Scottish Independence - Spoiler: NO won

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Re: Scottish Independence

Postby Master Gunner » 14 Sep 2014, 11:38

CiderMuffin wrote:I remember hearing that if Scotland goes independent they'll try to be viewed as a Scandinavian country, not sure what that's going to do for them.

Nordic, not Scandinavian, but yes. They would likely be accepted as a "Nordic Country", join their council, and all that jazz.

If that does happen, Estonia is going to feel really left out.
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Re: Scottish Independence

Postby Merrymaker_Mortalis » 14 Sep 2014, 11:56

The problem is that in theory, United Nations is a good idea as long as each nation's identity is acknowledged and respected.

Unfortunately, The United Kingdom of Great Britain is basically The United Kingdom of England and those other countries.

We feel like London doesn't care about what happens outside of the great English cities.

We just want our identity.

The UK works financially and diplomatically. It fails with regards to culture appreciation.
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Re: Scottish Independence

Postby Valkyrie-Lemons » 14 Sep 2014, 12:30

Well...Considering England makes up around 80% of the total population of the UK, it makes sense that England has the biggest say. Not saying that Westminster shouldn't regard/respect the other nations in the Union, but England is kinda the main focus in the Union.


For example, I was in France last week and while watching French TV to see what the England result was for the Euro qualifiers, they showed the Union Jack (I'm not even joking) as the flag for England. So it's not just Westminster that has this bias towards England.
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Re: Scottish Independence

Postby Arclight_Dynamo » 14 Sep 2014, 12:31

With respect, it seems to me that this is exactly why a federal structure would be appropriate for the UK.
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Re: Scottish Independence

Postby Valkyrie-Lemons » 14 Sep 2014, 12:52

Arclight_Dynamo wrote:With respect, it seems to me that this is exactly why a federal structure would be appropriate for the UK.


Honestly, that wouldn't work.

Unlike the US (which I assume is what you're basing a federal structure on), you only have four states, where one is much, much bigger than the other three. A federal structure works best when you have plenty of states and there is no dominant state that could effectively dictate the legislative to the other states. Having a system that gives everyone an equal vote would give the smaller states a hugely disproportionate say and would never be accepted by the bigger state (basically England).
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Re: Scottish Independence

Postby Merrymaker_Mortalis » 14 Sep 2014, 13:04

Bear in mind the existence of:

Welsh
Irish Gaelic
and Scotch.

The latter two have been stomped out almost to extinction, and Welsh only managed to survive due to a certain book being printed in Welsh.

These are countries of origin for these languages.
It's quite important to their identity.

I don't see why all none-English countries in the UK cannot have 100% control over their own country. But are united together in an alliance.
What makes this different from being part of the EU is that the EU actually wants to support Culture.
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Re: Scottish Independence

Postby Elomin Sha » 14 Sep 2014, 13:08

What was the certain book?



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Re: Scottish Independence

Postby My pseudonym is Ix » 14 Sep 2014, 13:16

OK, some analytical backstory: Scotland want to be independent because they don't like the UK government being focused on what it perceives as 'English' issues. Leaving aside the economic issues (which I WILL NOT be drawn into an argument about), this makes the issue one of 'small country syndrome'- the idea that small countries are generally speaking 'better' as they allow countries to focus on more pertinent issues to their local inhabitants and be less heavy-handed in the application of law. By way of an example that our American friends can relate to: alcohol being illegal in Utah might make perfect sense there, but look what happened when the whole US tried living under prohibition.

Sounds great right? Well, therein lies the rub- small countries have a long tradition of being able to apply law and social policy in a way that suits them, but that very fact makes them insular in nature and as a rule less progressive. Look at Swaziland, which makes do with a complete nutter acting as a tribal king whilst South Africa makes an attempt (OK, maybe not the best example) at democracy and inclusivity. Imagine how long it might have taken the South to have rejected slavery had it not been forced upon them by the Union. Small countries are almost impossible to corral into international agreement, simply because of the sheer number on them, and with issues like climate change and such requiring ever more and more international cooperation they present a very real and global threat, entirely inadvertantly, merely by existing.

