Grease me up, woman!
September 13, 2014 10:15 AM   Subscribe

In the somewhat tumultuous debate over the Scottish independence (previously), and with less than a week before the historic vote, a new voice has risen out of the fray.
posted by Evilspork (144 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
 
Trust Fox to try an influence world events.
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:19 AM on September 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


Crivvens.
posted by Segundus at 10:23 AM on September 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


IT'S A BIRTHMAARRRK!
posted by emjaybee at 10:43 AM on September 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


Have we heard from Fat Bastard yet?
posted by Cocodrillo at 10:44 AM on September 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


Have we heard from Fat Bastard yet?


Mike Myers is still in makeup. The election will be long over by the time the video is published.
posted by birdherder at 10:52 AM on September 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


But how do Scrooge McDuck and Mayor McCheese feel about it?
posted by Sys Rq at 11:05 AM on September 13, 2014 [4 favorites]


Well that could have been funnier.
posted by Thing at 11:10 AM on September 13, 2014 [9 favorites]


One thing I have learned from this: Do not assume the nationality of a hamburger headed politician!
posted by Asbestos McPinto at 11:12 AM on September 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


interesting that this comes out as discussion is being had about murdoch's position...
posted by nadawi at 11:12 AM on September 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


Murdoch's position is usually divide and conquer.

"Aye or die" is the catchiest slogan since "Fly or Pie".
posted by arcticseal at 11:17 AM on September 13, 2014


If Scotland becomes independent will the remaining British parliament become more conservative or more liberal? Will Scotland be a conservative state or a liberal one?
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 11:23 AM on September 13, 2014


Britain will be more conservative immediately and Scotland will get more conservative over a couple of elections.
Lot's more right-wingery coming if it's an aye.
posted by zoo at 11:27 AM on September 13, 2014 [4 favorites]


The remaining British parliament will most likely turn more right-wing/neo-con while Scotland is traditionally more left-wing and liberal.
posted by kariebookish at 11:27 AM on September 13, 2014 [3 favorites]


Trust Fox to try an influence world events.

Rupert Murdoch is in the "Yes" camp.
posted by Nevin at 11:30 AM on September 13, 2014


Most believe Non-Scotland will turn more right-wing but after watching the great Socialist Utopia take shape to the North it will march inexorably to the left.
posted by fullerine at 11:30 AM on September 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


Well that could have been funnier.

Maybe twenty years ago...
posted by Nevin at 11:31 AM on September 13, 2014


interesting that this comes out as discussion is being had about murdoch's position...
posted by nadawi at 11:12 AM on September 13 [1 favorite −] Favorite added! [!]


Murdoch is pro-independence because
1) revenge on the British establishment for hauling him in front of the parliamentary inquiry into his UK newspapers' hacking scandal; also plays to his general image of himself as challenger of traditional establishment elites (yes, really)

2) rest of the UK without Scotland will likely more consistently have right-leaning, pro-free market governments, which is generally seen as helpful to his business
posted by Bwithh at 11:31 AM on September 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


Here's one from Quebec...
posted by Huck500 at 11:37 AM on September 13, 2014 [3 favorites]


I hear the Britain's Got Talent issue might win some converts.

The biggest demonstration ever in Europe, 11 km, 1,800,000 people #CatalansVote9N What does BBC explain to #Scotland?

And this youtube link had my favorite Scottish independence song but apparently it's gone restricted now.
posted by jeffburdges at 11:40 AM on September 13, 2014


The biggest demonstration ever in Europe, 11 km, 1,800,000 people #CatalansVote9N What does BBC explain to #Scotland?

Nick Robinson said nobody turned up! And I believed him!
posted by Thing at 11:46 AM on September 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty pro-Scottish independence, after living in both Scotland and England, they're really not the same country, and Scotland's government is waay more sane. Also, England really needs the black eye of the British isle unravelling, including fewer troops when it aids American wars and losing all their native oil. Krugman dislikes the idea, btw.

Ideally, Scotland will win the independence referendum but make the SNP feel compelled to continue running the country better than England. And disentangle themselves slowly enough to not create any sudden shocks.
posted by jeffburdges at 11:47 AM on September 13, 2014 [4 favorites]


Also, was his Scottish accent always that shit?
posted by fullerine at 11:50 AM on September 13, 2014 [5 favorites]


Oh yes. A real Scots accent is nigh unintelligible to most Americans, even when code switched.
posted by TheNewWazoo at 12:16 PM on September 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


but make the SNP feel compelled to continue running the country better than England


The Scottish NHS - more financially secure outside the UK?

Scotland and the SNP: Fooling yourselves and deceiving others
posted by Bwithh at 12:44 PM on September 13, 2014


Good discussion on this going on over at Crooked Timber.
posted by emjaybee at 12:58 PM on September 13, 2014


I'm pro-independence because I want to see what Small Britain's Asterisk of Saint George-Patrick will look like.
posted by I-Write-Essays at 1:05 PM on September 13, 2014


(MeFi's own) Charlie Stross had a rather interesting take on the question:
In the long term I favour a Europe—indeed, a world—of much smaller states. I don't just favour breaking up the UK; I favour breaking up the United States, India, and China. Break up the Westphalian system.
His proposed system is pretty interesting, but I wonder if it would wind up in a "race to the bottom" on things like labor rights, safety, business taxes, and other subjects, like we see in the US at times.
posted by Zonker at 1:07 PM on September 13, 2014 [9 favorites]


I... kind of doubt that Groundskeeper Willie is in Rupert Murdoch's pocket.
posted by Flunkie at 1:08 PM on September 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


People are dodging the real question here; since Scotland is independent, can they get their own monarch? An absolute monarch with non of that parliament nonsense. I'm sore there must be some Stuart tending bar at a pub in Glascow they can grab for the job.

That way, when his grandkid, who never was quite right in the head ascends the throne, he can declare war on England in revenge for the death of Queen Mary. Who he talks to regularly. And then he could get overthrown by a Jacobs, who are the rightful rulers if Scotland, and I'm not tjust saying this because I'm married to one (finish packing your bags dear!).

The wargamer in me is salivating at the scenario.
posted by happyroach at 1:23 PM on September 13, 2014 [3 favorites]


I am not dodging that question at all. In fact, as I have stated previously, in my capacity as King of Albania (regnal name: King El Funk I), I would be honored if the Scottish people, after throwing off the English yoke, would choose to join with Albania in personal and dynastic union under me and my progeny. We even have a possible flag designed.

And fair warning to the English: We consider the border to be Hadrian's Wall.
posted by Flunkie at 1:33 PM on September 13, 2014


Being American I'm all for fuck Great Britain by training and I've been following it on /r/scotland but there is no consensus that I can divine.

The Brits government seem to be treating it as a sort of tantrum [Cameron only just noticed] and the Brits control most of the media so I think the trend toward independence is underrepresented and I think will be approved. It's going to be interesting if Scotland votes for independence as they have a bunch of oil in the North Sea and Putin is a fucking nut and seems willing to cut off the energy supply to the eastern part of western europe, most notably Germany. This conflation of circumstances gives an independent Scotland some leverage.

I think that the media and banking and oil companies [read; US and Great Britain] are fucking terrified of losing their control over what is a relatively small nation population wise [5,084,407 people] that, if they sever their ties with GB will control a lot of oil.

My opinion is that Scotland should vote for independence [echoing cstross via Zonker] because I think a lot of the larger nations are unmanageable internally and bellicose.
posted by vapidave at 1:44 PM on September 13, 2014


Being American I'm all for fuck Great Britain by training...

Tell me, which do you prefer most: being angry or being ridiculous? I'm sensing that you must enjoy both almost equally.
posted by Thing at 1:51 PM on September 13, 2014 [9 favorites]


I'm sore there must be some Stuart tending bar at a pub in Glasgow they can grab for the job.

