Ilargi: The Black Swan Of Scotland

Yves here. The way that England’s leaders, as well as pundits and investors generally, failed to recognize that Scotland really could vote for secession, is even more significant than it seems, and as Ilargi tells us below, it’s plenty significant. As NC readers have noted, the fact that Scots have swung in favor of secession is certain to embolden other separatists. But at least as important is why events have reached this juncture.

Readers regularly discuss, with considerable enthusiasm, the need to relocalize, to force government operations and economic networks to be more robust and self-sustaining on a smaller scale of operation. While it is possible that relocalized social units could be well-networked with each other, and thus preserve many of the advantages of a larger scale, more centralized society, this could also represent a path of disintegration, in the adverse sense of the word.

Jospeh Tainter, in his classic The Collapse of Complex Civilizations, argues that complex societies require more and more in the way of energy to support them. As the costs of obtaining incremental energy rises, these cultures lurch towards failure.

But the wee problem with Tainter’s thesis is that he rejects culture as playing any role in these unravelings, yet is forced to acknowledge that sometimes the ruling classes manage to pull at-risk civilizations out of their nosedive.

But one might ask how did these complex societies manage to succeed in the first place? They have to manage the desire of individuals and groups to seek safety and resources, and to be loyal to those tight alliances: families, tribes, small communities. Complexity introduces new levels of integration and potential loyalty: states, nations, institutionalized religion, businesses, and workplaces. Enlightened and merely competent leaders understand that a big part of their job is to find compromises among these various subsidiary power centers and reject (or better yet, press these groups to discourage) illegitimate or potentially destructive claims for resources and authority. One of the reason that growth is so popular a selling point among politicians is that it is much easier to work out these compromises if the collective pie is getting bigger.

The current crop of leaders in the UK, Europe, and US, appear to think that the question of how states and societies are ordered (at least in advanced economies) is so obviously advantageous to everyone that fundamental challenges to the status quo won’t go very far. But the post crisis era of sustained low growth, combined with elites who are far too visibly not sharing in the general pain and in many ways are making matters worse, is producing new and unexpected fissures in the political arena. Scotland should be seen as a serious wake-up call to those in authority, but they are likely to see it as just another problem whose answer is better propaganda.

By Raúl Ilargi Meijer, editor-in-chief of The Automatic Earth. Originally published at Automatic Earth

Got a mail from a friend in Scotland late last night that got me thinking. “Unfortunately, using Ireland as a model of fracture, we may start blowing up each other.” I’ve been reading a lot lately, in between all the other things, about Scotland, as should be obvious from my essay (Jim Kunstler tells me I can use that word) yesterday, Please Scotland, Blow Up The EU, and sometime today a thought crept up on me that has me wondering how ugly this thing is going to get. I think it can get very bad.

What I get from it all is that if anything is going to win this for the independence side, it must be the arrogance the London government has exhibited. That alone could seal the deal. But now of course London has belatedly woken up. Even David Cameron is scheduled to – finally – visit Scotland in the course of the contest. And if push comes to shove, they’ll throw in a royal baby. Or a Queen. Mark my words.

Cameron’s visit is funny in that he never thought it necessary until now because he thought he would win no matter what until a few days ago, and also funny because he must easily be the least popular person in all of Scotland, so a visit is a substantial risk. He had his bellboy Alistair King do a TV debate recently, and King flunked that thing so badly he may have single-handedly propelled the Yes side into the lead.

The knifes are being sharpened and soon they will be drawn – there’s only 9 days left. Question is, who will end up hurt? Bank of England Governor Mark Carney picked today of all days, 9 days before the referendum, to at last get more specific about his rate hike plan: it’s going to be early 2015. Because the UK economy is doing so great…

Only, wages will have to rise, and that will have to happen through British workers ‘earning’ pay hikes by ‘boosting their productivity and skills’. These workers have about 6 months to do that. You’re pulling my leg here, right, Mark? In any case, it seems obvious that Canadian Carney will be used as a tool against the Scottish independence movement. That’s just more arrogance.

Carney also spoke out directly on Scotland, saying there can’t be a currency union between the Scots and the Brits. Oh yeah, that should scare ‘em!

The pound sterling is falling, but that doesn’t mean much. What does is that the entire financial world, of which the City is a large part, was caught on the wrong foot as much as the UK government. And both will now, until September 18, pull all the stops to cover their – potential – losses. With all means at their disposition. Some of which will be brutal, or at least appear to be.

Billions of dollars have already been lost in just a few days, since everybody realized the UK may actually split up. Many more billions will be lost in the coming week, as measures of volatility go through the roof. Neither the Yes side nor the No side have gone into this thing terribly prepared; there are a zillion questions surrounding the independence issue that won’t be solved before the vote takes place. Passports, currencies, central banks, monetary unions, there’s too much even to mention.

Somewhere, emanating from the old crypts and burrows in which Britain was founded, I fear a hideous force may emerge to crush the Scottish people’s desire for self-determination, if only because that desire is a major threat to some very rich and powerful entities who found themselves as unprepared as Downing Street 10.

I don’t know if, as my friend fears (though he’s much closer to the action than I am, so who am I to speak), it will lead to people blowing up each other, but then also, who am I to rule that out? The UN charter on self-determination looks good on paper and in theory, but when reality comes knocking, there’s mostly not much left of the lofty ideals and intentions, or is that just me, Catalunya?

Still, there’s an added dimension in Scotland: the fact that the City of London is the number 1,2 or 3 (take your pick) most important finance center on the planet. If and when anybody rattles that kind of cage, other forces come into play. It’s no longer about politics, but about money (and no, I’m not too think to see how the two are linked).

So I hold my breath and my prayers for both my Scottish and my British friends – and I happen to have lots of them – and I hope this is not going to get completely out of hand. The reasons I think it may get out of hand regardless is that 1) there is not one side that was ever prepared for the situation in which they find themselves today and 2) there is an enormous supra-national interest that resides in the UK financial world which is in a semi panic mode about how much money can be lost not just because of a UK break-up, but because of the uncertainty surrounding that potential break-up.

And there’s something in all of that which is definitely scary. London, and the Queen, will do all they can not to lose part of their ‘empire’. The City of London will do even more not to lose a substantial part of their wealth. And this time around I don’t think they properly hedged their bets: the surge of the Yes side is as close to a black swan as we, and the City of London, have seen.

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  1. paul

    It’s indeed quite giddy times here and dirty tricks are definitely possible, the hideous electronic vote counting machines, the huge quantity of postal votes, the smashing of the purdah (as colourfully explained by chunky mark here) and the raw panic in westminster.

    It’s strange how we’ve transformed from being a burdensome rabble of alcoholic welfare dependents to the most precious members of the union (for the next 8 days or so).