I present this merely as a general commentary on small country syndrome. Make of it what you will.

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Master Gunner wrote:
CiderMuffin wrote:I remember hearing that if Scotland goes independent they'll try to be viewed as a Scandinavian country, not sure what that's going to do for them.

Nordic, not Scandinavian, but yes. They would likely be accepted as a "Nordic Country", join their council, and all that jazz.

If that does happen, Estonia is going to feel really left out.


Loving the subtle Finnish joke in there :)
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Re: Scottish Independence

Postby Hiramas » 14 Sep 2014, 13:44

My pseudonym is Ix wrote:-snip-


That was actually quite informative, thank you.
Didn't london offer an alternative to adress exactly this?
More competences for the scottish parliament?
Could that not be better for scotland than a secession?
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Re: Scottish Independence

Postby Arclight_Dynamo » 14 Sep 2014, 14:27

Valkyrie-Lemons wrote:Honestly, that wouldn't work.

Unlike the US (which I assume is what you're basing a federal structure on), you only have four states, where one is much, much bigger than the other three. A federal structure works best when you have plenty of states and there is no dominant state that could effectively dictate the legislative to the other states. Having a system that gives everyone an equal vote would give the smaller states a hugely disproportionate say and would never be accepted by the bigger state (basically England).


My reference frame is Canada, in fact, not the US. Funny thing - Canada started with exactly four provinces, one of which was by far the most dominant, both in terms of size and privilege (being, well, English rather than French). So, you know, that worked out.

Also, given that this is the case, there is no political mechanism in Canada whereby each province has an equal say in anything. That's true in the US Senate, but there's nothing analogous in Canada. It wouldn't work, so we have a different federal system.

Of course the system needs to be designed to fit the country in question - that would be true of a federal UK as well. Otherwise it won't work.

But if you're really worried about disproportionate regions, there's the oft bandied about notion of dividing England into regions - London, the North, whatever. I don't think that would be necessary given that provinces with disproportionate sizes have been shown to work in the Canadian example, but it is a possibility.
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Re: Scottish Independence

Postby Valkyrie-Lemons » 14 Sep 2014, 15:10

I think it works for Canada because everyone is super polite. Even if Canada had a dictator, it would still be super polite. "You're all going to work camps!...If it's not too much bother of course."

In all seriousness, I suppose a method that could work is something similar to how football (soccer) sets new rules. The English, Scottish, Welsh, and N.Irish FAs all have one vote, whereas FIFA has 4 votes, and 75% need to agree (6 votes). One cannot force through new rules without the other's consent, but FIFA (representing every other nation) has a bigger say. You could apply it so that England has three votes and Scotland, Wales, and N.Ireland have one.

England can't do anything without effectively having at least half of the Union agreeing, but the other three states can't force England to do something without it agreeing. It's fairer, but not perfect.


Also, the point about dividing England into regions would be really hard to do. The fact that county boundaries have changed a lot over time (some don't even exist any more) would make it hard to create coherent boundaries. You can do it for something like EU constituencies, mainly because people are so ambivalent about the EU they probably don't know what the different regions are, but for creating a form of devolved/federal region may prove tricky. Not impossible, but you'd find it hard to create something that the majority of people would be happy with.
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Re: Scottish Independence

Postby Arclight_Dynamo » 14 Sep 2014, 15:29

Look, I don't think you need anything so complicated to make a federal system work in the UK. What you're describing with disproportionate regions just... that's not how federations work. What you need for a federation is a definite division of powers between the national (Westminster) and the local (Scottish, Welsh, English, Northern Irish) Parliaments. (Yes, I know that England doesn't have its own Parliament - one would need to be created separate from Westminster). That's how federal systems like the US, Canada, and Australia function.

