United Kingdom Still United

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Groundskeeper Willie Weeping

Supporters of Scottish Independence came up short of their goal in the vote yesterday:

Scotland spurned independence in a historic referendum that threatened to rip the United Kingdom apart, sow financial turmoil and diminish Britain’s remaining global clout.

A vote for the 307-year union is a relief for millions of Britons including Prime Minister David Cameron, whose job was on the line, as well as allies across the world who were horrified at the prospect of the United Kingdom’s separation.

Unionists won 55 percent of the vote while separatists won 45 percent with 31 of 32 constituencies declared.

Political leaders of all hues agreed that Britain would be changed for good nonetheless.

Unionists cheered, kissed and drank wine and beer in Glasgow, Scotland’s biggest city where secessionists won, while nationalist leader Alex Salmond conceded defeat in Edinburgh, which supported the United Kingdom.

“Scotland has by a majority decided not, at this stage, to become an independent country. I accept that verdict of the people and I call on all of Scotland to follow suit in accepting the democratic verdict of the people of Scotland,” Salmond said.

Go here to read the rest.  Head triumphed over heart in this case.  Clearly the enthusiasm, especially among the young, was on the side of independence, but there were too many unanswered questions about how an independent Scotland would make a go of it along.  Additionally, in the words of Mr. Jefferson, there were no “long train of abuses” that warranted a radical change in government.  At any rate, the Scots have spoken.

 

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26 Comments

  1. The result does not surprise me, nor am I particularly disappointed.
    The debate was never really about nationalism (whatever that means in a Scottish context); it was about self-government and local democracy. Most Scots want to see more of the decisions that affect Scotland taken in Scotland; not only that, but they want more of those decisions taken locally, rather than in either Westminster or Edinburgh..
    It is very striking that the area most opposed to independence was Orkney, with 67% voting “No,” closely followed by Shetland with 63%. They have no more wish to be ruled by the Central Belt than by Westminster. Dumfries & Galloway in the Borders on 66% tell the same story.
    Greater devolution from Westminster to Edinburgh, coupled with greater devolution from Edinburgh to the local councils will satisfy the aspirations of most Scots and, if that is what emerges from the referendum debate, it will be no bad thing.
    Those of us who support EU membership may see Westminster as a fifth wheel and support a “Europe of the regions,” but that is another story.

  2. Hmmm . . . devolution of political power away from a remote centralized authority, giving greater franchise and decision-making capacity to states and municipalities. What a great concept! Maybe we should try it here in the States!
    .
    Nah. It’d never work.

  3. it was about self-government and local democracy. Most Scots want to see more of the decisions that affect Scotland taken in Scotland; not only that, but they want more of those decisions taken locally, rather than in either Westminster or Edinburgh.

    You’re going to need all your skills as a barrister to reconcile that assessment with the following: (1) Salmond proposed to remain in the EU and had no plans for withdrawing from the Council of Europe and the officious tribunals and commissions associated with it and (2) Salmond proposed to retain Sterling as the currency. (The possible explanation for the latter would be that proposing a new currency ‘ere you were ready to impose it would induce a run on Scottish banks) and (3) the official line of the Scottish National Party is to despise UKIP.

  4. I think it basically boiled down to most folks favored security over uncertainty, no matter how attractive opportunity/independence may seem in the abstract.

  5. Art Deco,

    Reliable estimates put the hard core Nationalist vote – those who demand nothing short of separation – at about 30%. The Nationalist victory in the 2011 elections to the Scottish parliament included a considerable number of voters disenchanted with Labour and, indeed, the Westminster parties. I do not believe this has changed significantly.

    One suspects that not a few “Yes” voters have no great love for the SNP, often sneeringly referred to as the “Tartan Tories,” but simply did not trust Westminster to deliver Devo Max (still a somewhat vague concept). Following independence, the SNP might well have seen a lot of its support evaporating. Likewise, it would not surprise me if not a few “No” voters go on to support the SNP in local and parliamentary elections, precisely because they are seen as the only party not controlled by the Westminster establishment.

