Thursday, September 18, 2014

The Divided Kingdom?

By Saturday, there may not be much left of the United Kingdom. Such an historic event, this possible disruption after three hundred plus years, but there is no armed struggle or rebellion or outbreak of fighting. The Scots will just go to the polls and decide what they were not in a position to decide in 1700.

The race is too close to call, according to those who study these things. A survey of Scottish writers, however, shows that the literary set are all in favor of independence from England. Even Robert Burns would have voted yes, according to politician and Yes-enthusiast Alex Salmond.

Business types are doing a great deal of hand-wringing and teeth gnashing, while those who earn their keep from words are looking at Scottish independence as a most favorable outcome. Why, there's all that North Sea oil and without London telling Scotland what to do, there would be more money distributed to those in need like the poor and the elderly. And authors and playwrights and poets.
Voldemort with a Scottish burr

J.K. Rowling, who has earned far more from her writing than the average Scottish author, is soundly against the effort to decouple the union. She's gone so far as to compare some of the Yes set to Deatheaters, which would make Alex Salmond the equivalent of Lord Voldemort apparently.

Her fellow writers decry the dystopian future that the nay sayers predict, seeing only that which is rosy and positive. It makes you wonder about the mindset, with those who deal in fiction imagining good things while those who deal with cold facts picturing a more dismal scene of a country fallen into poverty.

The writers are not asking about pensions and what becomes of them if Scotland is no longer part of the United Kingdom. They aren't overly concerned with the monetary system and what happens if the British pound is no longer the currency and the EU says no to using the euro.

All is not gloom and doom, however, in the worst case scenario of Scottish independence.

Allan Massie is concerned about what will happen with the arts in Scotland if England and EU membership are lifted. The acclaimed writer does not believe that independence would provide more benefits for the poor, but would end up hurting them because tiny Scotland would not be an economic powerhouse and sharing the burden with England is better for all. The arts will suffer as well, despite the best intentions and aspirations of those who urge a Yes vote.

But it is not entirely grim, according to Mr. Massie.

Scotland would not end up like Ireland at the end of its split from England. Thank God for that. No priests and Catholic Church running things, and praise be to God there is no Eamonn de Valera in the offing, to brush aside all the dreams of the rebels as he formed a nation to his liking.

By Saturday, Scotland may be an independent nation, dangling off a precipice and unwanted in the European Union by Spain which has its own problems with independence-seeking Catalans. But it won't end up like Ireland, so at least there's that little nugget of relief in a time of uncertainty.

But would a Yes vote mean a new push from another corner of the United Kingdom? That part that never experienced life with Dev?

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