.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 1:18 PM on February 6 [6 favorites]


Who's this one QB for?

He's the one who got hurt in college.
posted by kjs3 at 1:18 PM on February 6


Hadrian's Wall lies a fair bit south of the current England-Scotland border.
Together, Scotland and Albania will reclaim what is ours.
posted by Flunkie at 1:20 PM on February 6 [2 favorites]


I wonder if an independent Scottland would fancy a liberal re-immigration policy for the diaspora of Scottish descent. A nice, center-left country sounds pretty nice right about now.
posted by kjs3 at 1:20 PM on February 6 [5 favorites]


Who's this one QB for?


The low rent democracy eroding western goon squad type proto-prehensile mouth breathing permanently aggrieved Neo Conservative team, Canadian Division.
posted by Phlegmco(tm) at 1:23 PM on February 6 [3 favorites]


If Scotland leaves the union, can we ask someone else to join?
posted by 13twelve at 1:28 PM on February 6


As proud if reluctant Ulsterman in the 9 county rugby sense, NI is a baffling one. Unionists are obviously pro union and quite alot of nationalists vote that way for cultural tribal reasons rather than any great desire to be reunited with the Republic of Ireland (especially not currently). Basically we know which side our bread is buttered and happily enjoy being subsidised by the box flat taxpayers of London. I suspect we'll just dangle on at the end, quietly threatening with warnings that cuts to education and investment are breeding ground for extremists.
posted by Damienmce at 1:30 PM on February 6 [2 favorites]


If Scotland leaves the union, can we ask someone else to join?

I mistrust that there is any country mad enough to join.
posted by Thing at 1:37 PM on February 6 [2 favorites]


If Scotland leaves the union, can we ask someone else to join?

Customarily, the British Empire gets territories to join by making them an offer they can't refuse.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 1:37 PM on February 6 [5 favorites]



The Scots already have their own NHS. It is planned to continue that, and the NHS has much more robust political support in Scotland than amongst English parties in any case.


If the no side wins by a significant margin, there are noises from the Tory Right about rolling back part of devolution and taking powers back to Westminster, which may include forcibly privatising the Scottish NHS along English lines (after all, why have general revenue going into something that makes you look bad?)
posted by acb at 1:44 PM on February 6


Given the perception that Westminster governs as if the UK consists of the Home Counties and England consists of London, you could probably just use the M25 as the new wall.

Or perhaps just turn London into a Dubai-style postdemocratic city-state?
posted by acb at 1:47 PM on February 6


The Open Championship will be a joke without Scotland.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:00 PM on February 6 [1 favorite]


Yes, how times have changed.
posted by Chrysostom at 2:08 PM on February 6


Or perhaps just turn London into a Dubai-style postdemocratic city-state

That already exists and is The City of London. Which is not at all the same thing as London. For realski.
posted by Diablevert at 2:10 PM on February 6 [5 favorites]


ksj3 "I wonder if an independent Scottland would fancy a liberal re-immigration policy for the diaspora of Scottish descent. A nice, center-left country sounds pretty nice right about now"

"ANYONE who has lived in Scotland for 10 years at some stage of their life will be allowed to apply to become a Scottish citizen after independence, according to the white paper.
It will also be available to anyone with a Scottish grandparent or parent, through a system of citizenship by descent."

and the House of Lords ;
"564. ... Arrangements for the House of Lords will be for the rest of the UK to decide but the House of Lords will no longer be involved in legislating for Scotland."

The Open was held for 34 years just in Scotland before it had a run in England. I think it will just fine reverting back to its original form, the majority of the courses are in Scotland anyway.
posted by stuartmm at 2:16 PM on February 6 [1 favorite]


Scotland secedes and The Angel of the North steps down from its hilltop to head north. It is met at the border by The Kelpies, neighing and spitting to defend their liberated homeland. It's a rout when the anticipated reinforcement from The Guardian of the Valleys refuses to leave Welsh soil.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 2:23 PM on February 6 [2 favorites]


I for one cannot wait to vote YES and am confident that the majority of my countrymen and women will do likewise.

