I’m going to go out on a limb – based on exit polls – and call the Scottish independence referendum for the “No” side. That seems to me like the right call for the Scots to have made.
Gordon Brown’s speech – in effect, defending the Union in the name of the Scottish Enlightenment of Hume and Adam Smith – reminds me how queasy nationalism makes me, even when it’s not explicitly racist.
Self-determination is a just demand for oppressed nations, but take away the oppression and the case gets pretty weak. And yes, that argues against the American Revolution, except insofar as it was republican and anti-aristocratic rather than merely separatist. (After all, part of what the colonists wanted was a free hand against the Native Americans.)
Brown made a strong case that independence would be a practical disaster for Scotland. What he didn’t say is that it would also help cement David Cameron’s Tories in power. So I’m glad the referendum failed: assuming that is, that it did fail.
Still, we Reality-Basers are so relentlessly fair-minded that we astonish ourselves.
So here, with a blistering dissent, is Robert Burns, given voice by Steeleye Span:
And here’s Alistair McDonald, with more traditional interpretation.