From the comments, on Scottish independence

by on June 3, 2014 at 1:46 am in Current Affairs, Law, Political Science | Permalink

In response to my original post, Alex Buchanan writes:

Where to start? As a Scot living in Scotland and very much intending to vote YES I have to take issue on many things stated here. First of all your emphasis on the term “partnership”. There has never been a partnership between England and Scotland, Scotland has always been told what to do and if Scotland doesn’t like it Scotland has to lump it. We are more socially aware of our society with a more caring emphasis on what is good for OUR nation, Scotland, as a whole, not the dog eat dog right wing politics of England which is more of a right wing society. See Tory and ukip voting patterns. As for the currency we will be using? It will be sterling! Sterling does not just belong to England and if we’re in a currency union or not, we will still use sterling just like many other former commonwealth countries did before. The matter of us being in the EU is still debatable. Many EU institutions have intimated that Scotland will be welcome with open arms and even some unionist politicians have said we will have no problems joining. Ask your Westminster government they can get the answers. By the way I don’t think it has escaped your notice that we are already dominated by the EU and Westminster to boot. So what’s new? We can cut out the middle man whose sole interest is to look after London first. We are also getting an in-out referendum on membership of the EU in 2017. Can you tell me if we’ll still be in the EU after that? Tell me Tyler? What is the mechanism for evicting an already member of the EU? I don’t think there is one.

You cite that we have no practical reason to leave. Well how about self determination? How about being able to take decisions for ourselves? How about not going into useless wars? How about not having nuclear weapons, that England won’t have, located on our doorstep? Or how about having our wealth squandered on the South East of England while we are accused of being subsidy junkies? Are they practical reasons?

Alex Salmond has sound economics to back up his claim of Scots receiving more money under Independence. UK government records show that we contribute 9.9% (no doubt massaged down) of the exchequer’s total income, but we receive back only 9.3% back in total spend. Whereas the latest treasury figures were disowned straight away by the professor who they used as a source for their findings. The professor said that they had misrepresented his figures by a factor of 12 times more.

No being British is not good enough. I see day-in-day-out my country being turned into a region, a region of Britain you may say, but when in reality we all know what Britain means to the people down in England, don’t we? Britain simply means England in most people’s eyes in England. If you looked at the latest census carried out in Scotland you would have seen that nearly 75% of the population consider themselves Scottish and not British, only a mere 18% considered themselves Scottish and British. If it’s any consolation to you I can’t understand many English dialects either. Try listening to a Geordie, Scouser, Brommie, Cockney or even someone from Pashtun.

I expect the YES vote to prevail and I just want to point out to you that ignorant articles like this will hasten that vote.

He is an articulate fellow, but he hasn’t changed my mind, quite the contrary.

Brett June 3, 2014 at 1:57 am

What, are you going to have banks in Scotland issue sterling independent of the Bank of England? That only works if the Bank of England and England in general recognizes Scottish Sterling as currency in England, which they very well might not – at which point you’re stuck importing currency from England if you plan to not simply have your own monetary system like you should.

There is no way that getting into the EU will be as easy as you think it will be. You don’t think Spain will raise issues with it because they’re worried it might give the Basques and Catalans ideas again?

Are Salmond’s numbers based on the very dubious idea that Scotland is going to get all of the North Sea oil and gas? Because that wouldn’t surprise me, and don’t think that will happen.

But you know what? I support Scottish independence anyways, because what the hell – it amuses me, and it’s not like the countries are going to give up trade or the like. Plus it means that England will hopefully get to pick a new flag, which will slightly make up for the fact that it will probably turn into Tory Land.

prior_approval June 3, 2014 at 2:49 am

‘What, are you going to have banks in Scotland issue sterling independent of the Bank of England?’

This already happens, more or less and depending on one’s definition of ‘sterling’ (and don’t miss the part about private bank issuance) – ‘Sterling banknotes are the banknotes in circulation in the British Islands (encompassing the United Kingdom and the British Crown dependencies), denominated in pounds sterling (symbol: £; ISO 4217 currency code GBP). One pound is equivalent to 100 pence.

The pound is the official currency of the United Kingdom and the Crown dependencies of Britain. Three British Overseas Territories also have currencies called pounds which are at par with the pound sterling.

In most countries of the world the issue of banknotes is handled exclusively by a single central bank or government, but in the United Kingdom seven retail banks have the right to print their own banknotes in addition to the Bank of England; sterling banknote issue is thus not automatically tied in with one national identity or the activity of the state. The arrangements in the UK are unusual, but comparable systems are used in Hong Kong and Macao, where three and two banks respectively issue their own banknotes in addition to their respective governments.

The Bank of England does act as a central bank in that it has a monopoly on issuing banknotes in England and Wales, and regulates the issues of banks in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Pounds issued by Crown Dependencies and other areas are regulated only by local governments and not the Bank of England.’ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banknotes_of_the_pound_sterling

Here is a bit more of just how strange the whole thing can be – ‘Scottish and Northern Irish banknotes are unusual, firstly because they are issued by retail banks, not central banks, and secondly, as they are not legal tender anywhere in the UK – not even in Scotland or Northern Ireland – they are in fact promissory notes.[17][46]

Seven retail banks have the authority of HM Treasury to issue sterling banknotes as currency.[47] Despite this, the notes can be refused at the discretion of recipients in England and Wales, and are often not accepted by banks and exchange bureaus outside of the United Kingdom. This is particularly true in the case of the Royal Bank of Scotland £1 note, which is the only £1 note to remain in circulation within the UK.’

And in regards to this – ‘There is no way that getting into the EU will be as easy as you think it will be’ – that is likely true, but considering how the UK may leave the EU (a decision the Scots do not agree with in generalth), a scenario involving a sort of trade of places between a ‘former’ and ‘current’ British Isles EU member is at least imaginable as the sort of typically weasely treaty adapting that Europeans are so skilled at it.

alexboitz June 3, 2014 at 3:21 am

Scotland will not need to get into the EU because it will never leave it. The political, legal, and financial issues would be horrendous for the EU, so the treaty will be ammended to replace “UK” with “rUK + iScotland”. We will not be voting to leave the EU in this referendum, and there is no mechanism for ejecting law abiding EU citizens against their will.

Art Deco June 3, 2014 at 9:22 am

Scotland will not need to get into the EU because it will never leave it. The political, legal, and financial issues would be horrendous for the EU,

Bull. The population and economic output of Scotland are similar to that of metropolitan Milan. The Brussels Eurotrash will get over it.

Z June 3, 2014 at 9:39 am

“EU citizens” is a funny phrase. One can be a citizen of a place like a city, province or country. Heck, even wack-a-doodle open borders fanatics can claim to be citizens of the world. But, a citizen of a concept? Even in our post-reality times that seems like a bridge too far.

rpenm June 3, 2014 at 11:51 am

The modern definition of citizen has less to do with place of residence and more to do with legal entitlements and obligations wrt a government.

Z June 3, 2014 at 12:36 pm

If we can pretend biology is a social construct, we can pretend people are citizens of concepts. I wonder how much a EU’er of Danish decent is willing to give up for a fell EU’er of Catatonian decent.

Andreas Moser June 5, 2014 at 3:33 pm

Z, you may not like it, but my passport says I am a citizen of the European Union.
And actually, that’s how I feel. Born and grown up in Germany, I now live in Italy without any permit, without any registration, with nothing. Because it’s all EU. Wonderful!

civwarbuff June 4, 2014 at 12:36 am

I’m reminded of some of the arguments made at the Virginia Convention of 1861. They were so sure they knew how the North (and the UK and France for that matter) would react. They were also completely, devastatingly wrong.

Kronrod June 3, 2014 at 3:34 am

So you are saying that independence is a bad idea because others won’t like it and punish Scotland? Not doing what is otherwise right out of fear is quite a cowardly position. If you let the threats of others dictate your thinking, you will never have a good life. The bold position is ignore any intimidation attempts and to just do what’s right.

Julian Gibb June 3, 2014 at 4:04 am

Brett

Have you actually been following the debate?
Your note reads like a Better Together leaflet I have.

The EU managed to accept 18million East Germans in 10 months as full citizens. Without a vote or debate – fast tracked as it was the right thing to do.
Are you telling me that 5 million people who have been menbers for over 43 years will not. A nation with the majority of Europes Oil / 25% of Europes renewable energy potential / the bulk of Europes fishing grounds / etc.

Try thinking instead of just repeating.

Standard and Poor rating agency recently put the Scottish economy on a par with the UK – WITHOUT Oil and Gas.

The too wee,too poor and too stupid mantra is getting tedious.

Mor Mota June 3, 2014 at 4:38 am

Julian,
the EU did not exist in its current form at the time of the German reunification, and while I agree that if the EU wants to make it easy for an independent Scotland to join than it will be an easy process, but it’s a completely different legal situation.

AP June 4, 2014 at 12:38 am

Hmm sounds like you don’t think the islands should have the right to self determination. Otherwise your % are way off for oil & fish.

Ed June 3, 2014 at 10:55 am

The rump UK will consist of England and Northern Ireland, so the flag would be the crosses of St. George and St. Andrew on a white background.

Though the English would be smart to stick the Scots with Ulster if the Scots left.

TMC June 3, 2014 at 11:52 am

Or leave Ulster on their own – worked out best for Ireland.

msgkings June 3, 2014 at 12:30 pm

Wales?

Willitts June 3, 2014 at 2:01 am

I was convinced Scotland should be independent until he opened his mouth.

Alex Buchanan June 3, 2014 at 3:31 am

Who cares about you.

Michael G. Heller June 3, 2014 at 4:10 am

No one ever said Scots were lazy or ill-mannered.

Z June 3, 2014 at 9:11 am

It’s the old Hoover line about capitalism. The trouble with capitalism is capitalists. I feel the same way about nationalism. It rings true in theory, but then some guy with a shaved head and DM’s shows up to throw cold water on the idea. That’s the challenge to the Scots pushing independence. They have to keep their crazies out of site without dampening their enthusiasm.

The smart bet is it fails.

Living in my folks' basement June 3, 2014 at 2:27 pm

Every single argument here applies to my dilemma. If i move out of my parent’s basement I’ll face money and budgeting problems, I may be excluded from the folks social activity (love those BBQs and card games?), lose wise counsel and we may fight over who keeps the TV and couch.