I wouldn't be so sure about that; "yes" referendums have a terrible, terrible track record internationally. In basically every country, "no" is the result of public referendums an overwhelming number of times. "Yes" is very unusual I'm public referendums. It dies happen, but not very often at all.
posted by smoke at 2:26 PM on February 6


Or perhaps just turn London into a Dubai-style postdemocratic city-state?

They already have. It is called the City.
posted by srboisvert at 2:33 PM on February 6 [1 favorite]


HMS Britannia will be sunk, not with a bang but a whimper

HMS Britannia survived the rather loud bang when 13 of the 20 British North America territories seceded. It survived when 26 of the 32 counties of Ireland seceded. It even survived when the Indians (both subcontinental and West) opted out. It might be a Littler England, but it'll do fine.
posted by meehawl at 2:37 PM on February 6 [3 favorites]



Customarily, the British Empire gets territories to join by making them an offer they can't refuse.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 1:37 PM on February 6 [1 favorite +] [!]


Scotland joining England was a voluntary union, there wasn't a conquest
posted by Bwithh at 2:37 PM on February 6 [2 favorites]


> They still throw riots every so often when they feel some of that largesse is at risk of being withdrawn, or that it isn't sufficient, and this has created massive resentment throughout the rest of Canada

That's not resentment you're noticing, that's just bigotry and it's been there this whole time.
posted by Space Coyote at 2:50 PM on February 6 [1 favorite]


Scotland joining England was a voluntary union, there wasn't a conquest

That's kind of like saying Tess of the d'Urbevilles voluntarily moved back in with Alec d'Urberville. It was voluntary, but it was after one helluva horrible ride.
posted by Atreides at 2:56 PM on February 6 [4 favorites]


If the no side wins by a significant margin, there are noises from the Tory Right about rolling back part of devolution and taking powers back to Westminster, which may include forcibly privatising the Scottish NHS along English lines (after all, why have general revenue going into something that makes you look bad?)

I hope they don't mind losing the next referendum then.
posted by jaduncan at 3:05 PM on February 6 [2 favorites]


I was back in Scotland at New Year for the first time in a while, and constantly asked people about the referendum, and whether they thought it would pass. I didn't find a single person who thought it would, even among those who were going to vote for it. I suspect that the vote will go 40-60, and the relative closeness will lead to devo-max by default.

I entertain some hope that the existence of the referendum, and the fairly clear success of Scottish devolution, will encourage the English regions to push harder for a more devolved form of government for themselves. I've never been entirely convinced about the viability of Scottish independence, but always thought that the next logical step after devolution was regional government for England. Scottish devolution by itself isn't something that can survive indefinitely, something has to give. I just would rather see more devolution within the context of the UK, rather than the country splitting. England isn't the enemy here, Westminster is, and I'd be happier seeing Alex Salmond making common cause with the English regions than trying to escape the whole thing.
posted by daveje at 3:06 PM on February 6 [2 favorites]


That's not resentment you're noticing, that's just bigotry and it's been there this whole time.

Uh, no. I don't want to derail this thread into a discussion about Canada, but it's totally unacceptable to call people bigots because they resent sending $8 billion a year to enable Quebec so that it can have $7/day daycare and rock-bottom tuition (with attendant riots if there's ever a hint that Quebec students might have to return to paying as much, adjusted for inflation, as their parents did in the 1970s). This ridiculous largesse has been extracted from Canada as a result of the implicit threat of separation. Provincial politics being what they are, every few years the Quebec government feels it needs up up the ante by complaining about a fictitious "fiscal imbalance," which imaginary imbalance the federal government will immediately set itself to redressing by sending more billions of other Canadians' money to Quebec, no strings attached.

