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Old 17th February 2013, 02:35 AM   #1
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Why is splitting up European countries considered a bad thing?

I read the newspaper this morning about European countries threatened by being split up. The UK, Germany, Spain, Belgium, and Italy were in the spotlight. The general view as given in the newspaper seems to be that this is a bad thing, it is not what Europe "needs".

But why is it a bad thing? If these countries don't get along internally, what's wrong with splitting them up? I don't see it. Can Europe collectively "need" anything? I think Jared Diamond was right when he in Guns, Germs, and Steel wrote that Europe naturally resists attempts at unification. Europe is naturally provincial and empire-builders are unliklely to make lasting achievements.
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Old 17th February 2013, 02:59 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Humes fork View Post
I read the newspaper this morning about European countries threatened by being split up. The UK, Germany, Spain, Belgium, and Italy were in the spotlight. The general view as given in the newspaper seems to be that this is a bad thing, it is not what Europe "needs".

But why is it a bad thing? If these countries don't get along internally, what's wrong with splitting them up? I don't see it. Can Europe collectively "need" anything? I think Jared Diamond was right when he in Guns, Germs, and Steel wrote that Europe naturally resists attempts at unification. Europe is naturally provincial and empire-builders are unliklely to make lasting achievements.
Because it means a lot more rules have to be put back again in place, costly rules : restriction on persons move, restricztion on import/export rules, taxes rules, money again to be printed , exchange set up, and so forth. That would be very costly, not only for the economy/enterprise as a whole , but also for tourism.
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Old 17th February 2013, 03:04 AM   #3
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I'm all for it, myself.

Vote YES in 2014!

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Old 17th February 2013, 03:08 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Aepervius View Post
Because it means a lot more rules have to be put back again in place, costly rules : restriction on persons move, restricztion on import/export rules, taxes rules, money again to be printed , exchange set up, and so forth. That would be very costly, not only for the economy/enterprise as a whole , but also for tourism.
Are you talking about the breakup of the EU rather than the splitting up of individual countries within it?

None of the above would result from, for example, Scotland becoming independent within the EU.

There's probably some argument to be made that a small number of large partners can form a more coherent and stable union than a larger number of smaller countries but I'm not sure that's the case.
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Old 17th February 2013, 03:17 AM   #5
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It would add large layers of beaurocratic details to deal with things that are simple now without actually changing anything imo.
In countries where you can now move from city A to B and you'd suddenly have to deal with a border and all the stuff that goes with it.
Yet since none of the proposed new countries could actually stand alone and be viable they'd pretty much have to be forced to remain part of the EU or face an economic crisis so in the end they would STILL have to deal with the same problems as they do now, but without the clout of being part of a larger country.
Its the same as smaller countries that suggest that they could leave the EU and still be as well off as they are now.

In the world as it is now the european countries need to work together or seperately fail versus giant economies that are unified.
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Old 17th February 2013, 03:46 AM   #6
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The EU recently won a Nobel Peace Prize. Europe is facing a huge economic crisis. There is no suggestion of Europe going to war, as it has done repeatedly over much less in history.

Cooperation has made Europe peaceful and able to deal with issues without fighting. There is no way there should be any sort of splitting up of the EU.

Scottish independence is a side issue as within the EU there have been countries split, Czechoslovakia and join, Germany. The important part is that all happens within the EU. The EU can even cope with Norway and Switzerland not being in the club. The big problem would be if France and Germany went their separate ways, followed by the UK.
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Old 17th February 2013, 04:00 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Lukraak_Sisser View Post
It would add large layers of beaurocratic details to deal with things that are simple now without actually changing anything imo.
I don't see how such split-ups would add to bureaucracy. On the contrary, actually. Let's look at the countries mentioned in the OP.

UK: this is of course about Scottish independence. Scotland already has a devolved government. Independence would mean that the Westminster layer of bureaucracy would be removed for the Scots. It would also free Westminster of the West Lothian Question.

Belgium: split-up into Flanders and Wallonia (and Brussels?). Belgium already has a highly federal structure, with a federal government, three territorial governments (Flanders, Wallonia, Brussels) and three language community government (Dutch, French, German). A breakup of Belgium into three would reduce the number of governments of seven to three and make it more transparent which government is responsible. It would also ease coalition forming: the last government formation took over a year because of the Brussel-Halle-Vilvoorde issue and federal reform.