But, you know, it just feels like i should take those chances, that increasing my autonomy and responsibilities is worth the risk. If the near term struggles persist, they’ll probably take me back anyway.

Anon June 3, 2014 at 8:44 pm

+1

chip June 3, 2014 at 2:35 am

Tapped out North Sea oil, a burgeoning welfare state and social pathologies, and an incompetent govt chasing political rainbows and expensive windmills rather than fiscal responsibility.

All at a time when England’s economy is racing ahead along with plans to pursue fracking.

Good luck!

Alex Buchanan June 3, 2014 at 3:32 am

Everything you have written there is nonsense.

Hoover June 3, 2014 at 4:01 am

I do think you’ve gone overboard on the windmills. I’d have thought one of the attractions of your large tourist industry is the unspoilt views.

But perhaps a) windmills don’t spoil the views, or b) windmills don’t significantly discourage tourism.

Chip June 3, 2014 at 6:31 am

North Sea production has halved since 2000. Oil revenue expected to fall a further 38% by 2017.

Welfare spending per head higher in Scotland than England and Wales.

Scottish population aging faster than rest of UK.

Scottish govt targeting all energy needs from renewables by 2020.

As I said, good luck.

Scoop June 3, 2014 at 10:42 am

And, of course, there’s no way Scotland is getting even a majority of what remains of the North Sea oil. I’d expect London to give the people of Scotland revenue equal to their percentage of the old UK, should they choose to leave.

And, of course, they’ll get zero percent of the revenue transfers they currently get from England.

John Faben June 3, 2014 at 1:00 pm

“Scottish population aging faster than rest of UK”

Erm… how does that work? Migration?

Art Deco June 3, 2014 at 1:13 pm

Lower total fertility rate or longer life expectancy or both. Britain as a whole has only mild fertility problems.

Art Deco June 3, 2014 at 9:29 am

Per the World Bank, natural resources rents amount to 1.45% of the United Kingdom’s domestic product. Even if every last dollar of that adhered to Scotland, 80% of domestic income in Scotland is derived from other things.

shrikanthk June 3, 2014 at 2:38 am

Wasn’t Scotland a cultural backwater until the Scots started embracing the English language post the 1707 union?

Wouldn’t British and world history be poorer without Adam Smith, David Hume, James Clerk Maxwell, the two Mills, Robert Louis Stevenson, Sean Connery and Douglas Jardine to name a few – all products of the collaboration of British and Scottish culture?

alexboitz June 3, 2014 at 3:12 am

How much culture is there in a food bank?

Adrian Ratnapala June 3, 2014 at 3:14 am

Perhaps it was around the act of union that Scottish intellectuals started to write in standard English (that’s a guess, only) and thus expanded their influence. Scotland ever suddenly embraced the English language. The merging of (Germanic) Scots into English and is a long, ongoing process that is as old as England itself.

I suspect Douglas Jardine’s choice of career was influence more by his birth in India than anything else. But I don’t think the Scots care much about him.

Alex Buchanan June 3, 2014 at 3:35 am

What utter cr*p.

Helena Brown June 3, 2014 at 4:14 am

Well said Alex, and who says Scots is an inferior language, English is one which is formed from using many many others.

Jonathon Martin June 3, 2014 at 2:44 am

I support Scotland in trying to build an independent future for itself. Most of the “no” arguments seem based on short-term considerations. What will Scotland do for a currency? Will they be allowed in the EU? There may be bumps in the road but these are bullying tactics (and not serious – if Estonia is allowed the Euro I’m sure Scotland will be; same goes for the EU). Being in a union because you are bullied into it by threats is no way to run a country and it can’t do much for Scottish self-esteem either. The only good argument for Scotland to stay in the Union is because it is in their long-term interests to be governed from London. Having lived in the UK and Finland I have seen firsthand how much easier it is to run a country of 5 million than 60 million. Economically, Scotland’s destiny will be in their own hands. They might mess it up but at least it will not be because economic policy is geared to the interests of Russian billionaires and investment bankers and that’s surely a good thing.

Adrian Ratnapala June 3, 2014 at 3:19 am

Yes. I very much hope that if the vote is “No”, that they follow through on stronger devolution. I think having three mutually hostile layers of sovereignty (EU, UK, Scotland) is a good thing.

I also think it is more likely than some suggest. English voters don’t particularly care how Scotland is actually run, and would mildly prefer not to have to pay for it.

Alex Buchanan June 3, 2014 at 3:36 am

Em, We actually subsidies them.

Michael G. Heller June 3, 2014 at 4:14 am

Subdue yourself Alex, or you’ll soon die (statistics male death Glasgow, that’s a kind of subsidy, or subsidence, or could be stress).

Helena Brown June 3, 2014 at 4:17 am

Blooming hell, are we supposed to be grateful for that wee benefit of Union, I think you will find more people will be voting YES just for that comment alone.
I

RM June 3, 2014 at 3:06 am

The most important implication if Scotland becomes independent is that England will have a conservative government for a long, long time. Brace yourselves for an intensification of English imperialism.

Alex Buchanan June 3, 2014 at 3:34 am

Tony Blair’s Government didn’t need the Scottish Labour MPs to win a majority at Westminster.

RM June 3, 2014 at 4:04 am

Point taken. But Tony Blair was faux labor. Personally, I do not care about the future of Scotland if they vote for independence: that’s their business. I cannot figure out why it matters so much a libertarian professor.

RM June 3, 2014 at 4:06 am

so much *to a libertarian professor.

Tracy W June 3, 2014 at 5:45 am

Actually the Labour party in Albion would eventually shift so as to be competitive for the remaining electorates. Or another main opposition party would arise.

Andrew M June 3, 2014 at 3:18 am

If being ruled from London is so great, why did the USA fight a bloody war of independence? Why did the likes of India and Pakistan reject British control? Sometimes people just want to be free to make their own mistakes.

tjamesjones June 3, 2014 at 4:12 am

right, but that’s just as much of an argument for Texan independence from Washington. The last Prime Minister of the UK was Scottish, and it’s not hard to make a case that Scots have been significant actors and participants throughout the UK’s history (in a way that isn’t true for India, say).
Anyhow, Scotland won’t vote for independence.

Helena Brown June 3, 2014 at 4:19 am

That seems to be the mantra in England, may I say that people in England are being deceived.

8 June 3, 2014 at 4:26 am

Texas can be independent too.

Andrew M June 3, 2014 at 6:27 am

There are many in Texas who would welcome independence from Washington. “What have those east-coast liberals ever done for us?”

Art Deco June 3, 2014 at 10:40 am

The abuses of the nexus formed by the appellate judiciary and the law professoriate have been such that they’d have a point if they sought secession at this time. The constitutional system has been in a state of advancing decay for some time here; it never seems to move to a state of crisis, however.

Devil's Dictionary June 3, 2014 at 5:49 am

Half of Pakistan and maybe a third of India already live in London. They think London is so great that they want to rule it.

Art Deco June 3, 2014 at 9:38 am

Whether its so great or not, the first threat to local autonomy is from Brussels. When you’ve dealt with Brussels, the next object should be comprehensive devolution within the UK, and that means not only Scotland but the English Midlands and the West Country as well. If the SNP is not advocating these things, the SNP is not serious.

We’ve had commentators on this board bitching about “Southern English public school boys” and the ‘narrow stratum’ from which the Conservative Party elite is drawn without admitting that two-thirds of Mr. Cameron’s cabinet does not fit that description, that the despised Margaret Thatcher was nothing like that, that Mr. Cameron is the only Tory leader in 50-odd years who fits that description, and that six of the eight men who’ve led the Labour Party since 1963 have had fancy university degrees.

If you’re all concerned with local government, stop talking like this is just one way to flip the bird at London.

rpenm June 3, 2014 at 12:31 pm

And yet we don’t often see sovereignty at the town and village level; nor have we yet seen unified world government. So what is the optimal size of a sovereign?

Small states suffer from various inefficiencies (redundant costs for trade and security, redundant fixed costs, smaller talent pool, etc.). At the other end, large states have principle-agent and asymmetric-information problems, but better efficiencies from scale. What other factors are involved?

CC June 3, 2014 at 3:22 am

They sound like the dumb rednecks who threaten secession because “OBAMA IS RUINING EVERYTHING.”

Alex Buchanan June 3, 2014 at 3:31 am

Do I need to change your mind Tyler?
The only thing I was trying to do was correct your wrong perceptions.

Hoover June 3, 2014 at 4:33 am

Correcting wrong perceptions sounds rather similar to changing a mind.

prior_approval June 3, 2014 at 4:54 am

I’m fairly confident that Prof. Cowen’s mind is of no concern to those who will be voting on Scotland’s future in the UK.

Which is why those who will be voting would prefer that those not voting actually understand what is happening, so as to be well informed.

Cameron Brodie June 3, 2014 at 3:48 am

Not having read the original article, I can only give an appraisal of the comment made by Alex, which I felt was generally reasonable. Looking to our peers, did not Lord Steel recently suggest the independence debate should be consider on broader criteria than economic pros and cons? If we are to do that, then does self-determination not count as a pretty significant factor? The opportunity to have the government voted for by those living in Scotland, not the one chosen by swing marginals in England.

P.S. The macro economics of the UK plc. are extremely complex and opaque. Deliberately so, IMO. ;)

John smith June 3, 2014 at 4:00 am

The article is pure fantasy.

First, the notion of ‘England’ as monolithic whole that dominates Scotland is just straight out absurd. England is many up of disparate regions with differeent interests. The northeast is more different to London than Edinburgh is. Each region has some inflepuence on the vote in Westminster.

Second, the author completely misunderstands what a currency is. A currency is backed by the nation that underwrites it. The whole point of the Union is to create a political union which can then underwrite a strong currency. The existing currency called sterling is the currency of the union. If the union breaks up, sterling as we know it ceases to exist. Instead there will be a weaker sterling backed only by rUK. I guess Scotland could ‘use’ it, but it will have no control over monetary policy and will have no central bank to backstop it’s banks.

Third, the eu. Probably, Scotland will be allowed in. But the price will be that Scotland will have to join the euro. Is that really what the author wants, to join a failing currency union?

Hoover June 3, 2014 at 4:05 am

“the notion of ‘England’ as monolithic whole that dominates Scotland is just straight out absurd”

The narrative is, however, a vital prop to the independence movement: the underdog, battling gamely to escape the brutal yoke of English imperialism. If the picture is one of equals, then a good deal of the emotional appeal of independence is lost.

