The Grim Case for Scottish Independence

| Wed Jun. 11, 2014 11:00 AM EDT

Charlie Stross has a very, very grim assessment of England's future:

The worst case outcome, circa 2017, is that Scotland remains manacled to an England that has voted in a government of the Home Counties, who despise the Scots, and who have successfully campaigned for a referendum in which the English protest vote determines that Scotland will be dragged out of the EU in a vain attempt to wind the clock back to an imaginary vision of a 1950s conservative utopia that never was. Or Scotland might remain part of a UK, but one where when push came to shove the racist right took a kicking in the 2015 election and the softer right wing government of New Labour is back in charge and the loons are exiled to the fringes again, and the country is at least open for business.

Which brings me to the punch-line: I'll be voting "yes" for an independence Scotland in September. Not with great enthusiasm....but because everything I see around me suggests that there is some very bad craziness in the near future of England, and I don't want the little country I live in to be dragged down the rabbit hole by the same dark forces of reaction that are cropping up across Europe, from Hungary to Greece. The failure modes of democracy, it seems to me, are less damaging the smaller the democracy.

From thousands of miles away, things don't seem nearly so bad to me. UKIP seems unlikely to thrive in the long term, and separation from the EU strikes me as fantastically unlikely, regardless of the usual up-and-down cycles in opinion polls. And yet, what do I know? I've spent a grand total of about a week there in the last decade. Is Charlie's ultra-bleak view of England's political future more widespread than I think? Comments?

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