Friday, September 19, 2014

Scottish Referendum Update

Well, it looks as if the referendum asking Scots how they felt about seceding from Great Britain has been quite narrowly defeated -- 54% to 46%.  This means there are more than a few disappointed Scots out there today. 

It's an interesting trend when you consider the superficially-similar self-rule referendum in the Ukraine, not to mention the very decisive split between the two brand-new African countries of North and South Sudan.  A guy from the Spanish parliament was commenting this morning on the radio about the Scottish vote, saying bitterly that although he speaks Catalan at home, and is allowed to represent Catalan interests at work, he is not even allowed to speak his native dialect at the office.  (He used the phrase "it is forbidden.") 

And recent unification efforts between countries that include groups of like-minded people are sowing more dissension and anger than ever -- can you say ISIS?  Interesting.  But not reassuring at all.

One rather wonders whether this will wake up the Quebecois again -- they have voted on this a couple of times and still chafe under not being seen as properly French but often mistaken for, you know, those vaguely quasi-British Canadian people next door who have Queen Elizabeth on their money.  And what about the many, many native tribes in North, Central and South America, some of which are quite numerous and well-heeled, not to mention seriously fed up?  What about the 90% Black majority in South Africa?  What about the seething, disenfranchised cultures all over Russia and China?  Will the Lapps get fed up and decide they want their own country instead of riding the coattails of Scandinavia?  Will the despised Breton speakers on the coast of France say "enough, already?"  I could go on and on.

I can't help thinking of the anniversary we just passed -- the first shots fired in the Great War, 100 years ago.  You remember what got that started, right?  Nationalists tired of being part of the Balkans fired bullets into the Archduke, Franz Ferdinand, and his wife Sophie -- not as good as Emperor Franz Josef, but close enough to get their point across.  Next thing you knew, 11 million soldiers from Europe, India, Asia and the USA were splattered all over the battlefield and a global pandemic was warming up in the bullpen to kill about 100 million innocent bystanders.  Oh, and then there were little side-effects like the Russian Revolution and the Cold War.

Why?  Nationalism started it all. 

I'm only in a position to wait and see, but some days I really wonder where we're going with this.


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