Thursday, September 11, 2014

I Can't Believe It's Gotten This Far

Back when Gray Davis was fighting to maintain the governorship of California against a recall vote, I didn't think there was any chance he'd be removed from office.  The polls tightened in the weeks leading up to the election, and when the voting was done and the dust settled, Arnold Schwarzenegger had been elected governor and the Democratic governor of a deep blue state had been swept aside.

The only information I've been getting about the upcoming vote on Scottish independence came from The Economist, which for weeks intimated that this wasn't really a contest.  Yes, the polls were tightening, but there was no way the Scots were going to break away from the United Kingdom.  It just wasn't going to happen.  In the last issue the articles and authors seemed not so sure of the outcome.

The impossible is now almost a reality:
One week from now, it’s entirely possible that the United Kingdom will, in effect, no longer exist in its current form. Next Thursday the people of Scotland will vote Yes or No on the question, “Should Scotland be an independent country?” — and according to recent polls, an increasing number of Scots are ready to end the 307-year union between their country and the rest of Britain. If the decision is indeed Yes, then the details will take a year or so to thrash out, but a political earthquake will be triggered that will shake Britain to its foundations, with the shockwaves felt across Europe and much of the world.

Calls for a vote on independence have been growing since a Scottish Parliament, with powers devolved from Westminster, was created in 1998. For much of the time since the independence referendum was announced at the end of last year, the No campaign had held a comfortable majority in the region of 60 percent to 40 percent; however, the polls have narrowed in recent weeks, and last week the Yes campaign took the lead in a poll for the first time.

The Yes campaign’s message is that it’s time for Scotland to strike out on its own, and that the country can achieve more as an independent nation than as part of the UK. Its leaders envision the country as a Scandinavian-style land of plenty along the lines of Norway and Sweden, economically prosperous but with a generous welfare state funded by income from North Sea oil and gas — 90 percent of the UK’s oil reserves lie in what would likely become Scottish waters in the event of a Yes vote.
This is potentially a seismic event.

I've heard it said that without the Scots, there won't be a Labour government in Britain for a generation.  To give a US example, it would be as if the Northeast and Pacific Coast states seceded (there wouldn't be a Democratic-controlled US government in a generation) or if the South seceded (there wouldn't be a Republican-controlled US government in forever).

When we look at the NATO alliance and our closest allies, this really is a BFD.

What's next?  Do the Basque, and Catalan, break away from Spain?  Do the Quebecois give it another try?  Does this justify Russian expansion into Ukraine?  Does Iraq divide itself?

As Instapundit might say, I guess it's a good thing we have Smart Diplomacy® on the case.


maxutils said...

Another question ... why did Ireland have to resort to bombings instead of just voting themselves out?

Darren said...

The British govt is a little more flexible these days, a little less "imperial".

Anonymous said...

The Irish did vote themselves out in 1919. 70% voted to leave the UK, but 6 of the 32 counties remained part of the UK as Northern Ireland (I don't recall the reason).

Darren said...

The Irish could vote themselves out only because the UK let them.

Happy Elf Mom (Christine) said...

Bummer. Didn't pass. At least they GET A VOTE. We are stuck in the union with such winners as New York and California. Crap.