Don’t Listen to the Scaremongers
Political elites around the world are scared of independence movements. Whether it is the allegedly sacrosanct territorial integrity of Ukraine or Iraq, the possible secession of Catalonia from Spain, of Sardinia from Italy, or the vote on Scottish independence: in all cases, visions of calamity are painted in vivid colors if the overarching nation states were to split into two or more parts.
These fears are understandable from the point of view of the ruling elites: the agents representing the force monopolist State always want to have as big a territory under their control as possible. It means more power for them and a larger tax base to exploit. However, the bigger the territory under the control of a single force monopolist, the less the individual counts, the more the State’s policies will tend toward a mixture of warfare and welfare, both of which as a rule prove disastrous for the average citizen.
Ask yourself why the most prosperous places on earth are all tiny political entities. There is a reason for that. No-one expects Liechtenstein to bomb ISIS in Iraq, or whoever the US enemy du jour is. Liechtenstein doesn’t even have a military. It doesn’t need one, because it is not busy making enemies left and right. Contrary to the larger European nations, it is also not up to its proverbial eyebrows in red tape and taxes. Incidentally, no Islamist extremists have yet thought of attacking Liechtenstein; most probably they don’t even know where it is, and if they did, they wouldn’t regard it as attack-worthy. After all, it has never meddled in the affairs of their homelands.
The UK on the other hand can be expected to waste both blood and treasure on every single war cooked up in Washington, no matter how cockamamie a scheme it is. Just remember the effort to free Iraq of Saddam’s mythical “WMD” and the associated fairy tale chemical rockets, which Mr. Blair asserted “could reach London in 45 minutes”. As long as Scotland is part of the UK, everyone in Scotland is involved in these schemes as well (at a minimum as a payer), whether they want to or not.
What about the alleged inability of Scotland to go it alone on economic grounds, or on grounds of being “too small”, or any of the other reasons that have been dragged up in recent weeks? These objections were already answered in this pages in great detail (see the list below this article), but let us just say that given that there exist much smaller independent countries possessing far fewer natural resources than Scotland and all of them are rich, simple common sense should tell one that such arguments cannot possibly hold water.
The one thing every eligible voter in Scotland needs to be aware of before making the decision is this: those who tell you that you aren’t up to it, that Scotland and its people won’t cut it, all have motives, interests and priorities of their own. Rest assured that the world will keep turning after Scotland gains independence.
We should also mention that what holds for Scotland is also true, if to a lesser extent, for the remainder of the UK – that fact that it will be somewhat smaller, is likely to be to the long term advantage of the average citizen.
UK prime minister Cameron: He just doesn’t want to be the guy who “lost Scotland”
(Photo credit: dailystar.co.uk)
A Bastion of Socialism?
Some people have argued that the fact that Scottish voters have essentially switched their allegiance from one left-wing party, the SLP (the Scottish Labor Party, which is a local chapter of the UK-wide Labor Party) to another, namely the SNP (the Scottish National Party, which has a very social democratic-sounding platform), an independent Scotland will become a bastion of socialism.
It seems actually likely that the remainder of the UK will become a tad more conservative overall. However, we believe these fears about the Scottish desire for socialism are overblown. A major reason why many Scots have voted for the SNP seems to be their disdain of the Tories in Westminster and not necessarily their great love of socialism (obviously, we cannot possibly speak for all Scots here. It appears to us that this is a major motive for many though).
Moreover, here is another example of a fairly recent amicable parting of ways in a European country, namely the split of Czechoslovakia into the Czech Republic and Slovakia. As John Fund writes, this particular split had many parallels to the potential secession of Scotland from the UK. As it turns out, the results of this particular experience have been quite happy and represent a heartening and favorable indication for a future independent Scotland. An excerpt from Fund’s article:
“The two halves of the country had struggled for three years after the fall of Communism to stay together, but the Slovaks thought the state was too centered on the Czech capital of Prague, and the Czechs resented subsidies and over-representation of Slovaks in key bodies. The same complaints are echoed in Britain, where members of Scotland’s parliament may vote in the Westminster parliament on matters involving all of the U.K., but non-Scottish members of the U.K. parliament are unable to vote on the domestic legislation of the Scottish parliament. In addition, Scotland has more seats in the U.K. parliament than its population would normally be allocated.
There were strains and disputes in the Czech-Slovak divorce, especially over jointly owned gold reserves, but after a few years all was sorted out. Back then, Czechs viewed the Slovaks as more statist and slower to seize economic opportunities than they were. But today, both countries have shown remarkable improvement in the Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom; and last year, Slovakia’s economy grew by 2.1 percent — three and a half times faster than it’s grown in the Czech Republic.
