Scottish Independence Referendum

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Kiltman2
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Scottish Independence Referendum

Post by Kiltman2 » Fri Sep 19, 2014 1:03 am

We're voting today to see whether Scotland would like to be an independent country and split from the UK.

Ask a Scot anything! Additionally - what coverage have you seen from your respective countries?

(Actual result will be in 7:00am ish tomorrow local time)

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Twelve Boats
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Re: Scottish Independence Referendum

Post by Twelve Boats » Fri Sep 19, 2014 1:52 am

i just found out about it! godspeed, scotland. i hope you are independent. up next, wales! then the last lil bit of ireland!
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McTool
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Re: Scottish Independence Referendum

Post by McTool » Fri Sep 19, 2014 2:35 am

Local time is GMT Scotland? fudge I don't want to stay up until 2am ;;
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Treedweller

Re: Scottish Independence Referendum

Post by Treedweller » Fri Sep 19, 2014 3:54 am

I take great delight in seeing the institutions that elites rely on to maintain their grubby little privileges crumble, nation-states included. Watching David Cameron scramble and waffle on when the yes vote became a real possibility was especially amusing. fudge that guy, really. He reminds me of Canada's doughy, pasty conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper. That's not a good look, Cameron.

My only problem with Scotland's independence is how, despite its admirable socialist leanings, it could court corporations by lowering its tax rates to absurd levels and use oil revenues to fund social programs when global warming continues to be a pretty big fudge issue.

But best of luck, Scots. Stick it to the neoliberal man, and ignore corporations' childish threats to subject you to free market discipline by leaving thousands of unemployed in the wake of their moves. I'll be rooting for your independence.
Last edited by Treedweller on Fri Sep 19, 2014 8:22 am, edited 1 time in total.

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MobiusReactor
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Re: Scottish Independence Referendum

Post by MobiusReactor » Fri Sep 19, 2014 4:12 am

As a fellow Scot, if there's a yes vote, christ, I'm moving south...
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Treedweller

Re: Scottish Independence Referendum

Post by Treedweller » Fri Sep 19, 2014 4:19 am

Out of curiosity, Kilty, how do you feel about this?

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McTool
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Re: Scottish Independence Referendum

Post by McTool » Fri Sep 19, 2014 4:53 am

The Delgados are voting yes which means I am required to root for a yes vote, by the way

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Narts
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Re: Scottish Independence Referendum

Post by Narts » Fri Sep 19, 2014 4:55 am

yes I also enjoy watching civilisation burn to the ground as savages raze and defile everything good and worthwhile

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Kiltman2
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Re: Scottish Independence Referendum

Post by Kiltman2 » Fri Sep 19, 2014 8:00 am

Oh, I am a very staunch anti independence voter! I've even done door to door canvassing for the No campaign. I feel the case for independence is not sufficient to support full separation, and that effectively there is a real and very possible risk to this country. I can elaborate if anyone is interested :)

But in other news, this is a democrat's wet dream. 97% of the electorate have registered to vote. Some places have recorded a <90% turnout. It's mental!

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Treedweller

Re: Scottish Independence Referendum

Post by Treedweller » Fri Sep 19, 2014 8:21 am

I'm very interested in your elaborations, darling.

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Re: Scottish Independence Referendum

Post by onewaystreet » Fri Sep 19, 2014 8:30 am

As someone who barely knows anything about the situation, what advantages or disadvantages are there for Scotland gaining its independence anyway? I'm interested to hear both sides of the argument.
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Re: Scottish Independence Referendum

Post by Linkman » Fri Sep 19, 2014 8:46 am

Agree with ows.
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Treedweller

Re: Scottish Independence Referendum

Post by Treedweller » Fri Sep 19, 2014 9:02 am

That's a loaded question, and one that you probably shouldn't be asking WWN to explain for you. I suggest you seek out well-researched journalism on the subject. Like every other political issue in the world that seems to only have two sides, yes and no voters are fragmented, and each side - while seeming uniform and united against the other at a glance - encompasses a thousand different ideologies coming together in solidarity on a single issue for a short period. Nevertheless, here are some articles that might help.

The Guardian, Vox, and Jacobin Magazine (with an article for, and one against) have all published excellent pieces on the Scottish referendum in the past couple weeks.

Those three publications all skew left, though. So I guess if you're looking for 'balance', you should seek out the uninteresting pieces that the right-leaning press published, too. Maybe look at Niall Ferguson's awful NYT op-ed, if you're so inclined. [Note: Ferguson is an apologist for British empire. His book Civilization: the West and the Rest enraged me as I read it. But his assertion that Scotland is not and has never really been a British colony is correct.] There's also an NYT piece by Paul Krugman, but I've never really liked the guy. You might appreciate his economic argument against independence, though.

