Sunday, February 19, 2012

Against Scottish Independence (by Pedja dell'Arno)

As this interview of the great BBC journalist Jeremy Paxman with Scottish Prime Minister Alex Salmond shows, nationalist profets not always have answers to everything. It is interesting to see that Scottish independence would not mean changing the head of state (it would still be the Queen of England) and it would not mean stop watching the BBC, probably one of the greatest contributions of England to civilization. It would not even mean creating a new currency, although Mr. Salmond is not sure yet whether the currency would be the euro or the pound. It is not clear either whether in case of necessity the Scottish themselves would bail out Scottish banks, or it would have to be with the help of the English. Nothing is clear, because in an interdependent world, in the European Union, independence is ill defined. We live in a world of overlapping and complex sovereignties. I do not think that the ambition to have a seat in the European Council of Ministers justifies spending scarce political capital in a rich part of it such as the United Kingdom. This political capital could better be spent on more important and urgent fights such as ending world poverty or stopping climate change, or improving fiscal coordination to keep high tax rates to fund the welfare states. Political leaders should push for better interdependency, not for independence (unless this is justified by human rights violations, which is not the case at all).

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