Helena Brown June 3, 2014 at 4:21 am

We have never been seen as equals and this nonsense of a Scottish Prime Minister, he said quite openly he was North British. Scottish, no, too ashamed of that.
After the 1707 treaty the talk in the Parliament of Westminster was that they had catched the Scots. Does that sound like equality.

Hoover June 3, 2014 at 4:30 am

“We have never been seen as equals”

That’s the spirit. A put-upon attitude will win votes. And it’s something you can’t put figures on, so nobody can seriously challenge it.

alexboitz June 3, 2014 at 9:40 am

Oh No!….not the Euro again!
Surely ….surely …..everyone knows by now that joining the Euro is both compulsory and voluntary at the same time, so no one does it if they don’t want to.

Art Deco June 3, 2014 at 9:42 am

The EU stinks. Norway and Switzerland get long just fine without it. It is stupid for anyone in an autonomist party to advocate joining it.

Steve Sailer June 3, 2014 at 4:04 am

A dumb but important question: Who gets to vote in this referendum? Just Scotland or the entire UK?

For example, in the two Quebec independence referendums, only Quebec voted.

In contrast, in 2002, when a small majority of the San Fernando Valley voted to secede from Los Angeles, the rest of Los Angeles was allowed to vote, and four-fifth of non-Valley voters voted to block secession.

So, does the rest of the UK get a say like in the Los Angeles election of 2002, or not?

Hoover June 3, 2014 at 4:08 am

No. Scottish residents are allowed to vote. This includes EU and Commonwealth citizens.

To my mind, this is reasonable, and fits the theme of self-determination. It would be a bit naughty if the rest of the UK had a say over their autonomy.

Steve Sailer June 3, 2014 at 4:56 am

So, the San Fernando Valley should be immediately granted its independence from Los Angeles because Valley Girls and Boys voted for secession in 2002 and the votes of the rest of Los Angeles should never have been counted? As a Valley Dude I voted for secession, but I was told that Valley secession would have to win a majority of all Los Angeles, not just the Valley.

Should the Confederacy get its independence today because the votes of the rest of the Union shouldn’t have been counted? Obviously, Southrons agreed with you in 1861, but Abraham Lincoln disagreed.

I’m not saying your position is wrong, just that the question of who gets to vote on breaking up the United Kingdom sounds like the kind of thing that it would be wise to have some discussion of before plunging into voting.

Hoover June 3, 2014 at 5:20 am

I confess almost total ignorance about the San Fernando Valley secession issue.

But ignorance never stopped me from giving an opinion before…

I’m strongly in favour of autonomy of groups and of individuals. Secession following referendum has the utilitarian benefit of making more people happy, though one must admit that those who voted against would be unhappier. The Tatars in Ukraine for example, and possibly the Orkney Islanders in Scotland.

Autonomy is the freedom to screw everything up as well as pursue success. Even though it can fail, it’s desirable in my view. Screwing things up is one step towards getting things right.

To conclude my sermon… freedom for San Fernando Valley! End the oppression of the Washington empire NOW!

Hoover June 3, 2014 at 5:24 am

Actually, I dodged the essence of your question, which was whether other people should get a say.

I don’t think they should. Groups don’t (shouldn’t) own other groups, and likewise individuals don’t (shouldn’t) own other individuals. I’m not seeing a good argument to the contrary, but I’m open to persuasion…

Steve Sailer June 3, 2014 at 6:26 am

It seems like framing is the key to assumptions about who gets to vote on a secession proposal: Quebec and Scotland should get to vote without anybody else having a say because they’ve framed themselves as the oppressed victims, the good guys, while of course the San Fernando Valley in 2002 and the South in 1861 shouldn’t get to secede without permission because they are the bad guys.

Of course, opinions may differ on who exactly are the good guys and who are the bad guys.

Steve Sailer June 3, 2014 at 6:31 am

For example, the Washington Post’s coverage of recent events in Eastern Europe seems guided by an adamantine confidence in its assumptions about who are the Good Guys and the who are the Bad Guys that is hard to reconstruct from abstract principles.

Where abstract principles are less than obvious guides, perhaps Burkean prudence might have a say?

J June 3, 2014 at 9:13 am

This is a common libertarian view, but it completely misses the point of why we have states and governments in the first place: to provide public goods. Now, it’s true that some public goods like law & order, a court system, trash pickup, education, etc. can be done at a very small scale, but the most important one, national security, cannot. A state is secure if it’s big and powerful, and historically only a foolish state would willingly let itself be carved up without very good reason. Why do you think we were more than happy to let the former Soviet Union break up into a bunch of different smaller republics? It diminished Russian power.

Today thanks to Pax Americana and the EU, as long as the US remains whole, it really doesn’t matter from a national security perspective if a European country splits in two. But the status quo is extremely abnormal in the broad sweep of history.

Ricardo June 3, 2014 at 10:01 am

“This is a common libertarian view, but it completely misses the point of why we have states and governments in the first place: to provide public goods”

The key difference between libertarians and anarchists is that the former believe in the utility of government to provide public goods (and the right to coerce others in order to provide those goods), while the latter do not.

Today, most government spending, at all levels, is not directed at public goods.

J June 3, 2014 at 11:34 am

1. The fact that governments suffer from mission creep and do stuff beyond providing basic public goods is not a reason to abolish the thing altogether. Even if Medicare and SS are bad, you really don’t want to throw the US military baby out with the bathwater.

2. Most US government spending goes to defense (a public good) and Medicare and SS (perhaps not strictly speaking public goods but essentially a broad-based involuntary defined benefit pension plan and an insurance plan both of which work pretty well and are enormously popular and that I’m frankly not crying myself to sleep at night over) so I still think we need to be wary of breaking up states willy nilly.

Art Deco June 3, 2014 at 12:16 pm

For example, the Washington Post’s coverage of recent events in Eastern Europe seems guided by an adamantine confidence in its assumptions about who are the Good Guys and the who are the Bad Guys that is hard to reconstruct from abstract principles.

And this distinguishes it from your commentary and Daniel Larison’s commentary and Thomas Fleming’s commentary just how??

Art Deco June 3, 2014 at 9:43 am

because Valley Girls and Boys voted for secession in 2002

Fine, fine, fer sher fer sher.

BFB June 3, 2014 at 3:52 pm

Encino’s so bitchin!

alexboitz June 3, 2014 at 9:45 am

It was discussed at length by the Scottish and UK governments Steve. The question to be on the ballot paper and who would get to vote were agreed by the politicians.

Steve Sailer June 3, 2014 at 12:16 pm

Which politicians represented England in the negotiations: Cameron, Brown, or Blair?

Or did England not get a seat at the table?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Lothian_question

FUBAR007 June 3, 2014 at 3:44 pm

“So, the San Fernando Valley should be immediately granted its independence from Los Angeles…?”

Yes, provided that’s what the majority of San Fernando Valley residents voted for.

“Should the Confederacy get its independence today…?”

This is one Yankee who wouldn’t argue the least little bit. The divorce is way, way overdue.

Slavery is dead. Jim Crow’s as dead as he’s gonna get. Let ‘em out. Just make sure they don’t let the door hit their backsides on the way out.

Helena Brown June 3, 2014 at 4:23 am

People who are registered to vote in Scotland have a right to vote in this Referendum regardless of Nationality. We would not have democracy if we allowed those out with Scotland to vote on this matter and the UN agree.

Steve Sailer June 3, 2014 at 4:57 am

Jefferson Davis would certainly have agreed with you.

Steve Sailer June 3, 2014 at 4:58 am

So, it’s okay for Crimea to be part of Russia now?

alexboitz June 3, 2014 at 9:49 am

If the Crimea had a legal referendum agreed by both sides and fairly adjudicated then it would be OK would it not?
I don’t think that is the case though.

Steve Sailer June 3, 2014 at 5:02 am

I’m raising these questions because the answers don’t seem all that obvious in the abstract, and a lack of agreement over this fundamental issue of who gets to decide seems like it could lead to trouble (as in the Recent Unpleasantness at Gettysburg).

The ideal would be if both parts agreed to separate, like with Czechoslovakia breaking up.

Tom T. June 3, 2014 at 8:11 am

Indeed. Somehow if it were England that was seeking to leave the UK, I suspect that the Scots would be clamoring for a say in the matter, using the same rationale of self-determination.

alexboitz June 3, 2014 at 9:54 am

The UK government voted for the rest of the UK by allowing the referendum…..they of course thought that a NO vote would be certain.

Careless June 3, 2014 at 10:17 am

“The US is now ‘The No Puerto Ricos Allowed Club”

Steve Sailer June 3, 2014 at 12:17 pm

alexboitz, you do notice the conflict of interest?

Ed June 3, 2014 at 11:05 am

I thought the Canadian Supreme Court gave a reasonable answer to this issue in regards to Quebec secesssion.

Essentially a vote by the Quebecois to succeeed would trigger negotiations between Quebec and the rest of Canada. The federal Canadian government would have to negotiate in good faith, but secession could not be uniltateral.

One solution would be the seceeding entity and the larger entity reaching an agreement on the terms of the divorce, followed by a referendum in both the seceeding entity and the larger entity to approve. But the original question of “do you want to leave” would only be put to the voters in the entity trying to leave.

Ed June 3, 2014 at 11:07 am

Also, in the US, states have absolute sovereignty over local governments within the state. Which means the boundaries of the city of Los Angeles, along with any other matter concerning the organization of local government in the Los Angeles basis, is really a matter for the California state legislature.

Art Deco June 3, 2014 at 11:38 am

Practically it never is outside certain southern and western states and often formally it is not as well. Municipal annexation was all but abolished in New York in 1924 and the county boundaries were frozen in the 1820s, so we have not been able to construct proper metropolitan government anywhere nor rural-and-small-town government on an appropriate scale.

Steve Sailer June 3, 2014 at 12:18 pm

Why not let the rest of Canada vote simultaneously on whether they want to kick Quebec out?

Art Deco June 3, 2014 at 1:10 pm

Not a bad idea. The separatist parties have complicated the formation of ministries and added other glitches. If you can have a referendum to kick out the Trudeaupian Charter of Rights with them, it’s tasty gravy.