“We are doing very well,” Miroslav Lajcak, Slovakia’s deputy prime minister, told the BBC last year. “The Czech republic is doing well, and our friendship is better than ever,” he said.
Slovakia’s population of 5.4 million is almost precisely that of Scotland, and its success shows how small countries can do well on their own.
There was also one other tangible benefit of separation to Slovakia, though it’s one many don’t want to discuss. “After we became independent, people couldn’t blame every problem on Prague anymore or look to it for subsidies,” a former top minister in Slovakia’s government told me. “We had to drop some outmoded socialist thinking and scapegoating and stand on our own two feet.”
Even with its oil revenue, the same phenomenon could occur in Scotland, where the ruling Scottish National party has often pursued foolish economic policies. With independence, a new government might be more realistic. A recent white paper produced by the Scottish government proposes cuts in corporate tax rates to attract business as well as a more skill-based immigration system as new policies to set in place after independence.”
We can confirm that there was indeed a remarkable transformation in Slovakia after it gained independence. It is doing quite well with a population almost the same size of Scotland’s, even without any off-shore oil.
It is in any case unrealistic to expect that an SNP government or any other future Scottish government will be able to fund a kind of welfare nirvana from its oil-related tax revenues. It seems rather more likely to us that the points addressed in the white paper which Fund mentions above will come to the fore. Any government of an independent Scotland will have to think about ways to make the country attractive to entrepreneurs and investors. In fact, even its oil-related revenues will largely depend on whether it manages to institute policies that make it attractive to foreign investment. This should automatically lead to more economic freedom for everyone.
Urquhart Castle, Loch Ness.
(Photo via aldi-reisen.de / Author unknown)
Addendum – Famous Quotes About and by Scots
“We look to Scotland for all our ideas of civilization.”
“There are few more impressive sights in the world than a Scotsman on the make.”
- James M. Barrie
For so long as one hundred men remain alive,
we shall never under any conditions submit to the
domination of the English. It is not for glory or riches
or honours that we fight, but only for liberty, which
no good man will consent to lose but with his life.
- The Declaration of Arbroath, 1320
“The Baird Undersock is medicated, absorbent and soft, keeping feet warm in winter, cold in summer. Nine pence a pair, post free.”
- John Logie Baird, electrical engineer and early television pioneer, advertising an early invention
“Tell your king that William Wallace will not be ruled. Lower your flags and march straight back to England, stopping at every home to beg forgiveness for a hundred years of theft, rape, and murder.”
- William Wallace’s reply to a final plea of King Edward I to surrender shortly before the battle at Stirling Bridge in 1297, which Wallace’s numerically much inferior force won (using the old Spartan trick demonstrated at the Battle at Thermopylae: get a numerically superior enemy to fight you on terrain where numbers don’t count).
William Wallace, who was involved in the early stages of the first war of independence.
For we have three great avantages;
The first is, we have the richt,
And for the richt ilk man should ficht,
The tother is, they are comin here…
To seek us in our awn land…
The third is that we for our livis
And for our childer and our wifis
And for the fredome of our land
Are strenyeit in battle for to stand
- William Barbour, in his epic poem “The Bruce”
“The dawn of legibility in his handwriting has revealed his utter inability to spell.”
- Attributed to Ian Hay, Scottish novelist and dramatist 1876-1952
“Blythe to meet,
Wae to part,
Blythe to meet aince mair”
- This is known as the Bon-Accord toast – “Happy to meet, sorrowful to part, happy to meet once again.” “Bon-Accord” was the password used by the citizens of Aberdeen in 1308 when they rose up, killed the English garrison and captured the town for Robert the Bruce. Bon-Accord is now the motto of the City of Aberdeen.
In case anyone is wondering where exactly Aberdeen is, here’s a map. Note also the location of Hadrian’s Wall, which the Romans erected to keep the Picts and Celts out of their hair.
“I understand that perfectly. We feel very much the same in Scotland.”
- Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, speaking to a Boer in South Africa who told her that he could not forgive the British for having conquered his country. The Queen Mother, daughter of Lord Strathmore and Kinghorne, was born in 1900 and spent much of her childhood in Glamis Castle, Scotland.
“I would hate to die with a heart attack and have a good liver, kidneys and brains. When I die, I want everything to be knackered.”
- Folksinger Hamish Imlach (1940-1996)
“I have always agreed with the old saying that the only difference between the sacrilegious and the sanctimonious is that the sacrilegious have a sense of humor”
- Michael McMahon MSP, during the debate on the format of prayers at the start of each day’s session of the Scottish Parliament.
“I went to the butchers to buy a leg of lamb. ‘Is it Scotch?’ I asked. ‘Why?’ the butcher asked. ‘Are you going to talk to it or eat it?’ ‘In that case, have you got any wild duck?’ ‘No,’ he said, ‘but I’ve got one I could aggravate for you.’”