    Yes will win, but will we get the result?

    1. TheCatSaid

      That chunky mark video was really something!

      Never heard of chunky mark before this (and I can’t figure out where he’s from–some form of British?).

      Whoever he is, his 2-part interview with Bernadette Devlin McAlister was amazing. She spoke of reasons why the Irish peace process couldn’t be used elsewhere–lots of clarity, nuance and global implications I’ve never heard expressed before. There was historical context I haven’t heard elsewhere. In case this might be of interest to NC readers interested in conflict / peace / resolution issues in any location, here are the links:
      Part 1
      Part 2

      1. EoinW

        30% umemployment in Straban. Just shows how our elites never know when to stop. The Unionists owned Northern Ireland, yet they couldn’t even give the Catholic minority the odd crumb. Everything to themselves and their own tribe. Thus they left the nationalist community with no choice. Eventually things became so bad that a violent reaction was inevitable.

        We’re seeing the same thing today with our 1%. They have no sense of moderation. They must take everything they can get their hands on. Ultimately they leave the unwashed masses with nothing. This will also end in a violent reaction.

    2. efschumacher

      George Monbiot had a terrific piece on the Guardian on this yesterday ( As he points out, the repercussions of this genuinely democratic, non-party vote are a big bang that will echo around the world. Even if the outcome is a ‘no’, the concessions made by Westminster for a devo-max will fuel (okay, really ought to fuel) demands across England in particular for a properly federated system that gives more fiscal and planning autonomy to Cities (like Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield, Newcastle) and Regions (counties like Lancashire and Yorkshire or aggregated like Northumbria, Mercia, Wessex, East Anglia). The echoes spread wider of course, to Catalunya and Brittany and Flemish-Belgium and on.

      Carney’s point about currency union without fiscal and political union is well taken of course, and for that reason Scotland should establish its own currency if the result turns out to be a Yes. He is of course firing a parallel broadside at the Eurozone, whose miseries are a well-known lurching, undead tragedy. Perhaps it is time for a proper democratic and financial settlement across the whole of Europe.

      Edward I is spinning in his grave today.

      1. Jesse

        I thought that piece was excellent – they’re the very sorts of issues that I would cause me to support succession (massive inequality/privatization, military spending, royalty, etc). But I question how widespread his sentiments are?

        Someone else in this article said you could ask 10 Scots why they want it and all ten would give you different and contradictory reasons. How many of the supporters are just empty-headed, flag-waiving idiots?

        1. fresno dan

          If Scotland canna do it, how long before Spain and Portugal figure out that the “benefits” of the EU are less than the drawbacks???

  2. paul

    “Fear can make you do more wrong than hate or jealousy… fear makes you always, always hold something back.”

    As chunky mark advises, we should run for our lives.

  3. paul

    I really can’t explain how odd it is to be having a vote where something actually matters, one full of hope for a change.

    1. Pelham

      Hearty and sincere congratulations on having an opportunity for that rarest of all events in modern democracies — a meaningful vote. I only wish that we in this phony paragon of representative democracy that we call the United States could have such a vote. I truly envy you Scots and wish you all the best, regardless of outcome (though I’m pulling for the Yes side).

  4. John

    Scare! is the weapon of choice for the oppressors, which brings me to the Krugman article the other day, Scots, What the Heck? Typical Krugman, he never looked into the issues confronting the Scots and their English overlords. He warned the Scots to — Be afraid, be very afraid. Thats what they’ve been listening to for the last upteem years to scare them away from going it alone. Self determination is something the American colonists thought back in the 1700s was a good idea but were warned there would be consequences. So, it is in Scotland.

    The Scots are fed up with right-wing ideologues running the show. Who can blame them from wanting to get away from the remorseless Torie Tea Party who push an anti-social agenda?

    1. YankeeFrank

      Well said paul. I didn’t know about purdah, this is horrendous. Fucking English imperialist pigs. I really hope it passes. My Scottish-American wife and I plan to emigrate :).

      1. paul

        I prefer to see it in class terms ie fucking ruling class imperialist pigs.
        Class is,after all, the master conspiracy.

    2. Schofield

      “The Scots are fed up with right-wing ideologues running the show. Who can blame them from wanting to get away from the remorseless Torie Tea Party who push an anti-social agenda?”

      All well and good but the Scottish electorate are at least a million haggises away from understanding that a sovereign government can never run out of money and such knowledge is key to developing a pro-social agenda!

    3. Pepsi

      Krugman is a goofus but he made good points. I don’t think it was anti independence as much as anti currency union with England and anti EU membership, for all the obvious reasons.

      Lot Scotland be independent, truly independent, and maybe they can carve out a less miserable world for themselves.

    4. washunate

      That Krugman article was bizarre. I get the feeling that most leftist academics today are rather uncomfortable with ideas of self-determination and personal preferences. They can’t fathom anybody would hold a different opinion or perspective from their own. So, change is really really scary.

      1. Benedict@Large

        Leftist academic? Krugman? Are you serious?

        Krugman may be on the left personally in his politics, but academically (which is to say, as an economist), he is absolutely of the monetarist persuasion.

        And by the way, did you even read the Krugman op-ed? No, I didn’t think so. What Krugman said was Scotland shouldn’t go it alone UNLESS they also created their own currency. He wasn’t advising on WHAT to do; simply HOW to do one of their options if that’s the one they chose.

        And by the way, there’s very little controversial in what he said. Anyone who isn’t a flying bat-squeeze has figured out that currency unions without political unions DON’T WORK.

  5. Skippy

    Yves… its quite the absurdity that ‘The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo’ is on from the 7th to the 25th, the – Royal – title from HM Queen Elizabeth in 2010… seems a bit iffy now…

    skippy… seems they can’t find a blow bag that sings the right tune, our Abbot and the rest of the lot. Mugabe’s everywhere it seems…

  6. The Dork of Cork

    Now that the old Union is dying…..a newer perhaps even darker (Is this possible !!!) is growing.
    Its time to wave more coloured flags in Brussels me thinks.

    Me thinks Scotland will repeat the Irish experiment of painting the post boxes green.
    Never forget it is mason central where all is not what it may seem.
    Everybody else not connected to the inner is Ebenezer Balfour like , as in so corrupted by centuries of scarce money that they are prepared to betray their own family for tokens.

  7. Otter

    Not to worry. Victoria Nuland and her henchpersons can organize spontaneous protests and occupy Euro Gardens below Edinburgh Castle.

    1. diptherio

      Texas and DC. Hell, the Washingtonians don’t even get a vote in Federal elections anyway: what interest do they have in staying part of the union?

      1. Massinissa

        Thats like asking why wouldnt Rome want to secede from the rest of its empire circa A.D 100. It wouldnt want to because its funneling the rest of the nations wealth to itself.

