Now, I admit I have no dog in the independence fight. Oh wait, my grandfather was Scottish....Unlike in most European countries, here in the US we are Americans until there is a provincial fight of some kind, and then we revert to acting as if we are citizens of our ancestor's countries. So I claim standing.
Don't do it. Don't be dumb.
Seriously, Scotland, you are the butt of a lot of jokes, not as many as the Irish, but pretty many. Don't make this worse by splitting off from England. Don't be stupid. The world is full of stupid actors: Kim Jung-whatever, everybody in ISIS (let's face it, everyone hates them and they are all going to die, and pretty soon), Vladmir Putin (who thinks he will finance a takeover of the Ukraine by borrowing against natural gas sales to Europe), and the mayor of Toronto. Oh, and Sarah Palin and Ted Cruz. No fool's list is complete without those two.
I don't have a lot of facts to fight with, and don't pretent to be well-informed about U.K politics, but that isn't necessary. When somebody comes to me walking on two healthy legs and tells me he wants them chopped off, I don't need to understand the "nuances" to say he's a fool. Scotlland, you do this, and you are a fool. Skip the Irish jokes, it's going to be Scot jokes all the way.
In the modern world, countries don't generally get prosperous by splitting off from their larger, richer neighbors. It's true that as an American I don't seem to have much room to talk, since the Revolution went pretty well for us, but that's ignoring nuances (which in this case, unlike yours, matter). The U.S. and the U.K. aren't neighbors, and it is doubtful that at such a long distance Parliament could have managed westward expansion as well as America did. (Or killing Native Americans and Mexicans, but that's another story.) Long distance relationships are tough with smartphones; try sustaining one through letters carried across the Atlantic at five knots in ships that sunk 20% of the time. And more recently, the Brits made a mess of India, and distance had a lot to do with that, too.
Yes, Ireland was treated badly by England, but Scotland never has been. That's because unlike the Irish, the Scots converted to the Church of England when the monarch told them to. So no harm, no foul. Scots have been represented in Parliament from the beginning of the union (and if the U.S. had been accorded such kindness I doubt Thomas Jefferson would have set to writing Declarations). Scots held the Prime Ministership in the UK 11 times since the 1700s -not a bad showing for less than 10% of the population. Scotland has about as much right to call itself oppressed as Wall Street bankers do.
Enough history. I don't know any more history anyway. Let's talk about the future. The point is, the future of the planet will be dominated by ever larger economies. The U.S. is the third largest country on earth in land area and third largest in population. There is a reason we are dominant: We are bigger.
Look at other large countries. China has the largest population and is conisidered an up-and-coming economy. India at number two has further to go, but American companies are moving their tech support divisions there for a reason. Bollywood makes more movies by far than Hollywood. At number 5 you have Brazil, yet another rapid growth nation. Size matters.
No, it isn't all about size, but size helps. It provides larger markets, more capital, more food production. Large economies attract the big money from around the globe.
With a population of 63,000,000 the UK sits at 22, not great (no pun intended), but competitive. Scotland has 5.2 million. Break off from England, and you bust yourself to 117, just behind Turkmenistan, but a notch above Norway. That sound like a strategy for growth to you, Scotland? It sounds dumb, just plain dumb to me.
Think this though. For once. Open borders between England and Scotland means an unemployed Scot can find a job in London by boarding a train. As of right now. If you decide to break off, it will require a work visa, and if economic times are bad and unemployment is high the Brits won't be welcoming Scots into the neighborhood. When the economy crashes, you are on your own.
As a native of New Orleans I hate Atlanta as much as the next New Orleanian, but I would never vote to make it harder for my kids to move there to get a job. That is exactly what you are considering doing.
And don't think the oil in the North Sea is going to pay the bills. Do you remember I said I was from Louisiana? In Louisiana we had large oil reserves, and Johnny Fastbucks from Dallas and Atlanta and New York swept in, took all the money and the profits, and left Lousiana with the oil spills. Does the name British Petroleum mean anything to you? They ain't based in Edinburg, mukker.
As a citizen of the American South, I do have something to say about breaking off. People around here tried to break off from the USA a little bit ago, and I don't mind saying that divorce went badly, and we are damn lucky we didn't succeed. I don't want to think about what would have happened if we had succeeded in cutting off that leg. My kids would be sitting in school right now learning about how the Yankees put a man on the moon. Yes, I know Apollo was launched from Florida, but a nation that would have held onto slavery until the 1920s would not have put a man in space. I wonder if a nation like that would have had schools to put kids in, period.
I know the EU hasn't worked out well lately, but believe me, the future belongs to the joiners, not to the splitters. Here in America, from time to time a few lunatics in Texas (including the governor) will pipe up about separating from the U.S., but everyone here knows it is a lame joke. Texas separates from the Union and the first thing that happens is the other 49 states will end border protection and shut off the water. Deep down Texas knows the water in the Rio Grande comes from the Rockies. Texas will last about a week without water.
As for you, Scotland, you won't know what you depend on from England until the Brits close the border. Then you will see. And you will not like. You may safely assume the U.S., and China, and Germany -- you know, the people with all the money -- won't be on your side. Sure, the U.S. will say, good luck, blah, blah, blah, yada, yada, yada, and then it will back England in everything that matters. Because London has loads of money and you don't.
Hey, I'm American; I'm just being honest. We have a plutocracy over here, and our plutocrats love the London stock market. You are screwed here. Maybe not on day one, maybe not even in year one, but one day soon, and forever.
We Southerners lost the Civil War (and no, I do NOT call it the War Between the States, or some other Southern stupidity) and 150 years later, any Southerner who doesn't admit we lucked out by losing is a racist ignoramus. The Northeastern US economy was on fire in 1861 and had more than 100 years left to burn, and because we lost the war we got to tap into that. Now in the 21st century a lot of the South is doing better than the North, and they are tapping into us.
That's what happens when you stick together. You take turns holding each other up.
Come on, Scotland. Everyone knows who you are.You're not gaining any name recognition, or respect, or attention by going independent. Your population is roughly the same as the state I live in, land area about the same, too, but Scotland's name recognition far exceeds Mississippi's outside of the U.S. We know your whiskey is great, your highlands are beautiful, we dig the Loch Ness monster even more than our hairy Bigfoot, and you eat food we find amusing. Do you know what Mississippians eat? Nope. Do you know what we drink? Scotch.
Don't cut off your leg just so you can have your own separate page in Encyclopedia Britannica.
You know, the fact that the only encyclopedia left that is worth having is called Britannica ought to, all by itself, give you pause.
Michael C "there's a Scot in that family tree somewhere" Hebert