Finally, there's John Oliver's take on independence (it's a 15 minute video). He's hilarious, as always.

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Treedweller

Re: Scottish Independence Referendum

Post by Treedweller » Fri Sep 19, 2014 9:15 am

Oh, and for anyone looking for the referendum results as they come in, here's a nifty tracker by The Guardian.
Last edited by Treedweller on Fri Sep 19, 2014 1:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Treedweller

Re: Scottish Independence Referendum

Post by Treedweller » Fri Sep 19, 2014 9:49 am

And, of course, despite my support for Scottish independence, do realize that I found this issue even more difficult than usual to arrive at conclusions about. Like, maybe I came off too strong.

I guess I think Scottish independence, if anything, would be interesting because it brings into question the electoral support that David Cameron and the rest of the South take for granted. The possibility of Scottish independence reminds Cameron and his conservatives that the consent their politics - austerity, dismantling the social safety net, etc - need from their electorate rests on shaky ground. Like, 5 million people are about to just up and leave because they don't like what the English impose on them. But independence is by no means the only way to resist Thatcher and her legacy (which lived on in Blair and Cameron).

Still, I probably only feel that way because I'm a foreign observer who's mostly unaffected (for the moment) by the scary uncertainty independence could bring. And despite my sympathies and beliefs, I'm still a human whose emotions are easy to manipulate, if you instil in me enough fear for the future.

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Re: Scottish Independence Referendum

Post by Xenesis » Fri Sep 19, 2014 12:52 pm

It's interesting because even if the referendum results in the UK remaining as is, a vote with a line that fine should absolutely terrify the crap out of the sitting politicians.

Either way, the aftermath is going to be interesting - either we get an Independent Scotland, or we get a Westminster that's been spooked by the very, very real possibility that a good portion of the United Kingdom was going to get up and leave.
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Treedweller

Re: Scottish Independence Referendum

Post by Treedweller » Fri Sep 19, 2014 1:04 pm

Yeah, and that's exactly what I look forward to most: watching David Cameron et al squirm in the aftermath. Because regardless, Scotland's put itself in a sweet bargaining position.

I wish Quebec in Canada would liven up our politics in a similar way (as it once did), but that movement seems dead. But hey, if that's a success, and Catalonia pushes for the same thing, French Canadians might start thinking about separation again.


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Re: Scottish Independence Referendum

Post by MysteriousLad » Fri Sep 19, 2014 1:57 pm

No seems to be the winner so far.
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Treedweller

Re: Scottish Independence Referendum

Post by Treedweller » Fri Sep 19, 2014 2:49 pm

It's done. 'No' wins.

And so it goes. But hey, at least we'll all get to see the happy ending David Cameron speech.

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Re: Scottish Independence Referendum

Post by monkymeet » Fri Sep 19, 2014 9:10 pm

Honestly, it seems really silly that a simple majority determines the fate of Scotland.
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McTool
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Re: Scottish Independence Referendum

Post by McTool » Sat Sep 20, 2014 3:45 am

Do you know what doesn't determine the President of the USA

it's a majority
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Twelve Boats
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Re: Scottish Independence Referendum

Post by Twelve Boats » Sat Sep 20, 2014 3:14 pm

i find it weird that it wasn't just the people of scotland who got to vote on this
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Dragonite
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Re: Scottish Independence Referendum

Post by Dragonite » Sun Sep 21, 2014 3:31 am

It's their piece of land. From what I know of the context, this was the best way to go about it.

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Re: Scottish Independence Referendum

Post by daisy » Tue Sep 23, 2014 9:42 am

I'm late to this but, despite the look of things, the SNP actually partially got what they wanted. When the referendum question was being decided upon, Alex Salmond wanted a third option alongside yes/no - devo max, which was declined by Westminster. When "yes" saw a huge jump and Cameron started getting all scared, he effectively promised devo max. A no vote was no longer "no". There wasn't an option on the ballot paper to keep the status quo.

Now, thanks to that promise, English politics is in chaos over the prospect of English devolution alongside Scottish devolution. That would obviously kill Labour's chances in 2015 (and probably 2020) which is horrible.

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Re: Scottish Independence Referendum

Post by Dragonite » Tue Sep 23, 2014 7:06 pm

Sounds like a mess Dave.. To me it looks like some of the old tensions in the country are finally coming to a head, especially the flaws in the democratic system. It's just awkward it happens in the current global situation.

