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Politics Independence and Secession

Discussion in 'Tilted Philosophy, Politics, and Economics' started by snowy, Sep 18, 2014.

  1. snowy

    snowy so kawaii Staff Member

    Unless you've been living under a rock, today is the day that Scotland heads to the polls to decide on their independence.

    Around the world, there are cultural groups that feel that their state does not serve them well; there are struggles for self-determination around the globe. In Europe alone, the Basques and the Catalans both have movements for self-determination. In the case of both of these groups, there is a long, complicated history with the overarching entities of France and Spain, and both possess unique cultural identities compared to the larger states they are ostensibly a part of. The areas in which the Basque live are divided between two countries, and is recognized as an autonomous area by Spain.

    In North America, Quebec has pushed for self-determination, and I suppose the Canadians here have more to say on that topic than I do. My particular part of the country is alternatively represented by this flag:

    and has a history of secessionist movements (Cascadia Now!). Tangentially from secession from the Union, there are states out West that have considered dividing (Jefferson (proposed Pacific state) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, Six Californias - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia).

    Areas around the world that have struggled or been successful with self-determination include, but are not limited to, those mentioned above and the following: Australia, Biafra in Nigeria, Canada, Chechnya, the Falklands, Gibraltar, Kashmir, Kurdistan, the United States, etc.

    Going back to Scotland, I think they have some very good reasons for desiring independence from the United Kingdom. The fact is, they have not been served well as a country by their government. Scotland generates a lot of oil revenue, but at the same time, has been devastated by poverty (BBC News - Scottish independence: 820,000 Scots 'living in poverty'). An estimated 1 in 5 children are living in poverty in Scotland. I can understand the desire to control their own pursestrings, considering their potential GDP. I am extremely interested to see where this goes today.

    How do you feel about self-determination? About Scotland? About other areas of the world?
  2. rogue49

    rogue49 Tech Kung Fu Artist Staff Member

    IMHO-There are strengths & weaknesses to both. Sorry, it's ambiguous, but true.
    One, you get self-determination more and local investment into politics.
    The other, you don't have to deal with all the BS yourself and you get the resources and influence of having a bigger state.

    There's a reason, why they are attempting the EU...and why the US is successful for example.
    And it doesn't matter...because no matter what size you are...there are always smaller parts that maintain their own government and entity.
    Even a centralized controlled nation like Russia.

    So, you have to think what's best for you...and how the other government is respecting your wishes and interests.
    Part of this issue is due to London's periodic neglect/dismissal of Scotland and Northern Ireland.
    Part of it is pride.
    Part...the classic self-interest position that you think you can do it better yourself... (a potential trap many fall into...when they actually cannot at times)

    You've got to at least give London credit this time...they've sounded contrite and considerate more so than I've ever heard them.
    But it may be too little, too late.
    There's a chance for it to go either way.

    I'd vote to stay...but I'm not living and raised in Scotland (even though my background is Scottish)

    But in this day and age, I think most nation-state get along fine for the most part...as long as they keep their shit in order and don't let it get too corrupt.
  3. Levite

    Levite Levitical Yet Funky

    The Windy City
    I dunno. Scotland has definitely been relegated to second class (although parts of Wales are worse, I've heard). But in the long run, I'm not sure they're going to be well served by full independence. The last offer Cameron made them included promises of sweeping new authority, including the right to levy taxes. If I were a Scot, I'd probably go for that, and see how it worked out. You could always call another referendum some years down the track, but my guess is that it'd be harder to rejoin the UK once gone than to get another referendum organized if changes don't happen.

    But the Scots really have to think about this. If they go independent, sure, they have most of the North Sea oil and gas fields. But those aren't going to last forever-- or they're going to become obsolete once a few cheap and effective renewable energy systems get perfected...whichever comes first. And after that, what will they have? Tourism. Whisky. Wool. That's not exactly a gold mine. Plus they're going to have to make a lot of decisions about laws, systems of governance and law, alliances, currency-- will they be able to stay on the pound? Switch to the euro? Come up with their own currency (which would be backed by what?).... Whereas, on the other hand, the pound is strong, and almost always has been strong; as part of Britain they are part of various successful alliances, on largely favorable terms; and they don't have to worry about coming up with new systems of law and governance-- which is good, considering that the last time Scotland was independent, the Enlightenment hadn't happened yet, so it's not like they can just build directly on what they had before.

