United They Remain

Yesterday, in a vote of historic turnout, Scotland voted whether to remain a part of the United Kingdom, or to become a truly independent nation. The "No" vote has succeed, meaning that the United Kingdom will remain a family of four nations.

I haven't mentioned the Scot vote until now because I honestly didn't have a horse in the race. My heritage lies entirely below Hadrian's Wall, but that betrayed no loyalty in me. I understood both perspectives, and emotionally would have been fine with either outcome. From a logistical point of view, I leaned towards the No side, if only because of the massive fiscal and physical upheaval that would have thrown both countries (as well as wales and Northern Ireland, by association) into uncertainty for years afterwards had independence been agreed upon. The numbers stand at 55% for No, against 45% for Yes, with a roughly 85% turnout of the record setting 97% registered voters (Glasgow, who caused the biggest dip against the No vote, had the smallest turnout at 75%). In these numbers, I can draw a comparison, as a comparison has been drawn throughout this entire process: the Quebec referendum of 1995.

Quebec, like Scotland, has had a waxing and waning demand for independence pretty much since they joined Canada in 1867. It reached a critical mass in the 1970's, when the movement inspired so much passion it turned to actual terrorism. In 1980, a referendum was held to determine whether steps would be taken to redefine Quebec's role and relationship with the rest of Canada, which was defeated 59.56% to 40.44%. This defeat did nothing to quell the thirst for independence, though it did temper the extremes of the movement. Another referendum, comparable to Scotland's, was held in 1995 and is largely regarded as the definitive word on Quebec Independence. Somewhat ironically, considering that the outcome was 49.42% voting to go and 50.58% voting to stay.

Since then, the independence movement in Quebec has changed. In the last Federal election, the Federal wing of the separatist party was all but decimated, completing a transition from official opposition in the 1990's to a back-benching minority. The provincial wing is currently the opposition, a position it has traded with the Liberals in the last three elections. While there is still, and will always be, an independence movement in Quebec, the focus has shifted from breaking free from Canada to redefining what Quebec's relationship in Canada is. This is the task that now faces the Scottish people. Many promises were made by Cameron and the English side of the parliament regarding devolution. A successful No vote does not mean business as usual, not does it guarantee calm waters ahead. At the very least, it means that the UK won't have to spend millions of pounds redoing all of their signs.

Via the BBC.
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About MR. Clark

Adopting the descriptor of "successfully unpublished author", MR. Clark began writing things on the internet in 2012, which he believed to be an entirely reputable and civilized place to find and deliver information. He regrets much.


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