We hope that Scotland secedes. It won’t take long for the country to become a political and economic counterpart to the U.K. kind of like Ecuador is to the U.S. It would be fun just to see what would happen (the idiocy of both sides’ appeals notwithstanding, there are some fascinating issues for political junkies to watch unfold), and if we’re lucky, it will become a cautionary tale, namely, that Anglo-Saxon values of capitalism, individual liberty, peace through strength, and (relative) fiscal restraint aren’t so bad.
The removal of the Scottish delegation will end Labor’s natural monopoly in the U.K. parliament, and improve the prospects for passage of a get-out-of-the-E.U. vote if it ever happens. (Best case scenario: Prime Minister David Cameron resigns as a result of the vote, the Tories under Boris Johnson win the next election anyway, and they become capable of articulating a strong moral and economic argument against the E.U. that the more-favorable electorate then endorses in a referendum.)
It’s hard to sympathize with Scotland First Minister Alex Salmond, who is trying, absent all logic, to convince Scots that they can keep as much cake as they want and eat as much as they want too based solely on the fruits of the Scottish economy. If the voters buy his cynical (bashing Westminster Tories as the cause of Scotland’s malaise), dishonest (downplaying the limitations of the reserves of oil in the North Sea), thuggish (threatening “unpatriotic” businesses who dare voice support for the union) campaign from the far-left playbook, then they will certainly get what they deserve. Add demagogic to his tactics: he has extended the franchise to children, apparently counting on their gullibility to his promises of bread and circuses; and to non-British E.U. citizens living in Scotland, probably figuring that they will relish the opportunity to poke a stick in the eye of Europe’s leading light on the world stage.
Salmond’s threats to “nationalize” BP—and the fact that he rationally thinks that this will resonate with voters—tells us everything we need to know about the minds of the Scots. Pretty clever of him to appeal to the peacenik sentiment too, which is easy when he considers that he can just join the rest of Europe as free riders on the protection of U.K. and United States military power.
It’s almost as difficult to sympathize with Cameron. He has long stood for nothing—from opposing the Iraq War because Tony Blair supported it, to trying to outflank Blair on the left on “global warming,” to his now-abandoned-in-name-but-not-in-practice “Big Society” (i.e., big government) nanny state. His characteristically condescending promises to devolve more power to Scotland if it stays in the union, trotted out only when independence began looking possible in the polls, cannot be called anything other than pathetic. He started with the arrogant assumption that independence would never come to pass, and has moved on to a ham-handed response when that assumption proved shaky.
We have only one question, however. The standard media line is that Cameron will have to resign if the Scots vote for independence, but why is no one asking whether Salmond—who seems like a one-issue politician—must resign if they vote no? Maybe because Cameron is a Tory and Salmond is a socialist?