January 8, 2007


Whither the Scots? (John O' Sullivan, January 08, 2007, National Post)

There is growing support within Scotland for independence. As well as forecasting that the SNP will be the largest party with about one-third of the total vote, opinion polls show that more Scots favour independence than oppose it. One recent poll registered 52% support for full independence. [...]

Unfortunately for Blair, moreover, Scottish devolution has had a larger impact in England than in Scotland. It created a growing awareness that the Scots felt themselves to be very different from the English and even slightly hostile to them. That in turn directed the attention of the English to certain political facts they had hitherto taken for granted but that now seemed unfair. In particular:

- Britain's public expenditure includes a US$50-billion subsidy for Scotland. Thus, the average Scot obtains 30% more from the public expenditure than his English counterpart.

- Scottish MPs in the U.K. Parliament get to vote on all issues affecting England, but English MPs are barred from voting on issues that come under the Scottish Parliament.

- Labour is in an almost permanent minority in England, but Britain has a Labour government because of Scottish votes.

- And, finally, a high percentage of Labour cabinet ministers are Scots -- including the likely next prime minister, Gordon Brown. (Tony Blair is a Scot too, but not very noticeably.)

As long as the English and Scots saw each other as primarily British, members of the same national community, such things didn't matter. Once devolution emphasized the differences between them, however, the English began to resent these transfers as unfair. Fifty-nine per cent of English voters now support Scottish independence.

Let folks once start thinking themselves separate races and you'll not get the one to transfer its wealth to the other. Devolution turns out to be a function of belief in "species."

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 8, 2007 2:16 PM

Very good post. It's only one more example of the secessionist stupidness which scrambles all european countries: in France, in Spain, in Italy...

Posted by: spaniard at January 8, 2007 3:01 PM

Very good post. It's only one more example of the secessionist stupidness which scrambles all european countries: in France, in Spain (almost like Britain), in Italy...

Posted by: spaniard at January 8, 2007 3:05 PM

Excuse me. I've posted the same text three times. It was just an error. Computer goblins, you know.

Posted by: spaniard at January 8, 2007 3:07 PM


Not stupid. The Scots will get the oil and as OJ says they won't share it with the Brits.

Posted by: h-man at January 8, 2007 3:43 PM

H-man, that's crazy talk. Getting oil is about the worst thing a country can have happen.

Posted by: Robert Mitchell Jr. at January 8, 2007 3:56 PM

If there is no Britain, why should there be an England?

Posted by: Joseph Hertzlinger at January 8, 2007 6:10 PM

For the same reason there isn't there won't be.

Posted by: oj at January 8, 2007 8:08 PM

Only war justifies the state. All that is not the world government had no need of it. Live in your tiny villages and tend your flowers, dear little Hobbits, Gondor will protect you.

Posted by: Lou Gots at January 8, 2007 11:22 PM

Why should there be a Scotland? Can we bring back Strathclyde?

Posted by: Joseph Hertzlinger at January 9, 2007 2:39 AM

Can Scotland be reconfigured as a theme park?

Posted by: erp at January 9, 2007 7:14 AM