Spain: Catalonia and Basque country already have a large degree of autonomy.

Italy: the mezzogiorno question is as old as unified Italy but I'm not aware of concrete proposals of a split-up.

Germany: I'm really at a loss here which parts of Germany would want independence.

Originally Posted by Lukraak_Sisser View Post
In countries where you can now move from city A to B and you'd suddenly have to deal with a border and all the stuff that goes with it.
Why couldn't such smaller independent countries be part of the EU and of Schengen and then you don't have any problems. Scotland has a bit of a problem with Schengen of course: would they want an open border with England and Ireland or with the Schengen area.

Originally Posted by Lukraak_Sisser View Post
Yet since none of the proposed new countries could actually stand alone and be viable they'd pretty much have to be forced to remain part of the EU or face an economic crisis so in the end they would STILL have to deal with the same problems as they do now, but without the clout of being part of a larger country.
Its the same as smaller countries that suggest that they could leave the EU and still be as well off as they are now.
Flanders would actually benefit from independence as it would not have to pay for Wallonia's economic woes. Scotland has oil.

Originally Posted by Lukraak_Sisser View Post
In the world as it is now the european countries need to work together or seperately fail versus giant economies that are unified.
As long as the new countries would be part of the EU, I don't see a big difference in economic terms: freedom of movement of goods, services and persons would remain. What changes in the minds of people is that they are not governed from a capital that is indifferent or hostile to their regional interests (e.g., Scotland, Catalonia) or hijacked by allophonic beggars (e.g., Flanders).
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Old 17th February 2013, 04:14 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Aepervius View Post
Because it means a lot more rules have to be put back again in place, costly rules :
Which rules? You just inherit the old ones, and then you can go and change them at your own pace. At first, at most a new constitution is needed.

Originally Posted by Aepervius View Post
restriction on persons move, restricztion on import/export rules,
EU mandated.

Originally Posted by Aepervius View Post
taxes rules,
You inherit the existing ones.

Originally Posted by Aepervius View Post
money again to be printed ,
Scotland has its own banknotes already. The others would simply inherit the Euro. The only thing to decide there is each country's share in the ECB.

Originally Posted by Aepervius View Post
exchange set up, and so forth. That would be very costly, not only for the economy/enterprise as a whole , but also for tourism.
Why would every country need its own stock exchange?

Originally Posted by Last of the Fraggles View Post
There's probably some argument to be made that a small number of large partners can form a more coherent and stable union than a larger number of smaller countries but I'm not sure that's the case.
The EU already copes with 27 (soon 28: Croatia joins in July) countries, many of which are smaller than, say, Scotland or Flanders or Catalonia.

Originally Posted by Nessie View Post
Scottish independence is a side issue as within the EU there have been countries split, Czechoslovakia and join, Germany.
Nitpick: Czechoslovakia split before it joined the EU. Germany reunified while a member.
[quote=Nessie;9007680]
The important part is that all happens within the EU.[/quote[
Yep.
Originally Posted by Nessie View Post
The EU can even cope with Norway and Switzerland not being in the club.
The amazing part is that Norway and Switzerland can cope, what with being subject to legislation they don't have say in.
Originally Posted by Nessie View Post
The big problem would be if France and Germany went their separate ways, followed by the UK.
Agree about France and Germany. The UK should bloody well make their mind up. First Thatcher's handbagging, and now Cameron flirting with leaving the EU.
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Old 17th February 2013, 04:32 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by ddt View Post
Germany: I'm really at a loss here which parts of Germany would want independence.
Bavaria?
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Old 17th February 2013, 05:01 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by kookbreaker View Post
Bavaria?
Yep:

http://www.spiegel.de/international/...-a-854157.html
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Old 17th February 2013, 05:28 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Last of the Fraggles View Post
Are you talking about the breakup of the EU rather than the splitting up of individual countries within it?

None of the above would result from, for example, Scotland becoming independent within the EU.

