Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Breaking Up is hard to do

Just to remind you, there is actually a world out there: Scotland will soon be voting on independence in another two days.

This is something I have a personal stake in and my opinion is "no".

This is an opinion based upon history and the politics of what will happen if Scotland does go independent.

While some people may look at this with a romantic eye, the reality is much harsher than people outside the UK realise.  Well, maybe the CIA does realise it, which makes me think they will have a hand in this.

First off, an independent Scotland will be very liberal.  Liberal to the point of becoming a nuclear free zone and kicking the Trident fleet out of the Clyde, which will not please the US.  Additionally, it will drain NATO of Scotland's military.  That will also bugger England's nuclear capability as they look for another place for the Trident fleet or an alternative to Trident.

If I were a Euroskeptic, this would be a godsend, as a newly independent Scotland will have to apply for membership in the European Union.

If I were conservative, this is a godsend for British Tories as Scotland is a very lefty state.  The Scottish Green Party is one of the sponsors of this referendum.

John Oliver gives a good summary of what is at stake, although I have not watched all of this video.

Americans tend to look at independence with a very romantic eye and fail to see the actual political  implications (well, except for those in the "elite" who see the issues quite plainly).

I'm surprised that someone I know who is a Scottish Historian, Neil Oliver, hasn't weighed in on this, but he did retweet this post:

Yeah, John Oliver did point out that the pro-Union side sounds like an impending divorce. In some ways, this is like a rocky marriage, with the alternative being worse than staying together.  Neither is totally happy with the other.

I did watch three serious programmes about the referendum:  Robert Peston's Scotland: for Richer or Poorer?, Andrew Neil's Scotland Votes, and Allan  Little's Panorama piece Scotland's Decision. They all pretty much confirmed my fear that this will be a bad point for the UK.  Although, this may be the apogee of the Scottish Independence movement.

Or something which people end up regretting if it does pass and the economic ramifications are as bad as predicted.

Scotland and England do have a degree of separation in that there is a slightly different currency (although lord knows what will happen if the Scottish pound breaks from the British Pound).  Scotland also has a different legal system from England and Wales.

Personally, I look at it from my perspective as a Jacobite.  The King across the water is no longer a viable option, despite the romantic images of the rebellions.  Those images are romanticising something which was seriously awful with people being hanged, drawn,and quartered; heads placed on the York City wall, and the driving of many people to a horrible land: North America.

The reality was that Union was born of necessity as Scotland plunged into a serious depression.

Like it or not, the UK is much better together.  The day after separation will be far more of a nightmare than the marriage.


  1. Independence will probably lead to an economic shock for Scotland, but I think they can recover as long as Britain doesn't somehow keep control of the off shore oile and the Greens don't do something to stop the drilling. I don't know enough of the local politics to say if that will be the outcome or not, but while I was there, one of the biggest gripes I heard was that much of the oil money was going south.

    Scotland might do much better, economically, if they don't apply for EU membership. While I was living in Edinburgh (about 6 months) I was shocked to find that the grocery stores didn't have any better selection of seafood than stores west of the Appalachians over here. I could find salmon and frozen shrimp and scallops, but Tesco didn't often have haddock or anything else I expected. Later, I learned that the EU had determined that Scotland could only have two fishing fleets, in spite of its huge coastline--the Queen's Ferry fleet outside Edinburgh was one of the ones shut down. The only time I had fresh caught fish and chips was in Mallaig across from Skye. I'm all for coming up with solutions to prevent overfishing, but this seemed a bit extreme. Resuming fishing in a few places could provide some additional jobs and revenue--provided getting out of the EU means that they can get out of or renegotiate those restrictions.

    As for the separation of the pound, maybe a petro-pound? Backing the currency with such a resource may help it stabilize sooner and manage some strength, though I'm afraid they'll probably go the Euro route, and may get dragged down if that system fails to support the PIIGS (PIIGSS?)

    And on a totally different note, "Horrible land: North America." Yes, Laci, we know you don't like it here (though I don't know why you're here if you like it so much better on the other side of the pond--seriously, why?) However, if you look back at our war for independence, you'll see that the Scots were disproportionately represented in the fight for Independence as compared to their portion of the population as a whole. In some ways, the Jacobites and the Presbyterians who were cleared out of the country by the Stuarts and Hanoverians finally got to fight and win a war for independence. It's not our original home, but it's bonny in its own way.

    1. I give this essay a C+, which is generous since you needed to at least look at the material. The BBC sources I mention are not available in the US, but you could have watched John Oliver since he mentions the North Sea Oil is pretty much past the peak of its potential.

