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PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2014 10:26 am 
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I know I don't post much these days but having posted this on Facebook I'll also bring it here. I thought this might be of interest to people here. It is certainly of great interest to me, since I am looking, right in the face, the very real possibility of my nation breaking up. :shock: :(

I always expected the 'Yes' vote to gain in confidence and numbers as the summer went by. It did. I thought the margin would get pretty narrow, thanks to the less than impressive (often patronising and complacent) efforts of the 'Better Together' campaign from Westminster. What I didn't expect, and what I bet many other English folk genuinely aren't prepared for, was for the break-up of our nation to become a real, actual possibility. I won't deny that it's making me emotional.

I was listening last night on Channel 4 to the reactions of some English people in a charming English village somewhere. Some were sanguine: "good luck to the Scots if that's what they want." Others were sad and, yes, very apprehensive. Like me.

I've listened with respect to the 'Yes' argument. People have argued for Scottish independence with great eloquence and passion. But this hard-hitting article about the economics spells out my deepest fears:

http://flipchartfairytales.wordpress.co ... r-country/

"This isn’t about England versus Scotland." No, it is not. The 'Yes' campaign has not been run on narrowly nationalistic anti-English lines. No doubt there is that element in some quarters, but it has not been allowed to dominate the campaign. We currently have a right-wing, very arrogant government in Westminster, under which both England and Scotland suffer. ;) I hear the Scots on the democracy thing. I do. Hardly any of them voted for this lot. But independence is such a massive thing, and there is still so much uncertainty about what it might involve.

"It’s about how we will cope with the next few decades. A stable and united country has a far better chance of managing the challenge."

"If Scotland does become an independent country, the problems we face won’t go away. They will just be split between two states instead of being shared by one. And they’ll be that bit worse for being left to fester for another few years. Scotland might have enjoyed a post-independence party but we’ll all have the hangover afterwards. When you consider what we are up against, splitting up our state is sheer folly and self-indulgence. In the face of the most severe economic challenges we have faced for generations, we are about to break up one of the world’s most stable and prosperous states. It’s absolute madness!"

And a text in this morning's London Metro also sums up this worst-case scenario:

‘SNP - Scottish National Party - policy was always modelled on Ireland – independent and in Europe using the euro. That turned sour, so the model became Norway. But Scotland can’t afford its own currency, so the SNP has assumed it will be able to use the pound. Salmond’s attempt at clarity is “an independent country, possibly in Europe, maybe able to use another country’s currency.”’

An American friend of mine has just come back from visiting Scotland. The impression she got was that many Scots were still wondering about voting 'Yes', not because they were anti-independence, but because there are still too many unanswered questions.

The British government is panicking, and that's not an exaggeration. (David Cameron could go down in history as that guy who lost Scotland. :blackeye: ) Our press is also awash with emotional pleas to Scotland. It's funny, but it's not. If the vote is Yes, this will have massive ramifications for our constitution, on the economy and on the national psyche.

Whatever happens, the Scots will always retain their strong sense of identity. But I do not want the Union to break up. I want the Saltire to remain part of the Union Flag. :neutral:

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2014 12:14 pm 
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It says something that the best arguments for Scotland leaving are found in the British government's campaign against it...

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2014 4:16 pm 
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If I were voting (and I have absolutely no claim to Scots or British links, nor do I have a grip on the economic arguments), I guess I'd be voting for independence, and that is purely from the gut. It's a romantic notion, but independence from the yoke of Westminister has such a tremendously symbolic meaning.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2014 4:43 pm 
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Impenitent wrote:
It's a romantic notion, but independence from the yoke of Westminster has such a tremendously symbolic meaning.


Yes, of course it does. Although tell that to my (culturally Protestant) birth relatives in Northern Ireland. ;) But the stakes are way too high for romance and symbolism. People need to vote with their heads, not their hearts. Britain's recovery from the economic crash of 2008 is still very tenuous. A Yes vote might throw all of us, and that goes for Northern Ireland too, into chaos, certainly political chaos and also economic chaos in all likelihood. I realise how histrionic this all might sound, but the Irish Examiner is right on board with me:

http://www.irishexaminer.com/viewpoints ... 85590.html

I know Scots who are voting Yes and I know Scots who are genuinely scared of what this might mean for their country, and no, that does NOT make them chattels of Westminster. This is not the time for the English and Scottish to resurrect old tired stereotypes about each other. This is not the time for people in the UK to turn inward on each other. The world is in an awful mess and Britain can at least offer ... well, a nation where various tribes actually co-exist in peace all with the same nationality. That is quite an achievement, given our past.

I'm worried. For the first time ever in my 52 years, I am seriously worried about the future of my country.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2014 4:56 pm 
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That's scary, Di.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2014 5:50 pm 
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Thanks so much for posting this, Di, and sharing your thoughts.

