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Scotland’s Potential Folly

On Thursday Scottish voters will trudge to the polls to determine if they want to leave the United Kingdom and become an independent nation. Scotland became part of the United Kingdom in 1707 and has contributed remarkable things to the United Kingdom including its military forces, the free market economic theories of Adam Smith, first rate science and medicine, and numerous intellectual contributions including Scottish Calvimism. These were described a few years ago in Arthur Herman’s book How the Scots Invented the Modern World.

Naturally, some level of nationalistic pride would remain in Scottish accomplishments, and as someone with some Scottish ancestry (from the Hamilton branch of my father’s side of the family), significant components of that pride are justified. I have never been to Scotland, but have been to the United Kingdom twice and seen Scotland’s ongoing contributions to the anglosphere’s development. I have also been fortunate to travel to the Canadian province of Nova Scotia (New Scotland) and witnessed the pride people in the province take from their Scottish heritage and the natural beauty of that province’s Cape Breton Island whose topography bears remarkable similarities to Scotland.

Unfortunately, leftist class resentment has permeated Scottish politics in the post World War II period. That has come to the forefront in the drive for independence lead by Scottish National Party leader Alex Salmond who personifies what the phrase unscrupulous charlatan means This secessionist tendency was accelerated further in 1997 when Britain’s newly elected Labor Party Government of Tony Blair granted Scotland and Wales devolved parliaments giving them legislative power in practically every area except national defense. A poor use of this power by the Scottish Government was its decision a few years ago to free one of the Libyans involved in the 1988 Lockerbie bombing of Pan Am flight 103 which killed numerous Americans and people from other countries in the skies over this Scottish community. Separatist tendencies were made even worse when Conservative British Prime Minister David Cameron made the ill-advised decision to let this referendum proceed.

Those supporting keeping Scotland in the Union have used the lame euphemism “Better Together” in an pathetic attempt to justify Scotland not seceding. With polling showing the result to close to call, what supporters of retaining the union need to explain is the high cost (estimated at over $100 billion) U.S. dollars to Scottish taxpayers of leaving the UK, how many major financial firms have threatened to leave Scotland if it votes for secession, ask pro-independence voters whether they want to enter the Eurozone or form their own currency, how they will handle Scottish foreign policy, and handle Scottish national security policy? For instance, will Scotland be part of NATO or go it alone? Salmond and other Scottish nationalists have said they will have a military of 4,700 people. That will not be nearly enough to deter Islamist terrorists or impress a resurgent Russia. Scotland is also where Britain’s Trident nuclear submarine deterrent is based and an independent vote is likely to see this force transferred to England given the antinuclear stance of Scottish nationalist forces. A recent Royal United Services Institute study estimated it would cost Britain over $5 billion to relocate its nuclear submarine force and a suitable alternative site for this force in England has not been found! An independent Scotland would also have to create an intelligence service from scratch to cope with domestic and international threats and would not have the assets of British intelligence services such as MI5, MI6, and the British counterpart to the NSA, the GCHQ.

Scottish nationalists also claim that North Sea oil revenue will provide a sufficient revenue base, but neglect to mention that reserves of this oil have been declining in recent years and are expected to continue declining. An independent Scotland is likely to soon be dependent on international economic assistance, from the International Monetary Fund or European Union, which neither of these institutions can afford to provide. Let’s see how the cold realities of no financial support from Westminster affect Scottish social welfare thinking.

An independent Scotland would weaken Britain and make it a less important factor in international affairs at a time when the highly skilled professionalism of its armed forces and intelligence services is critically needed. Scottish independence is the ultimate fool’s dream and I fervently hope Scottish voters when they go to the polls on Thursday are in the highest possible state of sobriety. It would be tragic to see the Scottish electorate be seduced by the fraudulent delusions of Alex Salmond and like-minded sophists.

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