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Re: Scottish Independence Referendum

Post by daisy » Wed Sep 24, 2014 12:11 am

It is. With no written constituion, it's going to be a mess. Instead of farting about like this, we need a draft constitution written (maybe modelled off the Germans) and put to the vote.

And yes, that means becoming a republic too. The royals are the definition of corrupt.

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Re: Scottish Independence Referendum

Post by Linkman » Wed Sep 24, 2014 4:53 am

Now that it's done and over with, why were you anti-independence Kilty? I'm honestly very interested.
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Re: Scottish Independence Referendum

Post by Treedweller » Wed Sep 24, 2014 9:25 am

daisy wrote:That would obviously kill Labour's chances in 2015 (and probably 2020) which is horrible.
I don't think it's so horrible. Your Labour party is just barely left of centre, and will undoubtedly continue to leave the poorest British behind in an effort to appeal to the educated middle class masses. Plus, Ed Miliband is mostly cloying and without conviction. Also I hate his face. Oh, and his stance on Israel was craven.

I'm not saying that there aren't clear differences between Cameron and Miliband, the Tories and Labour. I do think Labour's better for the middle and working classes. But, with the turns that British politics are taking (with English and Scottish devolution on the table), it'd be cool if your government started from scratch instead of hoping for sweeping change by a Labour party whose incremental policies to expand the welfare state will be overturned by future Tory majorities anyways.

In any case, I just can't see the status quo parties surviving this devolution fudge. I mean, maybe independence for North Ireland, Wales, Scotland, and England isn't really far off. Maybe some new genuinely leftist party will spring out the chaos and power vacuums and deliver you all. Who knows?

And yes, like Linky, I'd still love to hear Kilty's ideas on Scottish independence.

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Re: Scottish Independence Referendum

Post by daisy » Wed Sep 24, 2014 10:09 am

I know what you're saying, but with the Labour competition wiped out, the Tories would have much more of a free reign to shift further to the right - as most of their backbenchers would love them to. Ed seems to be love him or hate him. I personally like him as much as I can given the choice, even if he is a little toolish at times. Labour plan to keep most Tory welfare reforms except the bedroom tax.

Also, they seem to be the only serious party with anything to say about the absolutely dire state of our rail services. As a regular user, the private companies that run them are getting away with daylight robbery.

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Re: Scottish Independence Referendum

Post by Kiltman2 » Sat Sep 27, 2014 9:52 pm

Sweet! So my reasons for voting against independence:

(iScotland = independent Scotland, rUK = rest of UK following split)

-Currency. It become something of a political football which was initially a strength for the No camp, but very quickly became a somewhat toxic topic of discussion because it reinforced the narrative of a patronising Westminster govt telling the Scots what they can't have. But basically, there were 3 options available to iScotland: Keep using Sterling, Use the Euro, or start a new currency. Using Sterling and the Euro means that your country is in a currency union without a political one. Had another financial crisis come about ala 2008, Scotland would be exposed and in a position potentially like Ireland. The austerity measures in this country have been awful particularly on the poorest and most vulnerable in society - but do not compare to the ECB and IMF imposed austerity measures imposed on Ireland. Having the safety net of the UK means that in the case of RBS and Barclays (two huge international banks located in Scotland) went under, the UK was able to borrow roughly 30% of GDP to bail out the banks. This entirely averted another Depression-era bank run, people didn't lose their savings or pensions and jobs were also maintained.

Had iScotland had the same bank run, it would be relying on other countries for this funding - or the loss of sovereignty that the IMF and Euro-imposed austerity would cause.

Additionally, this isn't just for large scale crashes or what have you, this applies to day to day fiscal policy. Being a part of a central bank which is unable to adjust interest rates to your particular economy is difficult, and you can end up with massive inflation and other nasties. As a result I believe that iScotland having its own currency was the best option for the reason of flexibility - but the Yes camp was neither discussing this as an option or even setting out whether it would be possible with EU re-entry negotiations.

-EU. The SNP (Scottish Nationalist Party, the majority party in the Scottish Parliament and main proponents for independence) have been deliberately obtuse about the legal advise they have sought as to how, when and if Scotland could re-join the EU. Basically, at the very least it might mean an 18 month negotiation period where Scotland would leave and then rejoin, but would we have still been in the common market in that time? There is also good reason in countries like Spain to stymie Scots efforts to block their Basque and Catalonian independence movements.

-Defence. I seem to be at odds with a lot of my countrymen on this issue, but I am in support of the nuclear weapons programme Trident which many see as an expensive and antiquated relic of a more paranoid world. One Yes'er asked me whether I wanted iScotland to be a beacon of hope in the world, relinquishing our nukes and paring down our army. I said that well maybe, if not for Russia literally waging war on Europe's doorstep and the requirement of a strong NATO force so that Europe as a continent is not so reliant on US defence spending. Trident is a mobile tactical nuclear submarine programme which is small, targeted and an acceptable cost for the UK as a whole which 65 million people to brunt the costs.