The only impediments concern Quebec’s responsibility for their share of the national debt, the citizenship status of Quebec residents and Canadian residents born in Quebec, and the precise boundaries of a posited Quebec republic. You have a string of francophone municipalities in Ontario and New Brunswick to consult, there is at least one anglophone municipality in Quebec (adjacent to Labrador) and the Nord du Quebec’s population is largely aboriginal bar in four municipalities on its southern extremity.

Cameron Brodie June 3, 2014 at 4:05 am

Third, the eu. Probably, Scotland will be allowed in. But the price will be that Scotland will have to join the euro. Is that really what the author wants, to join a failing currency union?

IMO, the complete inaccuracy of this statement casts serious doubt on John Smith’s understanding of the relevant issues. I wonder if he has heard of Mark Carney?

John smith June 3, 2014 at 4:22 am

@ Brodie

This has nothing to do with carney.

To join you the eu these days you have to promise to join the euro. It is a condition of entry. The UK got an exemption from the euro, but only because it was a prior member and could threaten to block maastricht without the exemption.

@ Martin

You have not come up with a single example of bullying. Is raising genuine questions about salmons post independence plans really bullying? Get off it!

Helena Brown June 3, 2014 at 4:24 am

I think you will find that other conditions have to be met before you can join the euro. It is not normally forced on any country.

Cameron Brodie June 3, 2014 at 4:36 am

@ John

I just thought I’d mention him as your second point flies directly in the face of the speech he gave recently, concerning monetary union following independence. Here is a rather partisan report of that event, but I suggest searching for the actual text. Whilst I’m at it, let’s take care of your first point, as well. England has ten times the number of voters Scotland has. Even if they do not act as a homogeneous whole, their vote will still dominate those of Scotland. In fact, the Scottish vote could have been removed from all but 3 general elections since WWII, without affecting the results. This is the democratic deficit Scotland faces as a result of the UK’s demographics

Careless June 3, 2014 at 5:43 pm

Something Americans shouldn’t have trouble realizing (but probably do), given our country’s history.

Cameron Brodie June 3, 2014 at 4:37 am
8 June 3, 2014 at 4:40 am

I disagree with nearly all of his points,and I think it’s absolutely stupid for Scotland and Catalonia to want independence and then join the EU, but I still support him and the rest of Scotland 100% if they want independence. Everyone should have the right of exit, and that includes the nation. I support the right of England to leave the EU. Venice can leave Italy, the Northern League can vote to secede and join Switzerland. Quebec can leave Canada, Vermont and Texas can leave the U.S., etc. The only way to have innovation is to have competition. If people totally screw up they will eventually come back together and unite again anyway.

Culturally, the world will also be a more interesting place with more states. The chalupas will not be as cheap, but they will come in more flavors.

Art Deco June 3, 2014 at 9:47 am

Everyone should have the right of exit, and that includes the nation.

Worked out real well for the Holy Roman Empire.

Edward Barbour June 3, 2014 at 4:45 am

@John Smith
Actually Scotland would not be ‘joining’ the EU, it would be remaining in the EU
Its an easy assumption to make that, if Scotland is ‘leaving’ the UK, then it must have to apply to join everything that the UK is currently a member of.
Well, and this may hurt, but Scotland is not leaving the UK, its actually ending the UK, there will not be a UK, as Scotland, which was one of two signatories to the Treaty that created the union, will end the union that established the UK.
So regarding the EU, Scotland, like England will be treated as successor states. After all Scotland has been in the EU for the last 40 odd years. There is NO mechanism what so ever of removing EU citizens from the EU!
That said, the pathway for states that are outside of the EU, will not be the one that Scotland will be required to take as its already IN the EU.
There has been quite a large support from across the EU for Scotland to remain in the EU and many from within the EU have stated that it would be a formality to process the changes.
Even Spanish politicians have stated that they would not have objection so long as Westminster doesn’t have a problem.
BUT, lets just say that Scotland also have some very large bargaining chips for remaining in the EU, apart from its population of EU citizens, it has a rather large territorial area for fishing and it has Oil and Gas.
So please stop the nonsense about having to accept the euro as a pre requisite to remaining in the EU

Luciom June 3, 2014 at 7:20 am

Except that you would still have england+wales+n.ireland vs scotland alone, so one could argue that the UK is still alive, missing a piece, while scotland is a completly new sovereign nation (for the purpose of recognition by other countries).

Now, if the 4 pieces broke down at the same time, you could have a point. But that’s not what is happening, is it?

Edward Barbour June 3, 2014 at 8:35 am

Really is that the best you can come up with?
The ‘all of us versus little them’?
Lets get technical
The Kingdom of Great Britain was established through international treaty in 1706. The treaty was the union of the Kingdom’s of Scotland and England.

It was then ratified in each countries parliament by each parliaments ‘Act of union’

If you have read the Treaty , you would see that Wales was an integral part of England
and is still technically a principality of England.
Roll forward to 1801 and the union between the Kingdom of Ireland and the Kingdom of Great Britain (Scotland and England), which then created the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.
Roll forward again and the partition of Ireland, forming the Northern province and the Southern Province. Then in 1922 the Southern Province became the Irish Free State, then the Irish Republic.

The Northern Province of Ireland then became Northern Ireland a province of the Kingdom of Great Britain.
As you will note on your passports, the official title is now The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
The ‘Great Britain’ being England and Scotland

I find the pretence that somehow the UK will still exist, is quite a pathetic ‘comfort blanket’ exercise , along the same lines of Serbia, who tried to cling on to the fantasy that they cold still be the Yugoslavian Republic.

Its internationally recognised that the United Kingdom of Great Britain IS Scotland and England, if Scotland ends the union, then both Scotland and England will be seen as successor states.

If England insists that it should carry on being called ‘the United Kingdom’, then it will inevitably become a laughing stock.

It is also inevitable that Northern Ireland will hold a referendum to decide what they should do. Something that unionists are obviously not wanting. But consider this. There will be no union flag, for unionists to wrap themselves up in. They will be expected to remain a province of what exactly? England?

The real choice for the people of Northern Ireland, will be to either merge with the Republic.. Something that I doubt will be welcomed. Or remain a province, again something that’s less welcoming. Or more realistically, to become a semi-autonomous state. The last option is more realistic as it would be able to keep the monarchy (which is enjoying good relations with the Republic) and Northern Ireland already share many cross border agencies. A semi-autonomous state would be quite beneficial to the people of Northern Ireland.

So that leaves England and Wales, they may remain together or Wales may see some additional mileage in loosing the ties to England.

Your assumption that Scotland would be a ‘new sovereign nation’ is completely incorrect, again only based on the Westminster ‘comfort blanket’ of holding on to the title United Kingdom.

Other benefits of ending the UK and the Union flag, would be to cause utter damage to groups such as the Orange Order, BNP, Britain First, UKIP and other neo fascist groups that wrap themselves up in the union flag, that in itself is worth voting Yes and ending the union

Art Deco June 3, 2014 at 9:50 am

Other benefits of ending the UK and the Union flag, would be to cause utter damage to groups such as the Orange Order, BNP, Britain First, UKIP and other neo fascist groups that wrap themselves up in the union flag,

If you fancy UKIP is a ‘neo-fascist’ group, you’re properly ignored.

Unanimous June 3, 2014 at 6:49 pm

According to your reasoning, England and Northern Ireland would become the United Kingdom of England and Northern Ireland. The Great Britain part would be splitting. Other than that, the rest of what you say holds.

AP June 4, 2014 at 1:04 am

Take a look at what happened at the UN, and other transnational organizations at the fall of the Soviet Union. Everything you say about the UK applied to the USSR. Yet uniformly Russia was considered the sole successor state. Latvia, Georgia, et al had to apply for admission de novo.

Jim Muir June 3, 2014 at 4:48 am

“The reason for being independent is a simple one. It is fundamentally better for all of us if decisions about Scotland’s future are taken by the people who care most about Scotland – that is by the people of Scotland. It is the people who live here who will do the best job of making our nation a fairer, greener and more successful place.”
http://www.yesscotland.net/why_vote_yes

‘Being an independent country is all about making Scotland a better place to live, with greater prosperity and higher standards of living. That is the purpose and the reason why so many Scots are passionate about an independent Scotland.’
http://www.yesscotland.net/firm_foundations

So that’s a glimpse of the official yes campaign. It’s all positive all the time.

On the other hand most people are beginning to realize that the UK is a rotten state and that Westminster is a parasite which does not care at all for the people. Particularly the people of Scotland. They’ve got our oil and they want to keep it. They control the media and make sure that Scotland is misrepresented even traduced. They lie about our finances and have managed to create the myth that Scotland is subsidized. Scotland pays more taxes per head of population than the rest of the UK and yet many people still believe that we are subsidized. We hear it often in the British media.

The unionist myth that the UK subsidizes Scotland is one of the greatest confidence tricks in political history.
http://www.businessforscotland.co.uk/you-paid-64-billion-of-interest-on-deb-that-scotland-didnt-need/

One other thing. Amongst the many crimes of the British establishment, in 1999 the UK government moved the boundary in the North Sea between England and Scotland so that the revenues generated from several major Scottish oil fields would not be included in the Scottish account.
http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2012/01/scotlandengland-maritime-boundaries/

Of course this still goes unreported in Scotland.

My view is that the UK government behaves like a hostile foreign government. We don’t need it or want it and It’s a costly burden on Scotland.

vote yes :)

John Smith June 3, 2014 at 4:58 am

@ Barbour

No. Westminster is not voting to disband the UK. The UK will continue to exist as legal entity and all the treaties it has signed and obligations it has taken on will continue to be valid, including the European treaties. Instead, Scotland is voting to leave the UK, and will have to apply for membership. This has been made very clear to Scotland by both Westminster and Brussels.

Now of course, very likely in the end Scotland will be allowed to rejoin. But this will be on newly negotiated terms, while the UK will continue on its existing terms.

@Brown

You are right that conditions must be met. Nonetheless, as I said, a condition of entry is that the country must join the Euro as soon as the conditions are met. And in Scotland’s case, these would be met in short order.

Cameron Brodie June 3, 2014 at 5:12 am

@ John Smith

Seriously mate, where are you getting your ‘facts’ from? Can you provide any evidential links to back up your rather ill-informed opinion?

