Scottish independence would have been good for Britain too

Thomas Wells in The Philosopher's Beard:

20131109_LDP001_0The Scots have made their choice. The British Union will continue. I can understand their hesitancy, their decision to opt for security and an assured place in something that more or less works, rather than to seize their freedom. Especially under the onslaught of love bombing and scaremongering that characterised the last weeks of the No campaign. Under the circumstances, declining independence was a reasonable choice to make. It was moreover the sovereign act of a nation that firmly establishes its right to revisit that choice in future.

As an Englisher though, my interest in the Scottish referendum goes beyond the perspective of the Scots. I was concerned with how Scottish independence might affect Britain as a whole. Not that much it seemed at first. 5 million people and a couple of large cities leaving is not an existential challenge. Losing the labour MPs from Scotland would have meant another decade or more of Tory governments, which would have been unpleasant but not intolerable.

The really significant consequences of Scottish independence, I came to realise, concerned political psychology. I was assisted to this realisation by the histrionic rhetoric of The Economist in defence of the Union.

The Economist's editors were particularly concerned with Britain's international stature: “The rump of Britain would be diminished in every international forum: why should anyone heed a country whose own people shun it?”

Why indeed. I agree with The Economist that Scottish independence would have taken the Great out of Britain. But I think that would have been a good thing!

More here.