    Finally, the EU is much more popular across all shades of opinion in Scotland than in England, especially the Social Chapter and Regional Development Grants. Ironically, if there is a referendum on EU membership in 2017, it could well be Scottish votes that tip the balance in keeping the UK in the EU. As for the currency, it was long SNP policy to join the Euro, until that was overtaken by events in 2008. UKIP is widely dismissed as simply the breakaway Thatcherite wing of the Tory party.

  6. MPS, when I said you were going to need your skills as a barrister, I meant make an actual argument which reconciles those viewpoints, not give a laundry list of all the arbitrary opinions adhered to by Scottish voters and politicians.

  7. “One suspects that not a few “Yes” voters have no great love for the SNP, often sneeringly referred to as the “Tartan Tories,””

    Scottish nationalists were originally conservatives until they learned that nationalism could be sold if alloyed with the infantile leftism so popular among a majority of the Scottish electorate. Anyone who views the SNP as in any shape conservative now is delusional.

  8. From what I gather, both major parties in Scotland are quite to the left. Perhaps attachment to England is actually a moderating influence. And is Ireland any better?

  9. Art Deco wrote:

    “Salmond proposed to remain in the EU…”

    Aye “independence in Europe” is almost as oxymoronic as “civic nationalism”! 🙂

    the results came in from the “SNP heartlands” in the North East

  10. Donald R McClarey writes:

    “Tartan Tories”.

    It is a long time since that jibe carried any weight Maister McC. Informed opinion is that the last of them died out years ago. I myself was of that opinion.

    That said…

    You are aware I take it that, Dundee excepted, the Nationalists did surprisingly badly in what conventional opinion considers their “electoral strongholds” in the North East? Salmond couldnae even win a majority in his own Scottish parliamentary constituency! 🙂 Do not misunderstand. There are actually very significant numbers of Conservative voters in Scotland. But in the normal run of Westminster, Edinburgh and even local elections they stay at home because the Westminster first past the post and that particular form of PR used in the Scottish parliamentary electoral systems serve them very badly. They are so dispersed across the country that for many it was not worth while making the effort to vote. The referendum represented their first chance in a generation to have their vote count. But even taking this factor into account the Nationalists poor showing in their “strongholds” is still puzzling. Unless there has for over a generation been a significant part of their support that isn’t actually secessionist. Informed opinion was most certainly aware that their more recent electoral gains were of the “soft” variety but I suspect that their core vote was also much softer than any of us thought…?

  11. Apologies to Michael Paterson-Seymour and Donald R. McClarey.

    I have only just realized that was quoted material I replied to above! 🙁

    By way of mitigation I was up until the we small hours after an evening of running OAPs to the polling and have had way too little sleep!

  12. Scottish nationalists were originally conservatives until they learned that nationalism could be sold if alloyed with the infantile leftism

    Thus far, no indication this is working in Wales. Plaid Cymru has suffered from a slow but monotonic decline in its fortunes for about 15 years now. A couple of years ago, they installed in the leadership a lapsed social worker known for her bad attitude, loose morals, and lack of facility in Welsh Gaelic. To judge from their polls, it’s not working. At this rate, they sink to 4th party status in about a decade.

  13. MPS avers that “UKIP is widely dismissed [in Scotland] as simply the breakaway Thatcherite wing of the Tory party.” Other times, he avers that UKIP is “neo-fascist”.
    ,
    It is the undying effort of the Left to paint anti-communists as fascists because fascists were anti-communist.

  14. I don’t really care for “Rule Britannia” but how about Beethoven’s “Seven Variations on God Save the Queen” as a tribute to the NO vote.
    It was commissioned by a group of Scots businessmen styled the Board to Promote Arts and Manufactures iirc.

  15. Art Deco

    Welsh nationalism is complicated by the language question, in a way that Scottish nationalism is not. There is, or was, a fear (well- or ill-founded) amongst monoglot English speakers that a knowledgeof Welsh could be made a requirement for the public service &c, at least in some areas, if not in all.