If Scotland wants to separate, the UK would be well-advised to let them do so, and not allow the permanent extortion of ransom from the central treasury by a bunch of implacable ethnic nationalists, as we have in Canada.
posted by Dasein at 3:17 PM on February 6 [3 favorites]


Wrong. Quebec has affordable daycare and tuition mainly because they have the highest provincial taxes in Canada.
Can we get back to Scotland, now?
posted by rocket88 at 3:30 PM on February 6 [3 favorites]


  I was back in Scotland at New Year for the first time in a while, and constantly asked people about the referendum, and whether they thought it would pass.

I think that's just natural Scottish understatement. Don't want to say anything that's too out of order.

It does sadden me a little that so many of my peers — middle aged, upper-middle class Central Scots — are so dismissive of independence. I guess they've got their cages fixed up quite nicely.
posted by scruss at 3:49 PM on February 6


[If you do not want to start a derail, it's better to not start a derail, or continue one. Thanks. ]
posted by restless_nomad at 3:52 PM on February 6 [1 favorite]


Scotland joining England was a voluntary union, there wasn't a conquest

But there was a failed one.
posted by Acey at 3:57 PM on February 6


Bear in mind that the 1800 Act of Union was passed willingly by the Irish Parliament too.
posted by Thing at 4:02 PM on February 6 [1 favorite]


Scotland joining England was a voluntary union, there wasn't a conquest
What force or guile could not subdue,
Thro' many warlike ages,
Is wrought now by a coward few
For hireling traitor's wages.
The English steel we could disdain;
Secure in valour's station;
But English gold has been our bane -
Such a parcel of rogues in a nation.1
posted by George_Spiggott at 4:08 PM on February 6 [9 favorites]


Just so I can have the UK version of saying 'WE'LL THAT'S IT I'M GOING TO CANADA'

--

I wonder if an independent Scottland would fancy a liberal re-immigration policy for the diaspora of Scottish descent. A nice, center-left country sounds pretty nice right about now

--

Considering what the conservatives have been getting up to in Canada (e.g. anti-science bullying), I've been wondering quite seriously about whether an independent Scotland might not be a better choice anyhow. Depending on how much of the UK/English surveillance state they bring along.
posted by Celsius1414 at 4:19 PM on February 6 [1 favorite]


In my capacity as King of Albania, I once again remind the Scottish people of my standing offer to have Scotland and Albania join in personal and dynastic union. We've even got a possible flag at the ready. Let me know, Scotland.

FWIW
posted by Sys Rq at 7:49 PM on February 6 [2 favorites]


Thing: "Bear in mind that the 1800 Act of Union was passed willingly by the Irish Parliament too."

If by "willingly", you mean coming on the heels of a failed rebellion with mass casualties, multiple atrocities and pogroms, with martial law still extant throughout many counties and active guerrilla fighting; the slaughter and expulsion of the great mass of the non-sectarian, liberal and educated political class; being pushed through an apartheid legislature after the failure of a similar proposal only two years earlier; and its passage assured by bribes, threats and a pledge, later broken, to extend suffrage to rich Roman Catholics after Union then I guess you have a point.
posted by meehawl at 8:01 PM on February 6 [4 favorites]


It was meant ironically to the statement that Scotland joined the Union "voluntarily". Both were acts of English imperialism.
posted by Thing at 8:19 PM on February 6


Does anyone have what the UK Parliament MP breakdown would be with and without Scotland for the past few elections?

This is the breakdown of the UK election results going back to 1945.

Bar the last election in 2010, where the tories would have had an outright majority instead of the need to form the coalition with the Lib Dems, you have to go back to 1974 to marginally change the end result, and 74 was a bit of a clusterfuck year anyway. So mostly, Scottish MPs changed the sizes of the majority, but only rarely made a big difference to the end result.

