I bet England does make them pay short term if there is a YES vote, but if being a small and independent country saves them money on military spending then long term it might make sense, in addition to national pride.
Way off topic, sorry, but: it is really interesting to think about the USA someday balkanizing. After the dollar is no longer the reserve currency, and when we can't afford our gigantic military expenses anymore, it might make sense to have smaller regional countries, with EU style trade and mobility agreements. Small seems more efficient.
There's no guarantee that change will be a good thing, and the actual benefit to independence is pretty intangible - it is primarily emotional rather than calculated (Scotland already have a parliament, that will be given more powers even if the vote results in a "no")
Its interesting to note the high turn out for this referendum, where a simple yes / no vote means no pandering to swing voters, or tactical voting. Politicians have always claimed low turn out was due to voter apathy.
The UK has entirely socialised health care, relatively high taxes and a large population on welfare. It is hardly a right wing country by international standards (you need to look at the USA to see what that means).
The reality is that compared to many countries and even its own recent past, Scotland is not doing so badly. That's the status quo offered by the no vote. In the event of a yes vote absolutely nobody knows what's going to happen because Salmond and co haven't thought it through at all. Anyone who asks him difficult questions gets labelled a biased bully. Anyone who suggests that separating a tightly integrated part of a country might be a teeny tiny bit complicated is labelled a scaremonger.
This absolute refusal to fill in the blanks means that the Yes campaign has instead let people fill in those blanks with their own hopes and dreams, indeed, Salmond has heavily encouraged this. Yes has come to represent everything to everyone regardless of what their actual underlying beliefs are. But that's not a foundation for a country or even a political party.
According to Tuna-Fish's complaint, the Scots never got what they want for 70 years and now suddenly there's an opportunity to change that. Seems to be the better alternative than continuing with the status quo or following in William Wallace's footsteps.
Quite the sample size.
>As far as he's considered if Cameron and all his kind simply went away he'd be happy to be part of the UK.
Didn't Limbaugh threaten to leave the country if Obama was (re)-elected? Isn't that kinda the same? There are probably good reasons to break-away, this isn't one of them.
Well, not really, given that Labour were in power for a very long time before the Conservatives took it back. And the question is whether an independent Scotland would be better equipped to fight inequality than a Scotland that is part of the UK.
But these are arguments that have been played out over and over again in the last few months. Everyone has their opinion and I don't think anyone's mind is going to be changed 15 minutes before the polls close.
I think Scottish people are going to have a cold reality check in the coming years no matter what happens. The sameness of the existing UK political parties is not because of some broken voting system or the "Westminster Elite". It's because the Labour and Conservative parties traditionally differentiated themselves on economic policy, and the hard left economics of old Labour lost the battle of ideas so thoroughly that it took Blair's "New Labour" movement to make them electable again. Ever since, the UK has been stuck with:
1. The Tories, who have a nasty authoritarian streak and represent the worst of the old British class system but post-Thatcher have a reputation for managing the economy well and are at least willing to be honest with voters about financial reality.
2. Labour, who have been trying and largely failing to find a new political identity after socialist/communist policies like strong trade union support became indelibly associated with economic failure.
3. Lib Dems who also lack any obvious political identity and never really expected to win anyway, they always represented the protest vote. When they accidentally ended up winning votes in the general disgust with both Labour and Tories in 2010 they had to enter coalition and immediately realised their promises to voters were unimplementable.
So three parties, none of which want to rewind the country to the disaster of the 1970's and thus struggle to differentiate themselves from the Tories. Oh, there's also UKIP which at least is differentiated, the problem is lots of people think their difference is for the worse.
Result of all that is the "neoliberal consensus" Scots and other people in the north hate so much. But this state of affairs is the consensus because the alternative was tried and turned out to be way worse.
Everything is made more problematic by the fact that the UK political system and culture expects The Opposition to disagree with everything the government in power does by default. So the last few decades have witnessed both parties repeatedly try to claim the other party is completely wrong whilst actually largely agreeing with each other and doing the same things once in power. This mock disagreement results in a fake, plasticky sort of politics that ends up creating disillusionment.
Eventually the UK political scene will change and the parties will find some fundamental difference that divides them once more. Maybe over the issue of Europe. Or, people will get used to the idea that maybe politicians violently disagreeing about extremely basic things isn't a healthy or normal state of affairs, and a genteel consensus about the best way forward is actually more civilised.
That about sum it all. My situation allow me to follow closely similar situation in Belgium and Spain.
Separatist parties mine the emotional level. The reality is that splitting countries with intertwined economies and population for generation is impossible to predict and generally require plenty of good will from one side or the other.