    I get the desire for independence as a source of pride; I get the idea that independence would be desirable in order to have more immediate authority to try and deal directly with social problems in Scotland. But whereas I think there was different motivation for independence in overseas former British colonies, Scotland and England have been enmeshed with one another deeply for a long time, and have an even longer history together sharing (or quarreling over) the island of Britain, and I think it would be worth their while to try less drastic changes prior to pushing for independence.

    But then, I am not a Scot, and I may be drastically undervaluing the importance of independence to a people who are often quite passionate about their land, and have long, long memories of past English injustices. History and blood can be potent motive forces, and are not necessarily invalid just because they are intangible.
  4. Baraka_Guru

    Baraka_Guru Möderätor Staff Member

    I dunno. Scotland also makes a lot of PCs and has taken a strong tilt towards renewable energy. While the oil and gas will dwindle, that still gives them some time to revitalize their economy in other ways. They would quite possibly leverage their service sector well beyond tourism to include banking and other finance.

    Also, Scotland is the most educated country in Europe and highly ranked in the world. They could leverage their resources to export that good shit.

    [I'll come back later to discuss more details, including Quebec.]
    • Like Like x 2
  5. Katia

    Katia Very Tilted

    I'm going to guess that it'll be close but they'll choose to stay, unfortunately. Most of the "brave" has moved to greener pastures. My parents being two of them. Now, if they gave a vote to each overseas Scot, I would hazard a guess of an overwhelming yes vote.
    • Like Like x 1
  6. Charlatan

    Charlatan sous les pavés, la plage

    So there you have it. Scotland stays in the UK.

    As for Quebec leaving Canada... That would be a disaster for Canada. Besides the fact that Quebec has never had a clear question (like the one that Scotland just faced).

    What many in Quebec want is not to succeed, but rather to renegotiate their place in Canada. It should be noted that Quebec was the only province that didn't sign onto the new documents that repatriated the Constitution to Canada (from the UK) in 1982.
    • Like Like x 1
  7. Chris Noyb

    Chris Noyb Get in, buckle up, hang on, & don't criticize.

    Large City, TX
    The manky gits :p voted to stay with the UK. That actually doesn't surprise me, since Scotland and England--the central authority in the UK--have became so intertwined over the centuries. While many Scots fancied/fancy the idea of Scotland once again being an independent country, the difficulties involved in making the transition are pretty overwhelming.

    When I was in Scotland, twice, I noticed that the thoughts re independence followed socioeconomic lines. The people with the most to lose (better educated with better jobs) might like the idea, but they would never actually want to go through with it. The disenfranchized with little to lose, were more passionate in their support of independence. As we all know, the folks higher on the food chain usually vote in larger numbers, even in elections with high voter turnouts.
  8. redux

    redux Very Tilted Donor

    Foggy Bottom
    The result was probably the best possible outcome for Scotland and the UK and not so great for the Conservative Party.

    The "F" word is next......federalism. Concessions made by PM Cameron in order to get the NO vote will mean more autonomy and more power to the Scottish parliament (and Welsh national assembly, less so in N. Ireland) at the expense of the British parliament that controlled the politics over the entire UK, to the benefit of England over the others.

    Is this the first step to the UK devolving into four separate countries loosely bound together under one banner, but each with their own governing body, and each with far greater taxing powers and powers over policies on domestic issues and a far weaker central government?

    Cameron needs to submit a plan for federalism by Jan 2015. It will be interesting to see how far he goes and how it will be received. It is a tough balancing act between keeping his natural constituency in England in line and the upstarts in Scotland.
    • Like Like x 3
  9. Levite

    Levite Levitical Yet Funky

    The Windy City
    If I had to guess, I think you're correct here. I think someday in the future, the relationship of the Celtic countries in the UK is going to be much closer to the relationship of the countries in the Commonwealth to England today. I doubt that that will characterize the federalism that Cameron will propose. But give it time...
  10. Speed_Gibson

    Speed_Gibson Hacking the Gibson

    Wolf 359
    I think that this is just a start to London not being the centre of everything in the U.K., and the outlying regions like Scotland getting more control over things on a regional basis. I haven't heard any good things about David Cameron from the jokes on Mock the Week to commentaries from people like John Oliver. Sounds like an elitist running things completely out of touch with large groups of people, much like the stereotypical Republican in the U.S. that has way too many real examples.
    • Like Like x 1
  11. rogue49

    rogue49 Tech Kung Fu Artist Staff Member

    I agree with the Federalism scenario, setting up something like the US does, giving the states a lot of local govt...having more of an mgmt/overview policy from the capital.
    They push/pull back and forth, bitchin' a lot about the balance...but it does work...giving influence to both sides.