There's always, Franz, Duke of Bavaria
posted by popcassady at 2:19 PM on September 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


Yes I too have noticed that turning empires back into tiny nations usually works out great for everyone brb need to store some books in a monastery real quick...
posted by Potomac Avenue at 3:15 PM on September 13, 2014 [4 favorites]


I'm a bit worried about my friends in Shetland and Orkney. There's a lot of ocean (and fish and oil) tied up in the islands. I would hate for them to become a bone that the UK and an independent Scotland fight over.
posted by SPrintF at 3:27 PM on September 13, 2014


I'd be in favor of independence if that was actually on offer, but the SNP are planning to leave the UK (where Scotland has about 10% of the votes) and immediately join Europe (and very probably the Euro) where Scotland would have about 1% of the votes.
posted by Lanark at 3:33 PM on September 13, 2014


I'm a bit worried about my friends in Shetland and Orkney. There's a lot of ocean (and fish and oil) tied up in the islands. I would hate for them to become a bone that the UK and an independent Scotland fight over.
They're unambiguously part of Scotland, as opposed to part of any other constituent part of the UK, aren't they?
posted by Flunkie at 3:39 PM on September 13, 2014


I think that the media and banking and oil companies [read; US and Great Britain] are fucking terrified

I just learned today what they did in the last campaign in the 1970s (this is about the McCrone report).
posted by yoHighness at 3:55 PM on September 13, 2014 [3 favorites]


I have been truly shocked by how the media coverage has reported what I've seen on the streets of Glasgow and Dundee. This past fortnight has made me question just how much I can rely on media coverage of other events throughout the world. Yours truly, naive since 197x
posted by kariebookish at 3:56 PM on September 13, 2014 [7 favorites]


was his Scottish accent always that shit

For anyone like me who cannae get enough brogue enjoy this wee yes film a couple of local songwriters put together.
posted by yoHighness at 4:14 PM on September 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


I have been truly shocked by how the media coverage has reported what I've seen on the streets of Glasgow and Dundee.

Could you elaborate on that? What has been going on that the media aren't showing?

Given the way that various protests and similar events I've seen in London and elsewhere were reported, I don't doubt for a moment that the reality is very different from the reported story.
posted by metaBugs at 4:23 PM on September 13, 2014 [2 favorites]


I think my main issue is seeing a democratic process which has empowered previously disenfranchised people as something incredibly ugly, bad, hateful and aggressive. I have seen the whole lead-up to the referendum as a joyous, empowering process which has energised people from all walks of life. You hear people talking politics in the supermarket queue, at the bus stop, in the park and over lunch. Total strangers stop and start talking about this or that article. People are going to town house meetings and are seeking out information on their own. People who have never voted in their life have registered for the first time. They feel they have a voice and they have a right to ask questions. It's been blooming marvellous to see.

Regardless of the result of the vote, my hope is for these people to remain as engaged and interested in politics.

And I've been so surprised to see this whole thing reduced to nationalism. Most people I've talked to do not care about the SNP (The Scottish Nationalist Party - the party in power .. for now) - it is not an election but a referendum. I have been asked so many times about the anti-English sentiments and why people hate England so much. What I hear from people on the streets is that this has nothing to do with England or hatred of the Union, but everything to do with the chance for self-determination.

(The Better Together campaign has been deeply baffling to watch, incidentally. Up until last week I hadn't seen a single BT campaigner anywhere. Then we had people from London rushing up to do a bit of press before rushing back. I haven't seen anything as bemusing as this campaign since Mitt Romney ran for the White House.)
posted by kariebookish at 4:52 PM on September 13, 2014 [13 favorites]


"Tell me, which do you prefer most: being angry or being ridiculous? I'm sensing that you must enjoy both almost equally."

So that's one in the "No" coulmn then. I did say "Being American I'm all for fuck Great Britain by training".

Angry helps me wake up and ridiculous keeps me awake and entertained. The "Yes" voters seem to have less media support and I've been looking at the argument from each side and querying the internet as best a fool can.

I have no real interest in the outcome but might you tell me why Scottish independence is ridiculous?
posted by vapidave at 4:56 PM on September 13, 2014 [1 favorite]


A lot of the Yes rhetoric has been about rewriting Scottish history, and denying their participation in the British empire. Scotland was never colonized by England; a Scottish king took the English throne by inheritance in 1601; the countries & parliaments were later united in 1707 to prevent his Protestant descendants losing the throne to his Catholic descendants, and supported by Scottish elites who wanted in on the British Empire. (Scotland's own attempts to establish a colony in the new world has just ended disastrously shortly before 1707).

After Union, the Scots went out and played a disproportionate part in the British Empire, and all of its faults. I say this as a Canadian with family from PEI (highlanders settled there by Lord Selkirk), and who can read our own history books filled with Scottish names.

this is part of the history that the Scottish independence movement wants Scots to forget. They want to be seen as one of the victims of British imperialism, now finally breaking free, not active participants.

Well, they have millions of descendants (in Canada, New Zealand, Australia) and the reality of history against them.
posted by jb at 9:22 PM on September 13, 2014 [7 favorites]




I'm very much in favor of an Independent Scotland. I'm one of those 2nd wave Scots-Irish on my father's side that came in the early 1700s. Whether you want to say it was all Scots being the real power behind the Union or not, the general view, I think, when people say UK - the first thought of most people is England (or they'll say "Britain" but they'll really be thinking "London" and "Buckingham" and all that English stuff)...

I actually ponder the idea of repatriating, though I know I have neither the fortitude for such a huge change in my life nor would I have my friends following me.

I like when I hear Salmond and the SNP talking about a strong welfare system and pro-immigration. You just do not hear that kind of shit coming from most politicians in the world today. And I'm sure that over the years, they'll turn rightward, because, that's just how it goes, eh? But it's still nice to think that for a short period of time there will be someone free from the yoke of the incessant neo-liberalism mythos and take a stand for something different.

I'm not sure, vapidave, but when I read /r/scotland, it seems the majority are Yes. It seems to be continuing in that direction. It seemed even a few weeks ago there were more no voices, but I'm seeing a lot of people chiming in with their change to a yes position.

I still think it's too close to call.

Now that you mention England/rest of the UK going Rightward, I guess I understand why the UK Labour party is terrified (Ed Miliband, there's a few choice words I've got for that weasel); if Scotland means the leftish base is even weaker in the UK/England as a whole, then the Labour party is going to be worse off than it already is. But I suppose that's their grave they dug all along. Maybe they could have tried for policies that would have pleased the left a bit more, but too dang bad.

Frankly, the "No" campaign has been negative and fearmongering and I think that's turned off a lot of people. Salmond might not be the best spokesperson for independence, but he's tried to remain positive from what I can see.
posted by symbioid at 11:02 PM on September 13, 2014 [3 favorites]


I'm a bit worried about my friends in Shetland and Orkney.

They're unambiguously part of Scotland, as opposed to part of any other constituent part of the UK, aren't they?


They're unambiguously part of Scotland only in the way Scotland is unambiguously part of the UK. They have a separate culture and might prefer not to go with the Scots; there's an Orkney and Shetland Movement seeking specific devolution for the islands.

A deal with Norway, now, that might be a proposition...
posted by Segundus at 12:30 AM on September 14, 2014 [1 favorite]




So, to round that off, I guess SPrintF is worried about the scenario where the Scots say "Ha ha, England, the oil is ours!" and London says "Nope; it belongs to Shetland and Orkney and they want to stay with us!"

It could be nasty, but equally the islands could get Salmond and Cameron competing to shower them with money and support.
posted by Segundus at 12:51 AM on September 14, 2014


Could you elaborate on that? What has been going on that the media aren't showing?

metabugs:
Enraged Alex Salmond demands BBC inquiry into RBS HQ relocation leak
A fresh example of BBC misrepresenting or totally leaving out coverage of yes marches
Independent Enquiry into BBC bias regards Scottish Independence Referendum almost good to go on 38degrees
posted by yoHighness at 3:02 AM on September 14, 2014 [4 favorites]


If Metafilter didn't have any 'You must read the linked article before posting' policy. That's kinda what the democratic process has been like for me. The people whose voices I respect most (both sides) only very recently started speaking. And the first thing they always said was DAMN that was a lot of research. The democracy software is out of date. I almost wished voting required some sort of link with having done research / talking to others / spent time in the decision making.
posted by yoHighness at 3:10 AM on September 14, 2014


UK Polling Report has a good roundup of the latest polls, basically a small lead for No, but close enough for doubt.

Personally I hope Yes wins. I'm pretty pessimistic about the present political state of the UK, and any hope of improving it. As someone on Twitter said, it's a bit like being in a prison camp, watching someone else scale the fence, hoping they make it but knowing the guards will take it out on the rest of us if they do.

Maybe eventually we can just split up the whole thing into Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, Ulster, Oopnorth, Mercia, Greater London and Dailymailia...
posted by TheophileEscargot at 3:32 AM on September 14, 2014 [2 favorites]


A couple of things I noticed yesterday while travelling through Edinburgh on a bus, there were a lot of Yes stalls but no one was showing any interest, they were all staffed by T-shirted Yes people milling about looking kind of bored. These stalls were all concentrated in middle class areas, once past the Head of the Walk there were only one stall on Leith Walk (Green/Yes). I talked to quite a few people in Leith and the referendum came up quite often. No one talking to me expressed anything but a rejection of the proposed independence, none of them was wearing a No badge. Rightly or wrongly, the Edinburgh trams fiasco has created a very jaded view here of how capable the Scots are at managing anything. "Let these people run a country? I don't think so!" I suspect Edinburgh will vote No.