    I am told that one occasionally hears gaelic on police wave-bands in Glasgow; the force has traditionally recruited in the Highlands and Islands.

  16. “God Save The Queen” is an awfully trite piece of music (and “Flower of Scotland,” is, if anything, rather worse)
    I remember when a new official arrangement of La Marseillaise was introduced, I think under Valéry Giscard d’Estaing. It was intended to be less martial. Well, the orchestra at the Comédie Française played it after a performance of Racine’s Phèdre with Jeanne Moreau (a fine stage performer in classical roles) in the lead.
    At its conclusion, a little stout man ran onto the stage from the wings, shouldered the conductor aside and, in the tones of a drill-sergeant, ordered, “Now, play the Marseillaise!” After a moment of stunned silence, the orchestra responded with gusto, the company and the whole audience joining in. I would not have missed that moment for worlds.

  17. Michael Paterson-Seymour wrote:

    “God Save The Queen” is an awfully trite piece of music (and “Flower of Scotland,” is, if anything, rather worse)”

    Aye. It’s no’ the best anthem out there I will grant, but it is our own nonetheless. And you are entirely correct about that dirge “Flower of Scotland”. “Yon’s a cheesy tune. You’ll no play that!” 🙂

    I love “I Vow To Thee My Country”. I wish I could find a recording with the very politically incorrect extra verse. Particulary in this year of all years. For a fleeting moment I thought I had finally found one only yesterday when I came across the full version of Beck Goldsmith’s recent interpretation. But it only used the first two lines of the extra verse…

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1attmFPd0VA

    Best of all for me though, although unsuitable as an anthem I suppose, is the late and much missed Radio 4 theme. The “Londonderry Air/Annie Laurie” segent is heartbreakingly beautiful to this Scot who’s ancestors hailed from Ulster and Ayrshire. Daft I know, but I have always thought of it as Britain’s portion of some Ainulindalë…

  18. There is, or was, a fear (well- or ill-founded) amongst monoglot English speakers that a knowledgeof Welsh could be made a requirement for the public service &c, at least in some areas, if not in all.

    About 20% of the population fancies it is fluent in Welsh Gaelic, of whom the number who do not speak English approaches nil. I’d wager ‘ill-founded’.

  19. Kennybhoy,
    Thanks for the link to I Vow To Thee My Country with the various renditions. I had forgotten how beautiful the music with such moving lyrics.

  20. Art Deco

    Something very similar was imposed by the Irish Free State, which had an even smaller percentageof native Irish speakers.

    Even now, as an Irish friend explained to me, “It’s still compulsory, but not as compulsory as it use to be.”

  21. Something very similar was imposed by the Irish Free State, which had an even smaller percentageof native Irish speakers.

    I take it de Valera understood what his constituency would assent to and what they would not.

  22. Art Deco wrote, “I take it de Valera understood what his constituency would assent to and what they would not.”
    De Valera was, in private life, a member of Conradh na Gaeilge. He had joined the In 1908 he joined the Árdchraobh, where he met his wife, Sinéad Ní Fhlannagáin, a teacher of Irish at the League’s Leinster College in Parnell Square, Dublin.
    Most of the leadership of Sinn Féin were members, even though few were native speakers. There was a strong feeling at the time that political independence of England would prove illusory, without cultural independence, in which the revival of the native language would play a vital rôle.
    Curiously, in Scotland, there was a famous clash around the beginning of the last century between the Highland clergy (including the celebrated “Enzie bishops”)) and the Irish immigrant clergy over the Gaelic chapels in Glasgow. The Irish were staunchly Anglophone. The Highlanders were engaged in a struggle with government over state funding of their Gaelic Elementary schools in the diocese of Argyll and the Isles and bitterly resented what they saw as a stab in the back by the incomers.
    Note: Enzie, in NW Banffshire roughly comprises the parishes of Bellie and Raffiven and produced no fewer than 11 bishops.

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