No. Westminster is not voting to disband the UK. The UK will continue to exist as legal entity and all the treaties it has signed and obligations it has taken on will continue to be valid, including the European treaties. Instead, Scotland is voting to leave the UK, and will have to apply for membership. This has been made very clear to Scotland by both Westminster and Brussels. – See more at: http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2014/06/from-the-comments-on-scottish-independence.html#comment-158226471

:0 :) :)

Pierre June 3, 2014 at 5:18 am

I hope France will support Scotland independance in the name of the Auld Alliance.
We have been together for the last 700 years. Let’s hope we’ll stay together for the next 700 years.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auld_Alliance
In a speech which he delivered in Edinburgh in June 1942, Charles de Gaulle described the alliance between Scotland and France as “the oldest alliance in the world”. He also declared that::”In every combat where for five centuries the destiny of France was at stake, there were always men of Scotland to fight side by side with men of France, and what Frenchmen feel is that no people has ever been more generous than yours with its friendship.”
In 1995, celebrations were held in both countries for the 700th anniversary of the beginning of the alliance.

Art Deco June 3, 2014 at 11:35 am

I’d like to think the French public will rise up and defend their own sovereignty. That means the Euro goes, the EU treaties are torn up, comprehensive decentralization is implemented, and the Ecole nationale d’administration is destroyed in a drone strike while licensed trappers hunt down its graduates for exile to Elba.

charlie June 3, 2014 at 6:07 am

Query: When did “articulate” become an insult?

Dave Anthony June 3, 2014 at 8:41 am

In 2008 when DNC leaders kept falling over themselves to call Barack Obama an “articulate fellow” with the hidden meaning “for a black man”. Biden was the worst offender.

Art Deco June 3, 2014 at 10:36 am

When it was convenient for race-hustlers to take offense at something new in the course of aggrandizing themselves. See ‘microaggressions’.

Tracy W June 3, 2014 at 6:24 am

. As for the currency we will be using? It will be sterling! Sterling does not just belong to England and if we’re in a currency union or not, we will still use sterling just like many other former commonwealth countries did before.

So, let me see, he argues that Scotland should be independent so it won’t be ruled in the interests of South East England and London, and will have the ability of self-determination, and simultaneously argues that Scotland can use the pound sterling, with or without a currency union. So, using the pound sterling, Scotland would have its interest rates and monetary policy set by Westminster and the Bank of England, ignoring Scotland’s interests. And if there is a currency union, at a minimum it would involve rUK authorities having the right to intervene in Scotland’s fiscal matters if Scotland looks like running up debts. Keeping using sterling is inconsistent with independence.

alexboitz June 3, 2014 at 10:07 am

So you would have an independent Scotland thrashing about on the day of independence without a recognized currency just because of what you think “independence” is?
Continuing to use sterling is eminently sensible.

Tracy W June 3, 2014 at 10:25 am

If Scotland wants to be independent it could establish its own currency. NZ, a much smaller country, has its own currency, as did Ireland before it joined the euro.

Continuing to use the sterling I agree is sensible. It’s just inconsistent with wanting independence and self-determination for Scotland. It’s fascinating how commentators here are trying to avoid engaging with that point.

Art Deco June 3, 2014 at 10:46 am

No. If you leave, print your own currency unless you’ve an agreement with the Bank of England to act as a lender of last resort for your domestic banks and you’ve an agreement to participate in British deposit-insurance schemes.

Tracy W June 3, 2014 at 11:16 am

@Art Deco: was that intended to be a response to AlexBoitz or me?
Anyway, I note that an agreement with the Bank of England to act as a lender of last resort for Scotland’s domestic banks and for Scotland to participate in British deposit-insurance schemes would require the English to see something pretty darn substantial in it for their benefit. What would that be? None of the Scottish-independence commentators here have said why the remainder of the UK would want to be in a currency union with an independent Scotland, particularly given that the UK is firmly opposed to being in the euro currency union.

Art Deco June 3, 2014 at 11:33 am

No clue. Scottish sovereignty is their cause, not mine.

John Muir June 3, 2014 at 6:33 am

Thanks for your support Pierre. It’s much appreciated.

ricardo June 3, 2014 at 9:57 am

I have a feeling Pierre is Tyrone’s French cousin.

Cameron Brodie June 3, 2014 at 6:43 am

@ Tracy W

Are you assuming no Scottish representation on the BoE’s Monetary Policy Committee? Are we to forget the 300 plus years that Scotland has contributed to growing the value of sterling? What about Scotland’s share of the gold reserves held by the BoE? Which parliament currently controls 100% of the monies Scotland is allocated by the UK Treasury? I could go on. :)

I like to keep things simple and think this can best be done by asking yourself two simple questions:

1. Is Scotland a country?

2. Should countries govern themselves?

Everything flows from the point of truth these questions establish. Where there is a will and all that. ;)

John Muir June 3, 2014 at 6:54 am

Tracy W

Scotland has a higher GDP per capita, will inherit lower debt to GDP and continue with lower deficits. We have massive oil assets and renewables potential. We contribute greatly to Sterling balance of payments. Sterling needs Scotland more than Scotland needs Sterling. Scotland is unlikely ever to have a greater debt than the rest of the UK. So it may be a problem for us if we share a currency and Westminster continues its financial mismanagement of the rUK. However a shared currency is the best option according to the fiscal commission set up by the Scottish government which is made up of some of the finest minds in economics. http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Economy/Council-Economic-Advisers/FCWG

Scotland and rUK are great trading partners and will remain great trading partners when we become independent.

Axa June 3, 2014 at 7:05 am

How about not going into useless wars?

If Alex Buchanan is disgusted by the latest Iraq and Afganistan wars, that’s fine. For an outsider like me, the pacificism seems just cynic and oportunistic. People from Scotland were eager and happy to participate in East India Company wars in India, China…..everywhere. Neglecting the partnership between England and Scotland? What about the Opium Wars? http://www.scotsman.com/news/the-opium-wars-how-scottish-traders-fed-the-habit-1-465743

mofo. June 3, 2014 at 9:10 am

You really think approval of a war 150 years ago makes Buchanan some kind of hypocrite?

Cameron Brodie June 3, 2014 at 7:14 am

@ Axa

Are you not perhaps conflating the Britain’s imperial past, with the democratic aspirations of 21st century Scotland. Remember, universal suffrage in the UK, was only introduced in 1948. Opposition to having WMDs parked right next to our largest city, has been strong and growing ever since the first Polaris sub entered Scottish waters.

Axa June 3, 2014 at 8:54 am

Ok, I’ll focus on the democratic aspirations of 21st century Scotland. Nuclear weapons are an issue, I understand the feeling of being used like the backyard for the storage England’s nuclear weapons.

But, what about nuclear plants for electricity and nuclear waste long term disposal?. It seems nuclear waste from electricity generation is treated and temporary stored in England. What about nuclear plant decomissioning? These are going to be unresolved issues after independence. Is independent Scotland bigger than the nuclear issue? The previous management experience are the ex-soviet republics now as sovereign states. 50% of electricity coming from nuclear…….I’ll get a comfortable sofa and a lot of popcorn.

Tracy W June 3, 2014 at 8:03 am

And how much weight will Scotland have to throw around in Europe, or on a world stage? The UK’s funding is important to the EU, to the IMF, to the World Bank. Scotland’s, not so much.
And Scots travelling abroad are less likely to get British assistance, say with evacuations from sudden wars or natural disasters like Fukishima, and the Scottish government of course will have less resources to do this.
Although quite probably the Scots will continue to benefit from British military protection and the nuclear submarines, without paying for them.

sansfoy June 3, 2014 at 8:16 am

I’m not sure throwing ones weight around is such a great thing. The typical person does not benefit from imperial adventuring.

The thing that seems less clear to me is how independent Scotland would be anyway. Could they suddenly resuscitate the Scottish monarchy with 17th century powers, expel foreigners, and declare a national religion? No, they would be forced to behave. At best, they would remove themselves somewhat from the orbit of London, but be equally subject to the whims of Brussels and Washington as part of the larger empire in which most of us live.

Tracy W June 3, 2014 at 8:23 am

However, the typical European person can be greatly affected by EU rules on matters such as working hours, or environmental regulations.
And while the typical person may never be caught up in a war or a natural disaster like the Japanese tsunami abroad, if you are one of the unlucky ones who does though, it’s of great benefit.

Cameron Brodie June 3, 2014 at 8:12 am

Tracy W

Would you be kind enough to answer the two questions I asked you earlier?

1. Is Scotland a country?

2. Should countries govern themselves?

sansfoy June 3, 2014 at 8:17 am

Define country. Sovereign? Then, no. There are really only a handful of sovereign countries in the world today, starting with the U.S. and including China and possibly Russia. Nobody else is truly sovereign.

prior_approval June 3, 2014 at 9:00 am

The Swiss beg to differ.

Art Deco June 3, 2014 at 9:54 am

Rubbish.

Tracy W June 3, 2014 at 10:18 am

1. That depends on how you define country, as opposed to a nation or a state. I can never remember the distinctions.

2. I think the right level of governance depends on the subject matter. Some things the individual can handle quite nicely. Some things are best assigned to local government, eg trash collection. Some things to a regional government, eg drinking water. Some things to national government such as defining crimes. Some things to supra-national organisations, eg border disputes, transnational pollution problems. On the whole I favour individuals governing themselves as much as possible.

Art Deco June 3, 2014 at 10:34 am

You’re not coding that according to the dimensions of the nation. For a country the size of the Irish Republic, a national penal code may do; for one the dimensions of the United States, no.

Tracy W June 3, 2014 at 10:45 am

Good point. I’m not American, and I don’t really understand the US’s political system.

Tracy W June 3, 2014 at 8:17 am

@Cameron Brodie, @John Muir:
So? Even if the rUK does agree to give Scots representation on the BoE’s Monetary Policy Committee, Scotland will still not have control over its monetary policy, nor its fiscal policy. It’s inherently contradictory to want Scotland to retain the pound sterling and also have self-determination. It may be that a shared monetary policy is in the best interests of Scotland, but I don’t see how you can simultaneously believe that and also believe that Scotland should leave the UK.

As for Scotland’s contribution to the history of the pound sterling, do you think that financial markets care about history? If you expect the English to give a fig out of sentiment, then all Alex Buchanan’s claims about how it isn’t a partnership and “the middle man whose sole interest is to look after London” are a bunch of bunk, and he’s unfairly maligning the English, who presumably love the Scots like brothers, or at least cousins, so why should the Scots vote to leave?