For example:

Defence? That's a national issue, so it's up to Westminster. Scotland has no say except through the federal MPs it sends to Westminster. Ditto England and the other two. The regional Parliaments and governments are not involved with defence, ever, since that is outside their constitutional jurisdiction. There is no need to even think about which region has more say on the issue, because it isn't a regional issue - it's a national issue, properly dealt with by the national Parliament and federal government (which is not the same as the regional government of England, Scotland, or anything else).

Education? Let's say that's up to the regions, as it is in the US and Canada. That means that Westminster never comes into it. They have zero say, since it is outside their constitutional jurisdiction. It's up to the local Parliaments, who have jurisdiction on the matter - Scottish education is up to Holyrood, Welsh education is up to the Senedd, English education is up to the new solely-English regional Parliament that would need to be created (let's put it in, I dunno, Oxford), and so on. Regional disparities never matter in this case. England wants X, England gets X. Scotland wants Y, Scotland gets Y... because England has no say in Scottish education at all, since it is a regional issue, not a national one.

So what if England is disproportionately powerful compared to Scotland? Under a federal system, constitutionally they can never touch Scottish education.

That's the entire point of a federation, and is exactly how they operate in practice.
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Re: Scottish Independence

Postby Master Gunner » 14 Sep 2014, 15:52

Canada "works", but it was touch and go for a while. At confederation (and not too different now), Ontario and Quebec weren't far off in terms of population (1.5 million vs 1.1 million), which was reflected in the House of Commons, and in the senate they had equal representation. Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, meanwhile, had drastically smaller populations and were severely overrepresented in parliament (I think we've actually lost seats since then to bring it in line).

As for constitutional separation of powers? Even that can be touchy at times. There was a lot of political controversy in Canada's early days about more and more power being claimed by Ottawa/Ontario through "inventive" interpretations of the relevant clauses. In the states, the "Commerce Clause" of their constitution is frequently invoked by Congress and their Supreme Court in order to apply their power (if it can be argued that an issue affects trade between states, then they get to make their say).

Mostly it worked because it allowed Quebec some freedom from British rule, Ontario got to feel good about themselves. Nova Scotia immediately tried to leave until they were payed off too, and nobody cares about New Brunswick.
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Re: Scottish Independence

Postby Arclight_Dynamo » 14 Sep 2014, 16:46

Master Gunner wrote:Canada "works", but it was touch and go for a while. At confederation (and not too different now), Ontario and Quebec weren't far off in terms of population (1.5 million vs 1.1 million), which was reflected in the House of Commons, and in the senate they had equal representation. Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, meanwhile, had drastically smaller populations and were severely overrepresented in parliament (I think we've actually lost seats since then to bring it in line).


The Senate is, of course, meaningless. As for the Commons, rep by pop has been the principle, and seat adjustments have been made over the years to keep things in line with that. In fact, we're due for a big adjustment next year.

As for constitutional separation of powers? Even that can be touchy at times. There was a lot of political controversy in Canada's early days about more and more power being claimed by Ottawa/Ontario through "inventive" interpretations of the relevant clauses.


Forgive me, but I'm not sure that's strictly true. Constitutional law in Canada has been a history of the federal government losing power to the provinces over time. The JCPC especially was very sympathetic to the provinces over the feds in jurisdictional cases. So has the Supreme Court, more recently. Hell, they wouldn't even rule that a single securities regulator is a federal responsibility, which is, as far as I know, unprecedented in the OECD.

In the states, the "Commerce Clause" of their constitution is frequently invoked by Congress and their Supreme Court in order to apply their power (if it can be argued that an issue affects trade between states, then they get to make their say).


That's true - the trend in the US has been the opposite of the trend in Canada. It's a trend towards further centralization down there.

Mostly it worked because it allowed Quebec some freedom from British rule, Ontario got to feel good about themselves. Nova Scotia immediately tried to leave until they were payed off too, and nobody cares about New Brunswick.