I think there is a huge echo chamber in which a few fanatics convince themselves there is support for independence. I am hoping for a huge turnout and I am hoping for a decisive No. Otherwise I will enjoy the party while the SNP bribe the population for a couple years and leave before the money runs out.

I would not defend the present state of the UK or its government but what the SNP are proposing can only be worse because it is wishful thinking peddled by the politically naive without any economic rationale whatsoever.
posted by epo at 3:50 AM on September 14, 2014 [3 favorites]


epo, if you saw the Green/Yes stall on Leith Walk before noon or so, I had lunch with one of the people working it. It's a small city sometimes ...

Lunch conversation naturally included the referendum. It's honestly sometimes a bit frustrating being a lefty on the "No" side in central Edinburgh. So far as I can tell, almost everyone I know is firmly on the Yes side and very enthusiastic. On the one hand it's nice to see people so engaged in a political issue. On the other hand, I'm usually sitting there thinking, "I think things are going to get really, really bad if Yes wins."

Of course, my circle of acquaintances (and the populace of Metafilter, for that matter) have not, historically, been a good gauge of the actual support on the ground for political issues. Sometimes they've been on the side of the winners and sometimes the losers; "everyone I know" is a lousy, biased poll, both when I agree with it and when I don't. The actual polls are pretty much showing a dead heat right now, with perhaps a slight No lead. So I know there are No voters out there, both on the left and on the right ...

I guess we'll see what happens on the night.
posted by kyrademon at 6:14 AM on September 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


Two points (hopefully non-contentious):

1. In event of a "yes" vote, the current plans for independence as laid out in the white paper from the SNP call for Scotland to retain the monarchy. That might change some time after independence, but this isn't a referendum on Scotland becoming a republic. As the Queen occupies both the English and Scottish thrones (as has been the case for the monarch since 1604) this isn't terribly controversial.

2. For the love of Cthulhu do not read the YouTube comments.
posted by cstross at 7:15 AM on September 14, 2014 [1 favorite]




As the Queen occupies both the English and Scottish thrones (as has been the case for the monarch since 1604)

I don't think that's quite right. The various Acts of Union, especially the one in 1707, merged the two monarchies, so the Queen is Queen of the United Kingdom, not of England and Scotland separately. Not that it matters, perhaps, but the question would have to be addressed in the legislation, I think.
posted by Segundus at 8:17 AM on September 14, 2014


Yeah, she's Liz II, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland Queen.

The English and Scottish thrones were merged, it's not a personal union thing, and not like the rest of the Commnwealth whose thrones she holds independently. (The legal personage of the Crown is a separate entity in the UK, Canada, Australia, etc.) I think if I understand correctly Scotland would be part of the Commonwealth, retaining the monarchy as specifically the Scottish monarchy, which happens to be invested in the same person as that of the UK, Canada, etc etc.

Also,

catchiest slogan since "Fly or Pie"

ynotboth.gif
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:03 AM on September 14, 2014


Actually, there's a thought... if Scotland does leave, would it still even be possible or appropriate to call Britain the United Kingdom? Wales was annexed so long ago it was never considered under the United banner. Would just be the UK of England and NI now. (And that latter, probably not for much longer if Scotland does leave. IMHO.)
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:22 AM on September 14, 2014


(And that latter, probably not for much longer if Scotland does leave. IMHO.)

Yeah... No. Northern Ireland will probably remain part of the UK longer than England.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:55 AM on September 14, 2014


Actually, there's a thought... if Scotland does leave, would it still even be possible or appropriate to call Britain the United Kingdom?
In the event of Scottish independence, I'm rooting for the remainder of the UK to rename itself "The United Kingdom of Southern Great Britain and Northern Ireland".
posted by Flunkie at 10:32 AM on September 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


at one point, someone I know cynically suggested that England should succeed first, so that Scotland gets stuck with Northern Ireland.
posted by jb at 12:10 PM on September 14, 2014 [3 favorites]


Whether you want to say it was all Scots being the real power behind the Union or not, the general view, I think, when people say UK - the first thought of most people is England (or they'll say "Britain" but they'll really be thinking "London" and "Buckingham" and all that English stuff)...

Clearly, just in terms of numbers of people, towns and cities, and of course in having one of Europe's biggest cities, England is going to dominate the general picture of Britain outside the UK itself, but nobody within the UK would conflate "Britain" with "England", no matter how much they might think/complain that Britain is dominated by England.

The mistake of confusing Scotland and England (which I've actually overheard myself from tourists in Edinburgh) is more common in the US, I suspect, than other parts of the English-speaking world - as jb noted, lots of Scots ended up in Canada, Australia and New Zealand in relatively recent times, and people in those countries take a close interest in Britain as members of the Commonwealth. Every four years there's a reminder to all of us of the constituent countries of the UK, because they compete separately at the Commonwealth Games. I think you'd find that Commonwealth people have a good understanding that Britain is more than just England, even if their first thought on hearing the word might be the Queen at Buckingham Palace.

I'm one of those 2nd wave Scots-Irish on my father's side that came in the early 1700s.

The Scots-Irish hail from Ulster. You could repatriate to Northern Ireland. (Beautiful place. Somewhat unsettling at times.) Also, some of the Ulster Scots/Scots-Irish actually originated from the north of England and even Wales. Oh, what a tangled web.
posted by rory at 12:16 PM on September 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


Yeah... No. Northern Ireland will probably remain part of the UK longer than England.

You won't see more union flags per square metre anywhere else in Britain. Not even in those tourist shops in London.
posted by rory at 12:19 PM on September 14, 2014 [1 favorite]


Kevin McKenna - Scottish independence: why I have finally decided to vote a proud yes

"Thanks to BP, Standard Life, Royal Bank of Scotland, TSB, John Lewis and the mad Gadarene dash to Scotland of the Westminster elite, the final few days of the journey which had once promised to be rocky have been a breeze."

If Huey, Louie and Dewey hadn't come up to Scotland in the wake of last weekend's polls, they would have been accused of complacency in the face of potentially the biggest constitutional crisis in the UK in living memory. Damned if they did, damned if they didn't.

The Governor of the Bank of England said in March that there was a "distinct possibility" that RBS would have to relocate in the event of Yes, because of EU rules about banks headquartering in the country where they do most of their business. Framing this as last-minute shock news is political theatre, on both sides.
posted by rory at 12:39 PM on September 14, 2014


Here's one from Quebec...

On the one hand, I suspect that secession might be unfortunate for the people of Scotland, for whom I have some sympathy. On the other hand, it might be good for Quebec if someone else tries it first. We can wait 20 years and see how they do. Scotland has a little oil production and the EU to potentially join, so it's not a perfect comparison; but probably better than South Sudan or Slovakia.
posted by sfenders at 2:39 PM on September 14, 2014





Yeah... No. Northern Ireland will probably remain part of the UK longer than England.


That's rather an interesting point, psychologically. The part of the UK that the unionists feel spiritually (and literally) closest to, is Scotland. Maybe I'm reading into it a bit --- my ignorance on the subject is vast --- but I dunno, reading the Belfast Telegraph's reporting on the vote there's a sort of...creeping malaise? Worry, definitely. But also a sense of being adrift, I'd say. If the union no longer contains your spiritual home, what are you tied to, exactly? A deep love of being ruled by Eton-bred toffs? One wonders if Paisley checked out when he did because he simply couldn't bear the prospect of a yes triumph.

Not that this'll change much at Stormont, practically speaking. And McGuiness + Co. have been clever enough to keep their traps shut, for the most part. Can't help but feel the ground shifting under the unionists, though. If 300 years isn't enough to make the Scots feel indivisibly bound to the UK, why should 400 or 500 be?

That's actually the larger question of the whole shebang, really. Over here at U.S.A., Incorporated, we transform our immigrants into full-blooded Americans in one generation or less, or your visa back. So we like to think, anyway. But apparently 300 years wasn't enough for the Scots to become fully amalgamated. So does that mean that so long as they've got the EU and the internet, most folks would rather belong to a small people than a big country? Does a yes vote portend the death throes of the nation-state or its exponential growth through fragmentation? Can argue it both ways, I think...
posted by Diablevert at 5:57 PM on September 14, 2014 [2 favorites]


I am surprised that the whole issue has been dominated by trivialities and short term thinking (clutching pearls, OMG what currency will it be?!).
To my mind, the way to get a yes vote would be to appeal to Scots pride.
Many countries around Europe and the rest of the world have succeeded with a worse starting position than Scotland, why should the Scots play second fiddle to the English for eternity?