There's probably some argument to be made that a small number of large partners can form a more coherent and stable union than a larger number of smaller countries but I'm not sure that's the case.
Firstly, the UK is a special case as they kept the pound so the difference with them would be less. Anyway if you isolate a small region (scottland), then the rest of the eurozone would probably have to isolate the whole country the same as if the whole country had split, otherwise it would not be tenable, too many loophole.

As for your second argument, rather than a few large partner, I think the number of partner do not matter. What should have mattered was to have a clean financial policy and really hold the country to task with audit, but politics as always were slacking or too corrupt to react. That is really a bigger factor.
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Old 17th February 2013, 05:31 AM   #12
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Ha ! I misread being split up, with splitting up from EU, which is actually what I saw this week in the news. My bad. Country being split up does nothing whatsoever EU wide I guess.
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Old 17th February 2013, 05:47 AM   #13
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Becasue in the long run child like adherence to totems such as nation states and flags is actually dragging us down as a species nad keeping us infant like. I just wish I could be around to see the day when the nation state is fianlly abandoned as a proven dangerous and fatal broken mechanism.

That is a personal opinion by the way.
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Old 17th February 2013, 05:58 AM   #14
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So long as any new state is in the EU and NATO, peace should be preserved.
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Old 17th February 2013, 06:59 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by kookbreaker View Post
Bavaria?
Originally Posted by Professor Yaffle View Post
Nice article, but I fail to see a widespread movement clamoring for Bavarian independence. Their king may have been bribed (with Hanoverian money) to accept the Prussian king as emperor, they may have their own Christian-Democrat party, they may wear funny pants and hats and have a differing (but more appropriate IMHO) size of beer drinking containers, but Bavarian independence is normally only discussed after emptying of at least two said containers.
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Old 17th February 2013, 08:02 AM   #16
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There seems to be a degree of "me-too" in this. Basically, if Scotland's doing it, why can't we?

The independence movement in Scotland has been growing in strength all my life, and took wings in May 2011. The Scottish situation is an unusual, possibly unique one, in which an independent country was bribed, threatened and lied to to achieve a political union with its neighbour. Despite the process being ostensibly a union of equal sovereign states, and politicians having mostly paid lip service to that, to a large extent Scotland has been treated either as a conquered colony of England, or a region of England, and many people resent this.

The greatest complaint is that Scotland's resources have been essentially annexed, then less revenue returned to the country than was contributed. For over 300 years. This is not good for a country. It promotes emigration and poverty. It was noticeable a mere 20 years after the union, and it's still to be seen today. At the time of the union, Scotland's population was about 20 to 25% of the total UK population (give or take). It is now 8.4%. Scotland's population remained static throughout the late 20th century when we were being handed tales of rampant overpopulation, and has only recently crept past the 5 million point, where it was in the 1950s.

At the same time the message that was sent out was that all the revenue returned to Scotland was actually England's munificence, without which Scotland could not survive. Scotland, impoverished by the union, was told that this poverty was innate, and only alleviated by England's generosity. Hence the myth of the Scots as "subsidy junkies".

A country loses a lot when it loses its seat of government and its ability to manage its own economy. Many people in Scotland want all that back. Many more wish desperately for independence but are still so thirled by the subsidy myth that they feel they don't dare. We're having a vote on this next year, and I hope we will win it. If we don't, we're stuck with the centralising British state, and frankly we're screwed.

Ironically, this could have been avoided by meaningful autonomy within the UK. Autonomy such as the US states have, such as the provinces of Canada have, possibly even such as the German Lander have. The power to retain our own revenues, manage our own domestic economy, and remit whatever was agreed to the UK for defence and foreign affairs. There is however not a snowball's chance in hell that Westminster would allow that.

Having our devolved parliament in 1999 only pointed up the problems. We had to manage with a fixed "pocket-money" budget, with too few powers. Then when we elected a different party from the party in power in Westminster it began to get serious. Instead of a cosy relationship to preserve the status quo, with Scottish politicians meekly doing the bidding of their party leaders in Westminster, we had conflict. Westminster began to behave in an overbearing manner, denigrating our government and cutting the budget to constrain Scotland's room for manoeuvre.

Suddenly, a tame domestic parliament which had been granted specifically in the belief that it would quieten demands for our independence to be restored, became a huge embarrassment to Westminster. Too late. It was too late in May 2011. If Scotland had been treated fairly, like a grown-up partner in the union, we could have come to a modus vivendi. That never happened. How dare these uppity Jocks behave like this, has been a common mantra in the English press.