About everything Scotland bets on for its future need happy cooperation from the UK and Europe. From Europe point of view, it lacks the framework to support splitting countries and EU countries are wary enough about their sovereignty that it would be difficult to predict how they would react. On the other hand, for the UK, at the end of the day, that's a little slice of 10% of its population that decided to keep their resources for themselves. 10% of the population deciding what happens to the other 90% is exactly what Scotland is complaining about Westminster and London. On the other hand UKIP and others are fond of that message when applied between the UK and EU.
What a mess.
I actually think the Scottish referendum question is ridiculous, because it makes it sound like the process of becoming an "independent country" is simple and straightforward, or even meaningful. The most recent (1995) referendum question in Quebec was convoluted and bizarre, but that actually reflected the reality that the "oui" side would be voting for.
My bet is that even if the "aye" side wins in Scotland (unlikely, even with 16-year-olds voting) the result will be an "independent nation" that is so fully entangled with England that it will look more like a Canadian province than a European nation-state. This is doubly true if an "independent" Scotland keeps the pound.
It's worth noting that there is likely to be a lot of change in the UK/rUK political landscape over the next few years regardless of the result tonight (e.g. leaving the EU). A lot of people are voting "Yes" because they are worried about the direction of change in the UK.
Small seems generally less efficient to me.
Where I am in the UK there are lots of small councils, people being paid to make the same decisions over-and-over again when there could just as easily be amalgamation - or to be honest a general regional or UK policy - that would save a lot of time and money.
For example, across every council area above a certain size has a sports centre. Instead of deciding the best way to run them centrally - with leeway to establish better methods - they're each run as a separate entity by a non-specialist council (or more recently being farmed out to companies to try to run at a profit). The UK should have a team that does sports centres and manages them all, that would be more efficient. You don't need 1000 different HR policies writing, 1000 meetings about lifeguard wage levels, 1000 separate contracts for chlorine delivery and testing, etc..
Similarly every major town or city has it's own bus service. They all do the same things, but separately and so with none of the economies - like regional servicing centres, group buying, centralised timetable control, centralised ticket purchase, centralised driver and personnel training.
Sure there are differences across the UK but there are far more similarities. I've lived in Wales, England and Scotland and the people types and their demands are largely the same so far as I can tell. Healthcare, education, housing, transport, ...
The UK gov is running a train service at the moment because none of the other myriad of train companies would touch it, they're making billions of profit. There seems absolutely no reason that same government-company can't do the same thing with the other rail areas - instead we have lots of companies all do the same thing and all failing to communicate well and integrate their transport policies.
Education - we have a dozen companies writing exam papers and then there's more effort to ensure the exams are equal standards; then there's competition to win schools based on which exams will be easiest. Instead we have the skills in the teaching workforce to simply write one paper centrally. Needless duplication.
I won't rant on [more]. Some systems do have a natural medium or small scale that is more efficient I'm sure. School class sizes should be small. Schools can be small, but the education authorities that manage those teachers and schools are doing the same thing that the other education authorities are doing and scale brings efficiencies and focus of skills.
Let's take UK national tests - which we used to resell/reuse around the world - why do we need separate entities vying to meet a target but provide the easiest test. How is that better than a single test?
If local decisions are always more efficient why don't we see each McDonalds drive-through redesigned from the ground up, purchasing its own meat to make patties, procuring flour individually for its own bakery service, designing their own kitchen lay-outs (they're franchises in the UK, even the buildings are largely prefabbed; all food is made off-site and cooked on the premises AFAICT).
What would be the detriment to all councils using the same CMS for their website - wouldn't it be better to spend centrally on one CMS rather than have every council get a new one made. Really any of the major FOSS ones could be modified to suit for a fraction of the real spend. I'll bet Walmart don't redesign their checkouts for every new district.
The reasoning is generally that the plan is to keep the pound or join the Euro but sharing a currency but not a government is dangerous. The past decade of Germany's "fuck you got mine" agenda dominating EU monetary policy to the detriment of the periphery is normally used as exhibit A here.
That is the opposite of what I would expect. England will go out of their way to help make sure the change goes as smoothly as possible. It is in everyones best interests to minimise chaos and uncertainty. I'm English FWIW.
Edit: The reason why I don't think it's appropriate is that it is a simple "Yes" or "No" and a lot of people who may have traditionally voted Labour or Lib Dem might be voting "Yes" even though the national UK parties have all been pushing the "No" side of the campaign.
Its unpredictable as it's all down to how the Labour and previous non-voters fall.
Not sure picking SNP support in an area is a great basis for predicting tonight's results though - a lot of people who would never vote SNP seem to be supporting the "Yes" campaign.
I plan on fast-forwarding through the next few hours with some help from our local water of life.
Edit: This might be a good source for where those number come from:
As it was a council election there appear to have been a lot of independents - so the proportion of seats won by the SNP looks relatively small even though they were the largest political party.