To: Progressives (again)
From: Mitch Berg, Uppity Peasant
Re: Scotland’s Independence Vote
As someone who is of partly-Scottish descent (and it’s the part I have the most fun with), I’m looking at the potential Scottish independence vote (which is, according to some current polls, neck and neck, with the “leave the union” vote nosing ahead according to some polls) with great interest.
Only partly because of the whole “personal ethnicity” thing.
No, there are two aspects that are much more important
Dilution: Scotland is as big a Labour Party stronghold as California and Massachussets are Democrat ones. Having the Scots out of the Union would have a dramatic effect on English governance (according to John Fund writing in the National Review):
Scottish voters are currently much more hostile than the U.K. electorate overall to free markets — Scots view capitalism as the basis for the Thatcher government’s decision to close unprofitable Scottish industries in the 1980s. Currently, Scotland sends only one Conservative member of parliament to Westminister. The departure of Scottish MPs from Westminster would be dramatic: If 59 Labour-party and Scottish National MPs from Scotland leave Westminster, Tories in the current House of Commons would go from being 21 seats short of a majority to having an outright 20-seat majority. “It is unlikely that without Scotland the rest of the United Kingdom would elect a majority Labour government anytime soon,” says Eamonn Butler of the Adam Smith Institute.
And that could only be a good thing.
No More Government By Unicorn Fart!: John Fund compares the potential breakup with that of Czechoslovakia – a nation that similarly jammed two ethnicities together in a union that was more a matter of post World War 1 convenience than actual organic need.
Fund notes that, once the Slovaks gained their independence, and got cut off from all of that Czech free-market money, they got a sudden reality check; the subsidy gravy train was over, and they had to become responsible adults.
Fund notes that the Scots could have that same sort of ephiphany:
Even with its oil revenue, the same phenomenon could occur in Scotland, where the ruling Scottish National party has often pursued foolish economic policies. With independence, a new government might be more realistic…The stringent policies of the Bank of England and the loss of subsidies could push Scotland to become more fiscally responsible. “Scotland would eventually be forced into a more severe form of fiscal austerity than currently applied, giving the lie to Alex Salmond’s promise of a sort of welfare nirvana for all Scots once free of the Westminster yoke,” ["Salmond" is apparently Scottish for "Krugman"] wrote Jeremy Warner, assistant editor of Britain’s Daily Telegraph. “For the rest of the U.K., losing relatively pro-EU Scotland would further raise the chances of eventually leaving the EU from odds on to that of a virtual certainty,” he added.
Just saying, “Progressives” – you might want to get some ideas, here.
That is all.