Sunday, June 26, 2016

BREXIT: Will Scotland leave the UK? (After 300 years of the union . . .)

The Guardian reports:
Scotland is on the brink of staging a fresh referendum on independence after Nicola Sturgeon requested talks with the EU on separate membership after the UK’s vote to leave.

The first minister said she believed a second referendum on independence was highly likely after Scotland voted overwhelmingly to remain within the EU [--> 62%], but was unable to prevent the leave campaign winning by 52% to 48% across the UK as a whole.
Sturgeon said that was a “democratic outrage” and constituted the clear, material change in Scotland’s circumstances referred to in the Scottish National party’s carefully worded manifesto commitment in May to hold a second independence vote if needed.

“It is a significant material change in circumstances. It’s a statement of the obvious that the option of a second independence referendum must be on the table, and it is on the table,” she said.

Sturgeon announced that she was instructing Scottish government officials to draft fresh referendum legislation for Holyrood, only two years after her party lost the first independence vote in 2014, to ensure it could be held quickly if enough Scottish voters backed it. 

UK government sources said David Cameron, who quit as prime minister after the referendum defeat, was anxious that his successor make sure the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland government were closely involved in the UK’s Brexit negotiations to avoid increasing Scottish grievances and fuelling the case for independence.
Fundamentally, the concern of the brexiters has been subjugation to a democratically unaccountable, unresponsive bureaucracy of the forty thousand in Brussels. 

This reflects in concerns over immigration and more, which is compounded by issues of race and  the immigration of IslamIST radicals leading to onward civil strife. 

For Scotland, the EU likely seems a counter-weight to The City of London proper and its toffs, the power-centre square mile elite who dominate the UK. (The City's power elites and institutions plainly seem largely unaccountable to the Scots; who are a minority -- an "island" of 5.35 millions in a "sea" of 65.1 million in the overall UK. Hence, the compromise strategy of devolution; i.e. federal elements in a unitary state. Yea, can Iron and Miry Clay mix and cleave together?)

Now that this issue has been put back on the table, the period of uncertainty and turmoil are now extended, with sobering implications for global financial markets. 

However, those who would go independent would need to ask, if the UK's City is unaccountable, what about the EU elite?

What would back a Scottish currency, if the Euro is unacceptable?

What of the implications of North Sea oil running down and the price of oil having come down sharply?

And, more.

I guess, to speak to this, it is not enough to say one is a stakeholder in another UK territory. So, I put the slice of me that is Scottish by descent on the table. (Yes, there is something undefinable but clearly there, a spiritual tie that connects one ancestrally; just as affairs in Africa call out to all of us in the Caribbean also. [What, you imagine that after a few generations you have not a touch of the "tar" in your blood? Get real! We are a mongrel region, and we are the better for it.])

I dare to suggest to Scotland that history counts, it speaks to ties that cannot be cut.

It is no accident that the mother of our beloved Queen, Elizabeth II, was a Scotswoman. Yes, Queen Mum of fond memory, the lady who defied Hitler's Blitz in London and earned her place in our hearts the hard way.

 (And yes, much of the rest of Her Majesty's roots are recently German. That is where the Angles, Saxons and Jutes came from, with the Danes as close kin -- what, 1500 years past. And yes, genetic studies show that the Celtic root-stocks of England and Wales are effectively indistinguishable from those of Belgium. We must never forget, the only British King to have the well-earned title, The Great, was a Saxon; Alfred. Where of course, thanks to some wealthy West Indian planters, the Royal Family is not without a touch of the tar or two. Reality: we are mongrels all, or better, cousins. Ask old Grampa Noah about it.)

On balance, reasonable devolution and responsible contribution in Britain are far more likely to be beneficial in the long term, now that the toffs have been served a helping of crow bigger than any they have had since July 4th 1776.

And, I dare say, that a rump Britain and a tiny Scotland in a time of grave turmoil would be utter geostrategic folly.

Let us never lose sight of what now confronts the world:

Even Vanity Fair senses it -- not to mention a very worried Germany:
In the first hours of the strange new world, Prime Minister David Cameron, a broken man, announced that he would be stepping down, implicitly acknowledging that referendum was entirely of his making, and that he was responsible for losing it. Nicola Sturgeon, the leader of the Scottish National Party, announced that the country, which had voted overwhelmingly to remain, would likely be seeking a new independence referendum in order to join the E.U. as an independent nation. In Northern Ireland, where a majority had also voted to remain, Martin McGuinness, the deputy first minister and member of nationalist Sinn Fein, called for a poll on a united Ireland. Nearly a century after the Irish Civil War, and only decades removed form incomprehensible atrocities of the Troubles, it is indeed conceivable that the border between Ulster and the Republic could be vanquished.

If these things happen, and there is no reason why they shouldn’t, the United Kingdom, once a great power and still the world’s fifth-largest economy, will be reduced to a rump state of England and Wales. It would have a vastly diminished presence on the international stage—the victim, as Der Spiegel noted, of “an act of deliberate self mutilation” that bears the “emblem of a country in retreat.”
The world has changed this past week, with all sorts of consequences. It is time to act with sober prudence. END