The Scotland Question

A little over 300 years ago, Scotland and England were bonded together, to have and to hold, from that day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, until death do they part. Or until legislative change allowed for lawful separation. The legislation has been passed, and today is the day that the Scots will get to decide the answer to the Scotland Question.

The likely answer is that they will vote No, and the UK will continue business as usual on Friday. It is a close vote, and anything could happen. But looking at the polls, the bookmakers odds and the last Scottish Parliament Election….the Yes guys struggle to get much above 45% of the ballot. Whoever wins, roughly half the country will be disappointed.

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Borders do change though. Often and dramatically. Sometimes through the ballot box or civil discussion. But more often through bloody enforcement of new borders designed for the benefit of the better armed party. I’d have liked to have been able to post a video of global border changes, but could not find one. Europe will have to do. I personally hope the Scots do not vote for independence. We are, generally speaking, better together. We’ll see…

4 Comments

  • Quebec would follow your model, a decade out from the last vote, it does not seem the issue it was then and it to was a close vote with high turnout.

    • I think the Quebec vote must have been 20 years ago or so. I think it was much closer too.

      The Scots nationalists have another substantial obstacle to overcome in the future. An awfully big part of their economic argument was based on oil revenues. In 30, 40 or 50 years time there isn’t likely to be much of that left. They’ll need a new plan to convince the electorate of Scotland’s ability to finance itself.

  • The issue is not going away. A 55/45 vote with almost 90% turn out is a close thing in any poll. I think we can take the Zappistia movement in Mexico’s south as a comparison; the Mexican Federal government has been throwing money at the population centers in the south. Britain will do the same for Scotland.

    • I’m going to disagree with you on this one. The independence issue is done and dusted. We won’t be revisiting that one in decades at a minimum. Close though it might have been, the gap was hardly razor thin. Some might say it’s unfair to those who want out, but it would be even more unfair to force the majority to go in a drastically different direction when they’d rather stay put.

      So, no. Independence, barring any unforeseeable and dramatic event, is off the table. What will continue is the debate on devolution. And that is not exciting enough to keep many people involved or interested.

      I know you might be looking at that enormous turnout and thinking that people clearly will be interested. But that turnout is misleading, in my opinion. The independence referendum wasn’t, at its very core, a political vote. It was all about identity. It’s most certainly not a cultural issue as a certain – typically uniformed – commenter on Steve’s blog would have us believe, but one about a Nationalist identity. Devolution on the other hand is entirely political. Which is why devolution referendums struggle to get 60% of the electorate into a voting booth.

      Will London throw money at Scotland? Steve himself suggested that the English have ‘been buying the Scots’ via the welfare system. Yet the facts don’t support that. Income, benefits etc etc – there’s not much between us English and those north of the border. What the Scots did get in 1998 and will get more of now, is the ability to choose how to raise extra revenue, what it gets a say in and how to spend the taxes it’s sucked in.

      The biggest question is how will the SNP fare in future votes in Scottish parliamentary elections? Salmond’s core base of voters were built up considerably with the promise of independence. Where now for a party that has given up on it’s key promise? I’m pretty convinced the SNP support has peaked and will now slide back down. Will he manage to shore up a decent percentage of his new won support? Or will his vote collapse entirely? Time will tell…

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