Additionally, I am not an interventionist per se - but I see the necessity in taking military action in the right situations. Had the West started strikes in Syria before now, maybe the moderate opposition which did exist in the country wouldn't have been crushed between a genocidal dictator and extremist militants. The rUK's military clout would be reduced, and their capacity to intervene would be reduced.

Within Scotland and UK in general the moment there is an increasing desire for isolationism and non-intervention. I fall on one side of the debate, and I think the debate needs to be had - but I don't think the solution to difficult foreign policy solutions is to wipe your hands and have no foreign policy.

-Economy. Scotland has a lot of oil, an incredible whisky industry and abundant renewable energy potential. It also has an ageing population which will become more of a strain on the working population to sustain, a less diverse and less productive workforce than the rUK following a split. The oil money would either need to go towards the budget to sustain current high levels of public spending relative to the UK, or to a Norwegian style oil fund. The oil fund would pay dividends down the line, but would actually mean cuts really soon to plug the gap.

The only economy-related policy the SNP have talked about post-independence is a cut in corporation tax below rUK. This is mindboggling. It would have triggered a race to the bottom for favourable business conditions between iScot and rUK, and in those situations the people who pay the price are workers and labour rights. There's all for encouraging business (particularly small to mid businesses, which is one of few proven means of growing jobs and economy reliably) but creating something of a tax haven north of London is not progressive - the poorest will pay the price.

Additionally back to banks, if the banks stayed in iScot they represent a liability which cannot be backed up by a lender of last resort. If they left, they would take 400,000 jobs with them in Scotland's finance sector.

-Politics. The often perceived notion is that Scotland is an inherently more left-wing country than England is only partially true. Yes, there is only one Conservative MP in Scotland (which has led to the hilarious observation that Scotland has more Pandas than Conservative MPs), but 17% of the public voted Tory in the last general election. First Past the Post rarely reflects the desires of the public so, yeah. Additionally the right-wing party UKIP got more votes in Scotland than the Scottish Greens at the last EU elections.

Country opinion polls found Scotland only leaned slightly left on social issues, quite favourably towards immigration (though Scotland has seen less immigration than other parts of the UK) and actually in line with the general public's current negative views towards welfare / benefits. The reason why Scotland doesn't have a credible right-wing political force is the Thatcher effect still very much an albatross around the necks of Conservatives in this country. If they were to rebrand, or simply outlive the legacy, there will be more right-wing rhetoric in Scotland.

Therefore, I object to the idea that iScotland would be an inherently more liberal / progressive state. I do agree that Scotland should have more of a say in its own matters, hence why further devolution of powers to a Scottish parliament is a great idea without having to leave the union.

Additionally, I dislike the Tories as much as anyone, but it would be naive to think that they would go away in iScot, or that a very right wing rUK wouldn't influence Scotland. Anyway.

-The Yes Camp. They have led possibly the best political campaign in the last 5 decades of British political history. They have gone to great lengths to draw from several different parties, but have managed to sustain a narrative of positivity and hope. It has also been drawn from a vein of Scottish nationalism which borders on exceptionalism - we are a great country, we hold so much potential, we are just being held back. We can be the change we want in our country. It is, and continues to be wonderfully inspiring that in the referendum so many people want to make this country better and will fight for it. I think though that this type of narrative is the type which is dangerously nationalistic, and not drawing too dramatic of comparisons, we don't want to too much pretend we are the victims of unfair forces and we need to realise our potential.

Additionally, during my time door-knocking for the No camp (which is invasive and bothersome, and I understand that) I got told I was a "fudge traitor" and that I should "fudge off back to England" (I have lived in Scotland all my life lol). Numerous times. There is a horrible undercurrent of nastiness which has been encouraged, I think, with the referendum vote.

Not that there isn't nastiness on the No side too. Last week right-wing and mental religious groups protested in Glasgow's George Sq and it got really nasty. That is related to the complicated sectarian and football related politics of Glasgow - but yeah.

The beauty of the Yes campaign is you don't need to see eye-to-eye with everyone who support independence, it's like looking in that Harry Potter mirror and you see what you truly want in an iScot. Whether that's a Scandinavian style high-tax high-social spending economy, or a low-tax Celtic tiger oil fuelled economy, or renewable paradise - anything is possible. But not all of these futures are possible. Any question of figures or numbers, of whether it could physically happen without tax cuts or tax rises are pooh-poohed and swept to the side.