        1. diptherio

          I mean the residents of DC–most of whom, from my experience, don’t have much at all in the way of wealth. The Mall and K street are one thing, but walk a couple blocks away and it doesn’t feel like the wealthy heart of the Empire anymore, just another blighted, blasted and left-for-dead neighborhood. That was my experience anyway.

          1. Jesse

            The solution is one listed on the wikipedia page for this issue – reduce DC’s size to the capitol, white house, mall, etc, and fold everyone else into Maryland.

  8. vlade

    In the order of appearance:
    a) I’m willing to be money that Queen (nor royal family, with the exception of one Charles) will not intervene in any way before. The only time Queen would interevene is in a case of contitutional crisis. There isn’t one, it’s a valid, all-agreed on referendum. Queen believes in her duty, and doesn’t consider telling people what to do her duty (unlike Charles). She’s old fashioned like that, you know.

    b) Cameron didn’t travel north not because of some arrogant “I don’t need to, we’ll win anyways”, but because of a well recognised fact that a Tory speaking north of Borders is just a bad policy. Why do you think Better Together campaign has Labour faces?

    c) Carney hiking rates should be Yes positive if anything, you vote Yes, you get rid of him (and any hikes). Oops, not unless you want to keep sterling.. Hmmm. A reason not to keep sterling? Except then lots of people would worry about potentially having sterling mortgages etc. etc. and maybe not vote Yes?

    d) Citi was caught up (except for a few people who actually cared to talk to Scots), but who cares? UK gov’t wasn’t, especially after the second debate. Seems like Salmond learned from the first debate, No camp didn’t.
    e) Scottish desire for independence.. Well, at the moment, it looks like 50-50, which is massively higher than historical average of about 60(against)-30(for). Oh yes, the “gov’t we didn’t vote for” meme. Hello? Last 20 years UK had Labour gov’t that Scotland very enthusiastically voted for. FGS, Blair is SCOTISH.

    f) Ultimately, City doesn’t give a toss about Scotland being or not independent. Why should they? If anything, Scotland going independent will be a new opportunity for attacking Scottish peg (if there’s any), or making money from FX transactions on new Scottish currency. You know, if anything City should go for Scottish Independence full steam, as it will mean Tory gov’t for a generation at least, and City happily lobying for what it wants. Scottish independence also means volatility in the markets, and IBs want volatility. That’s what they make money from.

    Yves – unlike Spain with Catalans, Italy with northern Italy etc. UK went through a bloody separationist period not that far back (1920s, Ireland), and still is reminded of it now and then. While there’s belief that the current “shape” is the best (that being one UK), there’s space to rearrange it internally. I don’t know what the current devo-max proposal entails and how it proposes to work it, so I can’t comment on it, but a blanket statement that (I’ll paraphrase) the current crop of UK leaders thinks the current way is the best and only way should be not made until after at least studying that devo-max proposal and showing it’s a sham (it could be, I honestly don’t know). You know, Torries should LOVE the idea of independent Scotland, as it would exile Labour into wilderness for a generation at least. Yet their campaing against it.

    Also, it’s actually SNP leadership that’s engaging in massive propaganda here (hard as it may come to believe). Put together 10 Scots who will vote Yes, and ask them what it will mean, and you’ll get 10 different ideas. Likely few of them will contradict each other (the most obvious are more spending by state and lower taxes – which BTW is one of the few things SNP explicitly said, that corporate taxes will be lowered).

    Scot’s have no clue what they vote for with Yes, except a border down south and their own passports. I have no problem with they wanting to be independent. Locality can give you better government. It can also give you a more corrupt government (see Ireland, where the politics used to be pure nepotism, although now, 100 years later, it’s changing a bit) I lived through country splitting itself in two though, so I have a clue that it’s not just bunting and bonfires. If Salmond was really fair to Scottish (and let’s be clear. it’s not “scottish”. It’s “living in Scotland”. Which on one hand is good, and how it should be, but gives the whole “national” idea a bit of a stale air) people, he would negotiate first in detail what it means to be independent, and then asked them whether they want to be independent on those terms.

    Independence is forever, not for Xmas.

    1. diptherio

      You’ve got to weigh the hardships of breaking up with the hardships of staying w/ the UK, the results of which are fairly well known, right? When the PTB so obviously don’t give a rip about anyone but themselves, it’s hard to blame people for deciding that maybe the evil they don’t know might be better than the one they do. Sure, nobody is quite sure what those evils will be, or how bad, but I’m assuming that the evils they’re dealing with right now must be pretty bad, or else the campaign wouldn’t have near so much traction, right?

      Whatever happens, it’s all very exciting. It does me good, once in awhile, to read some news that doesn’t begin and end with people either getting slaughtered or fleeced.

    2. Massinissa

      Spain went through a bloody seperatist period: Its called the Spanish Civil War. There were some catalonian and basque separatist groups in the Republican movementl, with the right wing nationalists like Franco fearing national disintegration.

      Grantedl, separatism was not the main focus of the Spanish Civil War. More like a secondary or even tertiary focusl, since there were so many focuses being debated.

      1. Fíréan

        The Scots had a referendum in 1978, though the Labour governmet of the day passed an Act which required that a majority Yes vote needed to be a mayority of the total registered electorate and not a mayority of those who actually voted.
        ( for further reference see:,_1979 )

        Here is a link to a website which details many the greviances of the Scots, including the present loss of oil and gas revenues to Scotland, the reduction in number of representatives in UK. parliament and the changing of the borders of Scots and English sea borders. The website supports a Yes vote.
        quote, from the home page :

        Mc Crone ReportKeeping a report into Scotland’s Oil Rich Economy TOP SECRET for over 30 years, until accidentally made public.

        Unfair electionsUn democratically saying NO when 52% of Scot’s Voters said YES to a devolved Government back in 1979.

        making scotlands sea englishMoving Scotland’s Marine Borders from Berwick-upon-Tweed to Carnoustie in 1999. Illegally making 6000 miles of Scotland’s water English! So now when you play golf at St Andrews and look way out to sea, you are looking at English Waters!!!

        unfair scottish representation in WestminsterCulling 13 Scottish MP’s in 2005 taking the number of Scottish MP’s from 72 to 59 while increasing the number of English MP’s from 529 to 533.

        nuclear free scotlandThe Scottish Government having full control of its Green Energy production even on a local level and not be railed roaded by Westminster and their flawed nuclear power station plans as highlighted in the Calman report.

        no nuclear waste in ScotlandNot having nuclear weapons and radioactive waste from London and foreign Countries dumped in Scotland.

        rebuilding scotland’s heavy industriesThe potential to be partners in the North Sea with Norway one of the most solvent Nations in Europe. Opening the door to rebuilding Scotland’s heavy industries.

        no ban on Scottish PoliticiansScottish politicians and through them the population having an effective say in European, World and Westminster Politics. ( my italics)


    3. cirsium

      vlade – the proposals are not anywhere close to devo-max and were debunked when they first appeared in the spring of 2014. Why do you think the UK Government refused to consider the Scottish Government’s offer to put this option on the referendum ballot paper? The Scottish Government’s view on independence was set out in its white paper Scotland’s Future published in November 2013. It is a 750 page document so it gives a good idea of what it means to be independent.

