Monday, September 08, 2014

Scottish independence?

The Burkean in me doesn't want it — change for its own sake, like my misgivings about the new Ukraine (but I don't oppose it). Right or wrong, if the Ukraine can do it, Scotland can. Doesn't make any difference to the church.

So if independence goes through, GB might revert to a dual monarchy, like pre-1707. The Queen would be "Elizabeth I of Scotland." Though she probably wouldn't be renumbered; can't rewrite all that shared history. The challenges would be Scottish money and a Scottish military; no more "defence" from the UK. Guess the U.S. would have to renegotiate its Holyloch boomer (nuke missiles) submarine base with an independent Scotland.
Theoretically yes, but the "Yes Scotland" crowd is full of republicans. Salmond is trying to keep this quiet but many of his allies want a second referendum if they get their way on the 18th.
I'm not too surprised. The Scots are less sentimental than the English; they have a reputation of being a dour, unfriendly, Calvinist country, not gregarious like Americans' idea of the Irish.
There is sentimentality but it has a nasty undercurrent. That awful and historically illiterate movie Braveheart made everything worse.
I understand Scotland's poor and rough; think "estates" ("the projects" in American) in big cities like Edinburgh and Glasgow. Lost jobs as shipbuilding went overseas to Japan.
Glasgow yes. Parts of it supposedly have virtually Third World average life expectancies. Edinburgh is smaller and nicer; I spent a lovely week there in August 2007.
Thought of Edinburgh because Bay City Rollers lead Les McKeown is from there, if I remember rightly; he was actually a tough kid from the estates, son of Irish immigrants. He's written his story.
Sectarianism is bad there. And the dominant Catholic climate is no friend of traditionalism.
Like Northern Ireland? Same factions in about the same proportions: Presbyterian majority, Catholic minority.
We're talking about a place where the Labour party is the de facto "Right."
I can imagine: angry jobless shipyard workers and cannery workers. "Comrades!"

1 comment:

  1. Independence is usually good for the political culture of poor, backward, smallish countries attached to richer countries with generous transfer payments. Once they have to pay for their own welfare states, they usually shrink them pretty dramatically. Post-communist Slovakia was dominated by ex-Reds nostalgic for the old days of central planning, but after they separated from the Czech Republic, they eventually realized that they were footing the bill themselves and enacted sweeping free-market reforms. Newfoundland went the other way- it was quite prosperous as an independent dominion until it joined Canada in 1949, and before long everybody was on the dole. I suspect the Mezzogiorno would be less of a mess if it were independent again- despite the myths spread by Whig historians sympathetic to Garibaldi, the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies was, by Italian standards, a reasonably prosperous and orderly place under the Bourbons, though not without its problems. You could argue that crime would get worse if Sicily were independent again, but at least the North wouldn't have to subsidize them any more, and the Mafia wouldn't be able to penetrate the rest of the country as they have been.

    Scotland may be a mess, but there's no question that it's a real nation, just as England is a real nation, while "Britain" is not. The 1707 Act of Union was pushed through mostly by means of flagrant bribery; it didn't pass because the Scots and the English had a deep and abiding love for each other. They sing different songs, speak different dialects, cheer for different sports teams, and remember different historical battles. 300 years of productive but often uncomfortable unity don't quickly erase 700 years of overt and frequently violent hostility.


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