Almost every question that the white paper and the yes team has 'failed to adequately address' has been adequately addressed in many other countries, in various ways. If the Yes vote is successful, I think the surprise will be just how tepid the changes will be at first.
posted by bystander at 10:50 PM on September 14, 2014


When I was a child
I caught a fleeting glimpse
Out of the corner of my eye
I turned to look but it was gone
I cannot put my finger on it now


On not being Comfortably Numb.
posted by rongorongo at 1:48 AM on September 15, 2014 [1 favorite]




"If Huey, Louie and Dewey hadn't come up to Scotland in the wake of last weekend's polls, they would have been accused of complacency in the face of potentially the biggest constitutional crisis in the UK in living memory. Damned if they did, damned if they didn't."

Damned if the didn't, certainly. The fact they're also 'damned if they did' is their problem and really shows how much the 3 NO parties have either ignored Scotland in the case of the Tories and Lib Dems, or taken it for granted as Labour have. Imagine living in a country where the leaders don't make emergency visits at times of crisis or when it's politically opportune, but are actually present, because they live there. That would be nice, wouldn't it?
posted by IanMorr at 8:12 AM on September 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


I am surprised that the whole issue has been dominated by trivialities and short term thinking (clutching pearls, OMG what currency will it be?!).
To my mind, the way to get a yes vote would be to appeal to Scots pride.


Yeah, because government in Scotland shouldn't be about boring technicalities like monetary and fiscal policy. It's about making sure you're on the right team in the international game of nationalist identity. My ancestors were from there, and despite all reason I do feel the appeal of that just a little bit.

Here are some writers arguing for the other side.
posted by sfenders at 12:43 PM on September 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


sfenders: "Here are some writers arguing for the other side."

As I tweeted to Ken the other night, I really, really wanted that video to be a strong and positive case for the Union. What I got instead was an hour of vague entreaties to the past and the radical tradition of the English, then some bromides about 'doing more' within the UK from a left of centre perspective.

Nowhere have I seen an answer to my assertion (and the broad assertion of the left-leaning elements of the Yes campaign) that there is no realistic chance of countering the rightward shift of the UK as a whole, aside from separating and having the potential to act as a precendent. It basically boils down to 'stay in the Union, vote Labour and cross your fingers'. Well, we've tried that. It didn't work in 1997 and I have about as much faith in Ed Miliband or any of his apparent successors as I do in Cameron. Which is to say, none.

What I do have some belief in is a smaller body politic and my own ability to influence it. I'm not voting Yes simply to delegate responsibility for my own life to a fresh, slightly closer set of numpties. I'm voting to change the frame of reference.
posted by Happy Dave at 1:47 PM on September 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


rongorongo: “On not being Comfortably Numb.”
Up until now, I hadn't really read a compelling argument for Yes. That's the best counter I've seen to “The Quality of Britishness” from the Scotland coverage from The Dish that was linked in the last thread.
posted by ob1quixote at 2:02 PM on September 15, 2014


As I understand it, elderly voters are more likely to vote NO because their welfare benefits would be more secure under the Union. Elderly voters tend to have high turnout relative to other groups. Yet most of the polls have been online, potentially missing much of the elderly demographic. Has there been anything written on this?
posted by pravit at 2:34 PM on September 15, 2014


Here's my bid for a positive case for Union.

Government on a small scale and government on a large scale both have their advantages. A more local government with a smaller constituency is often more responsive to local needs, desires, and conditions. The political stance of constituencies can vary from place to place, and more localized government is one of several things that can help ensure that minority voices are not completely overwhelmed by other groups.

But government on a large scale presents possibilities that are simply not possible on a smaller scale. Huge undertakings require access to huge resources, and a government that can direct them. Scientific research. Transportation infrastructure. Space exploration. These are all things that become more possible, more feasible, greater in scope and greater in return, when backed by the resources of millions upon millions of people. There are more physical resources and funding, a bigger pool of talent to draw from, and more organizations that can work together to make it happen when the scope is bigger.

The UK has had the advantage of this many times. The development of a radar warning system, which arguably prevented the invasion of the UK in World War II, came from a combination of the innovation of a Scot and the resources of the UK as a whole. There are plenty of other examples -- Powered aircraft. Practical steam power. The vaccine for typhoid fever. It's not that these things would never have been discovered without the UK; of course they eventually would have been. But because of the available resources, they were discovered sooner, spread quicker, and had an earlier effect. They saved lives, furthered knowledge, and in some cases possibly prevented catastrophe.

I think many on the Yes side are aware of this, which is one reason most want Scotland to stay in the EU. But there are problems with that -- not least that the course of Scotland's re-entry into the EU is far from clear, and could take years and years if, say, Spain balks. But even if the entry is surprisingly easy, the EU is in many ways a clumsy instrument, still very much a collection of nations that all consider themselves sovereign than anything else. The countries which have been able to act effectively as part of the EU are still the larger nations within it. Scotland could very well find itself consigned to the sidelines.

I think further devolution for Scotland is a great idea. Scotland is right to want to keep Scottish NHS safe, and provide for its poorer citizens, and should have the right to set that agenda for itself if it wants. Heck, I think devolution for *England* would be a great idea. A set of strong local governments under a larger umbrella government that can marshal the resources of the whole UK when needed may be the best solution. The Canadian model might be a good example. And the UK has been heading in that direction as devolution continues.

But Scotland leaving the UK entirely means the UK loses out and Scotland loses out. Both will find themselves with a diminished voice on the world stage, and a diminished ability to get things done locally. And I believe this would include many of the very things Scotland most wants to preserve or encourage.
posted by kyrademon at 2:43 PM on September 15, 2014 [5 favorites]


epo: I think there is a huge echo chamber in which a few fanatics convince themselves there is support for independence. I am hoping for a huge turnout and I am hoping for a decisive No.

Er, polls suggest that there is in fact substantial support for independence, it seems a little odd to snidely refer them as 'a few fanatics'. Going by how these things usually work, I expect a solid, possibly even resounding, 'No' victory because because it is likely that most of the undecideds will vote for the devil they know, but even if only 30 or 40 percent of the population votes yes, that's pretty damn serious support for independence.
posted by tavella at 2:57 PM on September 15, 2014


Omnivore: Something incredible is happening in Scotland
posted by homunculus at 3:18 PM on September 15, 2014


Westminster's promises to Scotland on a "no" vote, for all their impassioned delivery, are pretty weak tea. Only the third one has even a trace of substance, and it's completely free of any political risk for them.

Notably, it's been repeated in so many words that the Scottish government will continue to have no say whatsoever in the ongoing giveaway of what's left of the oil reserves.
posted by George_Spiggott at 4:00 PM on September 15, 2014


The Butterfly Rebellion -and the incidental role played by a Glaswegian on a bicycle rickshaw. All bar one of the mainstream newspapers in Scotland have come out in editorial favour of 'no'. So an interesting feature of the campaign has been the influence of pro-yes blogs like the above linked Bellacaledonia.
posted by rongorongo at 4:30 PM on September 15, 2014


kariebookish: I've only ever visited Scotland, and one of my big takeaways (and this was in '08) was that the people I was around talked politics more frequently and openly than anywhere else I'd ever been. If there's been a marked increase, then I can't even imagine.

I'm feeling opposed to independence, but I'm not there. I'm worried that economically it won't favor either Scotland or the U.K., and that the ramifications will be widespread, leading to similar fissures from the other European separatists movements closely watching this in Catalonia, Basque Country, Corsica, Finland, and so on. I'm worried that with geopolitcs where they are, this is a particularly bad time for European Balkanization, and there isn't ever even really a good time for that. I'm worried that a peaceful process in Britain can become a very bloody process elsewhere. I'm worried that the Scottish oil reserves are being vastly overstated by the YES side, and I'm worried about the economic transition to the Euro and the political transistion to the E.U. in general.

But in reality, most of my worries will likely be non-issues, and I'm probably in favor of the status quo because I'm an American who likes the U.K. the way I've always known it. Every Scot I've ever known has been both thoughtful and proud, and if Independence is necessary then I'm glad it's in their hands to make that decision, rather than mine.

That said, I don't want the U.K. to swing fiercely rightward and I don't want Scotland to do so in a nationalistic fervor a little later, but the latter of those is far from certain.

