Scotland: Secession is the Answer

Tomorrow (or, maybe, today? Its kinda late as I write this on Wednesday in the USA), the Scots will vote on whether or not to leave the United Kingdom. Lots of worrying articles have been written about the horror of horrors which will happen if the Scots for “yes” on secession, but I can’t think of a more splendid thing for the Scots to do.  Keep in mind that those most opposed are part of the United Kingdom’s Ruling Class – it would reduce their power if Scotland and England weren’t together.

As readers here know, I’ve long advocated secession as the answer for many ills in the United States – not in the sense of States leaving the Union, but in the sense of States leaving the States.  Setting up 60-65 States in place of the 50 States we have today, many of which are just too large or two different in their constituent parts to make a rational whole. But, still, everyone stays in the good, old US of A: so, why am I ok with the Scots bailing on the United Kingdom?  Because it is probably the only way to eventually get to a Europe which is basically united.  The United States is, so far, essentially united – we have a general sense in our broad majority what it means to be American and what America is supposed to be about…we just have a problem in taming the Big Government beast we’ve allowed to grow up among us. Breaking up the States and other reforms will restore the situation.  Europe doesn’t have that – it has a lot of States which already dictate minutely the lives of the people and in the European Union you just get one more layer of micro-managing bureaucrats thrown into the mix to ensure that there are no local differences, at all.

A lot of places in Europe which are part of larger nations today really don’t have much business being part of their nations. Northern and southern Italy, for instance, are very different and were cobbled together in the 19th century by a set of ambitious adventurers who really didn’t ask so much as a “by your leave” of the Italian people if they wanted to be united in a nation called “Italy” (yeah, they cooked up some plebiscites which allegedly gave the will of the people – but when the army of the group wanting you “in” is already there, kind of a foregone conclusion how the vote will go…). The end result of this is two very different places being artificially fused together – and for south Italy to live a relatively impoverished and parasitic life attached to the wealthy and dynamic north. Same thing goes in Spain where the Catalans are starting to revive their age-old dream of independence – and if you can find me a reason that Bavaria is in the same Germany as Pomerania, then I’m all ears.  Other than ethnic affinity, there is no reason for Scotland to be in Britain, Naples and Milan to be in Italy, Bavaria to be in Germany or Catalonia to be in Spain. To be sure, all of these places are (or, at least were until recently) European (which means, further, Christian), but that is really where the unity ends. For the rest of it, these are different places with different people and different ideas of what is needed – they can be in one nation, but only if there is a limited central government and maximum power at the local level.

The Scots leaving the United Kingdom is, then, to me a healthy development. To be sure, the Scottish nationalist leadership seems to be largely made up of socialist pinheads who are apparently promising more welfare without anyone having to work harder. That illusion will quickly be dashed after independence, if won – but it was just as swiftly dashed in Slovakia when it broke off from the Czech Republic and now once-socialist Slovakia is one of the more dynamic nations of Europe; they no longer could live off the richer part of the nation; they no longer could blame others for their own troubles; they could only look to themselves.  And that is pretty much what they did – and that is what all of the peoples of Europe, once freed from the dead hand of the results of 19th century nationalism and 20th century multiculturalism, will do as well.

Don’t get me wrong, patriotism is a grand thing – but the welding together of things like “Germany” and “Italy” in the 19th century (and “Great Britain” in the 18th) weren’t acts of patriots – they were the acts of ambitious people, some of whom were scoundrels, who didn’t care about the people involved but only about the expansion of their own power (prime examples of this were Bismarck in Germany and Cavour in Italy). It’d be better, in the long run, if the genuine constituent parts of Europe separated and then found a mechanism of unity – some modern revival of the ideal behind the Holy Roman Empire. Some form of government which will keep the peace between the parts and defend the whole against outside enemies: but which will leave the parts pretty much alone to do as they wish (the European Union is the negation of this ideal – it is senseless and remote bureaucrats trying to micro-manage every aspect of European life and no locality having the power to opt out).

