Sunday, 26 June 2016

Will the UK Survive Brexit?

I have supported independence most of my adult life. The reason is mundane - it's because I am Scottish. Now there are people who think that supporting self-determination is small-minded. And it is only natural for people who feel British, rather than Scottish, to think so. That's hardly surprising; but wanting your country to run its own affairs, and being outward-minded, do not have to be mutually exclusive. There are uncertainties about finances of course, with claim and counter-claim. But taking a step back and looking at the fundamentals shows that (provided we avoid electing numpties which is a whole other issue) there's no reason an independent Scotland cannot thrive.

No reason except one.

Uh oh - EU Referendum results:

There is and always has been one key pre-requisite for Scottish success, whether inside or outside the UK, and that is good relations with England. The days of cross-border peace before the 14th century Wars of Independence were prosperous, as was the age of the British Empire when we were inside the tent, pissing out. But between the 1300s and the first Jacobite rising, life in Scotland was often a struggle for survival in the face of hostile English attention. The tone of England's relations with its neighbours is key to their security and prosperity.

Membership of the EU and NATO altered that. One guarantees trade, the other physical security. Small European countries flourish in a way that was impossible in the 19th century, when they were gobbled up by empires. And while the consensus now seems to be that Brexit will trigger Scottish independence, I am not so sure. England and Wales being out of the EU is a problem for Scotland. While everyone else rushes to the Indyref 2 banner, I'd rather see how things pan out first.

Perhaps there is now no way of avoiding a period of awkward relations with the rest of the UK. If so that would be a shame. And it would be an ironically Scottish outcome - similar to the failure of the 18th century Scottish elites to rebrand England as 'south Britain' - to gain independence not through a self-empowered choice, but by England declaring it first...


Douglas Wilcox said...

Very well thought out Robert. You would do better than our politicians who seem to be running round like headless chickens at the moment. :o)

Robert Craig said...

No thanks, who would be a politician! Did you not know that their main purpose is to be someone for the public to blame when things don't work out?