      For the YES campaign, the referendum is about governance not identity.

    4. Ed

      The way independence referenda should be done is with two referenda. The first would ask “do you want to be independent of the larger country”. Then there is negotiation between the separatists and the government of the larger country about what independence actually means, where the borders are, what residual ties remain, and the separatists have to produce a constitution. Then a second referendum that asks “do you want to be independent on these particular terms”. Everyone has to negotiate in good faith.

      Someday, somewhere, it will happen that way.

      Actually the closest any country has come to codifying the process this way is Canada, between the Clarity Act and the Supreme Court ruling on the subject.

  9. The Dork of Cork

    Scottish character explaining whats what.

    this is the reality of “independence” in any union where capital and labour is mobile.
    The village gets greedy.
    Subsequently it gets destroyed as the waves wash over it.

    Scotland has been corrupted by Calvinist thought many hundreds of years ago.
    A Scottish person is tight and frugile until the pressure builds up inside – then he blows it all ay once.
    A island full of Gollums waiting to be picked off yet again.

    1. Massinissa

      Wowl, an irishman slandering the scots as a collective peoplel, as if they are all the same.

      Why am I not surprised?

      This gross generalisation of entire cultures isnt tolerated here.

  10. The Dork of Cork

    A “banking” island (known as a nation) full of Gollums waiting to be picked off yet again.

  11. paul

    a) Bollocks, She’s a grasping, ruthless aristocrat who will not wish to surrender anything. There’s all sorts of funny kinks in our unwritten monarchical constitution, like orders in council.
    b) Yes he did, he thought an in out referendum was scary enough to cow together a no vote. He might well be worrying about his version for the EU now.
    c) Carney is just doing what he was recruited and paid for, the austerity government’s bidding.
    d)Who gives a fuck what the city thinks, they can’t decide what a company is worth from one second to the next.
    e) city doesn’t like change, especially that which might decrease its power

    Scots aren’t being asked/allowed to vote on the precise nature of the new country, just whether we should be independent.
    No one expects iindependence to deliver smiles and sunshine just like that.
    Independence is a start, that’s all.

  12. Hayek's Heelbiter

    As an ex-pat living in the U.K. (whose ancestors had to flee their castle [Knockdolian] during the Pentland Rising [which has been explained to me any number of times but which I will never understand] to the U.S) , and not a political historian in any sense of the word, one thing that has struck me about the genius of the Founding Fathers was the idea of tertiary levels of government. (Federal, State, City/County). Like the kittens who are raised without seeing horizontal stripes are incapable of ever seeing vertical ones, Europeans. especially the ruling elites, seem epigenetically incapable of visualizing anything but a unitary government that controls everything from the top. I have to wonder how the most recent Scottish/English fracture, indeed many such splits throughout the world, could have been avoided by the simple concept of the Federative Principle, e.g., separation of Federal and State powers.

    1. Ed

      The history of local government in the UK is fascinating, there is a continued insistence on forcing unitary authorities on local government, and avoiding anything that resembles federalism, no matter how contorted this makes administration. The US is still worse on the whole but for completely different reasons.

  13. proximity1

    At this point, I can as easily imagine one side as the other winning the vote–strangest of all, I expect that the result shall be valid, not tricked out, not the result of fraud. Scotland may indeed vote to break away. If I had a vote, that would be my vote. I agree with Vlade’s points, above. The Queen shall not openly comment–though I don’t doubt she’s had plenty to say in private and I suspect she was taking things seriously much before Cameron, Clegg, and Miliband were. How ironic: the last Queen who’d have been an interested party to this issue (Anne, 1 May 1707 – 1 August 1714) would have settled it herself in consultation with her court advisors. The “City” can make plenty of money whichever way the vote goes.

    While I see much cause for regarding the near future with dread, I don’t particularly locate those causes in anything much to do with the Scottish referendum vote per se–more for what is at the root of its being necessary in the first place: except as a sham performance, democracy everywhere has been gutted and lies dead. We have everything now to recreate in the recovery of real democratic governance and there is little evidence that the general publics possess the inherent requirements to meet such a challenge.

    Paper investment-losses are just that–losses on paper. Scotland and its resources shall still be there the morning after the vote. Who think’s that Warren Buffet is selling Scottish assets short? I don’t. People who panic-sell over this impending vote are suckers, I think. What’s really serious is that the ordinary people of Britain have their backs to the wall and the predatory classes don’t give the slightest damn. That, and the fact that the nation is in scandalous moral and social default. Why shouldn’t financial default eventually follow from that? It the system which is rotten and poses perilous problems, not the matter of whether Scotland is ruled jointly from Westminster and Edinburgh, methinks.

    1. Ed

      Elizabeth II was openly critical of the SNP stance in the 1970s, when this was last an issue (they receded in the 1980s and 1990s then came back), but that seems more anomalous than the current silence. The Royal Family adjusted to an Irish Republic without difficulty so I don’t see why they should care about a separate Scottish Kingdom. There is a republican tendency in the SNP but its faded over the years. They live part of the year in Scotland and that might make things different.

  14. proximity1

    RE: “Please Scotland, Blow Up the E.U.” :

    “You know they’re desperate when they play the royal card and announce a new baby on the way.”

    No “royal card” is being played. Anyone who cares about the Queen’s opinion already knows that she can only hope that the result is a victory for the “Better Together” campaign. As for the public announcement of Catherine Middleton’s new pregnancy, it simply couldn’t be delayed: her morning-sickness kept from attending a public appearance with William in Oxford and, though they could’ve invented a silly lie to explain that, they admitted that she was absent due to morning-sickness. Go figure.

    The real indications of deperation on the part of “Better Together” are the fresh promises of more “devolution” of sovereignty for Scotland if only its people agree to remain under Westminster’s heel. Wonder: Shall they actually believe such stuff from the likes of Cameron, Clegg, Miliband, Osborne and Alexander?

  15. Andy Monniker

    From the other side of the world I blinked when I heard the referendum had been proposed by Cameron and assumed, as it made no sense whatever, I had misheard something. I still today cannot comprehend what weird political sleight-of-hand Cameron thought he could pull off with this stunt.

