In case you haven’t been following this issue, Scotland is having a vote on September 18 on whether to separate from Britain. When I think back on how many centuries and lives it took to bring Scotland into the fold, it’s astonishing that the whole thing could be undone by the relentless pursuit of conservative policies over the last 30 years. It’s almost like the Thatcherites and sons of Thatcher have been for years yukking it up in Westminster over Scotland, saying, “Riiiight, where are they going to go?”. I’m not sure I would have been so confident, given that the Romans had to build a wall to keep the Picts from marauding and that William Wallace trounced Edward I’s forces at Sterling Bridge. Earlier this month, I had found a long post written by a pro-independence Scottish journalist but I’ve misplaced the link (neglected to save to instapaper. Grrr). His argument was convincing but here is a list of pro-independence arguments from the Independent Scotland movement that are very similar.
Basically, the sentiment is that the Scotland that most people grew up in post WWII is rapidly disappearing under the policies of the conservative movement and the concessions that the Labour party has made to it in order to keep the peace. There is a deterioration of public services and an alarming increase in the rate of privatization. Along with that, the government in Westminster is becoming increasingly stingy, sending less and less money back to Scotland over the last decade. The result is that Scotland is becoming a bit like, well, us. There is more inequality, more mean spiritedness and less willingness to help others pull themselves up.
Scotland keeps sending Labour party representatives to Westminster but nothing ever comes of it. The voice of the people is continually muffled. Scotland also has it’s own parliament, by the way. Think of it like a state legislature. Anyway, they haven’t gotten anywhere in quite some time. It would be like having the state of Massachusetts run by Rick Perry and his Texas Republican legislature, or the entire east and west coast and urban areas of the US politically at the mercy of a bunch of plantation owner wannabees from the South. They’ve had enough. They want to be more like Sweden or Iceland.
Since the latest polls have come out showing the pro-independence forces having a snowball’s chance in Hell, there have been boogie man “Oooo, don’t go down to the cellar!” posts in the last couple of days to try to keep Scotland in the fold. Scotland says it wants to keep the British pound as its currency and still join the EU. Krugman predicts disaster, the pound took a hit yesterday but Scotland carries on. Sometimes you have to accept a loss in order to have more control over your life. It looks like England has pushed its harsh form of conservatism over the Scottish border one time too often and Scotland is now determined to reassert its boundary.
Meanwhile, Bank of England governor Mark Carney tells UK workers that may deserve a raise but first they have to earn it. They’re not productive enough, to which I ask, productive enough compared to whom? Scottish voters may be asking themselves the same thing.
Anyway, I find the whole thing fascinating. It’s like watching the western world’s version of the Arab Spring. Call it the Caledonian Autumn, or some such thing.
Maybe it will spread.
It all came out right in the end.
By the way, Brook does the best Merida impression. It cracks me up every time she says “I want to change my feet!”