Friday, September 19, 2014

Scottish Vote For Independence Fails

In a vote that was watched closely by independence movements in Europe and throughout the world, the people of Scotland decided to remain as part of the United Kingdom instead of breaking away to become an independent state. The final vote in favor of remaining British was a decisive 55-44. There were plenty of good economic arguments for staying together and obviously a strong nationalist interest in forging ahead separately. I think that not only did the economics not make sense but that also there wasn't quite the fierce level of simmering hostility or just "difference"  which is normally required to break apart a state. Unlike, say multi-ethnic states in Eastern Europe, Eastern Africa or the Middle East, the Union of Scotland and England dating back to 1707 has been pretty stable. I didn't think there was enough fire in the belly on the parts of the Scots to separate from England. I have a few friends who are Scottish residents as well as a few acquaintances descended from recent Scottish immigrants. It will be interesting over the next few days to see what they thought of this vote and of course how they voted, if eligible. Although every independence movement is different, with its own peculiar set of real or imagined historical grievances, ethnic, racial, religious or geographical identities and planned goals for the future, just about every separatist movement would have gotten a real boost if Scotland's independence had become something real in 2014 instead of remaining a memory. Nevertheless this is another example of the power of nationalism and memory in the modern world.
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