Scotland secession would weaken Britain

  • Sunday, September 14, 2014 6:05pm
  • Opinion

America is stronger when our allies are stronger.

That, put plainly, is why folks in the United States should care whether Scotland votes to secede from the United Kingdom.

A disunited Britain will be a weaker Britain.

There’s been lots of talk of late about the economics of the matter. For good reason, too. For one thing, neither Scotland nor England has a real plan about how to go forward if the two lands, linked for more than three centuries, are suddenly severed. The United Kingdom, as measured by nominal gross domestic product, is the world’s sixth-largest economy. To throw that into turmoil will do no one any good. Even some of the questions that have been raised — No one knows what will happen to Scotland’s 143 billion pounds in debt, most of it guaranteed by Britain — have had a destabilizing effect on markets. Additionally, while Scotland has said it will continue to use the British pound, that isn’t a certainty if the union is dissolved in the Sept. 18 vote.

There’s also the fact that England has long been our most reliable ally.

When push comes to shove, we know that we can count on the Brits, and the Brits know too that they can count on the Yanks.

This wouldn’t change if Scotland were to split away from the U.K., but England will obviously be less capable of sailing staunchly beside us when it is struggling to keep its own ship of state afloat.

We understand well a people’s shared identity, their desire for self-determination. But it needn’t trump the strength that can come from a genuine union.

We’ve got our own version here in these United States. One can be proud of one’s own state — we certainly feel that about Massachusetts — while at the same time believing in, and pledging allegiance to, the whole.

We can only hope that the Scots, at the end of the day, find themselves similarly disposed.

Imagine a group of Scots assembled around a table. “Here’s to Scotland,” one says, raising a glass. And after murmurs of assent from those around the table, another might call out:

“Yes — and to the United Kingdom!”

The Republican of Springfield (Mass.),

Sept. 10

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