"The people of Scotland have spoken and it is a clear result. They have kept our country of four nations together and, like millions of other people, I am delighted." - British Prime Minister David Cameron, this morning
Long-time quiz participants and blog readers will remember that a few years back an argument raged on this blog and across a few other sites owing to objections to a simple quiz question I asked.
I asked in essence for Western European countries to be named. One team answered the United Kingdom (which they incorrectly believed at once to be 'England') and then answered Scotland as well, expecting credit on the question twice. They didn't get two correct answer credits for that, but one. This immediately led to a campaign by one long-term quiz participant to prove me incorrect, and to force me to say that 'Scotland is a country.'
My consistent response has been that the UK is a country comprised of multiple nations. (The prime minister of the UK stated this plainly today, but what the hell would he know?) The former is a political designation for a politically independent state whereas the latter is more a sense of shared culture. Thus we have the term nation-state, a designation for the fortunate overlap of both, a comparatively rare construct in the world.
Early on I pointed out I was possessed of this knowledge in part because I attended college as a political science major (Comparative and Developmental Politics concentration at that, a branch which examines exactly these questions and serves little other purpose to humanity), and subsequently worked in the field at a UN-registered NGO as well as a contractor for the US Department of State. This is really 101-level material, and the discussion I'd been hoping to have all along was one I find interesting, a conversation about when it's appropriate for the community of countries to recognize another. We never got that far, what with a lot of nonsensical prevaricating and stamping of feet from the opposition. It was far more important for some people to denigrate my education and character, here and on several other websites. Some people need a hobby, or perhaps some good sex.
Beyond this, traffic was driven at me from members of the Scottish Nationalist Party and the community of Scotland.com (the URL of which is registered in Pennsylvania), who took offense at my plain statement of objective reality that Scotland used to be a country and then decided to drop that to be part (the founding UK acts literally read "Part") of a bigger country before 1710. One might note, as I have several times, that they do not call themselves the Scottish Countryist Party.
I am a git and wanker and various North Sea troll words for holding a mirror up to reality. Supposedly I'm anti-Scot. The fact of the matter is that I never much gave the matter much thought one way or the other until involuntarily arguing with some Scots, who did not help their case.
Fortunately a couple SNP members have argued in my defense for the simple reason that they obviously desire(d) to be a country once more, and denying reality to a Yank wasn't, they reasoned, helping matters.
Comparing likes to likes, Scotland is a nation which has (had?) country aspirations. It's in the category of Catalonia and Sicily, places with distinct languages, cultures, flags, etc., but limited political autonomy. France is a country; the Bretons and Basques and other groups are nations.
After all the abuse I have to admit some Schadenfreude at the fact Jock couldn't get his shite together enough to rise up to the English wankers at the Battle of the Paper Ballot. All this bluster about Westminster oppression and people couldn't be bothered to paint their faces blue and go make an X on a sheet of paper. The referendum was a truly pathetic showing unless one wanted to prove that most people in Scotland feel tepidly British.
Consider that the SNP waited 3 years to hold a referendum - compare this to the one fucking week it took Crimea - in hopes of building support. Consider that the voting age was lowered to 16 (a move I generally support; well done Scotland!) to help the Yes vote, considering the young tend to go Yes and the old, who the SNP hoped would die off for 3 years, tend No.
Some 97% of the population were eligible to vote. Of those it appears 86% did. (Already we have 14% of eligible voters not giving enough of a fuck about an independent Scotland to leave the couch. Wallace would be proud!) Of those it appears only 45% voted Yes. Doing some rudimentary math, only 37.5% of the Scottish population, just 1 in 3 people 16 and older, have any interest in Scotland even becoming a country again, let alone think it already is.
The SNP should worry with those numbers about even maintaining a sense of nation.
Compare the Scottish referendum with those of Crimea, East Timor, South Sudan. In those cases turn-out exceeded 90% and, even under the threat of violence, 85-98% of the populations voted for a split. This was a fart in a teapot.
It would seem unsporting to say 'I told you so' when the wound is this fresh, but screw it, some people up in England's Hat are mean ... I told you so.