So today the people of Scotland (at least those given the right to vote) get to decide if they stay a part of the United Kingdom or leave and have their independence. But what would be the best course of action? Should Scotland stay in the Union started in 1707 or should they divorce themselves from England (and Wales and Northern Ireland) and go it alone? Let us consider some points. England and Scotland united together as one kingdom in the 18th Century, and since then they have achieved much.
The union between England and Scotland has been at the foundation of the UK’s greatness. That union has literally changed the whole world. Before that union, the British Isles was a provincial backwater. Any time England went to war, her enemies allied with Scotland and had an easy backdoor into England. Once the fighting between England and Scotland was ended, the two could turn outward and, together, they changed the world. Without that union, it was impossible for either to be anything other than a second- or third-rate power.
Neither side in the voting campaign has a vision of what a united Britain can do to help the world. Their views are completely insular and self-focused. What a horrible reason to end the most successful political union of separate states in history. Such a separation will, in time, rank as one of the worst calamities ever to befall either nation.
An independent Scotland would cripple Britain’s military. Hundreds of years of history have shown that defending Britain without Scotland is all but impossible.
“From early in the 20th century, when the Royal Navy’s Grand Fleet assembled at Scapa Flow to defend our shores against the Kaiser, to more recent efforts to intercept rogue Russian warplanes and naval ships challenging British-controlled territory, Scotland has been our first line of defense,” the Telegraph’s defense expert Con Coughlin wrote earlier this year. He points out that three out of Britain’s five Typhoon combat squadrons are based in Scotland, as well an early warning radar network and other vital defense assets. He continues: “Apart from forcing the Navy to find a new home for the Trident submarine fleet at a conservative cost of £20 billion, Scottish independence would require the RAF to relocate more than half of its combat squadrons south of the border. As for the Army, the establishment of a separate Scottish defence force could force it to accept a cut of around 10,000.
As one senior officer remarked: ‘A British Army with around 70,000 would be laughable.’” The result would be a gutted British military. It would be the end of Britain as a first-rate military power. The UK would no longer be able to intervene in world events in any meaningful way.
A breakup would also have a huge effect on Britain’s foreign policy. Here’s another quote from Forsyth’s article: “The rump that would be left behind after a Scottish yes vote would become a global laughingstock. Whenever the prime minister of what remained of the United Kingdom raised his voice in the international arena, he would be met by a chorus of ‘You couldn’t even keep your own country together!’ If even the British don’t believe in the British way of doing things any more, then why would anybody else?”
Later on in the article he notes: “After all, this would no longer be the same country that had fought on the winning side in two world wars and colored half the globe pink. It would, instead, just be the successor state to that great nation.
Finally the breakup would also have major economic effects. Here’s what Jordan Rochester, foreign exchange strategist at Japan’s largest bank, Nomura, said about an independent Scotland: “We could see a lot of money being pulled out of UK investments. Sterling could fall at least 15% in a worst-case scenario. These are scary times.” As the polls that put the “Yes” vote in the lead emerged, the pound immediately dropped to its lowest level against the dollar in 10 months.
Proverbs tells us that “where there is no vision, the people perish.” We see that in action today. Some vision existed in the past. The first stages of union with Scotland came at the time of “a rising consciousness among the English that they were a people
somehow different to all others, called to a special destiny,” as historian Paul Johnson put it in his book The Offshore Islanders.
“The last factor was decisive — the keystone in the Reformation arch,” he wrote. “It takes enormous energy to change the entire course of world history, and such energy cannot be drawn exclusively from physical forces; something metaphysical is required too.”
Part of that “enough energy” came from what could be called vision. Britain — England and Scotland united — believed that it could change the world, and make it a better place. That vision is gone. The nation does not even try to give its young people a sense of worth or purpose, so they turn to drink and fun. Young Muslims see no useful purpose in their home country, so they turn to an extremist ideology that seeks to destroy it. The forces of division, which have always existed in British politics, are no longer restrained by a sense of common purpose. Any charlatan who can convince the Scots that they could get more free money by leaving the union gets a large chunk of the vote.
Britain no longer gives Scots a reason to remain British. Apart from a vague sense of Scottishness, the nationalists don’t have much of a vision either. So the whole thing becomes a row over benefits. That’s all that’s left to argue about.
Scotland may ultimately vote “No” today, but that hate and division will remain — a sense of vision and purpose will not. With a “No” vote, Britain will narrowly avoid catastrophe, but these faults will remain.
It’s a sad picture for Britain. However, there is hope for these underlying problems to be fixed. That hope is the only real way to fix England and Scotland’s problems.
(Much of this information has been adapted from the 12 September 2014 issue of Trumpet Weekly, which you can download from https://www.thetrumpet.com/article/12093.2.0.0/britain/the-end-of-britain-is-nigh).
So if Scotland votes to be independent, will it be a true independence? Will they stay in the European Union? If so, then how is that independence? They will be ruled by Brussels instead of by both Brussels and Westminster. Or will they leave the EU, making themselves just a small independent nation that has no financial backing, making no real impact in the world, destined to fade into obscurity.
If you can vote in today’s Scottish referendum, you are much better off voting No, and keeping Scotland and England united and working together. We are better together.