    Still, FWIW I would say to the Scots from down here in New Zealand that you have a bigger population than us, (five-and-a-quarter million to four-and-a-half) and according to Wikipedia a 10% larger GDP per person. You also have a land border with a wealthy neighbour and easy access to a market of hundred of millions while we are about as far as possible from anyone else as it’s possible to be. Yet in much else New Zealand and Scotland have much in common (including many inhabitants with Scottish surnames) and New Zealand has done very well for itself thank you – over the last few years in particular as our economy has acquired ‘rock-star’ status while much of the rest of the world has languished. So I’d say go for it. You have nothing to lose but your chains.

    Ps. As far as I’m aware and following the merger of the Crowns of England and Scotland in 1603 in the person of James (VI of Scotland and I of England) Queen Elizabeth II is Queen of Scotland in her own right as long as the Scots wish to retain their own Monarchy, which isn’t being decided in this referendum. So there is absolutely no reason for her to become involved in this, or be concerned whatever the outcome.

    1. proximity1

      Elizabeth’s formal title currently doesn’t actually mention Scotland directly: “Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, Ireland and the British Dominions beyond the Seas Queen, Defender of the Faith.” Maybe that’s because the 1707 Act of Union was a formal union of the two Parliaments–the Scottish Parliament with that at Westminster. This could in theory be the source of sticky legal issues as the Scottish vote, if the secessionist campaign should win, could reasonably be viewed as the legal dissolution of the two parliaments and, in effect, the annulation of the Act of Union of 1707. Who can doubt that legal expert opinion on that matter is not unanimous? Since there is probably little popular support for the view that, upon a break from Britain, the Queen would automatically lose her title to Scotland’s monarch, both the Scots and the rest of Britain will continue to regard her as the titular sovereign of Scotland, now a nation legally apart from Britain, though just across the border from England.

      1. Ed

        There is still a Union between England and Northern Ireland. Presumably a “Yes” vote means separation of Scotland from Ulster as well.

    2. cirsium

      Andy – Mr Cameron did not propose the referendum. The Scottish National Party won a majority in the Scottish elections in 2011 with a manifesto which included the commitment to hold a referendum on independence. The Scottish Government then brought forward the proposal, this was approved by the Scottish and UK Parliaments and Mr Cameron signed the Edinburgh Agreement on behalf of the UK Government.

  16. Clive

    It’s funny isn’t it how, according to Carney, us British “workers” will have to “earn” wage increases through our “higher productivity”. Strangely enough, CEOs face no such similar pre-requisites. Class warfare is, I’m pleased to see, alive and well.

    I’ve been watching in a fairly disinterested fashion the independence debates, such as they’ve been. The one thing that I now keep an eye out that occasionally slips through the torpid MSN coverage is the “Yes” (to an independent Scotland) person being interviewed when they ask why that is their voting intention. Just once in a while, you get someone who can’t quite put their finger on what, exactly, is making them go with that decision. What seems to be the undercurrent is they want anything which, in the language of NC readers (the people themselves don’t express it in these terms) will give them some hope of a) an end to neoliberalism b) the opportunity to be a part of smaller governance structures and thus the possibility of having a proportionately larger voice and c) whatever they might end up with as a result of independence, it really can’t be anything worse than they’ve got now.

    All-in-all, they’re a sort of ISIS with tartan, bagpipes and 15 year old single malts. I wish them well. If they win, it’ll be one in the eye for our dismal crony capitalism overlords.

    1. diptherio

      Obviously, if you want your workers to be more productive than average, you need to pay them more than average…just like with CEOs. And as with CEO pay, I think that it should become de rigueur to pay employees at least a little above whatever the average wage happens to be for their sector/trade/etc. Just sayin’….

  17. TheCatSaid

    Here’s a lively panel debate about Scottish independence featuring politicians from 3 parties (Scottish National Party, Labour and Scottish Conservatives) and a businessman aligned with SNP. It includes audience questions not seen in advance by the 4 panel members.

    I’ve never seen anything like this in the US. There was more detailed discussion of the various issues and policies, not to mention colorful language.

    It’s the BBC Referendum Debate filmed in Aberdeen.

    1. diptherio

      Yeah, that’s what I was thinking: How is this different than Ukraine? Why can Scotland be allowed to vote on withdrawl from their nation, but Donetsk can’t? Will the Brits send in the heavy artillery to shell Aberdeen if the Yes side wins?

      1. Vatch

        There are some differences. The separatists in Luhansk and Donetsk declared their independence from Ukraine right after the poorly handled secession of Crimea. Crimea is occupied by Russian troops, and many Ukrainians have deep resentments towards Russia.

        If Scotland secedes, it’s unlikely they will unite with a country that has oppressed the English for centuries, especially since such a country doesn’t exist. So Scottish secession won’t feel like an act of oppression by a giant empire (Russia) against small Britain (Ukraine). Well, I suppose French Normandy or Rome would be candidates former oppressors, but there aren’t many Brits alive today who remember being ruled by the Roman Empire or French speaking Normans!

  18. Moneta

    We had 2 referendums in Quebec. I was too young to remember the 1st ne but the last one left a mark. It was full of hubris, arrogance and complacency.

    The argument that came up the most often was that separating was illegal so not doable. I was often amazed by how blind people in countries with a history of peace can be. As if the separatists will care about laws when push comes to shove… in fact it’s all about making new laws to replace the ones that are keeping them down!

  19. DIno Reno

    Can’t wait to get my dual citizenship and Scottish passport once independence is declared. All it will take is one parent or grandparent native born.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Sounds good, but it’s hard to accomplish retroactively.

      Would an affidavit of ancestry robo-signed by Linda Green work?

  20. Banger

    The situation as got to be very serious when such a large proportion of Scotland actually wants to split from the UK. Regardless of whether there is a “yes” or “no” result–results that may or may not be electronically manipulated. If the election was in the USA, I wouldn’t trust it since we have a history of fixed elections here. At any rate, the compass is pointing in the direction of the fragmentation of the unitary state. People are moving in the direction of tribalism as several historical tendencies are coming to a head:

    1) the development of a “global marketplace” aka, the rise of corporate structures has gradually supplanted the political power of the state–paleo-conservatives like Pat Buchannan were warning us about that back in the 90s.

    2) state bureaucracies and institutions have gradually become more “privatized” and/or corrupt in the “first” world. In the EU and North and Central America the state apparatus is now directly acting, routinely, against the stated desires of the people in many areas and are all using propaganda and police-state methods to control the people.

    3) the growth of the internet and multiple sources of information and, in particular, entertainment and cultural venues, has created a movement towards sub-cultures. All of us can hide in our ghettos and echo-chambers, even at the highest levels of intellectual discourse there is little real debate and dialectic or agreed upon foundational principles. Philosophy as a field, that was once envisioned as a potential connecting field is dead as a doornail as are all other linking intellectual frameworks. I see little movement in resolving major disputes other than cold, hot, or simply verbal wars.

