Author Topic: England and Scotland Weighing a Break-Up  (Read 6600 times)

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Offline CaseAgainstFaith

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England and Scotland Weighing a Break-Up
« on: January 12, 2012, 02:09:51 pm »
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Who knew the first secession story of 2012 was going to be Scotland, not Greece? Last year was filled with stories of the European Union on the rocks -- critics proposed everything from troubled states leaving the euro to Germany forming its own newer, better union. This year, though, has opened with split-up talk within an individual member-state: the United Kingdom.

The question, of course, is "why now?" It's here that the movements towards disunity really start to look similar. Sure, there are plenty of arguments in favor of Scottish independence -- aside from the whole national identity thing, Scotland still produces a decent quality of coal, and there's a lot of optimism about the country's potential in green energy, particularly marine energy. Alex Salmond mentioned this in his pro-independence piece in the Economist back in November, also noting that "the UK is saddled with a large deficit, so size clearly offers no protection or immunity from the vagaries of the global economy. Instead," he wrote, "the countries which appear best equipped to deal with such conditions are those that are nimble and fleet-footed enough to adapt quickly to change."

There are also plenty of arguments both on the English as well as the Scottish side for a continued association: Scotland's a mess in other ways, it would have more international clout as a member of the UK, it's not actually clear how the energy resources would be divided up or that Scotland would be all that financially successful on its own, and nothing seems to be going horribly wrong with the union, so if it ain't broke, why fix it? Below, to get a sense of what secession looks like, demographically, Scotland's piece of the UK population. As you can see, it's not much:

Whether on the Continent or in the United Kingdom, "smaller is better" appears to be the new slogan. It wouldn't hurt, if you're interested in either of the Scottish independence or the European unity debates, to keep an eye on the other. The background may be different in each case, but histories have a way of converging. And with the present political and cultural integration, who's to say how mood may translate across state lines.

source - http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/01/why-are-england-and-scotland-weighing-a-break-up/251272/?google_editors_picks=true

So if scotland did get its' independence what would really be affected by this?
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Offline myusername

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Re: England and Scotland Weighing a Break-Up
« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2012, 02:29:53 pm »
We (i.e the English) now wouldn't have to overpay the Scots through the Barnett formula of finance distribution. [/snark]*

On a more serious note, honestly I don't mind either way. If the Scots want to be independent then that's up to them. It would mean that there would be 28 members of the EU for one. Don't really know enough about how the Scots economy to say how well it would work. One thing for certain though is that Scotland would be more left-wing than England; they voted consistently for Labour even during the dark days of the Thatcher premiership.  :P

*This isn't meant as an insult...just a probably failed attempt at humour...

Offline Scotsgit

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Re: England and Scotland Weighing a Break-Up
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2012, 02:47:22 pm »
A lot.  For a starter, it would mean a lot of the troops currently in the Armed Forces would have to leave (maybe not:  It depends on whether that's a condition of severance), meaning that the UK would have to reduce it's military contribution world wide.

I'm personally against Scotland being an independent nation:  We have only one heavy industry left (oil) and the North Sea oil stocks aren't indefinite.  At best, North Sea Crude has about 50 years (and that's me being very optimistic) to go.  The SNP has claimed that there are stocks in Scottish territorial waters, but whereabouts exactly is vague and looks more like either being in international waters or Irish waters.  Even if these stocks exist, it would mean relocating a lot of the oil industry in Scotland to either the West coast or the North West Highlands at best - not areas that lend themselves to importing crude very well.  This, although it would provide jobs in an area where even humanity is scarce, would also mean in lots of people in both Aberdeen and Falkirk losing out on jobs, especially with the knock-on effect.

Sadly, there are no other heavy industries left:  there is one shipyard that employs less than 100 people and it seems to be the only one left, the coal mines are closed and so are the steel plants.  While this many not seem to be immediately a problem, it is:  These were places that employed people in their thousands, if there's no-one like that then jobs and the economy of an independent Scotland will soon start to dry up.  There are also less foreign investors than there were 30 years ago and the only people who want to invest seem to be coming from China.  Would you want companies that owned by a totalitarian regime to own part of your country?

