Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Breaking the Union

On Thursday September 18th the people of Scotland will cast their ballots on a simple question, “Should Scotland be an independent country?” Scottish voters will have two choices: Yes, or No. One will irrevocably change the future of the country and reshape the British Isles, the other option is a murkier future.

The outcome is unpredictable, however, polling suggests that the No vote is barely edging out, and that Scotland will have a renegotiated positioned within the United Kingdom.

The case for an independent Scotland is compelling. Culturally, historically, and geographically Scotland is distinct from England. The UK’s highly centralized government means that Scotland is largely ruled by a parliament dominated by English people. In a world of supernational governments like the European Union there is a certain logic to bringing authority closer to the people.

However, aside from seeming logic of the separation of Scotland I oppose its removal from the United Kingdom. Previously I have written my concern over that multinational states seem unable to hang together. Much has been written about the economic reasons for the United Kingdom to hold together, which is valid. The Scots do not have a truly compelling reason to leave the United Kingdom. Their culture is not under treat, their people are not oppressed. Prime Ministers and cabinet ministers come from Scotland.

Couldn’t Scotland negotiated a greater devolution of power? Perhaps a new constitutional arrangement that would benefit all the regions of England and central authority still held at the Houses of Parliament. Federalism may be the ultimate solution to this crisis, not the independence of Scotland. This would help with the growing political schism between Scotland and England. It is important to note that Scotland is a country, and for most of its history was independent. The past 300 years are the aberration. The separation of Scotland and the UK is more logical than most.

Perhaps I am wrong. Ultimately it is up to the people of Scotland. It will be a fascinating series of political events and worth watching closely.

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