    Scotland is not a country of wild-eyed radicals it has a history of practicality and realism–if they are even contemplating splitting up there is something very wrong in London and whether the referendum wins or loses the UK is in serious trouble. To me that’s great because the UK gov’t is the chief supporter of U.S. imperialists in Washington who are, directly, my enemy and anything that weakens the UK is welcome to me.

    I do understand the dangers of de-centralization that Yves brings up–but the only way, today, for centralization to work is through fraud, deception, and the use of physical force. So, let the historical movement flow–the markers are too strong to oppose. If we allow fragmentation to keep going then I believe it will be possible for a new and more healthy order to emerge.

    1. washunate

      “…even at the highest levels of intellectual discourse there is little real debate…”


      But seriously, great comment Banger. I wonder if anyone disagrees with the assessment?

  21. NotTimothyGeithner

    None of the Scottish sentiment would be occurring if Labour had not descended into neo-liberal depravity. Labour purging itself of Blarists would solve the problem. This isn’t meant to be trivial. Uprisings are caused by easily corrected policies, and in this case, Labour decided to be a friendlier Conservative party, leaving Scotland and much of the UK without a party.

  22. proximity1

    RE: …”To me that’s great because the UK gov’t is the chief supporter of U.S. imperialists in Washington who are, directly, my enemy and anything that weakens the UK is welcome to me.”

    I suppose that by “the UK” there, you really mean the prevailing powers at Westminster. By that calculus, I guess it must be admitted that, if Scotland’s vote is “Yes,” (for separation), those powers shall or might be slightly inconvenienced in certain practical ways. But, if you think about it, Scotland’s mainland is contiguous with England’s and Wales’. Their physical and political fate are similarly linked. Separation means this, though: Scotland can present a living-laboratory example of how practical politics could produce a prosperity which, under Westminster’s ugly and austere reign, is prohibited to all but the privileged at the top. That, of course, would be an extremely welcome change if the Scots could manage it. On the other hand, just sharing a main island shall require lots of continuing cooperation between Westminster and Edinburgh, no matter what else people say. A de facto shared currency is nearly impossible to avoid since it is the easiest, cheapest, most direct alternative to a separate Scottish currency. That means fiscal policy cooperation with Westminster to some degree. Those now in power there would have to learn how to do that: cooperate with others rather than impose upon them rudely without regard for their interests.

    Westminster’s first reaction, if separation comes, would probably be to try long and hard to drive wedges between various naturally-occurring divisions in Scots’ opinions about various issues and take advantage of the rancor caused. Can the Scots shrewdly defeat such efforts? Can a balkanised world of a lot of little rather-more-democratic states adequately meet the challenges posed by a world in which a thoroughly anti-democratic military-corporate-political power structure creates an ever-more seamless and unified world order from which deviance is less and less allowed, less and less possible?

    We should recognize as a now-established fact of political life what Wright Mills described in his essay, “Behemoth”– a world-wide hegemonic power with, as ultimate ambitions, total-information-awareness and total domination of social, political and economic life–with, at best, a pariah’s existence on the margins of society for all who resist. How can that sort of dystopia best be resisted and thwarted? By breaking down into little communes of enlightenment? The rich can retreat into gated walled communities of security cameras and armed patrols. But that cannot be an option for those who’d resist them. What to do? How to do it?

    “The enemy of my enemy is my friend” is a dictum which is messy to apply and one which opens lots of ways to do as much or more harm as it does to do positive good. Sound moral and political principles, evenly applied, are better at promoting what you really want without at the same time lending aid wittingly or unwittingly to what you do not want.

    1. different clue

      If the rich uniformly retreat and gate themselves and guard themselves, is there a way for the rest of us to seal them up behind their gates with their casks of amontillado, so they can’t get back out?

  23. EoinW

    Two problems with the democratic movement:

    The first problem is having free and fair elections. Even if there is no ballot box rigging, you still have incredibly biased press coverage intended to manipulate voters. This is the sole reason the Green Party has made no gains in Canada. Then you have the vote against GMO labeling in California. How can people not support the most basic action to secure clean food? Is the willful ignorance of the public democracy’s greatest problem? Devlin said it quite well when pointing out democracy is not given to us, it’s something we must demand. Thus 21st century western societies have given up their claim on democracy…which is why we no longer have democracies.

    For the second problem I’ll use Quebec as an example. Had Quebec succeeded in separating from Canada then what is to prevent municipalities within Quebec from voting to return to Canada or go independent themselves? Then why not communities within those municipalities also separating? Who says a referrendum can only occur at the provincial level? If one supports democracy then they must support it at all levels. You can’t pick and choose. If Scotland votes yes next week then Oban can vote to leave Scotland next month. Pure democracy leads to this falling apart and the only way to prevent it is for some to use democracy then deny others the same right. Which is basically how our 1% use our pseudo-democracies today.

    The simple fact is that democracy only works in a fair weather situation. Establish nation states and batten down the hatches. Then make sure everyone is happy and you’d better keep them happy or else. Endless debt is not the economic model for keeping everyone happy forever.

    1. Ed

      “Had Quebec succeeded in separating from Canada then what is to prevent municipalities within Quebec from voting to return to Canada or go independent themselves? ”

      There is a miniumum size that is needed for an area to exercise the attributes of sovereignty, and void being a protectorate of some larger power, and these days it seems the population requirement is around five million. Yes, there is Iceland, but Iceland can’t support its own army and navy and is defended by allowing the forces of larger NATO countries the run of the island. Quebec, Scotland, Catalonia, Israel (ex- occupied territories), Ireland, Denmark, Estonia, and New Zealand all happen to be advance economies that are right at the minimum size requirement. Most US states can’t meet that reqiirement by themselves.

      1. different clue

        I remember reading/hearing at the time of Quebec Referrendum 2 that leaders of the Indian Nations within Quebec, expecially Matthew Coon Come of the Cree Nation noted that any Quebecois attempt to
        interfere with the Treaty Relationship between the Tribes and the Crown and/or to take the Tribes “out” of “Canada” in any other way . . . would be rejected and resisted. In other words, the Nations would immediately seccede from secceded Quebec.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Ed, I looked up population by state in Wiki and I was surprised to find about 22 states with population over 5 million.

        By population by country (or depending territory), I found lots of countries with less than 5 million people – Lebanon, Costa Rica, Liberia, Croatia, Albania, Kuwait, Jamaica, Estonia, Swaziland, etc, etc..

