Based on the support of England and Wales, Britain voted to leave the European Union. You might have heard about this; it was mentioned at least twice last week on the news.
We’re also hearing that Scotland and Northern Ireland were not enthusiastic about this move; Scotland is mulling over another referendum to secede from the United Kingdom and go their own way. Likewise, Northern Ireland is looking to reunite with the Republic of Ireland, according to some sources, although this time without explosives.
As an American, it does our Czarish heart proud to hear about countries declaring their independence of anything. With two exceptions:
- Texas, which has been announcing its intent to leave the United States since 1845. Texas is a proud, strong, and economically free state, so the Czar loves it. But let’s be honest: Texas should totally shut up already. They’re like the loud-mouthed 18-year-old who threatens to run away, but mom and dad know little Texas can’t go more than 20 minutes without the Xbox and free mac and cheese meals. Texas—the Czar loves ya, but STFU already about secession. You don’t mean it, and you sure wouldn’t want it. It’s an attention-whore joke that got tiresome when Polk was president.
- Quebec, which would plunge into misery and chaos with its faux-French, state-sponsored pretend culture, but whose departure would actually and immediately improve the lives of Canadians overall. Arrêter de parler, for heaven’s sake. You’re useless by yourselves. And speak English, already, like the rest of the country, and not that awful form of record-scratching you call French. We all know you speak English when none of les Anglos are absent.
Interestingly, this is the Czar’s opinion on Scotland and Northern Ireland, as well. Take it from someone who was here in the 1770s: don’t attempt to form a country unless you already have one up and running.
Yeah, Scotland has its own pretend parliament, but it’s not functional outside its own limited, internal scope—it doesn’t even have the authority to secede itself from British Parliament. And it has no currency of its own, no independent banking system, no military forces, no independent health system, and no effective relations outside of the United Kingdom’s. Successful start-up countries have all these things before they go solo. Israel, for example, did, as did (ahem) the United States in 1775. More recently, the former Soviet states that became countries also did the necessary legwork. Scotland, despite mulling over independence for decades, has largely ignored these steps.
Scotland hopes that all of this will somehow be supplied by the European Union, which makes them perfect candidates for membership: let someone else pay for it or supply it. Scotland can remedy this sad situation, but it will take years.
Northern Ireland finds itself in much the same jam: if we merge with Ireland, they’ll cover us on all of this. Except, in reality, that’s not how it works. Northern Ireland can ask Germany how quickly their unification occurred. It took years.
And there’s the problem, you see: it takes a long time to develop the necessary infrastructure to succeed on your own. Scotland and Northern Ireland are hopeful it can occur right away, but it never does for obvious reasons. And time is running out.
Why? Because the European Union may not last much past the next three years. What with Britain’s departure, and rumors (to date) of France, Sweden, the Netherlands, and others weighing a possible exit as well, the number of members paying all the bills is going to get smaller and smaller.
Brexit will indeed be a disaster—but only for the notion of a European super-state centrally regulated by non-elected technocrats who manage from spreadsheets and not experience. Scotland and Northern Ireland aren’t going to get their bills paid by someone else, in which case they might just as well develop their own solutions and—hey—they won’t need the EU, either.
This seems like a crazy idea, but newcomer Noah Daponte-Smith seems to agree:
A Daily Mail poll released earlier today showed support for independence north of the border is strong, but not so strong: the electorate splits 53-47 in favor of leaving the U.K. That’s a large shift from the 55-45 majority in favor of remaining in the 2014 referendum, but it’s still only a six-point difference.
Daponte-Smith also posits something the Czar didn’t even consider:
Then there’s the question of whether an independent Scotland would even be allowed into the European Union. This seems to be taken as something of a given right now, but it shouldn’t be. Accession to the E.U. requires the unanimous assent of all current member states — all of the E.U.’s now-27 countries would need to give their okay to Scotland’s accession. But some countries are currently grappling with their own secessionist movements, and letting in the Scots after their own secession might send a positive signal to secessionists around Europe. In Spain, for instance, Scottish independence could embolden and set a precedent for the Catalonian secessionist movement, which has gathered momentum in recent years. And, it’s worth noting, the Spanish prime minister has recently expressed his opposition to negotiations with Scotland over its E.U. membership.
Nothing here doesn’t also apply to a potential North Ireland secession, including the probability that Europe doesn’t want another country to diaper. While a centrally managed Europe may welcome a merged Ireland, which the Europeans have historically termed Anschluß, the subsequent drain on Ireland’s risky and delicate economy would transfer to the EU when they could least afford it. In 1990, the merger of East and West Germany proved terribly expensive (Solidaritätszuschlag), but was greatly mitigated by the strength of the Deutschemark over the Ostmark—but the Northern Irish pound sterling to the Irish euro is not a beneficial analog: the two currencies are too close in value to be attractive to investors, and who the hell would sell off pounds sterling to euros? Basically, whether you invest in either currency, you would wind up hurting to merge the two countries. No surprise that public polling shows the Northern Irish are quite happy to stay part of the UK, thank you.
So that’s it, basically. Scotland isn’t going to secede any time soon, and doing so to join the EU is even more of a bad idea. Northern Ireland lacks the support internally (support for a unified Ireland is bigger in the Republic of Ireland, who also stands to be a big loser with such a move) and would be a bigger longshot.
The Czar recommends they stay where they are. After all, in a few years, the United Kingdom’s economy will climb high enough to make all this talk of post-Brexit independence just another piece of left-wing hysteria best forgotten.