      Additionally, you might want to familiarise yourself with your own history since the Scots-Irish usually tended to be inland, and were tories for various reasons. One of them, maybe not significantly, being that the Jacobites who were not killed had to take a loyalty oath to the crown never to rebel.


      All in all, you talk a lot, but have superficial knowledge of what you are discussing. Please come back when you have actually looked at the material.

    2. P.S. it's pretty obvious that you don't know me and we haven't met: so, don't make personal comments about me.

      Your semester abroad (I'm assuming this is where you gained your info) didn't really give you an good basis to comment on UK or European politics either.

    3. One thing which is missing from your essay is that Independence is popular with the poor, who are hoping that there will be a renaissance of the welfare state based upon the oil revenue.

      Another point, which is probably the most important, which I mentioned in the original piece was the effect on NATO.

      As I said, I am being overly generous in giving you a C+.

      Next time, get a familiarity with the material before commenting.

    4. Seriously? I admitted having a superficial knowledge of the local politics, but tossed out a couple of opinions, and you're going to bitch about my not watching the video your post said you hadn't watched completely? All because I didn't bring up the peak oil issue it raised?

      As for the commentary about Scots mostly being Tories, you cited a piece from electric Scotland. That's nice and all, but it doesn't change the actual proportions of Scots and Ulster Scots in the revolution over here. Yes, there were some loyalists, and there were Scottish officers and soldiers fighting for the crown, but they weren't the majority.

      Were they mostly inland? Yes. Like the group from inland North Carolina who crossed the mountains and wiped out a Tory army at King's Mountain--almost all former Ulster Scots with a few Huguenots among them. Your commentary reads like a pissed off imperialist trying to rewrite history.

      And as for the condescending grading, fuck off. You presented some commentary on a bit of news that was off the usual topic here and I attempted to carry on the conversation. Could have led to some friendly discussion among the regulars here, but apparently you are unable to have discussions on any topic without acting like a right prig. Sad, sad commentary on your social skills there.

    5. Laci: “Next time, get a familiarity with the material before commenting.”

      Like you did on the Wehby post which you got horribly wrong?

      Or like how you don’t know the difference between full-auto and semi-auto when making a post on “Assault Weapons”?

    6. Canine with a female nom de plume:

      An interesting result of the decentralization of authoritative powers (knowledge, physical wealth, and the free ability of "ordinary" individuals to pursue such as befits their ability) that has characterised a society's progression into the modern age is the false reverence for diabolically insidious dogmas (or more bluntly, BS) which is spewed by self aggrandising outcasts such as our "Laci".

      As opposed to defending his abrupt, malevolent and conspicuously self serving assertions regarding the ability of FREE and COMPETENT INDIVIDUALS to participate in the public forum of which the organising forces of a necessary government may arise, he instead projects a display of juvenile inadequacy which manifests itself most prominently in his unqualified and unsolicited "grading" of another commentator's response.

      I wonder if the Gentleman from Tennessee finds humour in the "intellectual compensating" by our favourite pooch?

      Most people buy fancy cars or some other "toy" to cope with their perceptions of their own inadequacy. His simian response of flinging verbal excrement is kinda cute, like in a sad way as if watching a small dog's attempt at menacing passer-by. Grow up.


      Fanatics don't need knowledge (whether it be legal or technical as in this case) when it comes to curtailing the rightful behaviour of others. Don't expect much more out of a hatefully anti-gunner from the left of the bell curve.

    7. Usual Suspect,

      I think I've seen your style before...

      As for the content, and style of it, thanks for a the great laugh. Hilarious response, and better than my getting on his level with the rudeness of my terse reply to his grading. Whether it was compensation, or just an inability to discuss issues without being disagreeable (frankly, I think it's the latter), it was sad to see him respond that way rather than merely carrying on the discussion.

      Ah well, we'll see the vote soon enough--should be interesting.

  2. I saw that on YouTube. Great job by John Oliver!

    1. Yes indeed, it was both funny and informative.

  3. Declare independence then lower the corporate tax rate to par with Ireland so all those evil bankers will stop trying to ruin Scotland by pulling up stakes.

    GDP per capita jumps by 5-10%.
    Open up the Highlands to franking and get another 10%.

  4. What would Braveheart do?

    orlin sellers

  5. This issue is far down the list of things I'm interested in, but I'd like to see a yes vote just to shake things up and say fuck you to those arrogant Brits like Cameron (no offense Laci).

  6. Fracking not Franking.... Stupid as spell check.... A day the French check are the last thing the Scotts need.