Why break the empire for the sake of it

Loch Garry in Scotland.

Loch Garry in Scotland.

I asked a Scottish colleague today whether he supports Scotland’s independence. “Absolutely not,” he said. “I will go home [on the referendum day] just to vote.”

He said that Scotland today has both the benefits of Scotland and being a part of the United Kingdom, so there would be no reason whatsoever why Scotland should become independent. “I don’t know anyone who supports Scottish independence,” he added.

He may very well be right—polls say only about a third of Scots do. Although, the fact that the Scottish government will allow 16- and 17-year-olds vote is worrying. Also to my colleague. These youngsters can be persuaded to express nationalist “Braveheart” sentiment and thus tilt the scales considerably, no matter what Holyrood claim.

I’d like to hope though that the voice of reason prevails, even among teenagers. So does the said colleague of mine: “I think all these people who have been passive in previous elections will come out on the referendum day and vote “no”.”

Let’s hope so. Because, if Alex Salmond and the SNP succeed, it will break up the British Empire just for the sake of it, only on some people’s whim, and for no practical reasons whatsoever. And the people who lose the most are the Scots themselves.

I’ve heard from many people that not supporting Scottish independence is the same as not supporting, for example, Estonia’s independence from the Soviet Union when Estonia was occupied. But in reality, that is not true. Scotland is not occupied, neither is it ruled by a one-party communist dictatorship. Scotland enjoys the same democracy than the rest of the United Kingdom.

Even more so—Scotland’s people can vote for their own national parliament, and the one in London. They enjoy all human rights, all freedoms that the citizens of democratic countries everywhere in the world enjoy. They are not oppressed in any way, unlike the people in the Soviet Union or other dictatorships were and are.

There’s an old saying that one shouldn’t mend a system that works. It applies to the issue of Scottish independence more than to anything else. Scotland gets huge subsidies from Westminster and it’s clear that the country’s social system could not bear its own burden if this financing is cut off.

On one hand, it’s good that the referendum will take place. It’ll settle the issue once and for all. The SNP will die of natural causes, Alex Salmond can go home and enjoy retirement instead of pissing in everyone else’s pool, and the empire will see another day. On the other hand, it’s a huge waste of money and energy to arrange a referendum on an issue that shouldn’t be an issue at all.

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