Thursday, 12 June 2014

Grand Unified Theory

Via Kevin Drum, Charlie Stross has a characteristically thoughtful and entertaining post up here, on the subject of the upcoming independence referendum in Scotland.

It does not make for particularly encouraging reading from my perspective, which I think is worth at least touching on, because I've not seen enough English progressives commenting on the topic of Scottish independence.

Obviously, this dearth is unsurprising, because part of what makes people progressive (if they're doing it right, at least) is a desire to not tell people from groups they don't belong to what they should do or what would be best for them.  And I'm not going to violate that principle here. I fully understand it wouldn't be my place to advise the Scottish on which option would be best for them, even if I understood the intricacies of the situation better than I do (FWIW, though, I tend to find Jane Carnall fairly persuasive).

Here's the thing, though: I don't believe it violates the rule of not butting into internal deliberations to note that Scottish independence would be disastrous for the rest of the UK. It would immediately shift the median voter in my country to the right at a time when we're already seeing (as Stross points out) an exceptionally disturbing tack to the right from almost all parties. The resulting surge of laissez-faire economics and retrograde social policy would be a savage blow to the country's poor and disabled people, who quite frankly have been having a quite shitty enough time already since 2010, thank you very much.

This is not in any way an original point, but it is perhaps an under-discussed one. As a left-leaning middle-class white guy whose well-paying job isn't likely to go away no matter who's in power, I have no compelling reason to not say "this is none of my business". There are plenty of other people whose lives will plausibly become materially less well-off were the split to happen, and while that isn't actually the Scotland population's fault or responsibility, it might still be worthwhile to point it out now and again.

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