Little Britain

13 Feb

We are a small country. By world standards we have punched well above our weight for a very long time. I won’t bore you with more than one fact. The Industrial revolution started here. We were the first industrialised country. In July there will be a referendum in Scotland to decide whether or not they want to be independent from the rest of the UK. My opposition to this is that if we divide a small country into ever smaller units it weakens us all. It is not as though we are already strong. This threatened Balkanisation of Britain is unwelcome in a world where large countries can tell us what to do. The Scottish Nationalist Party form the current Scottish administration and they already have a good deal of devolved power, more than Wales has, for example.

There is another problem with Scotland. It is a very small country with several distinct historical groups. The Roman and post-Roman periods saw the Picts as the dominant group in the area. The historical Kingdom of Fife is the reminder of this past. From the fifth century Irish pirates, the Scots, settled in the Highlands and Islands. Vikings settled the Orkneys and Shetlands. The Anglo-Normans took charge of the borders and lowlands after the Norman conquest of England. William Wallace, the great hero in Braveheart was an Anglo-Norman. If Scotland gets full independence, what is to stop the Shetlands and Orkneys from declaring their own independence? After all, they have the money from oils and gas exploitation. Other areas might decide to split as well. The political unity of Scotland was not an ancient or fixed deal. Once you set out on this path there may be unforeseen consequences.

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