That said, the likely 2015 general election would be very interesting for the UK after a yes vote, with it falling in the middle of the negotiation process of Scotland separating, especially with a likely change of UK government to Labour. They are currently projected a 66 MP majority, probably at least 41 of whom would be MPs for Scotland. The tories only have 1, so little to lose. A small swing back to the Tories by 2015 in England could lead to a Labour majority that disappears after a year (assuming the SNP 2016 timetable stayed on track) ending up with a hung parliament. Even if not, we'll probably end up with the awkward position where MPs from Scotland are negotiating on the behalf of the rump UK for the terms of the Scottish exit (such as the share of the national debt, and possible currency union) and be instrumental on the final government vote to dissolve the union.

In addition, the Labour party has had a number of senior scots over the years. Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling (PM, chancellor/PM, chancellor) from the last labour government were all Scottish (though Blair was an MP in England), for example, and there were quite a few others.

Nor would the Lib Dems be unaffected; Danny Alexander is chief secretary of the treasury and a scottish MP, and they have 11 MPs in Scotland. Given they will likely be decimated at the next election (many Lib Dem voters feel betrayed by their broken pledges once in coalition with the Tories), losing their remaining Scottish MPs at westminster could virtually wipe out the party.

Interesting times, indeed.
posted by ArkhanJG at 12:05 AM on February 7 [2 favorites]


there are noises from the Tory Right

There are so many nutty things proposed by the Tory right that its best to just ignore it...

Plus saving the Royal Bank of Scotland with massive amounts of money, yet not putting any real limits on it.

This is a bit of a canard. Just because RBS has the word Scotland in it doesn't mean its assets are primarily Scottish.

I don't think independence will happen. The numbers are still firmly against, and usually referendums don't move toward a change in the status quo as you get closer to ballot today. That said, better together's arguments are uninspired, and the Yes campagin is better organised and more politically coherent.

I suspect that the only way for large democractic nations to function in the long run is federalism. Individual areas need to feel in control of their own destiny. I don't like the idea of us all splitting into seperate, tiny nations, because I feel that is regressive and dangerous. Nationalism and patriotism is scary to me, because they are artifical ideas with no physical meaning which cause divides between people whose only difference is being born in a different physical location.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 12:15 AM on February 7 [1 favorite]


This is a bit of a canard. Just because RBS has the word Scotland in it doesn't mean its assets are primarily Scottish.

Agree on the assets - but the jobs saved were largely scottish (it employs 12000 people in scotland), and many feel RBS got off very lightly - see Fred Goodwin, and the bonus situation for example. It was perceived as Scottish favouritism, regardless of whether it was or wasn't.

For example; RBS would move to London if the Scots vote to leave UK, costing up to 3000 scottish jobs. This from Vince Cable, and given the UK treasury owns 80% of RBS, it seems that the UK government will have quite a lot to say about what happens in the event of independence.
posted by ArkhanJG at 12:24 AM on February 7


This is obviously anecdotal but I do not know a single soul who plans on voting No. This may be a Glasgow thing. Strike that: it is definitely a Glasgow thing.
posted by kariebookish at 2:00 AM on February 7 [1 favorite]


In the Charles Stross version of Scottish Independence, I think Bitcoin would clearly be the national currency.

hahahahahah, uh, no
posted by Evilspork at 2:22 AM on February 7 [2 favorites]


The excellent blog UK Polling Report has a poll history. There's a pretty consistent lead for No: it would definitely be an upset if Scotland voted for independence.

I'm always a bit bemused by modern developed world nationalists like the SNP and UKIP. The world today reminds me a bit of the situation around the 16th century, when you had the emerging New Monarchies, centralized nation-states like England and France, and also the old city-states like Venice. In the same way our world seems increasingly dominated by huge trade blocs like the EU, NAFTA, ASEAN etc, but there are still nation-states. Fervent nationalists today just seem a bit like patriotic Venetians kidding themselves that a city-state could still be a mighty world power in a nation-state age. Realistically, both an independent Scotland and an integrated UK are largely at the mercy of regulations, trade policies and foreign policies set at a regional level. It's a bit like worrying whether you're in a dinghy or a canoe when all the boats are just bobbing around in the wake of an ocean liner anyway.
posted by TheophileEscargot at 2:58 AM on February 7


This is obviously anecdotal but I do not know a single soul who plans on voting No. This may be a Glasgow thing. Strike that: it is definitely a Glasgow thing.