The Scots may take the first step – or they may decide that cutting lose from London and the money therein is too risky. We’ll see.  But I think that the concept is growing in the public mind both in Europe and the United States that remote, central governments simply cannot answer for the needs of the people and that while a central government is necessary for a few, limited functions, most power had better be in the hands of the people and their local governments.

17 thoughts on “Scotland: Secession is the Answer

  1. Retired Spook September 18, 2014 / 11:41 am

    Heard on the news about an hour ago that turnout could be as high as 97%. The Scots, whether pro or con certainly seem to be energized about the issue.

  2. Cluster September 19, 2014 / 8:03 am

    It appears the voters said no. They prefer to be part of the UK. I will say that I don’t have much of an opinion on this and that not having an opinion on everything is actually ok, lest we be confused with know-it-all liberals. That being said, I will take issue with Mark’s assertion that this secession is akin to one of our states seceding from it’s current state. In the latter example, that state would still enjoy the umbrella protection and strength of the USA. If Scotland were to secede, they would be on their own, as would England, and separate they would have less international weight and would incur much more costs and risks.

    I just don’t see secession as overall good thing for Scotland. There are strength and benefits in unity.

    • M. Noonan September 19, 2014 / 8:40 pm

      There is, indeed, strength in unity – but it has to be a real unity; not something that was cobbled together by corrupt politicians and kept together by corrupt politicians. Scotland’s unification in to Great Britain occurred when the English parliament purchased the support of the Scottish parliament…and even then it wasn’t a done deal and once the usurping Hanoverian dynasty was installed, the Scots rose in revolt, only to be crushed…often by the use of German mercenaries. Now, all that was a long time ago and bygones should be bygones…but if the English and the Scots want to be in the same nation, then it should be done on the square in clear and concise, written agreement between the peoples. Just as it should be with the Milanese in Italy, the Bavarians in Germany and the Catalans in Spain.

      Of course, the logical thing for unity regarding Scotland and England is that they should wind up in Churchill’s “Union of the English-Speaking Peoples”, which would include the United States. This would be a nation of at least 435 million people and include today’s UK, but also Ireland, Canada, New Zealand and Australia. It would probably also eventually include a lot of Anglophone (or nations with use English as the lingua franca) places like Singapore, South Africa, Guyana, Belize, etc. This would be the unbeatable global power with enough population and resources to set at defiance any nation or combination of nations in the world – and all sharing a basic legal and governmental framework. But it could only be done by mutual, written agreement – not as the worn out results of age-old mistakes…such as the UK, Germany, Italy and Spain currently are and the European Union has become.

      • Amazona September 20, 2014 / 10:38 am

        While the origins of the present UK are not always flattering to the English, the fact is that it happened, the nation was created by absorbing other nations such as Ireland and Scotland, and has done quite well since then.

        One of the things I have always admired about the various elements of the UK is that they have not spent decades or centuries rehashing old grievances. Aside from the troubles in Northern Ireland, for the most part the ugly histories of invasions, slave taking and trading (by all parties) and even attempted genocide (as seen in the treatment of the Scots in the 18th Century and the Irish in the 19th) have been delegated to the past, and people have moved on to live in the present. I have always thought this a lesson that should be learned by those in our own country whose past was marked by abuses and slavery—what would Scotland, or Ireland, be now if the citizens could never get past the worst aspects of what happened more than 200, or even 100 years, ago? The stormy history of Ireland is a good example of what happens when people cling to old grievances instead of trying to identify and solve the problems of today—-violence, hatred, senseless death, and a divided country. And for what? To change what has already happened?