I also like the Union Jack. If it has to be replaced, can we just have the Welsh Dragon with the crosses of St. George and S.t Patrick unobtrusively in the corners or something?
posted by Navelgazer at 5:59 PM on September 15, 2014


Given how much the Spanish fishing fleet operates in Scottish waters, through the EUs Common Fishery Policy (itself a betrayal of Scotland by Westminster) they are highly unlikely to block entry.
posted by IanMorr at 7:42 PM on September 15, 2014 [1 favorite]


Amusing, but Catalonia is worth far more than fishing off Scotland.

Imho, it'll help Spain immeasurably if Scotland votes Yes and fairs well, ditto other countries. Corruption is Spain's single greatest problems. If Scotland successfully gains greater independence, then Spain might choose to save a few bucks by prosecuting a little corruption, and send the savings on ordinary people, especially in Catalonia.

Imagine if devolution takes hold in the right-wing American psyche after watching Scotland's example, well that's actually still progress overall.
posted by jeffburdges at 10:50 PM on September 15, 2014


Happy Dave: Nowhere have I seen an answer to my assertion (and the broad assertion of the left-leaning elements of the Yes campaign) that there is no realistic chance of countering the rightward shift of the UK as a whole, aside from separating and having the potential to act as a precendent.

Well, rather than looking at an independent Scotland as a precedent for a moment, let's look back. It's 1900. Victorian capitalists and industrialists rule the roost in the UK. The major manufacturing and industrial cities - Glasgow and Dundee in Scotland; Manchester, Sheffield, Leeds, Birmingham, and Liverpool in England - are, unless you're the kind of middle class clerk who has a house with an indoor toilet, both sinkholes of poverty and places where engineering and manufacturing innovations helped birth the modern world.

Working conditions are almost universally horrible for the majority of the population employed by industry, whether that be in factories or in the hundreds of mines which supply the coal that literally fuels them; wages are kept suppressed, often through violent crackdowns on anyone who dares to object; good luck if you ever want a paid holiday.

At that point, what do you think the odds were on countering the free market capitalist orthodoxy of the UK as a whole, and building a movement that would not just energise all those soot-faced miners and ragged factory workers, but bring about huge changes to working conditions and therefore to the whole social fabric of the UK, changes which we're still beneficiaries of today?*

And yet it happened, through bloody-minded determination, hard work, sacrifice (of life and limb, in some cases), and collaboration. That the starting conditions were massively loaded against the possibility of change was in the end no counter to the huge effort over the subsequent decades that eventually resulted in the creation of the modern welfare state and the NHS, not to mention the right to unionise, equality legislation, equal rights (still being worked on) for LGBT people and a whole lot else. I'm not willing to throw my hands up and say "well, it's all fucked; let's just go our own way and do what we can for ourselves" because that precludes the possibility that I, in whatever small way I can, can help effect future change in the current right wing default setting of the UK as a whole. Things have been changed before - and it was hard, sometimes unforgiving work, but change did happen - and they can be changed again. It would be (it was previously; it still is) a constant, almost Sisyphean, battle. That doesn't mean it's not one worth fighting, though.



*even if governments of all stripes have spent the past 30 years trying their best to destroy everything that was fought for
posted by Len at 12:04 AM on September 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


See, that's where we differ. You see an inevitable, momentous, gradual struggle for change. I see a labour movement which seized on the lessons learned and unity gained by fighting through an apocalyptic war and was able to briefly overturn accumulation of capital as a global force, because that capital had been brutally chewed up by the same war.

I'd contend that this is a similar moment, a chance to demonstrate that despite the screaming of banks, corporate media and bought politicians, genuine democracy can still work.

I fear for the hundreds of thousands of people mobilised by this effort - if it's a No, what does that say to them? That they were wrong? That their votes don't actually matter? There are thousands voting in this election who have never bothered to vote in their lives. I desperately do not want them to go back to thinking they have no power.

Voting Labour and trusting that some day, some way, we'll be able to reverse the last 30 years of regression is not good enough. The Labour party has been co-opted to exactly the same managerialist view of the world and the party system and FPTP politics mean that meaningful multi-party politics in the UK are decades away from being worth a damn.

A Yes vote would change all of that, including Westminster. Especially Westminster.
posted by Happy Dave at 1:31 AM on September 16, 2014


Amen! It's precisely that Yes might damage Westminster, and maybe the City, enough that they'll change course. And, if not, there is necessarily much downside for the Scots because a Yes does not make Scotland immediately independent. A Yes empowers the Scots to withdraw from British bureaucracies, improving their negotiating position with Westminster, but doesn't mean they'll actually do so in any given case.
posted by jeffburdges at 1:46 AM on September 16, 2014


I liked this article - Covering Scotland as if it were in the Middle East.

Though I think the article undersells how much it really is about the oil. Scotland, especially Glasgow, has had multiple decades of decline while the oil money has flowed elsewhere. It is an easy argument to make that things could have been different and maybe should be in the future.

I'm now at the stage where I want the vote to be over as the tension is killing me.
posted by hfnuala at 2:11 AM on September 16, 2014


Imagine living in a country where the leaders don't make emergency visits at times of crisis or when it's politically opportune, but are actually present, because they live there. That would be nice, wouldn't it?

I do - I live in Edinburgh, and genuinely feel that I do. That might not have been as true 16 years ago, but right now there's a Scottish Parliament right here in my city, and it's packed to the rafters with MSPs who live in Scotland. It decides local issues that affect Scottish residents. As for the leaders of the UK parties as a whole, a good proportion of them have come from here in the time I've lived here. Not right now, but so? Am I supposed to feel excluded from Holyrood because the current First Minister comes from Aberdeen and not Edinburgh?

I'm from the smallest state in Australia. The last time we had a prime minister who came from our state was 1939. The leaders of the national-level parties rarely visit the place, whether as prime ministers or otherwise. But we have representation in our national parliament, and we influence what happens there. Meanwhile, our state leaders live with us and decide local issues. My home state often has a government of a different political stripe to the national parliament. Sometimes, when the elections for each are close in timing, you can see the people in my home state voting differently in each, on the basis of the different issues at state and federal level. (I say "we" and "our" because it's my home home, but haven't lived there myself in years.)

I also lived for several years in Australia's national capital, a few kilometres from the prime minister's residence. I didn't feel better represented just because they lived down the road. I didn't feel better, full stop, when a prime minister I thoroughly disagreed with was elected while I lived there; neither did most of the city, because we'd mostly voted for the other lot.

This is what Britain needs. Federal boundaries. (Those are just off the top of my head, but they're close to what would make sense.) Make proper states of Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, London, Cornwall, and then England's North, Midlands, East, Southeast and Southwest (you might have to put Cornwall in with the Southwest because of population disparities, but you could put the state capital there to compensate). State parliaments in each. Replace the Lords with a senate. Within the past twenty years Britain has already got halfway there, and this referendum - assuming that Scotland doesn't push off - could help get it the rest of the way.

I know full well that any such dreams could be moot in three days' time. But maybe not.
posted by rory at 2:25 AM on September 16, 2014


Amen! It's precisely that Yes might damage Westminster, and maybe the City, enough that they'll change course.

If it's precisely that, then a Yes vote is the wrong instrument, because what should it matter to Scotland if Westminster changes course after Scotland is independent? We'll have nothing to do with it any longer. The fate of the City will be as much out of our hands as the fate of Wall Street. If you think that it could still have a negative effect on how we live here, it might be useful to retain some degree of influence over it.
posted by rory at 2:43 AM on September 16, 2014


rory: "This is what Britain needs. Federal boundaries. (Those are just off the top of my head, but they're close to what would make sense.) Make proper states of Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, London, Cornwall, and then England's North, Midlands, East, Southeast and Southwest (you might have to put Cornwall in with the Southwest because of population disparities, but you could put the state capital there to compensate). State parliaments in each. Replace the Lords with a senate. Within the past twenty years Britain has already got halfway there, and this referendum - assuming that Scotland doesn't push off - could help get it the rest of the way."

I admire your optimism, but I just can't see it happening. I really can't. There is far too much money and far too many vested interests that want the UK just as it is right now.

I can literally taste the shakeup that a Yes vote would afford. It's right there.

I can't give that up, either for Scotland or for the rest of the UK, for the campaign promise (already refuted multiple times by Tory backbenchers) of a shaky three-party coalition of the unwilling that doesn't even give us the start of federalism, just a promise of a sop that will only anger England and Wales, rightly, because it's not more powers, it's a barely coherent bribe.

For me it's a simple choice - fundamentally challenge and disrupt the toxic state of the Union and win genuine independence into the bargain, or shut up and get back in our boxes.

