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By Robert A. Vella

Yesterday, the Scottish referendum for independence failed by a 10 point margin.  Voter turnout was unusually high at nearly 85 percent.  The result is rather surprising considering the closeness of the pre-election polls which had showed a virtual dead-heat contest.  So, the 307 year-old United Kingdom survived.  So too does its 47 year-old Prime Minister David Cameron, at least for now.

It appears that Scotland began having second-thoughts about the referendum as the election drew near.  This would suggest a cautious, contemplative mood among the populace which contradicts the country’s proudly defiant image as portrayed in pop-culture by films such as Braveheart.

The people that have inhabited what is now Scotland have faced many aggressors despite the fact that their land was poor and their climate harsh.  Not until the discovery of North Sea oil did Scotland possess anything of value which other peoples would covet.  But, that didn’t stop the invaders.  The Britons, Romans, Saxons, Vikings, Normans, and English all waged aggressive war against them.  It made the Scots a protective and nationalistic people.  It gave them a strong cultural identity and a wariness of outside authority which persisted throughout the centuries.  To the progressive Scots, Margaret Thatcher’s conservative Tories (now headed by Cameron) were such a disliked outside authority – running roughshod over their country and not at all sharing in their values.

But, the world has changed.  It is now a global community where big business rules and the borders between nations has become less significant.  The Scots, for all their blustery heritage and history, are a wise and pragmatic people.  They probably made the right choice.  Although, at least from this observer’s perspective, it would have been grand to see them shout out in a unified voice… “FREEDOM!”

Further reading:  UK remains united after Scotland referendum

12 thoughts on “Chickenheart: Scotland rejects Independence

    • “Every man dies, but not every man really lives.” Great film. Too bad it didn’t influence this vote more, but, I do not live in Scotland, so perhaps I’m missing something here I don’t quite understand. That’s actually the story of my life.

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    • Yes, it’s also one of my favorite epic films despite the historical inaccuracies (the Battle of Sterling Bridge was fought on the bridge not on an open field, and there’s no period evidence for the blue face paint).

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      • As well, William Wallace and Robert the Bruce most likely never even met each other, let alone fight along side of each other. However, if one goes into a Hollywood film BASED on a historical figure expecting to find a bitingly honest piece filled with amazingly accurate historical facts, one needs a good psychiatrist and a few shots to the head. I assume everything in such a film is made up, then, if my interest is peaked, as it was with “Brave Heart”, I’ll seek out accurate historical info on the film. Absolute blow by blow accuracy is tossed for story telling purposes. Always. I always recommend Andy Warhol’s 24 hour long film about a day in the life of a building side for those seeking pure accuracy in their film going experience. You get to watch 24 hours accurately displayed in real time without a single bit of tweaking done for entertainment purposes. Now, if you can sit through that, and say you’ve enjoyed it, I’d like to meet so I can tell you I do not believe you.

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  1. Though I favour an independent Scotland, I respect their decision. What annoys me is not that British people tried to convince the Scots to stay in the UK, but that all kind of foreigners attempted to influence the vote against independence. Varying from Hillary Clinton to Spanish pm Rajoy, whom I really dislike because his arrogance and disdain of the right of self-determination of his citizens. And the whole thing that UK would better with Scotland because it would be bigger, and that Scotland would be to small. Nonsense. Big states are actually the problem and not the solution in world politics. For instance one of the factors that the European Union is in serious disarray is because the conflict of interests among the bigger members, Germany, UK and France.

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    • Very good points. Hillary Clinton is a globalist, so her opposition to social fractionalization is understandable. Rajoy’s opposition to Scottish independence is also consistent with his politics since his conservative roots trace back to the fascist dictator Francisco Franco.

      Regarding the size of government and states, resolving that question depends on many variables. How culturally homogenous is the population? How much competition exists between social factions? What is the nature of the competition? What is the condition of the population? Is it too large for the available resources, or too small to sustain economic growth? What external threats does the population face, and what are the causes of those threats? The determination of these factors, and more, has great impact on the appropriate size of government and the size of sovereign states. One size, so to speak, does not fit all circumstances.

      The only precept I would support is one which advocates for the smallest possible national government pursuant to the health and well-being of the population. Each case is unique and must be evaluated on its own merits. The E.U. model is unprecedented, to my knowledge. Such a large, diverse population has never been brought together democratically before in human history. All previous attempts were made authoritatively, and imposed through military force.

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