Well, we're going. I think we'll get that yes vote. The rest is just paperwork.

But, it's an unusual situation, if not a unique one. Other places such as Catalonia and even Venice see this and think, why can't we? I don't know. It's for the people of these places to make their case, though. I don't think there are meaningful precedents in this situation.

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Old 17th February 2013, 08:07 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
There seems to be a degree of "me-too" in this. Basically, if Scotland's doing it, why can't we?

The independence movement in Scotland has been growing in strength all my life, and took wings in May 2011. The Scottish situation is an unusual, possibly unique one, in which an independent country was bribed, threatened and lied to to achieve a political union with its neighbour. Despite the process being ostensibly a union of equal sovereign states, and politicians having mostly paid lip service to that, to a large extent Scotland has been treated either as a conquered colony of England, or a region of England, and many people resent this.

The greatest complaint is that Scotland's resources have been essentially annexed, then less revenue returned to the country than was contributed. For over 300 years. This is not good for a country. It promotes emigration and poverty. It was noticeable a mere 20 years after the union, and it's still to be seen today. At the time of the union, Scotland's population was about 20 to 25% of the total UK population (give or take). It is now 8.4%. Scotland's population remained static throughout the late 20th century when we were being handed tales of rampant overpopulation, and has only recently crept past the 5 million point, where it was in the 1950s.

At the same time the message that was sent out was that all the revenue returned to Scotland was actually England's munificence, without which Scotland could not survive. Scotland, impoverished by the union, was told that this poverty was innate, and only alleviated by England's generosity. Hence the myth of the Scots as "subsidy junkies".

A country loses a lot when it loses its seat of government and its ability to manage its own economy. Many people in Scotland want all that back. Many more wish desperately for independence but are still so thirled by the subsidy myth that they feel they don't dare. We're having a vote on this next year, and I hope we will win it. If we don't, we're stuck with the centralising British state, and frankly we're screwed.

Ironically, this could have been avoided by meaningful autonomy within the UK. Autonomy such as the US states have, such as the provinces of Canada have, possibly even such as the German Lander have. The power to retain our own revenues, manage our own domestic economy, and remit whatever was agreed to the UK for defence and foreign affairs. There is however not a snowball's chance in hell that Westminster would allow that.

Having our devolved parliament in 1999 only pointed up the problems. We had to manage with a fixed "pocket-money" budget, with too few powers. Then when we elected a different party from the party in power in Westminster it began to get serious. Instead of a cosy relationship to preserve the status quo, with Scottish politicians meekly doing the bidding of their party leaders in Westminster, we had conflict. Westminster began to behave in an overbearing manner, denigrating our government and cutting the budget to constrain Scotland's room for manoeuvre.

Suddenly, a tame domestic parliament which had been granted specifically in the belief that it would quieten demands for our independence to be restored, became a huge embarrassment to Westminster. Too late. It was too late in May 2011. If Scotland had been treated fairly, like a grown-up partner in the union, we could have come to a modus vivendi. That never happened. How dare these uppity Jocks behave like this, has been a common mantra in the English press.

Well, we're going. I think we'll get that yes vote. The rest is just paperwork.

But, it's an unusual situation, if not a unique one. Other places such as Catalonia and even Venice see this and think, why can't we? I don't know. It's for the people of these places to make their case, though. I don't think there are meaningful precedents in this situation.

Rolfe.
Thanks Rolfe. I needed a laugh. Better Together.
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Old 17th February 2013, 09:37 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
There seems to be a degree of "me-too" in this. Basically, if Scotland's doing it, why can't we?
Hmm, no. Belgium's federalisation process has been going on at least 50 years. Catalonia's call for autonomy is also very old - at least going back to the Spanish Civil War.

Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
The independence movement in Scotland has been growing in strength all my life, and took wings in May 2011. The Scottish situation is an unusual, possibly unique one, in which an independent country was bribed, threatened and lied to to achieve a political union with its neighbour.
Not unique either. Bavaria was cajoled into joining the German Empire. For its ministers it was the only solution out of a structural budget deficit, not unlike the Union of 1707. "Mad" king Ludwig was bribed by Otto von Bismarck, from funds expropriated from the Hanoverian kings, without even knowledge of the Prussian King, into compliance.

Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
But, it's an unusual situation, if not a unique one. Other places such as Catalonia and even Venice see this and think, why can't we? I don't know. It's for the people of these places to make their case, though. I don't think there are meaningful precedents in this situation.
The split of the Czech Republic and Slovakia? The split-up of Yugoslavia? The split-up of the Soviet Union? Plenty of precedents, I'd think.
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Old 17th February 2013, 09:41 AM   #19
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ddt, yes, I know. I was really referring to the timing.

As for the precedents, each case seems to be dealt with according to its own peculiarities. For example, none of these countries was an EU member at the time of the split.

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Old 17th February 2013, 09:44 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by mummymonkey View Post
Thanks Rolfe. I needed a laugh. Better Together.

I'm somewhat unsure what that was supposed to mean. If it was heavily ironic, I have to agree with you.

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Old 17th February 2013, 09:52 AM   #21
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Ha! I look forward to Scottish independence, as long as it comes with strict immigration border and passport controls and complete separation.

As for the UK leaving the EU. It would be economic suicide.
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Old 17th February 2013, 10:05 AM   #22
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Imo it will create petty nations with petty influence.
Scotland would be a good example. The UK has a veto right in the UN. Scotland won't
And if China/France/Russia play their cards right they'll claim the England did not get a UN veto either, so no UK, no veto right anymore.
It might have oil, but its economy will still be fully linked to the english, except without the voting rights to influence it.

As for belgium. The flemish will still pay for the debt of wallonia, except now trough the EU and again there will be no more direct influence on HOW that money would be spent.

Yugoslavia was a nation that could influence things. Slovakia, Croatia, Serbia, Montegro etc have nowhere near the influence and because they split up their politicians only look at what local voters want, not what would be good for all in the longer run.

Like I said, its a personal opnion, but I think the whole 'we want indepence because of things that happened 100's of years ago' is misplaced nationalism that will be far more detrimantal than benificial. After all, if the ancient independent countries were so great, why are they not independent anymore?
personally I'd prefer a united states of europe, where the countries become more like states allowing for indepence on paper while still getting a government that is capable and willing to make decisions that might be locally impopular but will lead to eventual improvement for everyone.
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Old 17th February 2013, 10:09 AM   #23
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
I'm somewhat unsure what that was supposed to mean. If it was heavily ironic, I have to agree with you.

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Fine ye ken. Ironic no, delusional yes. Hillarious too.
Better together.
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Old 17th February 2013, 10:09 AM   #24
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Originally Posted by Captain_Swoop View Post
strict immigration border and passport controls and complete separation.

Why do you want these things so much?

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Old 17th February 2013, 10:26 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
Why do you want these things so much?

Rolfe.
To keep the darkies out, I guess.

I'm not sure that many people think splitting up countries is such a bad thing. Most people I know supported an independent Kosovo, Bosnia, Slovenia, Macedonia and Croatia. Most people I know would support an independent Kurdistan. Most people I know don't really have an opinion on independent Slovakia and Czech Republic.

And I would agree with those. I'd say, any area that feels they would be better of being independent should be allowed to do so, whether it's Scotland or Jamtland.

However, at the same time as I recognize a people's right to self determination, I think that if we're ever to solve the problems of the world, be they pollution, war or famine, or whatever, we can't enclose ourselves in smaller and smaller city states, whose sole purpose is to think about itself first and the world second. I think if we are to make a better world, we have to get together as one, in unions, in alliances, in free trade associations, in federations. Personally, I think the future belongs to larger and larger governments, maybe encompassing the entire world, not small nation states.
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Old 17th February 2013, 12:07 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
Why do you want these things so much?

Rolfe.
If they want to be an independent nation then it should be for real with all that it implies.

What about Scottish nationals living in England and Wales for example? Would they be required to have Scottish Passports and be considered foreign nationals?
As far as I can see they would be and they would be none EU nationals as well, Scotland not being part of the EU.
All of them should be made to apply for residency permits exactly the same as all other none EU nationals.

