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Scottish Independence Referendum Data Map (oobrien.com)
61 points by wf on Sept 18, 2014 | hide | past | web | favorite | 49 comments

I was talking about Scottish Independence today while hiking with two friends. Both of them thought that independence was a bad idea, but could not provide much reason for this. Maybe a slant in USA news media, with a pro-England slant?

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.

One reason against voting yes is quite simple: having no idea what will happen. There are definitely economic uncertainties with independence, and I think it's a valid viewpoint to be concerned about them.

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")

The guarantee is with the No vote. More of the same right wing policies, growing inequity and non-representative politicians.

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 guarantee is with the No vote. More of the same right wing policies

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.

However, England is vastly more right-wing than Scotland. The only Scot I know supports yes simply because since WW2, Scotland has been under a Tory-ruled Westminster and having to implement their policies for roughly half the time, while never actually voting for them. 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.

You could say the same about every part of the country that did not vote for the current government. In a democracy you often don't get what you want.

> In a democracy you often don't get what you want.

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.

Not true, there was a labour government for 13 years! Also many parts of England and Wales vote in a similar way to Scotland but they don't get to secceed.

The Labour party was corrupted by Blair. Its almost as right wing as the Conservatives. Inequality continued to grow for those 13 years.

>The only Scot I know supports yes ...

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.

The guarantee is with the No vote. More of the same right wing policies

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.

Labour, Conservative, Lib Dems. All the same basically.

I find it odd, the argument that by splitting off and going its own way, Scotland is basically guaranteed a selection of political parties offering a wider variety of choices. Unless the Yes party is arguing for proportional representation (or something like condorecet), Scotland is going to end up with a two-party system, and in two-party systems, the parties become very similar.

Scotland already has its own parliament which uses PR, however this did not stop the SNP wiping out the opposition in the last round of elections hence the current situation.

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.

there is no guarantee that a Yes vote won't result in the same either. Seeing how Czechoslovaki spit and ended up going the opposite that many had expected; they expected left/socialist ideals...

> it is primarily emotional rather than calculated

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.

Canada has debated similar issues for most of my lifetime, with the general conclusion that separatists are emotionally driven romantics who believe that since their cause is "right" it must also somehow be practical, although they have never been able to give us anything remotely resembling a practical plan.

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.

"There's no guarantee that change will be a good thing"

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.

Luckily it looks like they’re going to stay part of the UK: the rest of us need that balancing action to get some sanity into the upcoming European referendum.

Being afraid of the future is for pansies. I think pansies grow in England, right?

>Small seems more efficient. //

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.

Centrally planned economies operate on that assumption, that deduplication of effort will lead to efficiency. However, capitalist economies are more efficient, even though millions of people all have to make their own decisions.

Centrally planned economies go a step further though, it's not just deduplication it's forced personal uniformity to enable deduplication - and then that's probably a cover for megalomania. I'm not suggesting we have a state clothing and state haircut (though that would be highly efficient!).

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.

Here are some good reasons why Scotland should not become independent: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/08/opinion/paul-krugman-scots...

I don't know that making Scotland pay in the short term is all that smart and could significantly backfire on the English elite just like every single thing they have said and done in the last couple days has. Scotland separating from the UK seems like quite the devaluation of the Significantly Less United Kingdom. I wonder if this temporary and manufactured boosting of the Pound is not a kind of mania before a dump. There is essentially no way for England to prevent Scotland from simply pegging their currency to the Pound and currency is little more than a quantification of confidence. Will the markets be all that confident in the UK with out Scottish natural resources; especially if the English get a little too snobby and make Scotland invalidate sharing agreements?

"Both of them thought that independence was a bad idea, but could not provide much reason for this. "

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.

"I bet England does make them pay short term if there is a YES vote"

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.

You are clearly correct that it would be in everyone's best interests not to indulge in the politics of spite. But man, the stuff I've been hearing out of UK leaders sure sounds like the politics of spite to me. Maybe that's just tactical to try to scare Scottish voters and after a "yes" referendum they'd pivot to minimizing carnage. But I wouldn't want to bet on that.

Very much. It's in the UK's best interest to have an answer to questions about the Pound ASAP; the bond markets will accept no excuses. I'd be very surprised if any of the major points (Pound, Trident, Debt etc) were still undecided by Christmas (given a Yes vote).

It's the wars. The Scots do not want to ride along on our next misadventure, which will hasten the end of the dollar as reserve currency.

Just got back in from my visit to the polling station at a local scout hut a few minutes ago, with the largest population centres of Glasgow and Edinburgh declaring so late into the morning I'm not sure what large benefit is to be gained from live tracking.

Interesting map, but if the person who created it happens by, you should consider setting constraints[1] on your zoom, so that your subject remains in view. It's very easy to zoom out to continental zoom level, which doesn't show any useful information in this context.

1. http://openlayers.org/en/v3.0.0/examples/zoom-constrained.ht...

For the more sparsely populated areas (e.g. Highlands, Moray, Aberdeenshire, Perth & Kinross) placing the marker in the "geographical" center rather than on the main town looks a bit odd to me - especially as the Moray marker seems to be located on top of the Macallan distillery rather than at Elgin.....

I'd also add to turn off mouse scroll zoom completely.

Anyone able to explain how to read this?

Why are the circles colored to indicate voting results if none of the results have been announced yet?

It's SNP voting levels from 2012 elections - not a particularly appropriate measure in my opinion!

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.

Agreed. That's way off base. SNP voters won't make up half of the YES vote.

Its unpredictable as it's all down to how the Labour and previous non-voters fall.

Pretty nifty map of #indyref tweets over the past 7 days http://trendsmap.com/v2/Lf62/w

i'd have thought running a government is a massive hassle..if they could have the english do it for them for free, why would they want to do it themselves?

The numbers in the circles at 21:00 BST time show the likely time when the results will be announced.

Interesting. Why is the Highland council area so red?

Probably based on the level of SNP support in either the local council, Scottish or UK parliament elections - traditionally the Liberal Democrats were strong in the Highlands.

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.


So yeah, that's what I thought, but are there reasons why the Highlands don't affiliate directly with the SNP that are orthogonal to their likely vote?

Seems to be that the border colours represent previous SNP vote share and the middles will represent referendum declarations as they are announced. The numbers are projected declaration times.

low Scottish National Party voters

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