However, there are those that claim this is nothing:  There is an extremist part of the nationalist cause that is all too vocal who see the idea of an independent Scotland where we all live on bread an water as the price for being 'free' of Westminster rule.  The problem here is that they don't see that nobody wants to starve for the sake of their fantasies.  Some claim that there will be some lean years but then everything will be rosy again, but where's the money coming from?

But, and this has to be said, there's a lot at fault within the Union.  Britain's state of the Union is woeful and all too often (especially under the Conservatives) Scotland suffered badly.  For example:  When the Options for Change document to cut back the armed forces was brought in in the early '90s, many of the Scottish regiments were cut drastically or merged with other regiments.  That may sound par for the course, but consider this:  These regiments were so over-recruited at the time, they had to lend out whole companies to English regiments to make up the numbers.  In other words, units that could turn recruits away were disbanded or merged, even though they had recruits to spare.  Contrast this with the fact that there were English regiments who were left alone.  Why?  Because the places where the English regiments had recruited had returned Conservative MP's to Westminster, whereas the areas where the Scottish regiments had recruited had returned Labour, Lib-Dem and Nationalist MP's.  Consider also the fate of Rosyth Dockyard:  It was outfitted to service Nuclear submarines and was the largest employer in the Fife area.  But the contract to refit Nuclear submarines went to a Navy yard in England instead, simply because that area had returned a Conservative MP and Rosyth a Labour one.

Also look at the coal and steel industry in Scotland:  Under the conservatives these were effectively destroyed.  There are no working coal mines in Scotland and our last steel plant was closed years ago - it's now redeveloped and all traces of its existence removed, so that any Independent Scotland would have no chance or restarting it without great expense.

So the problem is this:  I believe that Scotland will eventually cede from the Union, but I don't think the time for it is now.  In Scotland, we have to build up our industry again to the levels it was at in the 1930's and not live off the fantasies of people who think it will be a land of milk and honey.  However, the Union can be saved if (and this is a huge 'if') the MP's at Westminster can get it into their thick skulls that Scotland is not its whipping boy and to get over theirpetty grievances that have cost this country so dearly.
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Offline Sixth Monarchist

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Re: England and Scotland Weighing a Break-Up
« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2012, 04:23:25 pm »
The most immediate short-term problem is that, with the way things are heading, the referendum will be in 2014, putting it after the government's approved deadline. If the resulting vote is a "yes", then this means that the democratic will of the Scottish people could wind up in conflict with the UK's constitution. At this point, the Westminster government has two possible responses; a) run with the results, or b) "fuck you". Part of the reason why this is an issue now is that option b) has been Conservative Party policy on Scotland for the last 30-odd years, which is why they have precisely 1 MP in the whole country.
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Offline starseeker

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Re: England and Scotland Weighing a Break-Up
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2012, 04:42:16 pm »
Isn't another issue that a lot of the nice things the Scots have are funded by the English taxpayer, and the public sector is the biggest employer?

Offline Old Viking

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Re: England and Scotland Weighing a Break-Up
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2012, 04:53:50 pm »
The English talk funny. The Scots pretend to talk funny just to be mean to the English. How do we factor this in?
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Offline Scotsgit

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Re: England and Scotland Weighing a Break-Up
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2012, 05:31:02 pm »
Isn't another issue that a lot of the nice things the Scots have are funded by the English taxpayer, and the public sector is the biggest employer?

No.  That's part of what is known as Forsyth's Faulty Figures, named after former Secretary of State for Scotland Michael Forsyth who claimed (falsely) that that majority of money that pays for Scotland comes from England.  What he failed to point out that this was money raised by UK wide tax (including Scotland) and how that was being spent in Scotland, without raising the issue that the same is done for the rest of the UK.  It's now just a myth believed by Kelvin Mackenzie and Daily Mail readers.

