by Susan Callaway and Nathan Barton
This week, on Thursday the 18th, up to 4.3 of 5.3 million Scots subjects of Her Majesty will vote on whether or not to secede from the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. This could end one of the longest federations in modern world history. The news is full of the changes in pre-election polls, as witness this story.
The End of the UK as We Know It? Scots Edge Towards Independence
“The End of the UK as We Know It?” How is that a bad thing? I often wonder what America would be like if the southern states had simply taken a vote in 1861 and separated in peace. America would be a far different place today, I think.
However, this little shindig will be an absolute disaster, no matter how the vote comes out. That disaster might just shake some things loose that need to be addressed, of course, but whether or not they will be addressed rationally, or if anything good can come out of it, remains to be seen. None of these people, far as I can see, are the least bit interested in actual independence… anything that involves individual responsibility and elimination of theft and lies.
Save the “Union?” At least the English don’t seem to be planning on starting a shooting war over it.
To understand it better, here is a little history.
For centuries, the Kingdoms of Scotland and England (which had absorbed the Principality of Wales) had been at each other’s throats. Indeed, this week’s election is flavored by reminders of William Wallace and Robert the Bruce and other heroes of Scotland’s millennia-long fight for independence and freedom from England. Indeed, the wars between the two peoples and lands goes back to pre-Roman times. But at the same time, the wars were between two siblings, two peoples with a shared (or sister) languages, shared customs, shared love of liberty, shared (if divisive) faith in God, and much else. In fact, from 1603 on, the two kingdoms shared a monarch! After that, the wars between Scots and English were more civil wars than international ones.
Those wars continued after the Act of Union of 1707 which created the United Kingdom of Great Britain by merging the two Parliaments into one (which met in London). The Jacobite Rebellions add their flavor to this week’s vote, including the dashing form of Bonnie Prince Charlie, the would-be king. The UK grew by a second Act of Union in 1800 in which the Kingdom of Ireland was joined to Great Britain to create the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. This was in part a response to both troubles in Continental Europe (French Revolution and Napoleon and all that) and the loss of thirteen of nineteen colonies in North America in 1783.
Scotland is NOT the first part of the United Kingdom to secede, of course. In addition to those thirteen colonies, in 1922 Ireland seceded, followed a day later by Ulster (Northern Ireland) seceding from Ireland and rejoining the now United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. But Scotland’s departure is significantly different in many ways, since more than 300 years’ history will come to any end.
The Scottish Independence leaders state that they will remain loyal to the Crown, as Elizabeth II becomes Queen of Scotland once again, as she is Queen of Canada and Queen of New Zealand and so forth. They also state that Scotland will join the European Union, just as Ireland and the UK have.
It is this which makes it unlikely that any good will come out of this vote if it is YES for independence. Much of modern Britain’s problems lie with being in the EU, even though it has wisely stayed away from that abortion called the Euro (not that a pound sterling that is not backed by silver, or gold, or ANYTHING, is not itself an abomination). Much of Scotland’s government has been separate from that of England and Wales for the entire time, and MORE in recent years, especially with the reestablishment of the Scottish Parliament in 1997, in a process called devolution. Scotland’s government is no less tyrannical than the House of Commons or the European Parliament and Council, and that will certainly not change as a result of “full” independence. Britain’s people, Scots, Welsh, and English, and Ulster (Northern Irish) seem to have lost all ability, desire, and willingness for self-government as individuals and as societies. Another government, “independence,” without freedom and liberty, will do nothing.
Paradoxically, there might be more liberty in a stronger monarchy, one where the slimy, swarmy, “anything for a vote” politicians so afraid to offend and so willing to tyrannize “for your own good” in the House of Commons have someone’s sword hanging over them, now that they have physically and spiritually disarmed Her Majesty’s subjects.
In an aside, the Southern States of the old United States of America DID vote peaceably and openly, state by state, for Independence in 1860 and 1861. They DID separate in peace, initially. It was Lincoln and the rump Congress that would not leave well enough alone and decided that the Union must be “preserved” (in reality, “reestablished”) by force of arms, and took advantage of hotheads (and idiots) in the South (South Carolina, not much different than today, really) to claim the South fired first.
Although I don’t think that there are any politicians (much less the Monarchy) left in Great Britain that have the intestinal fortitude to take military action (right or wrong), there is always a chance that Westminster will do something stupid, and make matters worse. But until the people of Scotland (and Wales and Northern Ireland and England) rediscover a love of liberty and again learn to live free, it doesn’t matter where it is both the Cross of Saint Andrews and the Union Flag or just the Cross of Saint Andrews flies over Holyrood and Edinburgh Castle.