Eh, loads of the Glasgow people I know (at least, those who've spoken about it at all) are coming down on the 'no' side, albeit in a kind of world-weary unimpressed-with-Salmond way rather than keenly supporting Better Together.

I'm probably going to vote 'no', despite liking a lot of the SNP's ideas and having no particular ideological wish for the UK to stay together - in practice I don't think they can pull off half of what's in the White Paper (and what kind of 'independence' is it anyway if we're going to keep the pound and refuse to treat RUK students at Scottish universities as though they came from any other European country, etc?), plus I don't want to hand England over to the Tories. I wish we'd got a devo-max option on the ballot, but alas, no.
posted by Catseye at 4:39 AM on February 7


For some additional context, I really recommend this IPPR report (PDF) into English views to devolution. Loads of fascinating things in there but one of the things that jumped out for me was was a poll on what people identified as their urgent constitutional priorities:

The UK’s relationship with the EU: 59%
How England is governed now that Scotland has a parliament and Wales has an assembly: 42%
A more proportional system for electing MPs at Westminster: 29%
Strengthening local government: 27%
Reforming the House of Lords: 26%
Scotland’s future relationship with the UK: 25%
The future of Northern Ireland: 5%
posted by ninebelow at 4:52 AM on February 7


I wouldn't be so sure about that; "yes" referendums have a terrible, terrible track record internationally. In basically every country, "no" is the result of public referendums an overwhelming number of times. "Yes" is very unusual I'm public referendums. It dies happen, but not very often at all.

The Irish experience has been quite different: our Constitution was originally enacted by referendum, and it can only be amended by referendum. Referendums are a regular part of the voting scene here, and 'Yes' votes are fairly common. (See Wikipedia list of Irish constitutional amendments).

The yes vote to join what was then the EEC in 1972 (83% yes), and the 1998 vote to ratify the Good Friday Agreement (94% yes) are probably the votes with the widest implications.

One interesting one is the 2001 referendum on the death penalty: the death penalty was already forbidden by law but the amendment to include the ban in the constitution got a 'yes' vote of 62%. The death penalty is often cited in the UK as one of the issues on which the opinion of the electorate is very different from what is actually enacted in legislation, but it didn't turn out like that here in Ireland.
posted by Azara at 6:46 AM on February 7 [1 favorite]


I think Scotland should go independent, even though I would have preferred for the union to remain intact.

Scotland is sufficiently devolved to make a nonsense of the idea of the UK already. It is simply unsustainable to have "one" country where important and costly benefits like tuition fee payments are not available to all.

If Scotland votes no to full independence it will get more devolution, not less. Unless Scotland has a significant crisis that reverses popular opinion on the benefits of being in the union it will get independence sooner rather than later. We are one charismatic leader north of the border and/or one truly poor government in Westminster away from clear majority support for independence.

Further devolution will also catalyse southern voters, many of whom already believe they are subsidising ungrateful jocks. Conservative strategists know that with Scottish Labour seats gone a Conservative majority is more likely. More importantly, the also enable a double whammy: Conservatives pushing through boundary changes that redress a longstanding bias in Labour's favour that could see them lose a further 10 seats.

