Thoughts on the Scottish referendum

This is not a political blog. I’m not going to get in the habit of espousing my political views, there are far too many sites focused on every narrow political perspective under the sun, and frankly most of it bores me. Because it seems that 90% of politics focuses so narrowly on single issues that it misses the bigger picture. Instead, I want to focus on what makes us all similar, not what drives us apart.

Scotland has chosen to remain part of the United Kingdom, which has existed since 1707. I’m not much of an Anglophile, and my recollection of British history is a bit rusty. Like most Americans, I suppose what little I know about Scottish independence comes from Hollywood movies like Rob Roy and Braveheart. Movies which glamorize the scrappy underdog fighting for freedom against the hated English. Those movies fail to tell the stories of the men and women who struggled and died to achieve unity and long lasting peace on the isle of Britain, instead they exploit nationalism in the form of face paint and kilts.

I’m a sucker for the underdog as much as the next guy. But unity is a good thing. Dissolving the union means separation and division. It means focusing on the differences rather than the similarities. England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland would never have been great nations had they stood alone and independent. United we stand, divided we fall, indeed. The isles would have been fraught with quarreling and bickering, if not outright war over the past 300-plus years. Alone they could not have withstood the onslaught of German bombardment during World War 2 and would probably have fallen to Hitler’s army one by one, if not joining him in pacts to hasten each other’s demise. We can argue about the damage that might have been avoided had the colonial era never existed, but I would strongly argue that as bad as British colonialism was, imagine how awful it could have been had another less democratic nation laid claim to all the world’s territories. We have historical proof in the form of the Herero genocide that German colonial rule was far more cruel than anything seen under a waving Union Jack. Not to mention the atrocities committed by the Belgians in King Leopold’s Congo. Had there been no United Kingdom nothing could have held these evils in check.

But I digress. My point is that a united democracy is inevitably a stronger and more stable form of government, and ultimately one which is better for human rights and decency. I have ancestors that fought on both sides of the American Civil War, for their own reasons, but ultimately the Union prevailed and our United States endured. Were I forced to make the same choice today, I would unquestioningly stand for the Union.

Congratulations, Scotland, on choosing unity over Balkanization and isolation. Long live the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. And may God save the Queen.

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