On Cameron’s questions:
1. Depends on how you define country. I have totally lost track of the distinctions between country, nation and state.
2. If countries should govern themselves, then why should Scotland join the EU? Personally, my thinking is that the appropriate level of governance depends on the interests at stake. In many things, such as religion, it’s up to the individual. Other things, such as rubbish collection, go to the local level. A regional level is better for things like managing water supplies. Supra-national for things like settling border disputes, global pollution problems. Leaving states and nations and what-not in between.

bob June 3, 2014 at 8:35 am

With respect to changing Tyler Cowen’s mind, I don’t understand how it is any of his business. What’s his opinion on whether I should divorce my wife?

Turpentine June 3, 2014 at 9:27 am

He’s an econ prof. Econ profs have an opinion on ANYTHING.

Actually, the irony is that while they very much resist giving an opinion on econ topics (“Will China’s growth be hampered by bad loans? What will be the growth rate of the US over the next 5 years?”), they LOVE giving their opinion on other topics (“Should Scotland secede? Is the rent too damn high? Should we have spikes coming out of cars’ steering wheels?”)

That is why many dislike econ profs (I certainly don’t, but I understand why some do).

Art Deco June 3, 2014 at 10:48 am

Unless your wife is a danger to you or the children and certain questions of household economy require a formal decree of dissolution in lieu of a separation, don’t divorce your wife.

TMC June 3, 2014 at 12:26 pm

It’s Tyler’s blog. You came to him.

John Muir June 3, 2014 at 8:49 am

@ Tracy M

” I think independence is about control of your finances, about control of your resources, in the case of oil and gas and the renewables resources of Scotland, but also control of your revenues. If you control your revenues and therefore control your spending and how to distribute that revenue among the population then you are a genuinely independent country. With independence within the European Union, Scotland would control 100%, all of its revenue base and would decide how to spend its finances. Currently we are allowed control of less than 10% of our revenue base in the Scottish parliament. Therefore 10% is not independence. A hundred percent even independence within Europe is independence”
http://newsnetscotland.com/index.php/affairs-scotland/7799-broadcasters-have-to-be-careful-first-minister-alex-salmond-interviewed-by-rt

Art Deco June 3, 2014 at 9:59 am

Fine, then advocate devolution. Leave the central government with the military, the diplomatic corps, the civilian espionage services, the overseas development apparat, some specialty police forces, a half-dozen regulatory departments, the central bank and mint, some lumpy public works, clumpy bits of the education and research network (the space program, the University of London), and some of the more impersonal an abstract parts of the social security system (cash transfers, binder insurance). Send the rest down.

At any rate, tell your confederates to stop smearing the UKIP as a ‘neo-fascist’ party.

Paul June 3, 2014 at 9:07 am

Any group can choose to self-identify as a ‘we’ and then demand ‘self’-determination. If it’s going to secede from the UK then Scotland needs a better idea – rather than some vague manufactured-since-the-1960s false ‘recovered’ memory of how bad the English were / are. Now I’ve no problem with countries or regions seceding just so long as they have a better idea. America had an idea when it kicked out the Brits in the 18th Century that was better than continuing to be governed as colonies. I’m not sure that Scotland has a better idea than continuing as a full member of the UK.

The United Kingdom is a multi-cultural project in which the Scots have played a central, even decisive, part over the centuries. Any argument in favor of independence that relies on denigrating the English – and I mean RELIES on denigrating the English is not sufficient.

The Irish left the UK in 1921 and subsequent economic, political and cultural freedom went backwards for 45 years. Even still Ireland’s safety-net has never been nearly as good as the post independence UK and its politics are dysfunctional in the extreme (yes much more so than the UK). Again the only arguments one hears in favour of Irish independence from the UK are rather shallow, ill-informed, pub-talk levels of analysis. Now don’t get me wrong the English made terrible mistakes in Ireland and failure to deliver Catholic emancipation after the Act of Union in 1801 (which created the UK – to include Ireland) was a major unconscionable error. But whilst the argument that England deserved to ‘lose’ Ireland is undoubtedly true it cannot be pressed into service to support the entirely separate contention that Ireland was right to leave the UK. Ireland had far more to gain by staying in. At the end of the day a coalition of middle-class semi-intellectuals, gunmen, crooks and clerics were able to take advantage of British distraction and good PR to bring it off. But these people had no love for their fellow man – Irish or otherwise. A country with a golden future in the UK was turned into a corrupt backwater whose principal expert was its own people to (irony of ironies) the UK.

My message to Scotland: Don’t do it. The UK is the most successful political entity – morally, economically and socially – in history. And more than your fair share of that my Scottish brethren is down to you. I would not dream of insulting you by telling you you ‘need’ the UK. You don’t. But if you leave for the wrong reason then you will be poorer. Staying in may challenge that rather fuzzy resentment against England that sprang from nowhere during the 1970s / 1970s (was it Thatcherism?) which, like the impact of road rage on individuals out driving, is a sort of bank-holiday from reason and a license to be ‘angry’, in this case about stuff that happened hundreds of years ago.

Don’t leave the UK. You own it.

Art Deco June 3, 2014 at 10:12 am

The Irish left the UK in 1921 and subsequent economic, political and cultural freedom went backwards for 45 years.

“Cultural freedom” as in swinging London is dross; the notion that the Irish Free State and Republic was lacking in political freedom is nonsense, and the notion that the country regressed economically is also nonsense. Ireland was one of the few occidental countries that skipped the Depression and Irish per capita product varied between 47% and 53% of the British value during the entire period running from 1913 to 1960.

Paul June 3, 2014 at 11:02 am

No. ‘Cultural freedom’ as in the right not to have a large proportion of serious, contemporary writing banned by the Free State from 1921 until the 1960s.

That Ireland regressed economically between independence and the mid-to-late 1960s has never been disputed by anyone. Do you have any information to the contrary. Pointing out that per capita GDP (or is it GNP) was between 47-53% of the British equivalent implies that my observation is true.

Ireland ‘skipped’ the Depression?! Dear Lord. Are you talking about the Ireland of ‘Finian’s Rainbow’ by any chance?

Ireland suffered terribly during the Great Depression as world markets closed down, its government implemented protectionist policies and the country launched a trade war with Britain – it’s only serious trading partner (from 1932 and 1938).

You have clearly never lived in Ireland.

Art Deco June 3, 2014 at 11:29 am

Pointing out that per capita GDP (or is it GNP) was between 47-53% of the British equivalent implies that my observation is true.

It implies nothing. It states your observation is wrong. Irish standards of living improved pari passu with British standards of living. You said Ireland ‘regressed’ economically. That is false in absolute and relative terms.

Ireland ‘skipped’ the Depression?! Dear Lord. Are you talking about the Ireland of ‘Finian’s Rainbow’ by any chance?

No, I am talking about industrial production levels between 1929 and 1933. Ireland was one of two occidental countries which saw an increase in industrial production during those years. The United States saw a 30% decline.

No. ‘Cultural freedom’ as in the right not to have a large proportion of serious, contemporary writing banned by the Free State from 1921 until the 1960s.

D. H. Lawrence? Who gives a damn? We can all now traffic in smut and lose our jobs if we have opinions at a variance with the mode among the professional-managerial bourgeoisie. Cultural Freedom.

You have clearly never lived in Ireland.

And thus I do not sound like recycled Fintan O’Toole. So sue me.

Paul June 3, 2014 at 11:45 am

Art Deco, 1) if Ireland gained on the UK economically after independence then how come hundreds of thousands of Brits weren’t immigrating into Ireland? Why was the ‘successful’ Ireland exporting more and more people to – er – Britain. 2) Nothing I have ever seen (and I have read all of Ireland’s serious economic historians) supports your contention that Ireland gained economically on Britain during the Great Depression. Can you cite a source to support this assertion.

Ireland’s industrial production increased? Ireland’s industrial production was statistically insignificant to start with. The country was almost entirely agricultural. So maybe the sugar factory in Carlow had an impact on this figure?

‘D. H. Lawrence? Who gives a damn’… well look this is just incoherent and silly.’ The fact that you might lose your job by doing bad things on line is not an argument in favour of censorship.’

Your rather rosy view of Ireland during the Great Depression cannot be supported by any economic historical analysis that I know of. So I’m guessing that you’ve assembled an anecdotal understanding of history to fit a view.

You need to be a little more empirical and a little less polemical.

Art Deco June 3, 2014 at 12:01 pm

Paul, you said the following (it’s right up above):

“The Irish left the UK in 1921 and subsequent economic, political and cultural freedom went backwards for 45 years.”

The ‘economic’ part is false. You did not have an absolute or relative regression in Irish living standards after 1921 and the per capita product figures demonstrate that. I can explain that to you. I cannot comprehend it for you.

You did not even attempt to explain how a country which has maintained multi-party parliamentary institutions without interruption since 1922 could have been going ‘backward’ in the realm of ‘political freedom’ for 45 years (unless you’re talking about the PC police, but that’s a post-1966 phenomenon in the occidental world).

I care a great deal about people being able to deliberate about public policy. The liberty of Hugh Hefner to make a buck in the skin trade does not interest me much. Nothing incoherent about that.

Paul June 3, 2014 at 12:02 pm

And it’s still going on. Irish income tax rates hit 48% at incomes of around $45,000. The Irish pay French taxes and get Greek public services. Emigration is rampant once again.

Of Course Fintan O’Toole is wrong about a number of things (in my view) but he’s coherent.

Now if he were to be recycled he might make striking, marginally confrontational, unsupported statements in a disembodied, disinterested manner — as one who, nursing an obscure grievance from seed to flower on another continent, has subsided into forays of laconic aggression on the internet.

Art Deco June 3, 2014 at 12:13 pm

Of Course Fintan O’Toole is wrong about a number of things (in my view) but he’s coherent

You’ve forgotten his blather about Riverdance.

Paul June 3, 2014 at 12:15 pm

Despite a definite improvement in world trade conditions, the value of Irish Agricultural Exports dropped from £35.8 million in 1929 to £13.5 in 1935, because of the ‘war’. The total value of exports to Britain fell from £43.5 million to £18 between 1929 and 1935. The cattle trade was particularly badly hit, with exports of live cattle falling from 775,000 to 500,000 between 1929 and 1933. In 1934, a quota of 50% of 1933 imports was fixed and the import of Irish beef or veal was restricted. The position began to improve after 1935 when the so-called Coal-Cattle Pact was agreed, under which Britain agreed to increase the quota for Irish cattle by 50% in return for Irish agreement to import coal only from British sources. Further concessions followed and by 1938, both parties felt able to enter into discussions aimed at ending the crisis. The resulting Anglo-Irish Agreements produced a final settlement of the Land Annuity question and reopened unrestricted trade between Britain and Ireland.

