A historic day?
Scotland could be going in for a triple historic - the LINPACK team of Edinburgh pushed a "small" four-node cluster of 80 CPU cores and a mere 256GB memory up to 10.1 TFLOPS/s without exceeding the 3kW power cap. Obviously not the sort of hardware most of us have on our desks...
Elsewhere, the Royal and Ancient Golf Club voted, with 85% in favour, of (finally) allowing females to become members - the first time in its 260 year history.
And, of course, there's the question of "together or apart"?
I notice a distinct silence from hagbard. I guess it isn't much fun to try FUD on somebody so lacking a life that they'd go and look up every reference. ☺
That said - I may well have voted No if I had a chance to vote.
I get it. I really do. I think Scotland gets a lot of crap from Westminster. I think the Welsh probably feel the same. I have noticed that there can be blizzards and chaos in Scotland, but it only makes an impact on the news if a child dies. Meanwhile, a mere centimetre of snow in London would be newsworthy, and if an MP slips and strains an ankle, it is lead item that evening.
I don't really know if this is normal. Is Paris like this regarding the outer parts of France? Can Shimane be wiped off the earth by a typhoon but it only gets on the national news if it rains in Tokyo? I don't know if this is capital city mentality, or a uniquely London-centric problem.
Either way, there are many reasons why Scotland should be more self-determining in their futures. The current scene at Westminster is depressing, and all the indications are that Call-Me-Dave may well hold, finally, that EU in-or-out referendum. And to think that people are freaking out about Scotland separating, it's a far cry from the entire country leaving.
Problem is, while my heart is on the side of the YES vote, my mind has many worries that the SNP have not really answered.
First up - the currency issue. Frankly, I don't give a crap what currency Scotland uses. Pounds, euros, kroner, it is basically a bit of paper or metal that has an assigned value. We exchange these tokens for products. Half of Europe ditched their currency and went the Euro route, it wasn't world ending. Indeed, the UK itself went from an extra-ordinarily baroque monetary system to the system in use today. The size of the coins and how many you need may change, but the principle is the same. Hand over some coin, walk away with a deep fried Mars bar.
Problem is, Mr. Salmond cannot say what currency Scotland will be using. Loudmouths in Europe are saying the Euro is obligatory (since when?) and the English are saying the Sterling is a non-starter. Well, they would. I rather imagine some sort of arrangement will be hammered out with the English to use the Sterling, but how good would this be for Scotland really? If the Bank of England is helping to underwrite your currency, this rather implies that your fiscal decisions will be made by a foreign country. We've seen how certain European countries are doing quite nicely out of the Euro project, while getting the ECB to set rates that favour them (and screw over lesser countries). We've also seen how international monetary institutions have pillaged countries with weaker economies - like "we aren't screwing you enough, so you are downgraded, now bend over". It's basically economic terrorism isn't it? Will Scotland, a Scotland going it alone with who knows what currency be susceptible to this sort of treatment? Or will they remain in cahoots with the English and have their economy driven by....yup....London.
Second - I was born in Scotland. Logic would say that this makes me Scottish. I was conceived there, I was given birth to there, my father was a Scot. Can you tell me what I will be tomorrow, if the result is YES? Will I be Scottish? Will I be European? My passport says "Great Britain" on it. What will that be, exactly?
As I do not live in Scotland, I will skip over job creation and economic factors. Those in the country may have concerns, but they don't apply to me, here.
This leads us to oil wealth. Mr. Salmond is right that Norway is doing quite well from its oil. Scotland, with oil, could do well too. The problem is, oil is a finite resource. I'm not going to ask how much oil is left because there are wildly differing estimates. Instead, I'm going to ask what Scotland will have going for it when the oil runs out? Will the country go from being a first world nation to a third world one in a matter of weeks? Or are the SNP going to invest a portion of this oil wealth in infrastructure and making Scotland a manufacturing centre, so that if the oil supply should start to wane, things carry on in another domain? It doesn't seem entirely logical to pin your hopes for the long term future of the country on a single volatile resource. I can see that if this is a stop-gap to greater things, but is it?
In the second televised debate, Mr. Salmond, when accused of not having any Plan B when talking about currency, said that he had three Plan Bs. No, sorry. He doesn't even have a Plan A. These are ideas. These are things he would like to happen, in order of preference. While hearty nationalism is not necessarily a bad thing (despite what certain pro-Tory newspapers might suggest regarding those idiots that beat up on the blind guy), a good dose of nationalism is no match for having solid coherent answers.
The SNP are going to, following the YES, get involved with the mind-numbing mechanics of how, what, and when - but with so many things unknown and a somewhat hostile Europe (a lurking terror of everybody wanting their own independence), I rather feel that the whole situation could have been handled a lot better if the SNP got into discussion with all of the groups a lot earlier and had the time to work out some of the technicalities. For instance, instead of giving a Plan A (apparently rejected by the English according to, well, the English) and three Plan Bs, if instead he could have said "if you vote YES then this is what is going to happen".
The country is looking to separate. There are many reasons for and against, but one thing for certain is that a separation - once done - won't be undoable. Well, maybe England will allow Scotland back at a heavy price, but the chances of that are slim. The SNP could well pull this off, and Scotland could prosper as an independent nation. And then it will have Calais-style border control problems years down the line when the rest of the UK votes to leave the EU and then realises they've just shot themselves in the foot. It is entirely possible.
But it is also possible that the BoE will reject any association, the EU will tell the country that it is not a part of Europe any more, the ECB and IMF both will rate it as a bad investment, and then the carcass of a once proud country will be asset-stripped before being left to descend into some bizarre sort of civil war.
There are just too many questions for my liking. Too big a leap with too many things left open. My heart says that a YES is a good option. My head says a NO is the choice to make. But I am totally undecided as the whole British Euro referendum thing worries me. There's a reason why successive governments have avoided the issue.
On a lighter note, we must ask - if Scotland separates - what does this make the UK? The initials stand for "United Kingdom", and as those that paid attention in class to the crazy mess of British history will know, this specifically means the kingdoms of England and of Scotland, through the Treaty of Union signed in 1707. Wales doesn't count (it isn't a kingdom). When the separation occurs, the UK will no longer be a united kingdom. It'll just be the one. I guess Wales could be promoted so the title is still valid, or maybe the country could rename itself as The Kingdom of England And Wales and that bit we stole from the Irish. It's a bit long-winded though. To be honest I rather like the sound of the Former United Kingdom (FUK). That just lends itself to all sorts of purposes...
Where are you going, Sir?
I'm going to FUK.
Very good, Sir.
Even better if it can be made a gerund.
Alternatively, newspapers report that banks have been secretly (some secret!) moving large amounts of cash up into Scotland to use in case there is a run on banks following a YES vote. So... let me see. Scotland will therefore have a fairly decent amount of Britain's cash reserves, plus its nuclear capability. Jeez, why go through all this bothersome political rubbish when you coul just declare war on England?
Think about it - what are Scotland's demands going to be? Both genders should wear skirts and everybody should eat porridge for breakfast. In return for that, they'll get rid of Westminster. Come on, tell me the idea doesn't have merit...
Well, voting boothes are now closed. The count is underway. Tomorrow we will know. I predict that for the weekend, roughly half the country will be pissed. And the other half will also be pissed, but not in the same sense of the word. ☺
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Last read at 12:16 on 2021/08/04.
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