Is there anything Australian actors can’t do? 😉
Seriously, though. I got sick of publicizing an ex-politician at the top of my blog, and thought a discussion of Scotland’s secession vote next week might be worthwhile.
I’m still trying to get my head around the ramifications of Scotland seceding from the United Kingdom. What do Scots see in it for themselves, beyond an emotional boost? So far as I am aware, Scotland is officially a mendicant nation, relying on economic support and welfare from England. How are they going to pay their oversized public service, teachers, nurses and firemen?
Scotland’s native economy has been in decline since the end of the Second World War. Once one of the world’s great centres of heavy industry, Clydeside shipyards once produced over half of Britain’s shipping tonnage. Locomotives, heavy machinery and agricultural equipment all flowed from Scotland’s shores. But no longer.
You can’t run a national economy on whisky and tourism (the world’s best malt whisky isn’t made in Scotland any longer, anyway). And while much is made of its new, high-end industries like micro-electronics, software and biotech, these are information- and capital-intensive industries, not labour-intensive, and will never employ more than a tiny fraction of the nation’s two-million-plus workforce. The same goes for banking and the finance sector. Scotland is too large to be a banking haven like Liechtenstein or the Channel Islands, yet too small to be a global financial hub like London.
So why do Scots want to secede from the Union? Is is a purely emotional thing? I could understand that if it were true. The earliest non-convict ancestor of mine to arrive in Australia was a fellow from Aberdeen back in the 1830s. The inferiority complex, born out of history, still burns many Scots today, or so we are told.
There are some logistical issues surrounding Scotland’s secession too. The flag is a prime example. The Union Jack without the Cross of Saint Andrew looks rather anaemic and awkward. And the flags of Australia, New Zealand and indeed all Commonwealth states and colonies currently sporting the Union Jack would likewise have to be altered. Maybe that’s how Scotland is planning to support itself in future—as the vexillogenic capital of the world.
Then there’s the monarchy. Scottish Independence leader Alex Salmond says he is in favour of the Queen remaining the head of the Scottish state (and indeed of Scotland remaining in the Commonwealth), but many of the loudest proponents of Scottish independence are out-and-out republicans, or even Marxists. This is a bit odd, because when William (who is descended, through Diana, from the House of Spencer and the Jacobite kings of Scotland) is crowned king, he will bring a very Scottish strain to the royal bloodline, for those who care about such things.
In the end, the decision to secede is entirely up to the people of Scotland. I’m fond of them now, and will be just as fond of them after the referendum, whichever way they jump.