The Scottish Independence Vote – Update

Update

Yesterday I had some fun with the idea of Scotland seceding from the United Kingdom and going it alone.

As we now know, the Scots have rejected the idea by a 55-45 vote.

Good for them!

As someone who lived in Scotland from 1971-1974, before North Sea oil was a factor in the economy, I believe this was the right choice.

There has been enmity between the Scots and the English since the Romans left Britain in the early 5th Century. This may have diminished somewhat in the intervening 1600 years, but has not ceased.

In some ways, Scotland has had a long period of “state’s rights” fever even though it has needed the advantages of the United Kingdom.

South Carolina and the rest of the old Confederacy would do well to take a lesson here. In many ways, they are the ‘Scotland’ of the United States.

The United Kingdom and the United States are greater than the sum of their parts. It’s time that was recognized on both sides of the Atlantic.

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By Paul Gable

Does the question of Scottish independence really matter to the people of the United States in general and South Carolina in particular?

Of course, any vote on the question of secession should viscerally matter to all South Carolinians considering the state’s history. Secession votes should be important to South Carolinians even (or is that especially) if their political views are limited to the extreme parochialism of the ultra-conservative, states’ rights genre.

As a colony, South Carolina seceded from Great Britain months before the Declaration of Independence brought the other colonies into the fold. And no native son or daughter can forget when South Carolina led the way to the Confederate States of America by being the first state to secede from the Union.

But, Scottish independence and South Carolina have even greater historical ties. Scots settled in South Carolina since the earliest Colonial days, mostly to escape religious and/or political persecution in their homeland.

For example, a Scottish Presbyterian colony was established in South Carolina in 1684 because, at the time, Scots were liable to prosecution in England since the Church of England had an Episcopal constitution.

Scotland has had a stormy relationship with England since the Romans left the island in the early 5th Century. It even exceeds South Carolina’s stormy relationship with the rest of the Union throughout American history.

If the vote today is purely emotional, Scotland will vote ‘Yes’ to secede from Great Britain as South Carolina voted ‘Yes’ to secede from the Union on December 20, 1860.

But emotional votes are rarely the wisest and the consequences are often less than desirable. No South Carolina native forgets 1861-1865.

War will not result from a ‘Yes’ vote for Scottish independence today. A few of those have already been fought between Scotland and England with mostly bad results for the Scots. (Sound familiar South Carolina?)

But, a ‘Yes’ vote for Scottish independence will have enormous economic consequences. Not only will an independent Scotland be separated from Great Britain, it will also not be part of the European Economic Union. Whatever your opinion of the EEU, it is much better for a small country like Scotland to be a member than to have to go it alone in today’s economic climate.

And speaking of economic considerations, they could well extend here.

If the British Open can no longer be played at St. Andrews, Carnoustie, Muirfield, Troon or Turnberry, it will have no more importance than the Dubai Creek Open. As a result, can it be long before golf drops even more in popularity worldwide?

Myrtle Beach portrays itself as the ‘Golf Capital of the World.’ As popularity of the game shrinks, it won’t be long before an even more severe drop in golf tourism occurs in Myrtle Beach than we are already experiencing meaning a loss in tax revenue to the state and local economy. Probably not even Chamber ads can stem that flow.

So, the vote for Scottish independence today could directly affect all South Carolinians.

Didn’t know it mattered did you?

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