Crimea's detachment from Ukraine (and could eastern Ukraine be next?) has prompted journalists and historians to revisit the annexations and land grabs under "Manifest Destiny" in U.S. history... also, contemporary secessionist movements.
Here in North America, Quebecers have gone to the brink several times, only to pull back from a break with Canada over the financial costs. (Not to mention starting a secessionist Groundhog Day, with native peoples agitating to separate from an independent Quebec)
But, this Scottish story remains largely absent from the U.S. popular news media.
From The SCOTSMAN:
SCOTTISH INDEPENDENCE: NEW POLL SHOWS 'YES' SHIFT
"The gap between Yes and No votes in the independence referendum has narrowed, according to an opinion poll that delivers a double blow to those fighting to keep Scotland in the United Kingdom.
The new survey for Scotland on Sunday suggests a swing of just five percentage points would bring Scotland to the cusp of independence, while a large proportion of the population remain unconvinced that a No vote would deliver the more powerful Scottish Parliament that they want.
The poll, conducted by ICM Research, found that 39 per cent of the 1,010 people sampled would vote Yes in the referendum -- an increase of two percentage points on the previous month.
The percentage of No votes fell from 49 in February to 46 per cent, leaving the proportion of 'don't knows' at 15 per cent (down one percentage point on last month).
A gap looked narrower still when the 'don't knows' were excluded from the analysis..."
It would still take a leap for the 'Yes' side to prevail. One factor hurting the 'Yes' side: London would apparently not allow Scotland to remain in the Pound Sterling currency zone.
But Scotland has energy as a weapon, in a way -- just like Russia -- except that the current oil slump might force some Scots to resist the emotional tug towards independence.
Yet, if you had asked me 25 or 35 years ago which was more likely to occur: Quebec's separation from Canada, or Scotland's separation from the United Kingdom, I would have reflexively said Quebec.
And who would have thought that Scottish separation was more likely than the detachment of Northern Ireland from the U.K.? In retrospect, though, some of the Protestant majority in Northern Ireland is almost MORE loyal to London and the concept of the United Kingdom than the English themselves (Somewhat analagous to white Southerners in the United States being superpatriotic, contributing disproportionately to the U.S. armed forces, etc. Come to think of it, many white Southerners ARE the descendants of Scotch-Irish Protestant immigrants. Where the analogy breaks down: U.S. white Southerners are generally more resistant to the Federal government and government programs; the Scots in the United Kingdom tend to be more socialist oriented than the English!)
A rough parallel: The Dutch in The Netherlands evolved into one of the most liberal/progressive peoples in the world - except for the recent rightward turn against immigrants, although that can partly be explained in that many of the immigrants are very traditional and anti-progressive. Meanwhile, the Dutch descendants in South Africa - Afrikaners / Boers - obviously swung right. Ditto Dutch-dominated U.S. Congressional districts, such as western Michigan.)
A United Kingdom without Scotland would be a very truncated United Kingdom indeed: Just England, Wales, and Northern Ireland, plus the remaining tiny overseas possessions. Politically, the remaining country would likely swing more Tory.
Posted at 7:18am on March 24, 2014 by Allan Loudell
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