We don't know if Scotland will be better off. Best guesses contain so many assumptions and dependencies they are indicative at best. Marginally better off. On paper. There are large, ugly questions about currency and an independent Scotland's relationship with the EU - both of which Alex Salmond has waved away unconvincingly. There are large ugly decisions about the movement or fragmentation of investment, jobs and institutions. Many people, Scots included, know that Alex Salmond cannot deliver everything in his manifesto. They know that he cannot be certain about major decisions that affect Scotland that will be made by other people. They are cynical that nothing will get worse. Beware politicians bearing gifts and all that.

It is funny to read the comments in this thread that presuppose Scotland as a socialist paradise, free from the yoke of the Evil Tories. Labour will be the dominant party in a post independence Scotland. The same Labour that introduced tuition fees, albeit on the recommendations of a study commissioned by John Major. The same Labour that led Britain to war in Iraq. The same one that oversaw a banking boom and bust, a sharp growth in the deficit and a widening in the gap between rich and poor. A healthy dose of cynicism is due as much in Holyrood as in Westminster.

Moreover, the Tories, widely disliked though they are, hold one seat in Scotland. Scotland was extremely conservative until the mid sixties, which is one reason why Alex Salmond is so keen to enfranchise very young voters. But the one Tory seat masks the actual level of support. After Labour's 1,035k votes, polling in the 2010 General Election went like this: the SNP got 491k votes, the Lib Dems got 465k votes and the Tories got 413k votes. There is a non-trivial appetite for conservatism and one can expect that to increase if a post independence Scottish government doesn't get the economy right. As recently as 1986 the Conservatives held more than 20 seats, while Thatcherite industrial closures and the poll tax did for support a non-aligned Scottish Conservative party, untarred by the same brush, will likely fare better than the current iteration.
posted by MuffinMan at 7:10 AM on February 7 [1 favorite]


Fervent nationalists today just seem a bit like patriotic Venetians kidding themselves that a city-state could still be a mighty world power in a nation-state age.

I'd think it's more the reverse -- with the growth of EU scale governance and policies as a backstop, being a citizen of an independent Scotland or Catalonia or Euskal Herria that's a direct, component part of the interdependent, regulated, more or less pacified EU might seem more attractive than being an independent country in an internationally anarchic Europe might have seemed.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:42 AM on February 7


It feels like, as least potentially, the growth of the EU really undermines the need for the large, centralized state. If powers are being taken from above, there is less call for the middle level of the classic state, and smaller areas can be more successful. The end result could be the EU on top, very strong regions and micro-states on the bottom, not much connective tissue in between.

This process might work more smoothly in countries that have historically had some recognition of their regions (UK, Spain) as opposed to, for example, France. On the other hand, France has been centralizing since at least the Albigensian Crusade, and lots of regions are not real happy about it.
posted by Chrysostom at 8:26 AM on February 7 [1 favorite]




It feels like, as least potentially, the growth of the EU really undermines the need for the large, centralized state.


This preference of Brussels over London strikes me as quite the loud Fuck Ye to London.
posted by ocschwar at 9:48 AM on February 7


Conservative strategists know that with Scottish Labour seats gone a Conservative majority is more likely

Are we accounting for a possible blowback for the party largely seen as driving Scotland out of the union? Speaking as a foreign observer, my instinct is that a successful independence bid for Scotland might frustrate a lot of Tory voters and drive them to the Lib Dems or farther to the right. Am I way off base, or is that a possible outcome? What would be the fallout for the Tories in the event of Scottish independence, because I can't believe that they'd emerge cleanly from having been at the helm during the dissolution of Great Britain.
posted by snottydick at 10:42 AM on February 7


It isn't a preference, I don't think ocschwar.

Bear in mind that up to now, Alex Salmond's preferred templates for an independent Scotland have been Iceland and Norway, both of which are closely integrated with the EU but not in it. After the financial crash, Alex Salmond stopped talking about Scotland_as_Iceland, the shrewd little country punching well above its weight in the financial services market. Now he prefers to talk about Norway, the rich little country whose fossil fuel reserves gift it an enviable quality of living.

