September 22, 2004
By: Kelly Diamond, Publisher
The big thing in news this past week has been the referendum for an emancipated Scotland from the UK. Unfortunately, it did not pass. I say “unfortunately” because all secession is good secession. Decentralizing power is the only true way to limit a government, i.e. limiting the scope of its power.
The other unfortunate part of this is 55% of the voters in Scotland didn’t think it was a good idea to break away. The reasons why, however, and quite astounding. Only about 25% of the No voters have any sort of fondness for England. It seems, at least according to the Lord Ashton poll, most No voters either felt insecure about forging out on their own or believed Scotland would ultimately get more sovereignty if England honors its promises upon a successful No vote.
Secession is basically group expatriation… and renunciation of former citizenship. Expatriation is simply exercising freedom of association, much like marriage and divorce. Secession, however, is up for a vote, whereas individual expatriation is a matter of tenacity and willingness to perform the steps necessary to get it done. While I support secession, I do find it sad that anyone would put their freedom up for a vote.
John Oliver, a British comedian, made an interesting observation about the “Better Together” campaign. The mere tagline alone smacks of tragedy and desperation. It’s like a couple trying to stay in a bad marriage for tax purposes! And indeed, when you look at some of the reasons Scotland should not be independent, they are very collectivist and politically expedient in nature.
I found this one piece from the Atlantic that touched on some reasons why AMERICANS should oppose Scottish independence. First of all, it should go without saying that such a position unto itself is hypocritical! Second, why on earth would anyone roll out a piece appealing to American pragmatism to put pressure on others to “take one for the team” rather than seek their own way?
- “First, a ‘Yes’ vote would immediately deliver a shattering blow to the political and economic stability of a crucial American ally and global financial power.”
- “Second, a ‘Yes’ vote would lead to a longer-term decline in Britain’s contribution to global security.”
- “Third, a ‘Yes’ vote would embitter English politics and empower those who wish to quit the European Union.”
- “Fourth, a ‘Yes’ vote would aggravate the paralysis afflicting the European Union.”
- “Fifth, a ‘Yes’ vote would only further encourage German domination of the European Union.”
Wow. I didn’t realize that the fate of human civilization as we know it relied on Scotland bending over and taking it from England! Had I known our global situation was so precarious, perhaps I wouldn’t have cheered them on as much as I did! Why not just come out and call all Yes voters Nazi Fascists!?
Here’s how I read that list:
- “It would really screw England economically. And we kinda like them now.”
- “England can’t come out and play war games with the US as much anymore. They would have to stay home.”
- “Other countries will get this silly notion of secession in their heads, and Europe would go back to being several sovereign countries rather than one big failing cluster.”
- “But before the EU dismantles, Scotland would screw them up good and proper because while it helps to be glommed onto England, it would totally destroy any other union it joined.”
- “And before it destroys the EU, it will exacerbate Germany’s dominance… and Hitler’s dream will finally be realized!!!!!! *Insert Evil Laugh Here*!!!”
Paul Krugman laments that Scotland doesn’t have its own currency, although when you try to exchange a Scottish pound for an English pound there is a discrepancy at any Thomas Cook station. But I guess it’s worth less and tied to the British pound. Either way, Krugman’s lamentations stem from the fact that Scotland can’t bail out its own banks if necessary!
“But Canada has its own currency, which means that its government can’t run out of money, that it can bail out its own banks if necessary, and more. An independent Scotland wouldn’t. And that makes a huge difference.”
James Cook from Business Insider suggests the Russians pose a threat to Scotland since Scotland doesn’t have its own standing Navy. But there are plenty of small countries adjacent to larger hegemonies that stand alone: Look at all the tiny South East Asian countries that aren’t being overtaken by North Korea or China right now.
The “Better Together” camp only had fear tactics… that worked well enough to stop Scotland from leaving the plantation just shy of the gate (approximately 400,000 votes short of a Yes win) is sad, but left a silver lining. The sad part obviously is that their effort to be freed from the UK failed. The silver lining is that not long ago, Scotland secession campaigns were regarded as fringe movements, but the turnout clearly indicates that it has successfully become a mainstream and popular idea.
Quebec fell short in its efforts to disengage from Canada by less than 1%. Australia fell short in its efforts to become a republic by approximately 5%. Scotland, likewise, did not pass their referendum by the same margin as Australia.
We can say that voting is rigged or manipulated, and I’d be inclined to agree. But I think this points to a greater problem: when the masters don’t want you leave, they make it quite clear. I wrote about this in “The Expat Expense: Brace Yourselves”.
Politicians don’t want secession, unless they stand to control the piece that breaks off. Bill Clinton advocated for a united Canada when Quebec wanted to leave. Barack Obama welcomed the result of a No vote from Scotland. When they advocate for unity, what they are saying is they are against independence from the union. So it stands to reason that they would do everything they can to prevent individuals from seeking out independence from them in the form of expatriation/renunciation.
Are there those in the U.S. who support secession? Absolutely! That is heartening. It would seem that nearly a quarter of Americans are for it. Also, a while back, I addressed many of the secession movements within the United States: “If at First You Don’t Secede…”.
“According to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released Friday, 23.9% of Americans polled from Aug. 23 through Sept. 16 said they strongly supported or tended to support the idea of their state breaking away from the country. About 53% of the 8,952 respondents strongly opposed or tended to oppose secession, slightly less than the percentage that kept Scotland in the United Kingdom.”
It’s interesting to see the breakdown regionally as well.
The United States was founded on secession. These days, however, the United States can yap all it wants about freedom, but in the end, that there are Americans advocating against secession by other countries or states or even individuals shows how disconnected our society has become from the true roots of freedom.