We've had talk of secession from Texas, but firmly in the realm of nonsense, not approaching reality. I can barely imagine the deep sense of unease this must be causing for the British people. :hug:

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2014 5:58 pm 
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How much of this is historic, Di? As in driven by notions of Bonnie prince Charlie?


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2014 6:14 pm 
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I'm watching this with great interest, and also with great nervousness since I'm planning to move back.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2014 6:28 pm 
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Bonnie Prince Charlie's uprising, IIRC, wasn't so much about Scottish independence as putting the "right" monarch on the throne (his supporters viewed House Hanover as usurpers of House Stuart). I've been to Culloden. It's a effing stupid place to choose to have a battle. Nasty rough ground. Walls all over the place. No wonder the Jacobites lost.

I am not sure Scotland is better off independent if they aren't going to print their own currency. I've been to Scotland twice. It's a nice place. Has a very prosperous feel, even in the edge-of-the-worldish parts like the Hebrides and Orkneys. I'd hate to see it fall apart. My hope is the independence vote fails by a narrow margin. Economic turmoil is averted and the UK government will get a sharp message. But if it succeeds, I hope the doomsayers are wrong.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2014 6:35 pm 
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Thank you so much, V-Man and Cerin. :). Your sympathy and interest are much appreciated!

Jude, :hug:

Inanna - the Celtic dream of independence from the political and cultural hegemony of England goes back a long way, obviously. ;) I understand it, and respect it. But a) I don't think Scotland can afford it at this precise time in history, and that is scary not just for Scotland but for everyone else in the UK; and b) the process of dismantling our constitution is also scary.

At the moment, Scots benefit from free prescriptions on the NHS - the English don't! ;)

More later, perhaps.

ETA: Just saw River's post. Good thoughts. :)

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2014 7:05 pm 
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Quote:
My hope is the independence vote fails by a narrow margin. Economic turmoil is averted and the UK government will get a sharp message. But if it succeeds, I hope the doomsayers are wrong.


This is sort of how I feel, too. But I am not sure a "narrow margin" would send a sharp message - or rather, the sharpness of the message would, I fear, be quickly dulled and forgotten. That fact that it has taken until now for the UK government to take this seriously would be laughable if it weren't so disheartening.

There's a part of me that would honestly like to see the measure succeed. The Scots are a tough bunch and I have no doubt that they would manage to pull independence off - even if things did get tough for a while.

Just because something has been a certain way for a long time doesn't necessarily mean it should stay that way. Maybe...maybe it's time.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2014 9:27 pm 
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I had an intense (and lovely) introduction to Scotland this spring, when we were invited to give talks at St Andrews and turned it into a two-week adventure. I was surprised to find the academic community quite supportive of independence--largely because they are FED UP with the Conservatives in the south. Then when I got a chance to talk with some Scots from a more aristocratic background, I wasn't surprised to find them strongly against independence.

I couldn't help sympathizing with my university friends, but at that time it seemed very improbable the measure could actually pass. In the abstract, I'm against splitting countries into many smaller sub-countries. On the other hand, England's nonchalance with respect to Scotland is irritating, I can see that, too.

I am certainly watching this vote closely and with my breath held!

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2014 10:25 pm 
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It's not just 'aristocratic' Scots who are against independence ;) - the No vote includes Scots on the political left. But there are more younger Scots who are pro-independence.

I listened to a brilliant live debate from Glasgow tonight on Radio 4 between the Yes and No camps. One of the most powerful and persuasive planks in the Yes campaign is how unrepresentative of Scottish concerns Westminster is. Which is why I'm all for expanded devolution, 'devo-max'.

But I don't want it thought that the No party care any less about Scotland either. They have good reasons for wanting to stay part of the UK. I'm not talking about the politicians but ordinary people.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 11, 2014 1:37 am 
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River wrote:
Bonnie Prince Charlie's uprising, IIRC, wasn't so much about Scottish independence as putting the "right" monarch on the throne (his supporters viewed House Hanover as usurpers of House Stuart). I've been to Culloden. It's a effing stupid place to choose to have a battle. Nasty rough ground. Walls all over the place. No wonder the Jacobites lost.


I agree. I was just wondering how much of this referendum is driven by historic reasons like Bonnie Prince Charlie, and the subsequent history, and how much is driven by Scotland's current or more recent dissatisfaction with the government in London.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 11, 2014 2:31 am 
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I suspect it's a mix. Interestingly, though, the Scots leading this movement don't want to crown a new monarch or do away with monarchy altogether. If this comes to pass, House Windsor will still reign over Scotland. But Scotland will no longer answer to the UK Parliament.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 11, 2014 9:41 am 
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A friend of mine on Facebook came up with this:

Scotland: "I'm leaving you."
England: "You can't."
Scotland: "I'm leaving. It's over!"
England: "I'm pregnant!"