Truly, I don't think Alex Salmond has thought a great deal about Scotland's relationship with the EU. But he'll find few friends in his bid for Scotland to join the EU on Scotland's terms. Not in France or Germany, who are driving the European superstate. Not in Westminster, where there are enough battles to fight with the EU of their own. Not in Spain, who want to make life very hard for Scotland to stop Catalonia getting ideas. Probably not in the new accession countries, all of whom have been forced to join the Eurozone. Separately, Norway had warned the UK, when Westminster imagines it can sort of not really mostly be in Europe that the halfway house position offers much of the pain of having to meet common standards but with none of the say because you have no seat at the table.

Are we accounting for a possible blowback for the party largely seen as driving Scotland

Conservative voters wouldn't really see it that way. They wouldn't look at the Scottish hatred of the Thatcher years, which is really the beginning of the end, and blame Margaret Thatcher any more than they sided with the miners in 1984. They're more likely to blame Labour, who committed to a referendum on devolution in their 1997 manifesto and who oversaw the process of devolution. I don't really think any Tories blame the Tories for this. If Labour had won the 2010 election the SNP would have been barely less vocal.

Labour voters might be angry with Labour if independence hands power to the Tories. Labour voters might blame the Tories if Scotland prevails while the rest of the UK does not. I'm sure some turds will be flung by someone at someone if Scotland really benefits from independence: on the Tory side this is more likely, if directed at their own party, to be about how poorly Westminster negotiated the terms of Scotland's exit and the division of assets.
posted by MuffinMan at 11:01 AM on February 7 [1 favorite]


Nobody's going to defect to the Lib-Dems, who have gone from being the party that everyone sorta likes but hardly ever votes for, to the one that everyone hates and wouldn't vote for if they had a magic spell to turn Tories to toads. Most English people feel English more than British (Brit=English overseas anyway: you don't hear many English people complaining about that, which given our amour propre on matters of language and identity otherwise should tell you something.) and probably won't consider Scotland much changed by independence one way or the other.

It's not a big thing which way it goes, south of the border. I'm unusual in being a southern Englander following the debate quite closely, inasmuch as there is a debate rather than increasingly-finessed sloganeering, because I have major Scottish connections. (I go to Edinburgh more times in six months than most of my friends will in their lifetimes.) But I've had almost no discussions about the referendum in London (it's different in Edinburgh, where at the close of an evening a party will congratulate itself on the rare event of 'not talking about independence').

I'd like it to be a yes, because I think the Scots will have a much better chance of building a nation to be proud of if they're left to it, not subsumed in English politics. Scotland is, by any sense, a nation; it should have provinces, not be one.

Also, it'll be a lot more fun. Will do England good to have a proper international border in Great Britain itself. Who knows, we might even become European one day...
posted by Devonian at 11:27 AM on February 7 [4 favorites]


As an expatriate Scot of far too many years standing, and someone who's already stated in this thread that i'm unconvinced, there's still something that's enormously inspiring about the independence project. If you walk down the Canongate in Edinburgh, there's a collection of Scots verses at the bottom, on the wall of the parliament building. The one that gets me every time, the one I explicitly search for, is from Alasdair Gray:

"Work as if you live in the early days of a better nation."

It's high up, you have to lift your eyes to find it.
posted by daveje at 2:15 PM on February 7 [2 favorites]


Yeah for a while the SNP was saying they could just use the Euro but the recent sovereign debt crisis has made that look less attractive. Keeping the pound sterling works as a stopgap but would maybe be tantamount to accepting colonial status if left too long.

Let me be not the first to suggest a truly Scottish sovereign currency - the sporran.
posted by newdaddy at 9:34 PM on February 7 [2 favorites]


Actually The Sporran, being the traditional Scottish receptacle of monies, would be the name given to our Stock Exchange. The official currency I predict would be the Bawbee, a currency measured against the Coulter's Candy Standard.
posted by Caskeum at 5:08 PM on February 8








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