CGI's HotCoffee: Contentions Blame Braveheart and Bonnie Prince Charlie
Posted By: Susoni [Send E-Mail]
Date: Thursday, 18-Sep-2014 14:29:36
Tomorrow Scots will vote on independence from the United Kingdom in a historic referendum that looks right now as if it may actually lead to the division of Britain. The reasons for this have been debated ad nauseam in recent days, but though the critics of the independence movement have the far stronger arguments in terms of the interests of both Scotland and the UK, they seem, if polls are to be believed, to be failing to convince a majority of Scots to vote against independence. But the focus on economic arguments, however cogent, on the part of the measure’s opponents seems to miss the point about why the unthinkable may be about to happen.
Our Tom Wilson described independence as an idea that is “almost insane” in a recent piece. This movement similarly baffles historian Niall Ferguson. Writing earlier this week in the New York Times, Ferguson debunks the notion that Scotland is England’s last colony. The 1707 Act of Union was, he rightly notes, a merger of equals, not an act of English aggression. If anything, he says, the accession of James I (James VI of Scotland) as the successor of England’s Elizabeth I in 1603 can be seen as Scotland acquiring England, a transaction that was made formal a century later during the reign of his great-granddaughter Queen Anne. Lest anyone think that formulation became outdated when Anne was followed by the succession of Hanover (now Windsor) kings and queens, it should also be pointed out that 11 of the prime ministers of the UK have been Scots.
Scotland has benefited enormously from being part of the country that became Great Britain under the Scottish Stuart dynasty. Indeed, as Ferguson notes, the fact that he and liberal economist Paul Krugman both agree about the disastrous impact of independence amply illustrates the consensus across the political spectrum about its implications.
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