Here's my prediction, if we vote No. Cameron will campaign on it and ride a surge of British nationalism to an outright majority or a UKIP alliance. The 60% of austerity cuts we haven't even had yet will bite, and bite hard. Scottish MPs will be barred from voting on English legislation (which is actually a good thing, but will applied as a punitive measure). The 'timetable for devo max' will fall apart under backbencher pressure. Scotland will either vote massively Labour or massively SNP in retaliation, but will remain powerless against the vastly larger constituencies of the South East.

We'll be back here in ten years, having the same debates, still screaming at each other, but through that whole time, kids will still be going to foodbanks, wages will still be falling and we'll probably have another house price bubble into the bargain.

I hope that I'm wrong. I hope, in the event of a No vote, that I look up this comment in a decade's time and shake my head at the foolish worrying of my younger self. But I don't think I will.
posted by Happy Dave at 2:45 AM on September 16, 2014 [5 favorites]


And, as usual, the excellent PeatWorrier has said it better than I can:
But for the nervous gestures, the manipulative and hollow trick of rechristening bloodless Calman-plus plans "devo-max", and hastily drawing up a timetable to realise these very, very limited new autonomies, none of this has any credibility. A federated United Kingdom is a plan without a constituency, without a committed political proponent, without any depth of support across much of Britain, running contrary to the declared instincts of politicians from both big London parties, faced with a dizzying array of rhubarbing and powerful dissenters on both the Labour and the Tory benches.

Whur's yer pessimism of the intellect noo?
posted by Happy Dave at 3:21 AM on September 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


A couple of articles I have really enjoyed for various reasons.

Is This the End of Britishness? - if I were still teaching English to bored Danish teenagers, I'd teach this one. It addresses 18th century nation formation, Victorian Empire, post-colonialism and postwar economics in one fell swoop. For once the comments are worth reading. One particular comment stayed with me:

"I am a Jew, whose great-grandparents arrived in UK at the end of the nineteenth and early in the twentieth century. Of course, I have a British passport, was educated in an English school and university. But, I feel my identity is very definitely British, not English. If Scotland votes for independence (and if I were entitled to vote, I am sure I would vote 'yes'), there will be a noticeable shift for me in my identity and even my sense of security. It is simply not possible for me comfortably to say that I am 'English'...and this does worry me."

The Butterfly Rebellion - the left-wing of the Scottish independence movement crystallised - but with great humour which softens it a bit. This is the sort of banter you might hear down a Glasgow pub at the moment.
posted by kariebookish at 3:31 AM on September 16, 2014


> "I fear for the hundreds of thousands of people mobilised by this effort - if it's a No, what does that say to them? That they were wrong? That their votes don't actually matter?"

And are there no impassioned people on the No side? No new voters? That isn't what the polls are showing. Turnout is looking to be huge on both sides of the issue. People on both sides care deeply. Do the feelings and hopes of the No voters somehow matter less than those of the Yes voters? In a democratic vote, sometimes more people disagree with you than agree with you and you lose. Both sides face that possibility.

In fact --

> "I hope that I'm wrong. I hope, in the event of a No vote, that I look up this comment in a decade's time and shake my head at the foolish worrying of my younger self. But I don't think I will."

If you replace the word "No" with "Yes", that is EXACTLY what I am feeling right now, too.

It is not the case that one side is invested and impassioned and the other side is not. And even if that were true, it still doesn't mean one side deserves to win simply because of that.
posted by kyrademon at 3:33 AM on September 16, 2014 [2 favorites]


I admire your optimism, but I just can't see it happening. I really can't. There is far too much money and far too many vested interests that want the UK just as it is right now.

Thirty years ago (oh my god, it really was 30 years ago) I was one of a handful of Tasmanians who took the higher school certificate subject "Late British History", which covered 1815-1950, before it was dropped from our curriculum. It's probably one of the things that contributed to my ending up here. It covered the entire period of the Reform Acts of 1832 and 1867, votes for women, the reform of the Lords in 1911, the struggle for Home Rule for Ireland, the birth and eventual victory of the Labour Party, and the birth of the NHS and the welfare state. Huge, huge changes, all of them in the face of considerable vested interests. The vested interests of the aristocracy, industry and Empire - all of them far more powerful in relative terms than today.

Whatever happens on Thursday, the UK in thirty years' time won't be just as it is right now. Because it never is.
posted by rory at 3:40 AM on September 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


I was struck by the thought that this is going to be Mefi's first-reactions thread by default, and that its main link is a video of Dan Castellaneta doing a terrible Scottish accent. It seems no coincidence that a lot more comments here have been about the question of Scottish identity than in the previous thread.

My impression of the past couple of years' campaigning is that neither the official Yes campaign nor Better Together has really gone there because of a recognition that nationalism can be an ugly, untameable beast once you let it loose; instead, we have all these debates about the practicalities. But the unofficial campaign - the commenting back and forth on blogs and in the comments sections of the Scotsman and the Guardian and other newspaper websites - has gone there, and that's where you'll find plenty of ugliness. Imagine the typical worst excesses of online anonymity, and then imagine them applied to this issue. It's been painful as a non-UK-born citizen to watch. The example that sticks with me - and I wish I'd saved the thread or bookmarked it - was a Yes commenter mocking the suggestion that Scotland needed to retain Trident because of potential threats from Vladimir Putin (and I agree that that's silly, and I'd scrap Trident too), but in doing so said that "Scotland's only enemies are England and America", which was so ridiculous that I wanted to scream. For two years, reasonable people on either side of the debate have had to watch this sort of rubbish spouted in our name, and then the other side responding to the rubbish as if it's typical of No voters or Yes voters. Two years of this.

Out in the streets, though: remarkably few outbursts, even in these tense final weeks. Nobody seems to want to break the tension and have their personal frustrations around two years of campaigning come tumbling out.
posted by rory at 3:52 AM on September 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


kyrademon, I've neither said nor implied that there are not passionate, worried and committed people on both sides, nor that anyone's vote matters more or less.

But I would say that there are many, many people for whom the Westminster system has induced a deep-seated malaise and generalised belief that there is no alternative to the bland, free market consensus politics that have so successfully colonised the UK and US.

A Yes vote would disprove that, directly and convincingly. And that's really worth something.

rory, I understand the sentiment, but those reforms were forced, in most cases during or after a crisis, whether it's the influence of the French revolution on the 1832 reform act, the First World War providing the final push for women's suffrage (after over a hundred years of campaigning), or the creation of the NHS in the wake of World War II.

We have an opportunity to provide a similar force, without an external crisis. If we don't, I don't believe we'll have changed in thirty years, or even sixty, without some kind of crisis forcing that change. And if we have changed, it will have been in favour of further entrenchment.

And I agree around the tension thing. I've seen a number of people just absolutely delighted that the whole thing will soon be done with, either way.
posted by Happy Dave at 3:55 AM on September 16, 2014


I've just had a lovely man with the most PLUMMY upper-class English accent you can imagine knock on my door to persuade me to vote yes. This referendum is so much more complex than any discussion about nationalism and national identity could adequately capture.
posted by kariebookish at 3:55 AM on September 16, 2014 [4 favorites]


Also, I plan to create another thread for the vote night itself. I'm damned if Groundskeeper Willie is going to be the ostensible tone-setter for the biggest constitutional challenge of my life. No offense to the OP.
posted by Happy Dave at 3:56 AM on September 16, 2014 [14 favorites]


Martin Boon - from ICM - wonders about whether the referendum could prove a Waterloo for the polling companies. Whether the existing gathering mechanisms (on line surveys and calls to landlines) is accurately gauging opinion or not is interesting. And are the uncounted people those who are a big shy about admitting to vote "No" or those who are newly registering the vote "Yes". Time will tell.
posted by rongorongo at 4:24 AM on September 16, 2014


David Cameron faces 'bloodbath' in the event of a No vote as backbenchers say they will rebel over 'unfair' cash for Scotland.

See, this is precisely what I'm talking about. His own party will eat him alive and fuck us over.
posted by Happy Dave at 5:58 AM on September 16, 2014


"I am a Jew, whose great-grandparents arrived in UK at the end of the nineteenth and early in the twentieth century. Of course, I have a British passport, was educated in an English school and university. But, I feel my identity is very definitely British, not English. If Scotland votes for independence (and if I were entitled to vote, I am sure I would vote 'yes'), there will be a noticeable shift for me in my identity and even my sense of security. It is simply not possible for me comfortably to say that I am 'English'...and this does worry me."

That's an interesting comment. And while the commenter must obviously and sincerely feel that way, they're not speaking for how other Jewish people feel.