But the compromise did work. I don't see why it also shouldn't in the UK. Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland get some freedom from London's rule, and England feels good about remaining at the centre of things while not losing parts of the UK.
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Re: Scottish Independence

Postby Hiramas » 15 Sep 2014, 11:58

So this is one take on the whole thing ;)
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Re: Scottish Independence

Postby Elomin Sha » 15 Sep 2014, 12:02

Damn, UK can't see it.
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Re: Scottish Independence

Postby Merrymaker_Mortalis » 15 Sep 2014, 15:08

Elomin Sha wrote:What was the certain book?


The Bible.

First Welsh Book printed. By having the language written down, it allowed it to survive. To be stronger than Irish Gaelic, or the others.
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Re: Scottish Independence

Postby plummeting_sloth » 17 Sep 2014, 11:51

I wonder what happens if it is voted down, in terms of further measures. It's definitely going to be a close vote, one way or the other. Does the independence movement come-right with the close results and say "We'll probably get it again soon, we'd like more powersharing agreements to keep that from happening". Does England feel emboldened or humbled by such a narrow win?
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Re: Scottish Independence

Postby empath » 17 Sep 2014, 11:54

We'll have to wait and see, I guess.

In the case of Quebec and Canada, it was narrowly 'stay' and things pretty much turned out as you said - measures were made to 'sweeten the pig', and the separatist furor died down gradually (on a federal level at least; I can't speak for how things had been inside Quebec).

Whether this even turns out the same vote-wise, remains to be seen.

*drumroll...*
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Re: Scottish Independence

Postby plummeting_sloth » 17 Sep 2014, 11:56

But, since they could be Nordic if they break way, Sweetening the Pig will have to compete with Swedening the Pig
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Re: Scottish Independence

Postby Arclight_Dynamo » 17 Sep 2014, 12:01

My advice to the Yes side if the No side wins? Don't come out and blame your loss on "Money and the ethnic vote" like the losing separatist premier of Quebec did back in '95.
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Re: Scottish Independence

Postby JayBlanc » 17 Sep 2014, 12:18

Actually, it looks entirely unlikely that the Nordic council would be happy to accept Scotland as a member. Because Scotland doesn't have any land borders or bridges to any of the Nordic countries, which is why Estonia isn't a Nordic council member.

It's also still likely that Scotland would be required to enter the EU as a new nation.

It's also still likely that Scotland would have its membership petition vetoed by Spain.

It's also still likely that a currency union with Scotland would be politically unacceptable to the rest of the UK.

It's also still likely that the rest of the UK would not give Scotland all the benefits of remaining within the UK, such as the Royal Mail, the BBC, Commonwealth Passports, Foreign Consulates et all... without having to pay the rest of the UK something for the privilege.

It's also still likely that the threat to default on their share of national debt if they don't get their way, and even just making that threat, will wreck Scotland's credit rating.

The only people who say otherwise are the SNP, and they say that it's so because talk otherwise is all a plot by Westminster to scare good honest scotsmen into voting no.
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Re: Scottish Independence

Postby Master Gunner » 17 Sep 2014, 12:25

Iceland is a full member of the Nordic Council, so I daresay it's more complicated than being able to drive to Oslo.
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Re: Scottish Independence

Postby Lord Chrusher » 17 Sep 2014, 13:30

empath wrote:We'll have to wait and see, I guess.

In the case of Quebec and Canada, it was narrowly 'stay' and things pretty much turned out as you said - measures were made to 'sweeten the pig', and the separatist furor died down gradually (on a federal level at least; I can't speak for how things had been inside Quebec).

Whether this even turns out the same vote-wise, remains to be seen.

*drumroll...*


Separatism is at a low at the provincial level as well in Quebec. In the latest Quebec election, the separatist Parti Québécois lost handily to the federalist Liberals after the Parti Québécois strongly supported holding a third referendum on independence.
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Re: Scottish Independence

Postby AlexanderDitto » 17 Sep 2014, 19:43

I really have only a superficial understanding of the situation, but the more I hear about things, the more it sounds like a Yes vote could be really economically bad for Scotland. :(

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