      3. Moneta

        There is no title black book with defined rules on how to separate that fell from the sky. Separations are messy, period. All contracts are negotiable. If one party refuse to renegotiate, the other party still has many options which have consequences of course. That’s what wars are made of. If the other party can become irrational and do damage, the other party should still renegotiate even if it thinks it ha san ironclad contract.

        We have been at peace for so long in the Western world that we have forgotten that laws and contracts will only be respected when parties feel they are in a win-win situation.

        In 2008, the general population got a slap in the face. Many woke up to the fact that they have the short end of the stick. Greece got it. Ireland, Spain, Ukraine… If bankers and other leaders don’t have to respect the law, why should the little people? We are in the early innings of a social breakdown. Rising nationalism and independence movements are the clue. Watch out.

    2. Moneta

      During the student strike, those against the students would say they were suffering the tyranny of the minority and when you spoke to the students they would say they were suffering the tyranny of the majority.

      For democracy to work there has to be some common cause or goal. If a minority group is feeling repressed because of the majority, it can always argue that it can create it’s own nation where they will be able to practice democracy with different goals and rules than the one they left.

      1. Moneta

        I find it intriguing that people question the legitimacy of separation when our world’s superpower, the USA, was born out of revolution and separation.

  24. Bro

    Due to the British government’s willingness to drag it’s people into groundless war and crushing austerity by use of baldfaced lies, the only outcome one can be sure of in this referendum is the choice for Scottish independence. Anything else will rightfully be as suspect as the national election process in the US.

  25. Amir S

    > his bellboy Alistair King

    I presume you mean Alistair Darling, the ex-Chancellor under Labour, i.e. he’s from the opposition to Cameron’s Tory party? Jarring spelling mistakes aside, I think he would be somewhat offended at being described as Cameron’s bellboy …

  26. barrisj

    Craig Murray has been one of the most articulate (and hardline) on Scottish independence for some while now, and he has been speaking truth to power, especially condemning miserable Scottish Labour for their complete failure to truly represent their respective constituencies, but rather following the Westminster party line. Here is his latest screed on “The Three Amigos”:

    The Three Amigos Ride to Scotland

    Cameron, Miliband and Clegg. Just typing the names is depressing. As part of their long matured and carefully prepared campaign plan (founded 9 September 2014) they are coming together to Scotland tomorrow to campaign. In a brilliant twist, they will all come on the same day but not appear together. This will prevent the public from noticing that they all represent precisely the same interests.

    Nobody in Scotland feels the slightest warmth towards these people, except for those paid hacks whose income depends upon their feeling such warmth (and there are too many of those, but still only a few hundred). One thing I can guarantee is that this rush of “superstars” will not meet my challenge of seeing 300 Better Together supporters in the same place.
    They all support austerity budgets
    They all support benefit cuts
    They all support tuition fees
    They all support Trident missiles
    They all support continued NHS privatisation
    They all support bank bail-outs
    They all support detention without trial for “terrorist suspects”
    They all support more bombings in Iraq (and are planning to launch British raids there before 18 September to ramp up jingoism – you read it here first)
    They all oppose rail nationalisation
    They all oppose free prescriptions
    They all oppose free personal care
    They all oppose rent controls
    They all oppose bankers bonus cuts
    They all oppose legalisation of cannabis

    The areas on which the three amigos differ are infinitesimal and contrived. They actually represent the same paymasters and vested interests.

  27. EmilianoZ

    It’s getting serious. BP CEO, Dudley, has called on the Scots to vote no. His warning:

    “The opportunities today are smaller and more challenging to develop than in the past. We also face the challenges of extending the productive life of existing assets and managing the future costs of decommissioning. Much of this activity requires fiscal support to be economic, and future long-term investments require fiscal stability and certainty.”

    Translation: there aint that much oil left down there.

    Standard Life is also threatening to move down south:

    We had of lot of fun with this independence thingy. It was like carnival time in Rio. But come on, the Scots must get real now. We trust the Scots will do the right thing, just like the Quebeckers.

    1. Christopher D. Rogers

      The only issue with BP Dudley’s comments, is that the sums invested in the Scottish sector of the North Sea for further oil extraction and exploration paint a different picture. Indeed, Scotland as an independent nation is not bound by a contract that BP has for oil concessions with a UK government, based on the reality that said concession is now in Scots territorial waters. Further Tony Blair and Scotland’s first devolution First Minister Donald Dewar actually changed exploration rights and territories offshore to favour England – so it’s not as if a “break” had not been planned for well in advance by those who actually created Scots Devolution and its National Assembly – Tony Blair being a slippery old cod to say the least, which kinda raises questions about the scare tactics Dudley is using, i.e., the money facts don’t back up his contention.

      As for Scots businesses that are now of an international flavour, such comments only increase the “YES” vote when made by the likes of the CEO of Standard Life, or Lloyds Bank, which purchased Scottish Widows and a plethora of other businesses. Indeed as far as exporters go, the fall in the value of Sterling is good news and should be further encouraged if manufacturing is to return to the UK, instead of the failed services economy that benefits a handful of rich spivs.

      One could go on, but these pro-Unionist comments may come back to bite these businesses on the arse, and just goes to prove that the corporations believe they and their shareholders are more important that the nation state and peoples contained within said nation state – which evidently they are not, and if we wish to see an economic model that has performed without international capital flows, well look at Cuba – it may be poor, but its healthcare system is superior to that of the richest nation on earth.

      One further contention, those voting “YES” are not necessarily supporting Alex Salmond or the SNP, indeed, I think Salmond is Blair mark two, and we can see this with his close relationship with one Rupert Murdoch and calls for lower corporate taxes, so don’t expect to see Salmond as Scotland’s first Prime Minister, although his deputy may achieve this status.

    2. Moneta

      Quebeckers probably made the right decision in 1995. But since then the province has gotten neoliberalized and most there don’t even know the word. Separation might be a very good card to play when real estate tanks and tensions increase with the rest of Canada over the next decade.

  28. Antifa

    All talk of how, why, and whether the UK will divide is like discussing exactly how a particular house in a neighborhood caught fire, and whether it can be saved or is best left to burn down. Might as well discuss how many angels will fit on the head of pin while you’re at it. What matters is not the burning house, but how far the fire will spread in the neighborhood.

    This Scottish referendum is really about the breakup of the non-functioning European Union, which never took its monetary union to maturity as a political union, and therefore has no means to govern except through its Central Bank, and only on behalf of bondholders. Where is the United States of Europe after all these years? It ain’t. You think “a house divided” cannot stand? Try a house never built higher than the foundation slab. At this point the EU experiment looks like nothing more than a smashing great scheme for bankers to extract wealth from European workers, for that is all it has accomplished, if anyone is keeping a ledger.