        I am glad that the people of Scotland have voted to remain part of the UK. I’ve spent a lot of time in the UK, traveling from John O’Groats to the tip of Cornwall (though not making it to Ireland—yet) and much of that time sitting in rural pubs talking with people. The Welsh still have their signs in Welsh, but are part of the UK—no problem. The Scots are definitely Scots. (I used to comment on the slightly weedy, Prince-Charles-kind of not very attractive English man, and was quite happy to see that Scottish men were quite different. And I mean that in the most admiring way. Seriously admiring. The scenery in a Scottish pub can be quite lovely.) I never saw any lack of native pride in Cornwall, or Wales, or Scotland, in spite of them not being separate countries, and I think that having them all be part of the same nation strengthens them all.

        I’m all about understanding history, and learning how we have gotten to where we are. What I don’t get is the belief that if there is something unpleasant in that history, we should try to go back and unring the bell. Yes, the Brits were brutal to the Scots. And to the Irish. But that was then, and this is now. When someone finds a way to change history, I might be more receptive to brooding about old insults and atrocities.

      • M. Noonan September 20, 2014 / 12:42 pm

        I am of the opinion that we can turn the clock back – really, its just a matter of setting the hands of the dial. The real hope in Scotland was that a written Constitution would be created carefully laying out the powers of the government. Right now, in the UK, one is at the mercy of who ever has the majority in parliament. There is no check on the legislature – and so the promises of more powers to Scotland are not worth much, because what this parliament allows the next might forbid…and this means that if the parliament in London decides that the Scots will do this or that, then the Scots will do this or that, and with little recourse.

      • Cluster September 20, 2014 / 11:06 am

        Well it has been over 300 years and the people just did have their say. I honestly think we should take over Mexico, do some landscaping, painting, put in some new structures and flip it.

      • Amazona September 20, 2014 / 8:13 pm

        Speaketh the Realtor….. 🙂

        But why flip it? We get all sorts of natural resources, some great beaches, and a much smaller and more controllable southern border. Sounds like a keeper to me.

        And all those folks determined to hand out US citizenship like Halloween candy would be happy with the addition of a few million more citizens who didn’t do a thing to earn it but just be there.

      • Cluster September 21, 2014 / 9:14 am

        🙂 – I wish I could take credit for that, but I heard a comedian deliver that line and thought it was great. With all of it’s natural resources and beauty, Mexico should be a world power, but they have mismanaged and corrupted their system to the point that they are permanently mired in mediocrity, poverty and low expectations. Kind of like Detroit.

      • Amazona September 21, 2014 / 9:33 am

        I know…..Mexico has the climate, the natural resources, the natural beauty, but it has always been under the thumb of a corrupt Ruling Elite.

        For many years it has been common knowledge in Colorado that the best job in the state is as a trash collector in Vail. (Aspen, too, probably.) The oligarchs from Mexico go to Vail for several weeks every winter, and buy everything they need or want when they get there. Then when they go home, they leave it all on the curb—–furniture, big-screen TVs, skis and ski clothing worth many thousands, and so on.

        They are in stark contrast to the Mexicans who provide the support system for the resort lifestyle, who work long hard hours for little money and still count themselves lucky because at home there is no work at all.

  3. Retired Spook September 19, 2014 / 10:57 am

    I was mistaken in my earlier post. 97% of eligible voters were registered to vote. Turnout was 86%, a figure we can only dream about. I was kind of ambivalent about this as well. I could see Putin using a successful Scottish secession as rationale for pushing for all areas of former Soviet satellite nations that are primarily ethnic Russian to secede — and, of course, become part of a new Russian Federation. We could be looking at a dozen Ukraines in very short order, and Europe doesn’t need that kind of turmoil right now.

  4. Amazona September 21, 2014 / 9:50 am

    I read an interesting take on the move to make Scotland independent of England, and learned that it was pushed by a leftist agenda rebelling not so much against British rule as against British conservatism. That says a lot, given the wild swing of the UK to the left in recent decades. It seems that the “YES” contingent was moved less by a yearning for more representation and more by a yen for more stuff.