Paul June 3, 2014 at 12:31 pm

Art Deco,

Ireland’s political parties offer no choice. They are all corporatists (1920s Italian-style). The economic policy is to encourage foreigners to invest with very low corporate tax rates (12.5%) and then tax the hell out of whoever they employ – see my post re taxation.

With respect to the 1930s the economic historian Cormac O’Grada has this to say (from his book ‘Rocky Road’).

‘Though reliable national accounts are lacking, other evidence suggests that the economy grew slowly during the 1930s. However, all available data point to economic stagnation or decline during the Emergency, as the period of the 2nd world war came to be known in neutral Ireland. Coal imports has fallen to one-third of their 1938-39 level by 1944-45 and oil imports dropped to a trickle.

On page 18 of this book he reports that the wage gap between the two Islands was growing during the 1940s.

I’ve got my own paper on this somewhere which tells the same story…

Do you want me to go on?

Do you have any evidence to the contrary?

Paul June 3, 2014 at 12:42 pm

In case you didn’t see this:…

Despite a definite improvement in world trade conditions, the value of Irish Agricultural Exports dropped from £35.8 million in 1929 to £13.5 in 1935, because of the ‘war’. The total value of exports to Britain fell from £43.5 million to £18 between 1929 and 1935. The cattle trade was particularly badly hit, with exports of live cattle falling from 775,000 to 500,000 between 1929 and 1933. In 1934, a quota of 50% of 1933 imports was fixed and the import of Irish beef or veal was restricted. The position began to improve after 1935 when the so-called Coal-Cattle Pact was agreed, under which Britain agreed to increase the quota for Irish cattle by 50% in return for Irish agreement to import coal only from British sources. Further concessions followed and by 1938, both parties felt able to enter into discussions aimed at ending the crisis. The resulting Anglo-Irish Agreements produced a final settlement of the Land Annuity question and reopened unrestricted trade between Britain and Ireland.

Ireland’s political parties offer no choice. They are all corporatists (1920s Italian-style). The economic policy is to encourage foreigners to invest with very low corporate tax rates (12.5%) and then tax the hell out of whoever they employ – see my post re taxation.

With respect to the 1930s the economic historian Cormac O’Grada has this to say (from his book ‘Rocky Road’).

‘Though reliable national accounts are lacking, other evidence suggests that the economy grew slowly during the 1930s. However, all available data point to economic stagnation or decline during the Emergency, as the period of the 2nd world war came to be known in neutral Ireland. Coal imports has fallen to one-third of their 1938-39 level by 1944-45 and oil imports dropped to a trickle.

On page 18 of this book he reports that the wage gap between the two Islands was growing during the 1940s.

I’ve got my own paper on this somewhere which tells the same story…

Do you want me to go on?

Do you have any evidence to the contrary?

Art Deco June 3, 2014 at 1:03 pm

You are welcome to consult the following working paper:

“AGGREGATE AND PER CAPITA GDP IN EUROPE, 1870-2000:
CONTINENTAL, REGIONAL AND NATIONAL DATA WITH CHANGING
BOUNDARIES”

By Stephen Broadberry and Alexander Klein. It’s conveniently available and reports the PCI values for Ireland and Britain at intervals over the period from 1913 to 1950. The World Bank and the IMF report PCI figures at nominal values from 1960 forward, handily compiled by Wiki editors, and at PPP values from 1980 forward.

Really very straightforward about Irish standards of living v. British standards of living. No need to consult sectoral statistics or balance of payments statistics or much else. Unless you fancy that Britain and the United States were economic failures over 45 years (and super-failures since, as Ireland is at least equal to the latter and has surpassed the former), your complaint makes no sense.

Paul June 4, 2014 at 4:31 am

Two questions:

1) the figure on page 22 uses interwar boundries – I take it this means that they are using 32-county Ireland for this entire period (the north was much more industrialised and had much higher GDP)

2) The collosal emigration from a country which a GDP that was rising faster than its neighbor – if this is, indeed, the case – to that neighboor suggests that the data are not telling the real story about the success of the Free State / Republic project in the first half of the century.

It’s quite simple. People do not flee a successful country in droves (sure one of the largest if not the largest emigation rates (as % of population) experience in any European country.

Surely this requires an explanation?

Of course (as I’m sure you) from the 1960s GDP ceases to be a meaningful measure of Ireland’s economic success as the country becoemes a legal tax haven through which (mainly US) corporations pass billions of dollars of accoutns to avail of low tax rates. so anything after the 1960s starts to be very suspect.

Paul June 4, 2014 at 4:34 am

Art Deco

Take a look at this for the recent story on GDP vs. GNP.

http://www.finfacts-blog.com/2011/03/ireland-gdp-or-gnp-which-is-better.html

alexboitz June 3, 2014 at 10:15 am

Not for long it seems Paul. The way things are going we will just be renting it from Big Business.That is part of the reason we want to leave, together with the other shameful policies of the Westminster Government,

Art Deco June 3, 2014 at 10:32 am

Which ones? Can we have some specificity here?

Paul June 3, 2014 at 11:31 am

You mean which books were banned…?

All of Joyce and, well, these (and this is just a small amount).

Droll Stories (1832–37) Honoré de Balzac
Banned for obscene material of a sexual nature in 1953, but lifted 1967.[9][10]

Brave New World (1932) Aldous Huxley Novel Banned in Ireland in 1932, due to alleged references of sexual promiscuity.[11]

Catcher in the Rye (1951)
J. D. Salinger Novel Banned in October 1951.

Borstal Boy (1958) Brendan Behan Autobiographical Novel Banned in 1958.

The Irish Censorship of Publications Board was not obliged to reveal its reason but it is believed that it was rejected for its critique of Irish republicanism and the Catholic Church, and its depiction of adolescent sexuality.[12]

The Country Girls (1960) Edna O’Brien Novel Banned by Ireland’s censorship board in 1960 for its explicit sexual content.[13][14]

The Lonely Girl (1962) Edna O’Brien Novel Banned in 1962 after Archbishop John Charles McQuaid complained personally to Justice Minister Charles Haughey that it “was particularly bad”.[14]

Art Deco June 3, 2014 at 11:50 am

Then read something else. Free speech is necessary to the conduct of public discussion. Even then it requires some rubrics. The notion has been exploited to legitimate commercial trade in lap dancing and gay porn even as various methods are employed to harass people for public participation within bounds.

Now your whinging that members of the intelligentsia and high-school English teachers were inconvenienced in Ireland in 1955 and we cannot have that as state regulation is properly limited to people trading in hardware and tires and not the anointed who write novels and then decamp to New Hampshire to mistreat their wives.

Ireland is such a wonderful place now that you do not have the Publications Board breathing down your neck and ruining the fun for everyone.

http://i3.mirror.co.uk/incoming/article2191736.ece/alternates/s615/sex-act-at-Eminem-concert.jpg

Paul June 3, 2014 at 12:34 pm

You aren’t by any chance trying to fake the Turing test are you?

Art Deco June 3, 2014 at 1:17 pm

No.

John Muir June 3, 2014 at 9:09 am

Clout? We’ll choose to be a force for good in the world rather than a wannabe imperialist like the UK.
We’re enjoying this:
http://wingsoverscotland.com/an-actual-letter-from-america/

Art Deco June 3, 2014 at 10:13 am

Britain owns Gibralter. Dreadfully ‘imperialist’.

Tracy W June 3, 2014 at 9:11 am

@John Muir:

Alex Salmond is pulling a common politicians trick, of starting off with one definition and then quietly switching to another one hoping the listener won’t notice. He starts off by saying “independence is about control of your finances”, and about “control of your revenues”. He then addresses only the revenues question, ignoring the question of control of finances.

If Scotland shares a currency with the remainder of Britain, it won’t have control over its own finances and thus it won’t have control over its fiscal policy. In other words, Scotland won’t have control over its interest rates, and won’t be able to engage in monetary easing. The remainder of the UK will continue to make decisions about the pound sterling that will greatly affect Scotland (even if Scotland does have a seat on the BoE’s Monetary Policy Committee [and why would the remainder of the UK want to agree to that?] decisions will still be made in the interests of the UK as a whole, not Scotland) . Wanting self-determination and to keep using the pound sterling is inherently contradictory.

John Muir June 3, 2014 at 9:15 am

Tracy, You don’t think it’s worth anything to control your own revenues and choose how to spend them?

Art Deco June 3, 2014 at 10:14 am

And choose you’re regulatory architecture free from pests in Brussels chuffering about ‘European Values’. Has Mr. Salmond noticed the crew in Brussels?

J June 3, 2014 at 9:16 am

“He is an articulate fellow, but he hasn’t changed my mind, quite the contrary.”

Can we please appreciate for a moment that sick Tyler burn?

Turpentine June 3, 2014 at 9:19 am

It truly is sometimes amazing the similarities between the writing of Mr. Buchanan to those of Quebecois separatists. Replace “Scotland” by “Quebec, and “England” by “Canada”, and honestly it’s basically the same discourse. By the way, I am making an objective statement here, not a subjective one.

John Muir June 3, 2014 at 9:21 am

Paul, what are you talking about?
Where is there any anti English sentiment?

We don’t want Westminster. We want to rejoin the world as an independent country. We don’t want to pay our taxes in London. I would have thought an American if that’s what you are would understand that immediately.

Art Deco June 3, 2014 at 10:20 am

Look on the previous thread, sir, and think about the logic of it. Not one of you has advocated withdrawal from the EU, not one of you has mentioned the deficit of autonomy other components of the UK suffer, one among your number referred to UKIP as a
‘neo-fascist party’, and another pair went on about ‘Southern English public school boys’ and the ‘narrow’ quality of the Tory elite. You do not see the Conservative Party the way it is and has been for decades (chock a block with people like Norman Tebbit and Iain Duncan Smith) and do not notice Brussels.

Start behaving like serious advocates of local autonomy and stop talking like snotnose opinion journalists.

