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The Future of Scotland (and much more)

2014 April 12
by Gordon Reid

A lot of hot air is being generated at the moment about the coming Referendum on whether Scotland should leave the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and be independent. I am sure this would be a retrograde step, and would undo much of the goodness that has come from the existence of the United Kingdom (with all its warts).

My next paragraph should stir up many to produce even more hot air, but I feel like being a little provocative this morning!

First, the UK should leave the European Union. As an English-speaking country, with a vast English-speaking Empire in our comparatively recent past, and a very important Commonwealth of Nations in our present, we should have had more sense than to join “Europe”  in the first place. Our natural ties of history and kinship and language are with Canada, Australia, India, South Africa, New Zealand, Botswana, Ghana, Pakistan etc etc etc.

And, living in the United States of America, as I have done these past ten years, I think that, if the United Kingdom has to be in a Union at all (and I respect those who say it should not) then the obvious Union is that of the United States. This  may seem at first sight a little far fetched, but remember that if I had written in a blog twenty years ago that very soon the USSR would have split up into all its constituent nations, I would have been met with incredulity.

So, my solution is this: the UK should get out of the European Union (politely and with generosity) and instead of the ludicrous Scottish secession, it should  devolve much more to the four parts, and have a federal government for national  matters only. Having done that, it should apply to become either one or four  States of the United States of America, which might then be renamed (with a triumphal ceremony in Boston Harbour perhaps) “The United States of America and Great Britain”.

If Hawaii in the South Sea Islands can be a State, why not England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland? For all I know, this might lead to many of the countries of the Commonwealth (and especially Canada) following the same course.

Now  isn’t that an elegant solution? Excuse me while I retire behind my bullet-proof barrier!

5 Responses leave one →
  1. Jeff Ezell permalink
    April 12, 2014

    There are some aspects of the EU from which the UK benefits, free trade perhaps being chiefest, and the UK likely needs at this point to maintain some relationship to the EU, but one short of full membership. I’d certainly agree that the four nations should be further devolved and the UK federalised. I suspect that the eventual destiny of Northern Ireland belongs with the Republic, perhaps in a confederation as a transitional step, and even with some formal relationship to the Crown for an indefinite period of time. My own scheme would be to have the United States in some relationship to the Commonwealth, perhaps as a formal “Commonwealth Partner Country”, and hence in formal relationship to the British Monarch in the role of Head of the Commonwealth and thus having a symbolic primacy of honour in the United States. This might actually be achievable in principle, though clearly the political will to accomplish such a re-ordering is presently absent. It’s probably mostly tilting at windmills, I’m afraid.

  2. April 15, 2014

    I think that is such a good idea.
    If we added Gt Britain, The Commonwealth and theUnited States together with a special association to the European Union we could” manage” (Rule is a No No word) the World.

  3. Martin Brynildsen permalink
    April 21, 2014

    Fanciful notions…but perhaps interesting for the (very) long term. As things stand in our world today, one can only imagine the nasty politics and name calling at the above suggestions: subversive, conspiratorial imperialism, etc. etc. It’s a bit much to comprehend a venture across the “pond,” spreading ourselves ever thinner while we must (of course) continue to “dominate” our hemisphere.

  4. Paul Emmons permalink
    May 24, 2014

    I’d welcome some kind of more formalized association between Britain and the United States, and hope it might work both ways (maybe we’ll someday get to sing “God save the Queen”)? But heaven forbid their becoming full-fledged States, for their sake. Centripetal forces in Washington are too strong and arrogant. To any reader of William Stringfellow, this comes as no surprise. We really must bear in mind the supernatural and spiritual implications of these trends. When we pray for the President of the United States, let’s include the hope that he can keep a clear head while immersed in the modern equivalent of the palace of Babylon. The temptations to do otherwise must be enormous.

  5. Steven Rhodes permalink
    June 28, 2014

    You write “we should have had more sense than to join “Europe” in the first place. Our natural ties of history and kinship and language are with Canada, Australia, India, South Africa, New Zealand, Botswana, Ghana, Pakistan etc etc etc.”

    This is precisely why the EU is a good thing. NATO was formed after WWII to resist the tide of Soviet/Russian expansion and initially, and currently, it has failed. The EU was formed to prevent war between its neighbours and it has been an unparalleled success. Those ‘natural ties’ between nations precipitated the first war, and nationalism reviving brought about the second. The EU has also significantly enhanced the economic growth of the UK as its markets are convenient. Shipping costs alone would make any economic union with the USA (and, of course, the resurrection of tariff barriers to British goods in the EU) an economic disaster for the UK.

    It is curious, I believe, that so many committed anti-Europeans (on grounds of sovereignty) are also committed unionists. Once you emphasise national independence, you are naked before the argument of those who assert such independence against you. Moreover, I cannot see how the more right-wing Tories can assert British national sovereignty when US nuclear missiles continue to be based on our territory over which we have little or no control (I am neither unilateralist nor pacifist).

    But in any case, Fr Reid, much as the ties between the US and the UK are strong (including my own strong and affectionate ties), I believe a proposal for union with the USA would be far from popular in the UK. Who wants to be in bed with a hippo?

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