Speed Reads

Today in Balkanization

Why sci-fi author Charles Stross is voting for Scottish independence

Charles Stross, author of such sci-fi classics as The Laundry Files and Accelerando, is also a resident of Scotland. Today he has a brilliant, extensive explanation of the vagaries of British history and politics that have led to increasing alienation and distrust between England and Scotland, and may well lead to their separation. You should really read the whole thing, but here's the upshot. It's dark:

So 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 independent Scotland in September. Not with great enthusiasm (as I noted earlier, if Devo Max was on the ballot I'd be voting for that) 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. [Antipope.org]

Yikes. When sensible people start arguing convincingly in favor of cleaving nations in twain simply to limit the damage should things go completely pear-shaped, we've truly entered an age of diminished expectations.