-David Cameron. He's a tool. But voting yes to spite his plasticine, smug bellend of a face is letting short term politics effect your country for hundreds of years, long after he and his party have gone.

-The Union. It has been, by a lot of metrics, one of the most successful unions in history. Without Scotland's influence the UK would never have had quite the scale of industrial revolution that it did, and vice versa joining the Union shocked Scotland out of the semi-feudalistic state it was in 1707 and gave it the platform to become the Shipbuilding hub of the world and what have you. Whenever the history of the Union is brought up the horrors of imperialism are also brought to the fray - but this is as part of Scotland's history as it is the UK's, if not more so as Scotland has traditionally contributed more to military and empire management. The UK fought two world wars together, sometimes alone. It build the NHS, arguably the best public healthcare system in the world. There are so many invisible benefits to being in the Union, from increased research grants for universities to benefits of economies of scale, so we pay the same prices for food in Inverness as they do in Portsmouth. From having no physical border to cross, and those associated costs.

Above all, in an increasingly globalised and fragmented world, a vote for unity and strength in numbers is a vote for mutual cooperation and understanding. It's a vote for the power of a United Kingdom with localised powers and federalisation, and above all it's a vote for a better Scotland without throwing the poorest and most vulnerable in society into risk.

***

I am sorry this is so long. It has been a lot of what I have been thinking about for 2 years. I'll do another post soon with post-referendum reactions and thoughts / predictions for the future.

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Re: Scottish Independence Referendum

Post by Linkman » Sat Sep 27, 2014 11:17 pm

That was great. Truly so. Thank you man.

EDIT: To elaborate a bit, a lot of people I know talked about this like it was a rosy graduation-type story. Even the press did an awful job at covering the pros and cons, so I really appreciate hearing all this from you Kilty. I rather like your views as they show concern about the welfare of your country and your people rather than nationalism or silly idealism about freedom.

So kudos for being such a stand-up citizen.
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Re: Scottish Independence Referendum

Post by daisy » Sun Sep 28, 2014 5:56 am

There will probably be another referendum within our lifetimes.

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Treedweller

Re: Scottish Independence Referendum

Post by Treedweller » Sun Oct 05, 2014 3:15 pm

Wow. I only just got around to reading it, but that was a magnificent post, Kilty. I mean, I don't think Russia represents or will represent any actual threat to Western Europe, but the rest of your reasons were smart, subtle, and well-thought-out.

Thanks for that, my darling.

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Joey

Re: Scottish Independence Referendum

Post by Joey » Sun Oct 26, 2014 2:32 pm

The UK's "union" is a fudge joke, and we should be embarrassed they use the term.
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Re: Scottish Independence Referendum

Post by daisy » Sun Oct 26, 2014 10:07 pm

Sup Una.

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Joey

Re: Scottish Independence Referendum

Post by Joey » Mon Oct 27, 2014 4:22 am

we still have puerto rico and guam and a few others of course

so yeah we kinda suck too
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Joey

Re: Scottish Independence Referendum

Post by Joey » Mon Oct 27, 2014 6:54 am

It should be noted that I am pretty harshly critical of many constructs, and the United Kingdom is, in this way, not special at all. For instance, our concept of districting is an unrepentant nightmare that, while achieving proportional representation, gets us Representatives from areas whose borders are of no real significance. Meanwhile, while our Senators are from areas whose borders are of real significance, therein they lose that proportionality.

I think not having a constitution is ridiculous (what in the fudge, Israel, at least the United Kingdom makes a damned bit of sense for that to happen).

I think about macro scale constructions a lot. Kilty's concerns about Scotland's welfare are incredibly valid, obviously, and usually if Paul Krugman is making a point on economics, people should shut up and listen to him.

But this referendum did raise my frustration with the nonsense way in which the UK is governed at a large level, which is just a bunch of nonsense. Obviously we're in the middle of what's a gradual improvement, but after devolution of powers to smaller national legislatures, England doesn't itself have that same treatment, and as such the business of the parliament for all the UK will disproportionately represent the interests of England. Bog and I talked a bit about this.

Because more local representation is wanted, a sort of US-esque system would make most sense, with each four member countries having their own government while a government representing the business of the whole union, less busy with the business of specifically England off its agenda, remains intact.

Just, little quirks like that, man. I'm really into systems, so when they're unbalanced in a way that doesn't make sense, it tweaks me out.
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Joey

Re: Scottish Independence Referendum

Post by Joey » Mon Oct 27, 2014 6:57 am

So I become all WHAT ARE YOU DOING

GIVE ME THAT

YOU ARE NOT JAMES MADISON
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