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Scotland – Vote “no” for your Children – Dump your Politicians

by Andrew White  |  September 16, 2014  |  4 Comments

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:

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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Category: european-union  political  politics  scotland  scottish-vote  uk  

Andrew White
Research VP
8 years at Gartner
22 years IT industry

Andrew White is a Distinguished Analyst and VP. His roles include Chief of Research and Content Lead for Data and Analytics. His main research focus is data and analytics strategy, platforms, and governance. Read Full Bio

Thoughts on Scotland – Vote “no” for your Children – Dump your Politicians

  1. Chris says:

    You’re glossing over a lot of history — mostly the atrocity-ridden history of England in Scotland… and Ireland… and everywhere else. Also, you act as if GB, at the end of WWII shrugged and decided to give up its imperial ways — as opposed to what it really did, spending the next 16 years or so trying to re-establish control of the former possessions. Oh, and Churchill pressuring Eisenhower to aid France in Vietnam, all in the name of old school empire.

    To the point of Scotland, how about a liberal “equal partner” bring tired of the bullshit of one Tory government after another?

  2. Andrew White says:

    Hi Chris,

    Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment.

    Yes, I admit I al glossing over a lot of history. At 49 years and counting, though I try to read as much as I can, I am resigned to the fact that I will die not finishing the books I want to read, and not fully understanding what I want too. Though reading much on the British Empire I am mostly in the “proud” camp – not for its entirety but from the perspective of the overall balance. I know there are huge issues in the world today, some critical in that they touch some of the roots of the wars and terrorism we face. But we have what we have; and there is not much to learn from considering alternative histories.

    I didn’t mean to imply GB gave up Empire willingly. In fact my recent reading is exposing me to the financial strains the country faced, and I am spending a lot of time reading JM Keynes (of whom I am not a fan, or wasn’t until now) and am glimpsing the fanatical but hugely frustrating efforts to save the pound, the sterling area, the gold balance, just as senior leaders at the time could feel the very threads of empire slip through their hands. It must have been momentous for those that knew.

    But I do believe that there is nothing intrinsically bad with “empire”. We have seen a few in our history, yes? People tend to implement their own means – some good, some less so. Even the US empire that replaced the previous establishment is not perfect. Look at the pickle we are in now. But again, I would suggest its better than any alternative at present – given the limitations we place on ourselves as a society.

    Your final suggestion is fair. Not sure how such an equal partner could be established given the many dimensions on which “fair” could be defined. As it stands, if Scotland votes “no”, there is every chance the average person who receives aid from the government will get more in Scotland than in England, Wales and Northern Island. Not sure that is fair – though it is a predictable “trade” from politicians trying to save the establishment.

    Thanks again, Andrew

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