Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Scottish Question

By this time tomorrow, we'll know how the vote turned out. I've been mulling over the Scottish Question and can see both the Yes and No sides. Since i live across the Pond, it's not my decision to make, but it has made me think of earlier times in my country's history as well as when the USSR broke apart. In the latter situation, which occurred in my lifetime, i got the sense that some people felt once they were free of Mother Russia, all would be well. I remarked to Himself at the time when some of them seemed surprise at the tumult after declaring freedom, "They're looking at us and asking why it's not all sorted, as it seems to be here. Don't they realise they're looking at us 200 years out? That when we were first free, we went though a big, giant mess until we could find our way? And, we nearly didn't." Some would say we're still in a big, giant mess, but that's a different discussion topic.

Although there are those who would paint the picture that nearly everyone on this side of the Pond wanted to be a free and independent state, that was not the case. There were many who were loyal to the Crown and a great many more who really just wanted to live their lives, work their land, raise their families. Deciding to end one system of rule and start another is no small task, and although the American Experiment ultimately succeeded despite great odds against it, it didn't come without cost. I think in our case it was a bit easier because there was a rather large body of water dividing us from the Mother Country, communication wasn't instantaneous, there were a list of grievances to which most would agree, and we had a lot of natural resources at hand. And yet, we still had the process of disentangling ourselves, establishing ourselves as our own nation, no more tyranny, etc. What i see, though, is that the apple didn't fall far from the tree. We became a super power and wanted to dictate things to the world at large. Leave our stamp everywhere we go. And, for better or worse, we have. Truly, we've done the Mother Country proud.

Our disentanglement easily took upwards of 50 years, and we were a British colony for only 150 years or so. Scotland's history intertwines with England's for many more centuries, and they're right next door to one another. They share currency, banks, businesses. Will Scotland keep a constitutional monarchy, and proclaim Elizabeth as Queen of Scots, or will they decide to separate completely, install a Scotsman or woman as their monarch? Will they dispense with monarchy altogether and become a republic? Will they join the EU? Will they keep the counties they've always had or make the counties more like provinces or states?

I know some of this has been already discussed, but i also see these points as needing to be reconsidered should the voters say yes. Once they have decided to pull away from the UK, they may feel differently about some of these things. Or that the earlier decision was made in a vacuum, which has since punctured.

And if the yes vote carries, what are the next steps? Who decides which traditions will be maintained or discarded? Passion runs high on both sides, and what plans have been made to reconcile, because no matter how the vote falls, these people will need to find a way to work together, either to establish new practices, policies, and procedures in a free state, or to improve on the system already in place.

Does one choose the unknown path or should one stick to the devil he knows? If the current situation is truly onerous and one sees little chance of change, then i can see where the unknown path would hold more appeal. I understand how it chafes when some place well away from where i live holds sway over what i may and may not do. I also understand the idea that should the vote go no, there'll be some sort of punitive backlash. Some of that may be unintentional but interpreted as malevolent and some may indeed be sinister. Power and cloudy perception can do funny things to otherwise intelligent people.

I don't envy Scotland their position. I do hope that however the vote goes, it's what's best, even if not everyone can see that's clearly the case.