At the 2011 Census there were 263,346 Jewish people in England and Wales. Of them, 53% only had English identity. That is, a majority of Jewish people saw themselves as English and English alone with no British identity. A further 10% had English identity combined with British. Just under 25% had British identity alone, half the rate of English alone. Indeed, Jewish people are the most English of all religious groups in England except Christians.
posted by Thing at 6:24 AM on September 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


See, this is precisely what I'm talking about. His own party will eat him alive and fuck us over.

Or: his own party will tear themselves apart and Labour will dance on their graves.

Bernard Jenkin, the chairman of the Public Administration Select Committee and one of the Prime Minister’s most vocal backbench critics, today said the plans to grant Scotland fiscal autonomy would mean no Scottish MP could become Chancellor. “We could never have a Scottish UK chancellor setting English taxes in England at the annual budget but not in his or her own constituency. So Parliament will have to consider how to establish an English executive, with an English first minister and finance minister,” he said in a letter to The Times.

Yes! Exactly. Federal Britain. But don't just make one new English executive, make half a dozen.
posted by rory at 6:50 AM on September 16, 2014


It's only Scotland's autonomy that's directly at stake, but autonomy throughout Britain will follow the vote as well. A Yes vote will embolden devolution movements throughout Britain, while a No vote will weaken them and strengthen Westminster.
posted by jeffburdges at 9:44 AM on September 16, 2014


The Pledge is already unraveling. Westminster will betray Scotland on this. Westminster always does.
posted by IanMorr at 10:50 AM on September 16, 2014


I never found a public link for that pro-independence song I liked so much, but hers's the lyrics. And obviously a lot of British anarcho-punk music is relevant like the Levellers' Sell Out, Chumbawamba's One by One, etc.
posted by jeffburdges at 11:03 AM on September 16, 2014


The (admittedly somewhat smarmy) Guardian editorial that Segundus posted made me look up more about the Shetland and Orkney situation, and I found this article from last year, in which we see political figures from the islands making the same arguments against Edinburgh as the SNP uses against London:

Yesterday, Shetland’s MSP Tavish Scott used a speech at the Lib Dem conference in Dundee to say it was “time to seize the opportunity of Island home rule”, proclaiming: “It’s not your oil Alex, it’s wirs.” The party’s former Scottish leader argued that Orkney and Shetland should lobby for more powers at a time when Scotland as a whole is debating the constitution.

“We are not going to be told what to do by the SNP. Nor by any other government,” said Scott. “We don’t want more centralising, know-it-all, top-down nationalism. This SNP government couldn’t care less about the outer extremities of the country.”

...

“The current government is very centralised. It’s all very well to devolve power a few hundred miles from London to Edinburgh, but that’s no good for us if it then stops at Edinburgh. Powers need to be pushed out,” said
[Shetland politician Malcolm] Bell.
posted by dhens at 1:23 PM on September 16, 2014


I do think that (American) Mefites' reading of these events is also colored by political considerations. The fact that Scotland wants independence in the name of a vaguely leftist worldview is a bit appealing. I could imagine that if Texas or Mississippi started talking about wanting to be ruled "closer to home" and not from "far-away Washington," even citing Scotland as a precedent, many of the same people who supported Scottish independence would not, in fact, cheer these Southern home rule movements.

I think that the discussionon oil revenues (which I assume is overwrought -- I mean, I really hope that they're aren't people who were pushed to vote "Yes" solely on the basis of potential oil income) is also problematic in that it so much seems to be riding on this bevy of fossil fuels at the same time that projections of global climate change and its radical effects become more and more dire.
posted by dhens at 1:31 PM on September 16, 2014


There is no serious home rule or independence movement in Orkney and Shetland, which are, leagally, as much a part of Scotland as Edinburgh. If they want to set up a campaign post-independence to rejoin the UK or go full indy they can do that. Either way, rScotland would argue they were entirely with Scottish territory and that they be treated as enclaves, giving them no more than 12 miles around them.
posted by IanMorr at 1:43 PM on September 16, 2014


Long term the issue is much less to do with oil than with whether an independent Scotland would revive the social contract, which the UK has been hacking to death since Thatcher. Oil is a nice-to-have to backstop the economy during a difficult transitional decade or two. The real question is what kind of country would Scotland be? More like Scandinavia than England one would hope.
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:58 PM on September 16, 2014


I had an interesting discussion with some independence fans yesterday, where they flatly stated that there would be no referendum in the islands, because that would violate the agreements, and Scotland world simply refuse to recognize them. When I asked how Scotland would enforce that refusal, they got kind of quiet.
posted by happyroach at 2:00 PM on September 16, 2014


Orkney and Shetland, which are, legally, as much a part of Scotland as Edinburgh

Indeed, though they came into the Scottish Crown through a marriage alliance between the Scottish king (James III) and the daughter of the sovereign of the islands (Margaret of Norway). We might say that their incorporation into Scotland was less democratic than the Acts of Union passed by the Scottish and English parliaments in 1707 (and yes, I know those parliaments were not, themselves, very democratic).

I raise the issue because the question is: where does it end? Should Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale (the only Scottish Westminster constituency with a Tory MP) separate from a Labour-dominated independent Scotland? Should Montréal and First Nations regions of Québec be able to stay in Canada if Québec seceds, even though they are "legally" as much a part of Québec as the pure laine Francophone areas?

Of course, for me, this is all quite literally academic (I am a scholar of nationalism), as I am not a citizen of the UK. I tend to think that smaller governments are bad ideas, and ideally, I think that state governments in the US should be eliminated altogether to create a homongeneous set of laws and regulations across the US (I realize that will never happen as long the US exists).

Nevertheless, if Scotland votes "Yes" on Thursday, I wish them all the best.
posted by dhens at 2:01 PM on September 16, 2014


(Man my typing is terrible tonight. Ignore all my typos.)
posted by dhens at 2:07 PM on September 16, 2014


I'd favor Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, or Florida succeeding from the Union because hey let em' fail faster. I'm against Georgia or Louisiana succeeding for hypocritical personal reasons, but whatever.

We're not talking full succession here since Scotland wishes to remain in the GBP and CTA, and keep many other common bureaucracies. In the U.S., I'd likewise favor a devolution of power to the states, even the redneck states.

We could for example replace Obamacare with a mandate that either the states were provide healthcare up to some minimum standard, possibly replacing medicare and medicaid even, or else the federal government would add all residents to medicare/medicaid while increase income taxes there to pay for it.
posted by jeffburdges at 2:22 PM on September 16, 2014


OK, now I feel kind of bad for opening the US-centric can of worms. (No offense to George_Spiggott or jeffburdges for making thoughtful replies to my original post.)
posted by dhens at 2:24 PM on September 16, 2014


Isn't Groundskeeper Willie automatically U.S. centric or worse? Actually we should keep U.S. centric theorizing here when the next Scottish independence thread appears.
posted by jeffburdges at 2:35 PM on September 16, 2014 [1 favorite]


A few months old, but makes a good point: Scotland isn't different, it's Britain that's bizarre.
posted by IanMorr at 3:04 PM on September 16, 2014 [1 favorite]




I could imagine that if Texas or Mississippi started talking about wanting to be ruled "closer to home" and not from "far-away Washington," even citing Scotland as a precedent, many of the same people who supported Scottish independence would not, in fact, cheer these Southern home rule movements.

How I think about red-state secession:

(1) Let them secede
(2) Acknowledge that they are free and independent countries.
(3) Invade those independent countries, one sovereign nation to another. Just straight-up conquer the shit out of them. Then place them under military governors, direct rule from DC with lots of liberal civil-rightsy goodness, etc etc, for a long time.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 3:50 PM on September 16, 2014


George Monbiot on the media situation from today
posted by yoHighness at 4:31 PM on September 16, 2014 [3 favorites]


My mother engaged me with talk of Scottish independence today. She wanted to know if Scotland left would England no longer have to turn the clocks back in winter. She doesn't like the dark nights, but otherwise has no opinions on Scotland.
posted by Thing at 4:42 PM on September 16, 2014


Thoughts of an 'Ordinary Mum' on Devo Max Versus Independence by a professor of constitutional law at Edinburgh.
David Cameron nearly got it right when he talked about ‘kicking the effing Tories’ but crucially – not quite. This vote is now about kicking political elites into responding to those to whom they are accountable: the people.
posted by yoHighness at 4:42 PM on September 16, 2014


So when do the polls open?
posted by curious nu at 7:39 PM on September 16, 2014


This link has the poll times and result reporting time estimate.