Paul June 3, 2014 at 11:24 am

Anti-English sentiment grow in Scotland following the domination by Margaret Thatcher of British politics during the late 1980s. Also Scotland’s industrial base suffered disproportionately during the economic changes of this period. This made the Tories into the party of England – without a single seat in Scotland – and entrenched an anti-English mentality in part of the body politic. See this (Andrew Marr doesn’t have an axe to grind): http://www.scotsman.com/news/politics/top-stories/anti-english-feeling-entrenched-in-Scotland-marr-1-3049225.

If I thought you wanted to leave because you were worried about paying too much tax then I’d be right behind you. But it seems you want to leave to indulge in a nationalist parlour game. Scottish nationalism is simply one perspective. You say ‘we want to rejoin the world…’. There are multiple ‘we’s’. You are more than extras in a remake of Braveheart (but this time with jackets and ties). I don’t deny your right, nay, your duty to be patriotic as Scots. But you are also British. You are also begetters and beneficiaries of the great heritage and achievements of these nations : Ireland, England, Scotland and Wales. You can have it all. You don’t need to give up the UK to assert your Scottish identity. There are multiple identities. I can tell you that the Irish made a terrible mistake when they left the UK and pointing out the ‘evils’ of the British Empire is a non sequitur. The Irish state begot and sustained far nastier evils that were the norm of the British Empire or of the UK, including, endemic political corruption (yes Art Deco that does reduce political freedom), massive and rampant institutional abuse of young people in institutions, the export of armed Marxist revolutionary terrorism to the remaining UK and abject economic failure.

As a friend of mine said: ‘The political culture of a post-independence Scotland risks being deeply unpleasant. The two largest parties would be a tribal and manipulative Labour Party and a tribal and manipulative SNP, motivated by resentment and triumphalism respectively’.

Art Deco June 3, 2014 at 12:11 pm

Corruption does not reduce political freedom. Ireland has not failed economically and did not fail economically prior to 1966. Britain is not suffering from exported Marxism, but from occasional efforts at political murder whose home address was in Belfast, not Galway. (Conor Cruise O’Brien on Bernadette Devlin, et al. “The IRA’s standards are military and macho, and in that realm [Bernadette Devlin et al] don’t count for much. The Irish Catholic republican’s for real. It’s the foreign reds who are being fooled”).

Paul June 3, 2014 at 12:39 pm

1. Corruption does not reduce political freedom.

It does. See the Economic Freedom Index and Transparency International.

2. Ireland has not failed economically and did not fail economically prior to 1966.

It did and continues to do so. See my posts above which provide statistical evidence.

3. Britain is not suffering from exported Marxism, but from occasional efforts at political murder whose home address was in Belfast, not Galway. (Conor Cruise O’Brien on Bernadette Devlin, et al. “The IRA’s standards are military and macho, and in that realm [Bernadette Devlin et al] don’t count for much. The Irish Catholic republican’s for real. It’s the foreign reds who are being fooled”).

Drivel. The modern IRA were founded by a branch of the Irish Government under the tutelage of Charles Haughey – he financed them and set them up. The southern Irish courts went on to turn the South into a safe haven for IRA terrorists for the entire 1970s.

Art Deco June 3, 2014 at 12:56 pm

It did and continues to do so. See my posts above which provide statistical evidence.

You have an issue with understanding ordinary national income accounts. Cannot help you with that.

Neat trick for Haughey to have manufactured the IRA since it existed ‘ere he ever held public office, since he was out of office during its most…fertile years (1970-79) and since it continued to be active for a dozen years after he left office.

Paul June 4, 2014 at 8:04 am

I think ordinary national income accounts the use GDP are of no real use in Ireland. GDP can exceed GNP by as much as 20%. Now if you are using GDP to describe the Irish economy then, to put it politely, you are not in possession of the facts. Take a random wild shot and see ANY discussion by ANY economist about the meaning and reliability of GDP in Ireland and you’ll find that it is simply disregarded as a serious measure of economic performance there.

WRT IRA – you’ve got an issue with logic and history:

1) ‘Neat trick for Haughey to have manufactured the IRA since it existed ‘ere he ever held public office’

The IRA was moribund when Haughey came along. He provided the capital and political support-down South that helped it become one of the most lethal terrorist forces in the world. He was, if you remember, prosecuted with arranging for them to be supplied with weapons.

2) ‘since he was out of office during its most…fertile years (1970-79)’

- Yes, that’s right Haughey was that good at what he was doing. They outlasted him.

3) ‘since it continued to be active for a dozen years after he left office.’

See above.

John Muir June 3, 2014 at 12:55 pm

Andrew Marr is unionist who lives in London. He’s been gone a long time and knows only the Scotland presented to him through the lens of London. He is part of this London centric view, so perpetuates it. He is one of the Unionist diehards, Labour or Tory. There is tribalism in politics all over the world. I think it will diminish when we are independent not increase, If we remain in the UK it will stay the same where one side in Scotland controls the media. That is not healthy and that’s how it is right now.

Art Deco June 3, 2014 at 9:24 am

You cite that we have no practical reason to leave. Well how about self determination?

Unless you’re planning to leave the EU, the talk of ‘self-determination’ is humbug. I’ll believe it when you start at least to talk the talk, you drunken haggis eater.

Paul June 4, 2014 at 8:06 am

Troll alert.

Tracy W June 3, 2014 at 9:30 am

@John Muir:
To quote from your link:

let’s be honest, if Scotland is being attacked by someone, the American cavalry is going to show up whether or not you’re a member of NATO, so it’s a moot point. The UK, too. And France. And probably the rest of western Europe.

So Scotland’s grand plan for security if it’s independent is to be a freeloader. A plan that I agree will probably work, although it does imply that actually, the rest of the UK will still be doing quite nicely economically without Scotland so as to keep paying for the UK military at about the same level, which does rather undercut arguments about how much Scotland will gain economically from independence. If you really believe what you said above about how Scotland contributes greatly to the sterling balance of payments and Westminster is financially ruining the rest of the UK, then you should be pretty worried about your free-loader plan for security.

And taking your comments about “being a force for good”, what does that mean specifically? What’s Scotland going to do about the war in Syria? About the kidnapped girls in Nigeria? About EU social legislation? About the Taliban in Afghanistan? What’s your plans?
If it’s standing around hand-wringing and complaining about how the UK and the USA are imperialists, I think the world has an over-supply of that already.

Art Deco June 3, 2014 at 10:22 am

So Scotland’s grand plan for security if it’s independent is to be a freeloader.

Damn straight.

J June 3, 2014 at 12:43 pm

“So Scotland’s grand plan for security if it’s independent is to be a freeloader.”

Great way of putting it, and that’s exactly why you have to be very very careful with secession. Of course try explaining that to a libertarian who thinks that all initiation of force is immoral and therefore we can’t have a government or taxation.

John Muir June 3, 2014 at 9:34 am

With self determination we can make our own decision on the EU.

Art Deco June 3, 2014 at 10:21 am

If the decision is anything other than ‘no’, the blather about self-determination is humbug.

Tracy W June 3, 2014 at 9:35 am

@John Muir: You’re copying Alex Salmond’s trick of sliding definitions. The discussion is whether Scotland should be independent. Control of one’s revenues may be worth something, but if you don’t have control of your finances you’re not independent. And thus it’s inherently contradictory to want both independence and a currency union. Playing word games like Salmond does won’t change that underlying contradiction.

As for anti-English sentiment, to quote from the post you’re commenting on:
“There has never been a partnership between England and Scotland, Scotland has always been told what to do and if Scotland doesn’t like it Scotland has to lump it. We are more socially aware of our society with a more caring emphasis on what is good for OUR nation, Scotland, as a whole, not the dog eat dog right wing politics of England.”

Art Deco June 3, 2014 at 10:23 am

not the dog eat dog right wing politics of England.”

Repulsive caricatures all the way down. Be nice if leftoids could manage better.

John Muir June 3, 2014 at 9:43 am

Tracy, Bear in mind I did not write that letter and if all you are inclined to do is throw insults like ‘freeloader’ then that doesn’t say much for your argument.

As you might know many countries were involved in Afghanistan. I think it was supported at the UN level. So we would no doubt have done our bit there had we been independent. Just as Norway did.

Tracy W June 3, 2014 at 10:09 am

@John:

I notice that you don’t disagree with any of the actual arguments I made, instead preferring to quickly distance yourself from the letter you linked to, and waffle on about some hypothetical inclinations I might have had. So, basically, you agree with me that Scotland would be freeloading on the rUK and the USA for security under independence, you would just like to pretend that it wouldn’t be. Perhaps we could come up with some nice euphemsim to spare your tender ears. “Non-contributing partner” perhaps.

And so far, your stated specific way as to how Scotland would be a force for good is that it would have done the same thing as the UK did with Scotland in it in Afghanistan. I am glad to hear that you think the UK occasionally does something for good in the world. I don’t quite, however, follow how you think this is an argument that an independent Scotland would be a force for good.

Csmeron Brodie June 3, 2014 at 10:12 am

I wonder if I could carry out a quick poll here, of which commentators have a vote in September. I am not suggesting that folk should not be allowed to express their opinions, but I just thought it might be quite interesting.

I have a vote and will be voting Yes. :)

Art Deco June 3, 2014 at 10:28 am

My ancestors decamped to Ulster 300-odd years ago, thence to North America. No vote. I understand my Armstrong tie is an affection because it’s on the maternal side and in any case my relations were gone more than a century before the clan plaids were defined. My uncle said we were cattle rustlers.

However, local autonomy is an issue in our country. It’s not the EU that’s the threat here, its our repulsive appellate judiciary insisting that every policy they do not care for is ‘unconstitutional’. Same class of people though. The problem with the SNP is that you show little evidence of being proper antagonists to that class of people.

Tracy W June 3, 2014 at 10:43 am

No vote.

John Muir June 3, 2014 at 10:20 am

Tracy, We will be part of NATO. If you say that’s freeloading well I don’t think I can’t help you. I’m sure Scotland can do great things and make some mistakes but the main point is to make our own decisions and spare Scotland from decline and extinction in the UK.
Please enjoy his video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sRr0HNsCa6k

Art Deco June 3, 2014 at 10:30 am

Scotland cannot do great things. There are only five million people there. It can be a country, content simply to be. In order to be a country, you have to deal with the real enemy. You’re not getting the job done.

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