“My wife went to a beauty parlor and got a mud pack. For two days she looked nice, then the mud fell off. She’s a classy girl though, at least all her tattoos are spelled right.”
“This friend of mine had a terrible upbringing. When his mother lifted him up to feed him, his father rented the pram out. Then when they came into money later, his mother hired a woman to push the pram – and he’s been pushed for money since! I asked him once what his ambition was and he replied it was to have an ambition. In the end tragedy struck – as he lay on his death bed he confessed to three murders. Then he got better”
- all three by Scottish comedian Chic Murray (1919-1985)
“It’s wee surprises like that which keep our marriage alive”
- Rab C. Nesbitt, after his wife has clubbed him over the head for coming home drunk. This is a Scottish TV comedy – Rab C. Nesbitt is an unapologetic alcoholic, described by his wife as “not anunemployed person, but the original unemployed person”
“I dinna ken muckle about the law,” answered Mrs Howden; “but I ken, when we had a king, and a chancellor, and parliament-men o’ our ain, we could aye peeble them wi’ stanes when they werena gude bairns – Bit naebody’s nails can reach the length o’ Lunnon.”
- From “The Heart of Midlothian” by Sir Walter Scott, in 1818.
“Hard by, in the fields called the Leith Links, the citizens of Edinburgh divert themselves at a game called golf, in which they use a curious kind of bat, tipt with horn, and small elastic balls of leather, stuffed with feathers, rather less than tennis balls, but of a much harder consistence. This they strike with such force and dexterity from one hole to another, that they will fly to an incredible distance. Of this diversion the Scots are so fond, that when the weather will permit, you may see a multitude of all ranks, from the senator of justice to the lowest tradesman, mingled together in their shirts, and following the balls with the utmost eagerness.”
- Tobias Smollet, writing in 1771.
“His worst is better than any other person’s best”.
- William Hazlitt (1778-1830) the essayist praising the work of Sir Walter Scott
“We are often unable to tell people what they need to know because they want to know something else.”
- Poet and novelist George MacDonald from Huntly (1824-1905)
“Whaur’s yer Wully Shakespeare noo?”
- Shouted by an anonymous, over-enthusiastic Scot in the audience at the first performance of the play “Douglas” by John Home, in Edinburgh, December 1756.
“For me, independence is a simple choice between accepting the current state of play or aiming for something better.”
- by Exclamation Mark of the PoP Campaign, a duo of music-makers in Glasgow
Note: the source of most of these quotes is the Rampant Scotland page, where you will find more quotes, as well as a lot of other information about Scotland.
Dunnottar Castle … yes, we have a thing for Scottish castles. So sue us.
(Photo via aberdeen.stv.tv / Author unknown)
Addendum 2: Even in Bavaria They Are Getting Their Hopes Up
NBC reports that yet another European – as of yet fringe – independence movement is looking with hope toward the Scottish referendum and the knock-on effect it might have. This one is based in Bavaria:
“It’s been more than 100 years since the Kingdom of Bavaria was a sovereign state – but the so-called “Bavaria Party” has long campaigned for independence to come once more to the region’s rolling hills. The fringe Bavaria Party has just over 5,000 members – in the southern state of 12.4 million people – and regularly campaigns with slogans such as “Bavaria can also succeed on its own,” but so far has failed to gain widespread support for its ideas. The party hopes all of that will change if Scotland gains independence – envisioning a domino effect – and is putting their voice out in front to support the referendum to their west.
“We hope that the vote will send a clear signal for Europe and that in the long run, Bavaria will become an independent member of the European Union,” party chairman Florian Weber told NBC News. The Scottish vote also has fueled hopes for independence in Italy’s Sardinia and Spain’s Catalonia.”
It is certainly no wonder that the centralizers/globalists and statists of all stripes are campaigning so heavily against Scottish independence. The inspiration a Yes vote could be to others is undeniable (there was incidentally also a giant pro-independence rally in Barcelona over the weekend).
And lastly, here is the official US government position (against Scottish independence, natch), plus one final reason to vote “Yes” on Thursday for those who are still undecided and need a bit more prodding:
Taking a brief break from watching for invaders from Vladivostok, Sarah Palin opines on Scottish independence.
List of Previous Articles on Scottish Independence and Secession Movements:
All you need to know about the philosophical and economic background re. Scotland’s possible secession, by Dr. Jim Walker of Asianomics:
Scottish Independence, Part 1 (It’s Not all About Pounds and Oil)
Scottish Independence, Part 2 (The Currency: Sterling or Not?
Scottish Independence, Part 3 (Fiscal Policy, The Real Difference and The Case Against)
PT on Scotland and Secession in General:
Guess what his vote will be …
(Photo via ricksteves.com / Author unknown)