    The original EU organizers felt that the inevitable crises of a monetary union would one day force a true political and cultural union, all in due course. No one has accomplished a damn thing in that direction, though, and now a EU breakup looks more attractive to multiple members every day. If Scotland can even have a referendum, then so can anyone else. This is a referendum about firing the EU leaders, make no mistake about that. Whitehall is just Brussels to the unemployed and working poor of Scotland.

    There’s a cartoon out there of a scruffy homeless man and his skinny dog sitting on the sidewalk begging for scraps and coins. Above the sorry mutt’s head is a thought bubble saying, “Why am I hanging out with this guy? I can do this better by myself!” That’s where Europe’s citizenry is now, and it is a realization growing clearer every day.

    For the transnational elites, the biggest question of an EU breakup is preserving NATO in something like its current form. Western Europe divided into its many individual states has historically been a constant battleground over possession and use of natural resources that span the entire continent, and keeping it from becoming thus once again is probably beyond human ingenuity.

    1. Jim Haygood

      ‘Whitehall is just Brussels to the unemployed and working poor of Scotland.’

      Cruel but brilliant. Belongs on handbills.

      ‘The biggest question of an EU breakup is preserving NATO in something like its current form.’

      Precisely. Separatist-minded regions have little interest in picking quarrels with Russia. That’s unacceptable to NATO’s neo-Cold Warriors.

  29. Christopher D. Rogers

    As I’m both British, British in the sense I was born on a landmass referred too as Britain, and Welsh by actual national identity, who so happen’s to support the end of the present unequal “British Union” represented by the UK Parliament based in London, I had this to say today in a UK national newspaper, one I trust that sums up well what it feels like to feel like a foreigner on your own country of birth, with little say in the direction ones homeland will take for the benefit of today and tomorrow:

    “As a Welshman I find it difficult to comprehend how out of touch the Labour Party has become – and I say this as a once proud foot soldier who belonged to the Party for the bulk of his adult life, but will not touch Labour anymore because of how corrosive most of its policies are. As in Scotland, as in Wales, Labour equates to abuse of power and corruption – this is what becomes when you have hegemony and a Party stuffed with spivs and chances, rather than with ethics and a strong sense of morality.

    As in Scotland, there is only one dialogue, any talk of federation or full independence is frowned up on, which is why I have been unable to support it since 2010, when it became apparent that the London-centric Party was incapable of returning to its working class and progressive roots. Essentially, its Tory through and through.

    Which is strange, because in the Welsh Conservative Party in Wales a dialogue actually exists, not only is it opposed to corruption, but segments of it have embraced Federalism.

    Now, for me at least its difficult to align himself with Conservatives, I had considered Plaid Cymru, but it too is as dictatorial and ruthless as its Labour Party opposite. So I now find myself aligned to the Green Party, one that believes in social justice, localism and a sustainable economy.

    The dialogue in Scotland concerning its break with an outdated and outmoded Unionist polity has been invigourating, despite the best efforts of scare mongering by the Unionist camp, disgustingly led by the Scottish Labour Party.

    If Labour had stuck to its roots and its history, with regards Scottish independence it would have allowed all its membership to debate the issues from within the “Yes” camp or “No” camp, as was the case in the 1976 EEC UK referendum. Instead dialogue and freedom were closed down, Scottish Labour had to be subservient to Westminster and the Unionist cause.

    Indeed, in my mind, it’s the modern NuLabour Party that should now re-brand itself to the Labour and Unionist Party, rather than the ineptly led Conservative Party.

    As someone who desires a better, fairer and more equal country, I implicitly support the Scottish “Yes” movement, not because I’m anti British, but because I’m pro-British and recognise we live on an island, its just I don’t want my island dominated by spivs and money men operating out of London and backed by a Westminster incapable of changing itself. And if Westminster won’t change, well it means those in Wales, the South West, the North East and North West must embrace their own political polities if they are to govern in the interests of all those who live within their boundaries.

    Scotland is showing us all how to achieve radical change, a change that will benefit each and everyone, rather than an elite that prefers mammon over basic human decency.”

  30. RUKidding

    I have no skin in this game and am only very minimally aware of this referendum. However, I heard something on National Propaganda Radio the other day that made me laugh. Some Lord Upper Class Twit Chinless Wonder (had a title; don’t know who he was) was rabbiting on about what a scary scary booga booga bad idea it was for Scortland to break away from the Motherland. That was enough to make ME think it was probably a good idea for all Scots to Vote Yes. The Lord Mucky Muck uttered the best argument for voting Yes. Following is not a direct quote but close: “President Obama doesn’t want Scotland to secede.”

    ROTFLOL!! Think that sums it up right there. Vote YES, Scots! All you have to lose your chains binding you to the radically sinking ship USA Imperialism Run Amok.

    Good luck.

    1. Moneta

      There is a huge difference between voting yes and actually separating. A yes vote would give Scotland a lot of negotiating power!

  31. citizendave

    42 Reasons to Support Scottish Independence by Adam Ramsay.

    The ebook is $2.99, eminently worthwhile. One chapter is on the web site. While reading, I thought about the YES campaign carving out an independent nation of Scotland, compared to the enormity of the task of changing the neoliberal behemoth that North America has become.

    Ramsay points out that Scotland has more cultural and social similarities to their Scandinavian neighbors than to England. For example, Scotland wants to keep their National Health Service, unlike England.

    He writes that there are many more than 42 reasons. I suspect that “42” is a tip of the tam o’shanter to Douglas Adams.

  32. susan the other

    Scotland is a case study in all that is wrong with politics these days. The heart of the matter – Scotland’s sovereignty – isn’t really being discussed. Bizarre. If they discussed a currency separation and doing their own public bank they would get more rational results politically. Because it is sovereignty that they want. Without going into the fiscal imperative of doing their own monetary system, their talk of separation is pointless. And the British sense their hesitancy because Carney threatened them they could not have a currency union if they separate. Something else that’s weird is that Scotland is favorable to joining the EU – so they look like they want to be out of the frying pan and into the fire as fast as possible. There should be an established limit to the reach of any political unit so that sovereign money remains protected within local politics – and control over it cannot be usurped. Just yesterday the Fed announced that it would no longer allow the TBTF banks to buy munibonds because they were becoming illiquid and “risky.” That takes away a lot of state power to handle their own affairs. Is the Fed saying the states are mere subjects now? If sovereign money is the core of politics, then each state can come together in a democratic union and national politics will also be possible. Without sovereign control at some local level there can be no democratic politics at all at the national level.

    1. Moneta

      If your general population is under 35, talks of your own currency and true independence will get you the yes vote. If your population is older, one has to be careful with the money thingy.

      During the referendum in Quebec, everyone was measuring the impact on their personal wealth and situation… those working for the federal government were looking for guarantees that they would be kept on the payroll if QC became a new country. Of course, the separatists were offering those guarantees to get the vote.

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