Clive Crook on Scotland
By Alberto Mingardi
Clive Crook has a taste for contrarian views that makes him well worth reading. He wrote two articles on Scottish independence.
Here he emphasizes the reasons why Scotland shouldn’t go for secession, though he points out also the dishonesty on the “no” side of the debate (“When unionists talk about what might be lost, with much stress on Britain’s international standing, they usually aren’t talking about what Scotland would lose. The remainder of a dismantled Britain would be diminished, perhaps even humiliated, and would count for less in the world – but an independent Scotland would count for more”).
Here he argues that Scotland should go for secession. His argument is culture-centered, so to say. Crook agrees with Paul Krugman and Martin Wolf that a currency union won’t be viable for Scotland, and maintains that transitional costs will be high (though he doesn’t get into details). But he also argues that there are strong cultural reasons Scots should go for independence (“Scots are bound more tightly to each other — by history, culture and ethnicity — than they are to the rest of the U.K”).
I’m not particularly impressed by this argument, but I find Crook’s conclusions commonsensical and wise:
A friendly separation is possible, though — and in the longer term, for the best. My guess is that Scotland will, after all, vote against independence tomorrow, cowed by the risks and uncertainties and by the sudden force of international opinion telling them to think again. If so, it will be a shame. A Scotland that stays in the union reluctantly will be of little use to itself or anybody else. Alongside childish simplicity on fiscal and monetary policy, peevish resentment of the English has been a persistent aspect of the independence campaign. The cure for both is to grow up and move on.
We’ll see how Scots will vote today.