    “One reason is that the SNP’s case for independence was incoherent and thus ultimately unpersuasive. If Scotland were to survive and prosper as an independent state without England’s subsidy to its public spending, it would need to turn itself into a low-tax, low-regulation, workfare economy on the free-market model of, say, Singapore. But SNP leader Alex Salmond was promising that an independent Scotland would be an even more egalitarian welfare and regulatory state than the U.K. The European Union, even if it were to admit Scotland, would not play the role of Sugar Daddy to Scottish socialism. So Salmond could never explain how he would pay the bills for a Scottish socialist utopia that ran up against the lingering power of Scotland’s thrift mentality — and the No campaign hit hard, repeatedly, and successfully at this weakness.”

    • M. Noonan September 22, 2014 / 11:41 am

      Oh, I noted that – the people who led the independence movement were socialist nitwits…but the people who lead Slovakia’s push for independence were also socialist pinheads. They had to change once they were on their own and they found that not only does socialism not work, it works even less when you don’t have a richer part of the country to loot.

  5. bozo September 23, 2014 / 3:23 pm

    Just got back from Stirling, Scotland, and it was GREAT to see that level of political engagement. None of the locals cared about most of the stuff the National Review yammers on about. Everything to the NR is a socialist plot. The Scots, especially the younger “yes” voters, saw a chance at self-determination. The generally older “no” voters were freaked out about losing their pensions more than anything else.

    What I didn’t know about the UK is that basically no one gets a say in their own region. England, Scotland, Wales have no ability to tax locally, so the whole of it goes into one big pool that the majority banker-crony government in London sends wherever they like (gross oversimplification). Complete independence from this long distance manipulation was their first choice, but after scaring the establishment, greater local control will be the Scot’s prize in the end. Talk is of a constitution creating a United States-type federation with centralized defense and international control, but local control of local issues and finances, state’s-rights style.

    It’s telling that Glasgow, where everything is made, went “yes” while Edinburgh, where all the money is, went “no.” The banksters got their way this time, but the Scots are a tough, thinking, compassionate lot. They’ll be fine in the end.

    Is Scotland “looting” when the UK sucks oil out from under it’s feet, send all the money to London, then trickles pences on the pound back to Scotland? Including it’s energy sector, Scotland has a bigger GDP per head than France, and bigger than the UK as a whole. Who is looting whom?

    Stopped near the Wallace monument near Stirling for a photo with this guy. No doubt how he voted last Thursday.


    • bozo September 23, 2014 / 3:24 pm

      Trying the link ONE MORE TIME.

    • Amazona September 23, 2014 / 9:50 pm

      And now the Scots get to continue to vote on legislation for England, Cornwall, Wales and Ireland.

      Oh, the horror!!!!

      However, the wholly predictable whine that ” Everything to the NR is a socialist plot” is duly noted as, well, just another wholly predictable whine. Funny how to a socialist, not even the most blatant “socialist plot” is a socialist plot. Maybe you should reset your filters to let a little reality get through.

      • M. Noonan September 23, 2014 / 10:52 pm

        Bozo gotta be Bozo, don’t he?

      • Amazona September 24, 2014 / 8:29 am

        A Lefty goes to Scotland, seeks out another Lefty (recognized by the Scottish version of Hope and Change, or the word YES) and chats up a few others, and presumes to lecture us.

        However, two things jumped out at me from his pissy little screed. One is that Scots are no smarter than about half of the American voters—–that is, they voted on the stalking horse issues presented to them, and remained steadfastly ignorant of the political ideology they masked.

        The other was the old tale of the blind men examining an elephant. One (the one examining a leg) declared an elephant to be like a tree. The one examining the trunk argued that an elephant is more like a huge snake, the one at the tail argued that it was really like a rope, the one feeling the massive side of the beast declared that an elephant is really like a big wall. The voters he claims to have talked to each had his or her own view of the elephant, based on personal perception and bias, but evidently none of them had bothered to see the whole thing. And, of course, he only found what he looked for.

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