It is with great sadness that I wait for a vote on Thursday by the population of Scotland to see if the UK stays together. It is actually hard to imagine that such a vote could even take place. The idea that the UK might want to dissolve has no more crossed my mind than if I am feeling hungry I would start by nibbling on my own arm. Really, to think that a politician could make a career out of such a move (I refer to Alex Salmon, First Minister, and divisive leader of the ‘yes’ campaign). I say divisive for I cannot see one positive reason for the body of Scotland to leave. Separated, both countries would be weaker. Sure, Alex gets to run his own country, but for what?
I have said on many occasions that as the world get flatter, and communication speeds up, the more fragmented as a society we are becoming. Look since WWII and see how first the British Empire broke up. Much of this was natural and good for sure and the Commonwealth acted as a magnetic binding for a more positive, contemporary union. But central and Eastern Europe broke up; the USSR, south eastern Europe as well. The arguments for individual nationalism and devolution roll onward. We hear that Catalonia in Spain may push if Scotland votes in the affirmative. When will Quebec try again? When Texas or California?
To think the UK might fall apart in my lifetime is heartbreaking. The end of empire is only just over 100 years ago. In 1914 a financially broken Britain had to concede economic control to the US. That in and of itself was not a bad thing. But the empire as a people were about to embark on a painful empirical experiment and readjustment. The core was and is the UK. Scotland is part of that Union. Because of that Union great things happened – not least industrial revolution (a Scotsman invented the steam engine). Our Crowns came together. I feel a need to relay on my Scottish connections. Scotland invented modern banking.
And to think the people of Scotland accept Alex Salmon’s point if view that Scotland would be economically better off without the Union? Really? Think about that for a moment. It is incredibly naive. Almost a dream, or nightmare really. Yes I know that there are no Tories north of the border, and yes I understand the region is predominantly left leaning, and they are not happy with “Westminster”, but so what? There are regions around the world like this all the time. They don’t split off to create their own country. They get on their bike and make change happen. Better from within – since there is no chance when without. And it’s not like there has been civil unrest between England, Wales and Scotland. Well, other than on the Rugby field.
The polls have had their say. Some go with ‘too close to call’. Even a slim “no” vote will be hugely damaging. British politicians have promised new devolutionary powers to console the northerners with a hankering for power. What that means no one knows. As reported in two fine articles in the US print edition of the Financial Times today:
- Gifted amateurism is no foundation for a United Kingdom, by Janan Ganesh.
- This is a very bad time to break up Britain, by Gideon Rachman
I don’t understand how nationalist fervor can take over what is a rational structure that adds more value as a union. I am heartbroken that in just a few years of effort, a mad few can insight the excited many, to break apart what took hundreds of years to forge.
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