I am in Victoria BC, Canada and from this I figure I can start watching results arrive at about 10:30 or 11 pm on Thursday the 18th in my (Pacific Standard) time.
posted by chapps at 10:04 PM on September 16, 2014


What I find most remarkable about the course of the campaign in Scotland is that it has radicalised so many people so rapidly. Despite some trepidations (and complaints over the cost of the building) Scottish people seem to have liked the idea of having their own parliament - and polls have shown they liked the idea of giving it more powers. If a "maximum devolution" option had been there on the ballot then that would, no doubt, have been a clear winner over independence or the status quo.

Scotland elected the SNP to power back in 2008 - but more as a reaction against Labour than anything else. In theory the "No" campaign should have had a clear advantage: they offered a safer sounding option and they could dangle the carrot of extra devolution measures they might offer should they win. They also had pretty much the entire media on their side. And most of the corporate world. Moreover, the polls gave them a clear lead over "Yes" right up until people started paying attention to the campaign in late August.

Perhaps lulled by this strong starting position, the No campaign has shown extraordinary condescension and complacency towards the Scottish electorate by not clearly articulating positive reasons for a No vote; they seem to have assumed that they would win and that the nationalists would slink back to their glens. They also may have under-estimated the problem of their own backers being divided along both party political and north/south lines. Finally they seem to have overlooked the potential threat that social media might pose them. Former video games journalist, Stuart Campbell published "The Wee Blue Book" a few weeks ago. It is a political tract which favours independence but which backs up its assertions with links to (mostly government sourced) data. His site registered half a million individual users in August (about 11% of the electorate) and copies have been passed around a good portion of the electors. The publication of the book happened to tie in with a strong swing towards Yes within the past month.

No matter who wins tomorrow - it will be sudden tidal surge towards yes - made in the absence of a grown up argument from the other side - that will be one of the most remarkable things about the referendum.
posted by rongorongo at 12:12 AM on September 17, 2014 [1 favorite]


Regardless of what happens tomorrow, Labour will need to do some soul-searching. I was out travelling yesterday and (as per usual nowadays) ended up discussing the referendum with a lot of strangers. So many traditional Labour voters feeling betrayed by their own party - it was astounding to hear Labour being ripped apart with such venom.

Background: Labour is the traditional working-class party in Scotland. Scotland is a traditional Labour stronghold with its historical links to industry like mining and shipbuilding.
posted by kariebookish at 1:53 AM on September 17, 2014




Hiding the Truth
posted by yoHighness at 3:25 AM on September 17, 2014


The New Reality: An article which points out that the SNP vote share in Scotland was around 30% at the time of the last election. If we tentatively assume that those people are Yes voters- and we go by the current polls - then we have an additional 20% of the voters who are on Yes. Not counting undecideds.
posted by rongorongo at 3:26 AM on September 17, 2014


UK Viewers can now watch John Oliver's piece on the referendum. It is worth it.
posted by rongorongo at 3:44 AM on September 17, 2014 [1 favorite]


"The Wee Blue Book"

So I clicked first on "The Economy" there, expecting maybe some kind of discussion of what economic effects various scenarios might have on Scottish industry. Instead it's a load of misdirection and confusion about government budgets. Billions of dollars worth of imaginary British pounds sterling are thrown around with reckless superficiality, and when you follow some of the links looking to see where they came from it quickly becomes less than clear what it all means.

Near the top is the key claim that North Sea oil revenue over the past 35 years would have been plenty to keep a hypothetical independent Scotland government in budgetary surplus, given a perhaps plausible (but not exactly convincing) calculation of how much government spending in fact has gone on within its borders.

Right at the bottom is the question "Isn’t the oil running out and getting harder to extract and less profitable now?" To which the answer is a surprising "Unionist politicians are desperate to talk down Scotland’s oil wealth." No acknowledgement whatsoever that yes, although per-barrel oil is for the moment more profitable than it used to be, there is no question that oil production in British waters is in rapid decline. It's been on the way down for 15 years and is already below half what it used to be in the 80's and 90's.

So yes, having some oil production is not bad, but do not rely on calculations involving its average over the past 40 years as being indicative of its future.
posted by sfenders at 3:51 AM on September 17, 2014


Given Westminster's suppression of the McCrone Report and the under-reporting, in the main stream media, of recent studies indicating large un-tapped reserves - I think Scots could be forgiven of being a little cynical about gloomy North Sea Oil forecasts.
posted by rongorongo at 4:22 AM on September 17, 2014


Yes, the John Oliver piece is excellent. Especially the bit about “the accent you think you can do but can't”, given the OP's link.
posted by scruss at 5:17 AM on September 17, 2014


Sure there is the potential for new discoveries, mostly in areas that oil companies have known about for decades, which were not geologically favourable enough to explore when oil prices were lower. There are always these reports that "large un-tapped reserves" might exist somewhere or other in the world, sometimes it even does turn out that they do exist and are as large as hoped. They'll be required if the decline in production is to be slowed down. Despite the already large increase in investment from oil companies in the area, it's not just some forecast future of UK oil and gas that's gloomy; it's the production statistics of the past decade. But you never know, they might hit the jackpot.

There's no doubt that the current rate of fossil fuels production from the sea are enough to be important to Scotland. It's just crazy to pretend, as I have seen done, that its decline is no more than a thing alarmist doomsaying unionists like to say might happen in the future, when it's already here in the present.
posted by sfenders at 5:31 AM on September 17, 2014


Nobody pretends it's not declining, but to listen to Alastair Darling and his Red Tory mates it's all going to magically dry up on September 19th. UK management of the oil resource has been awful, from not setting up a sovereign wealth fund in the 70's to Osborne's terrible tax measures in 2011 that put a large amount of North Sea investment on hold before being overturned in 2012. Even if there's only 20 years left in traditional North Sea, that's plenty time to encourage opening up of the Atlantic Margins. The potential there is staggering. The ones we know about in West Shetland - Schiehallion's lower end estimate is 450 million recoverable barrels. Foinaven's lower end is 250. Clair has an estimated 5 billion barrels in place, with at least 650 million recoverable. Rockall, West Lewis, Flannan, Barra - the geology of those basins is not dissimilar to West Shetland, more ancient volcanic activity so it's maybe fragmented and may not have the huge reservoirs, but it's there and though it'll be expensive to open up, it's exploitable with current technology. Having the economic levers to encourage investment instead of short sighted populist taxes on Big Oil will help.
posted by IanMorr at 7:29 AM on September 17, 2014


Nobody pretends it's not declining

I'm sure that's usually true, but the specific case I stumbled across where someone did was here, and it made me a bit irate. Anyway, I'd just be as skeptical of optimistic forecasts of such things as of pessimistic ones. Both are around in voluminous quantity, with varying degrees of convincingly realistic jargon, for practically every major oil-producing region in the world. Suddenly being of political importance to more people than usual, there might be a lot of misunderstanding about how reliable they're likely to be.
posted by sfenders at 7:55 AM on September 17, 2014


Sure, but to rongorongo's point above, the Scottish people have very good reason to take any pessimistic forecast from Westminster with a pinch of salt. They do have previous.
posted by IanMorr at 8:00 AM on September 17, 2014


Eh, the McCrone Report is overplayed. The newspapers at the time were openly quoting huge finds of oil, and the potential for it to change the wealth of Scotland and the UK was acknowledged on all sides. Far from a conspiracy theory, it was simply badly managed for short term gains to shore up the UK economy. It's nicer to think that we're ruled by evil masterminds with a plan, but in truth they're just rather stupid and a bit shit.
posted by Thing at 11:10 AM on September 17, 2014 [1 favorite]


“Currency investors” would apparently be “particularly concerned by the UK’s persistent current account deficit if this were no longer offset by North Sea oil revenues.”

Scottish independence, UK dependency
posted by yoHighness at 11:12 AM on September 17, 2014 [1 favorite]


After David Milliband's imbecilic tweet comparing the Indy Referendum to the U.S. Civil War, I can only respond:

"UK and the 13 American Colonies: #BetterTogether!"
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:57 AM on September 17, 2014 [1 favorite]


George_Spiggott: "After David Milliband's imbecilic tweet comparing the Indy Referendum to the U.S. Civil War, I can only respond:

"UK and the 13 American Colonies: #BetterTogether!"
"

My jaw literally dropped when I read that. What a fucking clanger.
posted by Happy Dave at 12:27 PM on September 17, 2014




Why do you hate freedom, Happy Dave? :(
posted by Evilspork at 11:19 PM on September 17, 2014


On the Simpsons Facebook page, Groundskeeper Willie post-vote.
posted by Wordshore at 11:31 AM on September 20, 2014 [2 favorites]


« Older Michael Winslow is Led Zeppelin   |   It's more than burning coal. Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments