Monday, September 15, 2014


The vote regarding the future of the United Kingdom as we know it will have far reaching consequences.  A Yes or a No vote does not carry a moral weight per se, but if the No vote wins, it would nevertheless be seen and felt as a victory over more provincial interests and as a recognition of the value of larger considerations. The United Kingdom can still find ways to adapt, to meet the needs of devolution, while an independent Scotland would almost certainly lead to a flawed analysis of what might lie ahead. The more inward looking, almost "tribal" component of the Scottish psyche might accordingly stand in the way of its ambition and credibility internationally. England would receive a blow for sure, but the English (and Welsh) have proven to be able to turn hardships around.

I am of the opinion that, when confronted with memory, the Scots will end up staying in the Union. Sentiment might end up playing a larger role than taxes, oil revenues, currency and other more irrational issues. Still it has to be recognized that the the party of Yes and Mr. Salmond were better than the dour, often desperate sounding uttering coming out of London.
The Queen's mild admonition might have a larger effect than the London Chorus.

A lot has been said about the possible "multiplicator" effect from a Scottish Yes vote on similar situations in Catalonia and Flanders in particular. The interrogations are legitimate but can also be reversed in case of a victory of the No's. Besides, the comparison with other particular cases does not fly since the history, the narrative and the interwoven interests are different.
As a European I would regret the "reduction" of the United Kingdom to a mariage a deux + Northern Ireland.  Europe is besieged by demons of its own making--immigration, bureaucracy, political alienation, home-grown Jihadism--and it does not need an other hybrid problem in the minus column.

Whatever the result of the vote, the United Kingdom will be different, be it in its quantitative might, or in its qualitative recalibration of the Union, in case the No's prevail.  Reforms would become unavoidable and as a result, the Union is destined to become looser in any case, having to placate constitutional opposing camps. The United Kingdom might end up looking to the despised Belgian model for inspiration.  Mrs. Thatcher would turn in her grave.

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