Thoughts on the Scottish independence vote
As Jason Karaian wrote “the claim that countries are predisposed to secede when offered the choice is spurious. Sure, you can point to the landslide victories of independence votes in restive regions of Ukraine, or Transnistria, South Ossetia, and any number of other places. But if you exclude distant colonies, former constituents of the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia, and the break-ups of recent forced marriages by colonial powers (as with East Timor-Indonesia, or Eritrea-Ethiopia), the list of genuine, successful secessions through a clean democratic process is exceedingly short”.
Given a free and fair vote on their status, peaceful unions with long histories—like Scotland’s 307-year-old merger with England—have tended to vote against independence. Quebec twice voted against seceding from Canada, in 1980 and 1995.
And yet … some 1.6 million Scots, or 45% of the electorate, voted for independence. What they’ll get instead … it has been promised, it seems … are even greater powers to determine their own affairs, in hopes of avoiding another brush with divorce in the future.
And as the pundits have been quick to point out the the devolution of powers to other parts of the UK is now also likely, making it a “looser and messier” state. A similar solution might satisfy Catalan separatists in Spain.
It was a bizarre spectacle: even the staunchest pro-independence Scots wanted to keep the Queen, use the pound, and belong to the EU, as they did before the vote. When pressed, Catalans might also admit, grudgingly, that membership in the Kingdom of Spain has its merits. And within these long-lived, and not always happy, unions there remains scope for change.
THE NATION-STATE IS DEAD! LONG LIVE THE NATION-STATE!