And the public sector is far from the biggest employer - I'd dearly love to know where you get that idea, The Daily Fail perhaps?  The biggest in Scotland is the private sector, as it is in the rest of the UK.
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Offline Scotsgit

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Re: England and Scotland Weighing a Break-Up
« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2012, 05:32:35 pm »
*This isn't meant as an insult...just a probably failed attempt at humour...

I'll break it to you as gently as I can:  Those jokes the English tell about the Scots?  We'd find them funny if you laughed at the ones we tell about you.
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Offline Scotsgit

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Re: England and Scotland Weighing a Break-Up
« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2012, 05:33:41 pm »
The most immediate short-term problem is that, with the way things are heading, the referendum will be in 2014, putting it after the government's approved deadline. If the resulting vote is a "yes", then this means that the democratic will of the Scottish people could wind up in conflict with the UK's constitution. At this point, the Westminster government has two possible responses; a) run with the results, or b) "fuck you". Part of the reason why this is an issue now is that option b) has been Conservative Party policy on Scotland for the last 30-odd years, which is why they have precisely 1 MP in the whole country.

What says a lot about the Tories is that they can't understand why they have only one Scottish MP.
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Offline starseeker

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Re: England and Scotland Weighing a Break-Up
« Reply #9 on: January 12, 2012, 06:10:37 pm »
Isn't another issue that a lot of the nice things the Scots have are funded by the English taxpayer, and the public sector is the biggest employer?

No.  That's part of what is known as Forsyth's Faulty Figures, named after former Secretary of State for Scotland Michael Forsyth who claimed (falsely) that that majority of money that pays for Scotland comes from England.  What he failed to point out that this was money raised by UK wide tax (including Scotland) and how that was being spent in Scotland, without raising the issue that the same is done for the rest of the UK.  It's now just a myth believed by Kelvin Mackenzie and Daily Mail readers.

And the public sector is far from the biggest employer - I'd dearly love to know where you get that idea, The Daily Fail perhaps?  The biggest in Scotland is the private sector, as it is in the rest of the UK.

I'm offended you're suggesting I read the Mail.

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Re: England and Scotland Weighing a Break-Up
« Reply #10 on: January 12, 2012, 07:41:26 pm »
Looks like the SNP may be getting what they wanted.

*tilts his head a little bit* Ah... yup. I hear some of them going nuts already.

As for why now it might have to do with the SNP majority and they finally got more than 9% of the people behind the idea.

I personally think if the SNP realizes what they've got and don't royally fuck it up (heh... royally) like a bunch of the GOP would, then we may very well see an Independent Alba. Especially considering the industry that they do have and the fact that they do, compared to the rest of the UK, better off in terms of employment and the like.

Besides, one of the biggest finance centers in the world is located in Scotland.

I will have to watch the SNP and all those pushing for this.

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Offline DiscoBerry

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Re: England and Scotland Weighing a Break-Up
« Reply #11 on: January 12, 2012, 08:18:39 pm »
Don't Scots make up most of the British Armed Forces?

Offline Yla

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Re: England and Scotland Weighing a Break-Up
« Reply #12 on: January 13, 2012, 06:45:01 am »
If secession happens, it would probably encourage Italy and Belgium.
That said, I've stopped trying to anticipate what people around here want a while ago, I've found it makes things smoother.
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Offline Jedi Knight

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Re: England and Scotland Weighing a Break-Up
« Reply #13 on: January 13, 2012, 08:56:40 am »
Don't Scots make up most of the British Armed Forces?

Sounds improbable. Wikipedia tells me no such thing, and there are ten times as many inhabitants in England as there are in Scotland.

Offline DiscoBerry

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Re: England and Scotland Weighing a Break-Up
« Reply #14 on: January 13, 2012, 10:18:03 am »
Ill re-phrase, a large portion...