It seems to me they want to be independent in name abut keep the benefits of the Union.
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Old 17th February 2013, 02:24 PM   #27
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Like Ireland, you mean?

Oh, wait....

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Old 17th February 2013, 02:51 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by Lukraak_Sisser View Post
Imo it will create petty nations with petty influence.
Scotland would be a good example. The UK has a veto right in the UN. Scotland won't
And if China/France/Russia play their cards right they'll claim the England did not get a UN veto either, so no UK, no veto right anymore.
It might have oil, but its economy will still be fully linked to the english, except without the voting rights to influence it.
That argument wasn't leveled when Russia inherited the Soviet Union's permanent SC membership either, so I don't think it'll float. Whether Scotland's economy would still be tightly linked to that of rest-UK, might change very rapidly, especially if Scotland would adopt the euro.

Originally Posted by Lukraak_Sisser View Post
As for belgium. The flemish will still pay for the debt of wallonia, except now trough the EU and again there will be no more direct influence on HOW that money would be spent.
They'd only pay for a fraction of it - the other EU states would pay as well. And that would put pressure on Wallonia to clean up its debt.

Originally Posted by Lukraak_Sisser View Post
Yugoslavia was a nation that could influence things. Slovakia, Croatia, Serbia, Montegro etc have nowhere near the influence and because they split up their politicians only look at what local voters want, not what would be good for all in the longer run.
What influence did Yugoslavia have after Tito's death, except being one the world's biggest arms exporters?

Originally Posted by Lukraak_Sisser View Post
Like I said, its a personal opnion, but I think the whole 'we want indepence because of things that happened 100's of years ago' is misplaced nationalism that will be far more detrimantal than benificial. After all, if the ancient independent countries were so great, why are they not independent anymore?
I don't think the here mentioned independence movements are about things that happened 100s of years ago. Neither was Yugoslavia's breakup. It's about currently feeling disenfranchised in your own country.

Originally Posted by Lukraak_Sisser View Post
personally I'd prefer a united states of europe, where the countries become more like states allowing for indepence on paper while still getting a government that is capable and willing to make decisions that might be locally impopular but will lead to eventual improvement for everyone.
Yes, I agree. There's still a definite democratic deficit at the European level, but I think - I hope - that this will be mended in due time. The EP certainly does its best to assert the powers any national parliament has; the low turnout rates for EP elections don't help, though.

Within that EU framework, though, people should be comfortable with their states. If the Scots rather see a Scot in Brussels representing their interests, and see their local affairs decided in Holyrood rather than Westminster, then it would be better that Scotland is an independent country. It really matters little if in the Council of Ministers, 28 or 29 ministers are seated, does it? (just taking Scotland as an example)
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Old 17th February 2013, 02:54 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by Rolfe View Post
ddt, yes, I know. I was really referring to the timing.

As for the precedents, each case seems to be dealt with according to its own peculiarities. For example, none of these countries was an EU member at the time of the split.

Rolfe.
Fair enough. With the timing, you mean, 700 years after Bannockburn?

Originally Posted by Ryokan View Post
And I would agree with those. I'd say, any area that feels they would be better of being independent should be allowed to do so, whether it's Scotland or Jamtland.
You really don't forgo a possibility to take a stab at the Swedes, don't you?
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Old 17th February 2013, 03:04 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by Lukraak_Sisser View Post
Imo it will create petty nations with petty influence..
I never understood this argument. Firstly because it assumes 'influence' is the goal as if somehow wielding power and trying to dictate to other nations how to conduct themselves is the raison d'etre of a country.

Secondly, it assumes that the influence exerted by the larger nation is aligned with the wants and needs of the smaller partner. Which it generally isn't, otherwise there'd be no great push for separation in the first place.

I can't think of anyone who would swap quality of life, economic prosperity, fairness, etc for a veto in the UN. This influence thing seems like a complete red herring propagated by the larger partners who may fear their influence being lessened by the shrinking of their countries.
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Old 17th February 2013, 03:07 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by Captain_Swoop View Post
Scotland not being part of the EU.
Um......someone better tell the EU that then. Scots are EU citizens. Scotland is in the EU right now.
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Old 17th February 2013, 03:08 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by ddt View Post
You really don't forgo a possibility to take a stab at the Swedes, don't you?
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Old 17th February 2013, 03:11 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by ddt View Post
Fair enough. With the timing, you mean, 700 years after Bannockburn?