:rofl:

Humour. It helps. Meanwhile, the banks are pulling out the heavy guns: :shock:
http://www.theguardian.com/business/201 ... d-yes-vote

Yeah, the Royal Bank of Scotland is threatening to leave Scotland. The same bank that went bankrupt and the government bailed out thanks to every taxpayer in Britain. :roll:

And this thing is catching:
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/s ... referendum

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 12, 2014 8:46 am 
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Recent opinion polls have narrowed, but I do not think that they have narrowed enough to get this over the line. I have to say that I’m not sure where sufficient support for the ‘Yes’ case will come from. Recent immigrants to the U.K. who live in Scotland should form a pretty solid ‘No’ bloc, as will a lot of the people who live far south enough that putting an international border between them and Berwick, Carlisle and Newcastle would pose a significant inconvenience. Then there is the economic reality that the entire Celtic fringe of the U.K. is subsidised by the powerhouse that is London.

Personally, I think that the ‘Yes’ case is basically resting on two pillars – a sense of historical romanticism, and left-wing frustration with the Conservative-led government in Westminster. In my opinion, they do not have the real, solid arguments that the ‘No’ case does. There is also a pretty solid argument based on simple inertia. The United Kingdom has been amazingly successful – possibly the single most successful country that has ever existed – and there doesn’t seem to be all much of a strong case to end it.

I am reminded here of the persistent secessionist movement in Quebec, which I also think is misguided for similar reasons. At the failure of the most recent independence referendum there, the then-Premier blamed ‘money and the ethnic vote’, both of which may also play a part in Scotland this month.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 13, 2014 10:22 pm 
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Pearly Di wrote:
A friend of mine on Facebook came up with this:

Scotland: "I'm leaving you."
England: "You can't."
Scotland: "I'm leaving. It's over!"
England: "I'm pregnant!"



That wonderful spoof actually originated with the "Independence" Twitter account:

https://twitter.com/YesVoteScots/status ... 7078674432

Personally, I have very mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, I think "romanticism" and "dignity" should not be scoffed at, and if most Scots believe that they will "feel" better as an independent nation, then that's a big deal (which is why I dislike the "vote with your heads, not your hearts" meme, which belittles less materialistic motivations, such as dignity). On the other hand, as an American, I feel a ruptured United Kingdom will remove a reliable ally from the world stage - one that has had the capability to assist in some of the most important humanitarian actions and interventions in this and the last century.

So, I generally don't know how to feel about this (nor does it much matter how I feel, as I am not a British resident). Though I have lived there...

In the end, I suppose it's up to the Scots! Though for those who disagree with the "Yes" campaign, it is worth reflecting on this as an example of the potentially serious consequences of a Constitution-less nation...


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 15, 2014 9:11 am 
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Passdagas the Brown wrote:
Personally, I have very mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, I think "romanticism" and "dignity" should not be scoffed at, and if most Scots believe that they will "feel" better as an independent nation, then that's a big deal (which is why I dislike the "vote with your heads, not your hearts" meme, which belittles less materialistic motivations, such as dignity).


The margin is narrow, so 'most' Scots might mean 52% of the country (according to some recent polls). Which means that 48% would not 'feel' better about it. ;) That is a pretty big portion of a country not feeling good about it. I have a Scottish friend who will be devastated if the Yes vote goes through, and this person is very proud to be Scottish and proud of their national heritage - no English colonialist is brainwashing them on this issue. ;)

And it is not about belittling 'less materialistic motivations'. That is ironic given that Alex Salmond, the leader of the Scottish National Party, will be courting big, fat, corporate interests to ensure lots of creation-wealth. ;) To me it's about looking stark reality in the face and not flinching from it. Both Britain and America still have problems with debt and Western culture is still all about the spend, spend, spend. Do people seriously think that the 2008 financial crash was the end of it? I very much doubt that.

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On the other hand, as an American, I feel a ruptured United Kingdom will remove a reliable ally from the world stage - one that has had the capability to assist in some of the most important humanitarian actions and interventions in this and the last century.


Yes.

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Though for those who disagree with the "Yes" campaign, it is worth reflecting on this as an example of the potentially serious consequences of a Constitution-less nation...


But we do have a constitution. Just because we don't have one single constitutional document, like many other nations, doesn't mean we don't have a constitution. :) I do confess I've been shocked by the attitude of Westminster. If you give people a choice, a referendum, don't act all surprised if they actually look like voting Yes! :nono:

In other news, apparently 42% of English people aren't bothered whether Scotland leaves or not. Well, they should be bothered. That kind of political apathy is not encouraging. And England could show she loves Scotland a little more. :roll: The Yes vote will impact on everyone in the UK.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 15, 2014 9:27 am 
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I think this is the biggest reason for a No vote!

http://www.independent.ie/sport/rugby/l ... 82605.html

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