It's an odd thing, that the present climactic events of Scottish independence have taken place against the backdrop of a procession of 700th anniversaries of the mediaeval wars of independence. (Which were wars to stay independent, bear in mind.) The original 1997 devolution referendum happened on the actual day of the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Stirling Bridge. I don't remember the Labour Party being criticised for that.

You can hardly turn around without its being a big anniversary of something. This coming September is the 500th anniversary of Flodden. Come to that, the 300th anniversary of the Union was 1st May 2007. Nobody even mentioned it at the time. (That might be something else to bear in mind.) On 3rd May 2007, Scotland elected its first SNP government.

The SNP originally wanted to hold the referendum in 2010. They were blocked because the opposition parties refused to agree. So the SNP went out for a better mandate in 2011, and got it. 2014 just happens to be the way the calendar played out. Actually, it's the EU elections which will be almost on the day of the Bannockburn anniversary, which is in June. The referendum will be in the autumn.

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Old 17th February 2013, 03:14 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by Last of the Fraggles View Post
I never understood this argument. Firstly because it assumes 'influence' is the goal as if somehow wielding power and trying to dictate to other nations how to conduct themselves is the raison d'etre of a country.

Secondly, it assumes that the influence exerted by the larger nation is aligned with the wants and needs of the smaller partner. Which it generally isn't, otherwise there'd be no great push for separation in the first place.

I can't think of anyone who would swap quality of life, economic prosperity, fairness, etc for a veto in the UN. This influence thing seems like a complete red herring propagated by the larger partners who may fear their influence being lessened by the shrinking of their countries.

I couldn't agree more. "Quoted for truth" as they say.

Personally, I'm all for a bunch of states that are too small in themselves to run around bullying others.

Rolfe.
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Old 17th February 2013, 03:28 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by Last of the Fraggles View Post
Um......someone better tell the EU that then. Scots are EU citizens. Scotland is in the EU right now.

The EU does what the EU deems to be expedient. Look at the reunification of Germany, for example. It is in absolutely nobody's interests to have Scotland out of the EU even for ten seconds. Thus it will not happen. It really is that simple.

No country can be required to adopt the Euro, even under the present accession arrangements. It has already been noted that it is in England's best interest to enter into a currency union with Scotland, and that is initially what will happen. In the longer term, Scotland will have the power to do what is best for Scotland, whether that be remaining in a sterling bloc, or setting up a Scottish currency, or taking steps to join the Euro.

As regards rebates and op-outs, it's good for Scotland that these will be re-negotiated. The current UK rebate was bought at the expense of giving up control of Scottish fishing grounds. There's also a little matter of "regional" aid Scotland doesn't get. Re-negotiating the rebate is likely to be to Scotland's advantage.

Schengen isn't going to happen, unless England finally has a rush of common sense to the brain and joins. The EU is not going to insist on a country joining the Schengen zone when it only has a land border with a non-Schengen country. It's in nobody's interests, so it won't happen.

Like it or not, there are going to be two countries re-negotiating their positions with the EU in 2015. England is not going to keep all the UK's MSP, or rebate, or allowances. This has always been recognised by the Scottish government. I believe Westminster realises it too, however much they bluster.

Captain Swoop's mean-spirited remark is typical of an attitude that is all too common among English commentators. An attitude that sees Scotland as an uppity colony that should know its place and not presume to get above itself. If it does, it should be visited with the harshest penalties. Harsher than anything Ireland ended up with, even after a violent and acrimonious split.

It's attitudes like this that give the lie to the whole "Better Together" nonsense. We are not equal parters in the union. We need to "Better Ourselves".

Rolfe.
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Old 17th February 2013, 03:37 PM   #36
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Why would an independent Scotland be in the EU? It is part of the EU at the moment because it is part of the UK. Once it decides it doesn't want to be part of the UK then how can it be part of the EU any more?
How is the Reunification of Germany the same? That was something becoming a part of an existing EU country not leaving it.

What is 'mean spirited' about wanting Scotland to be properly independant if they want to be?

As for Ireland, they too claim to be independent, they should be treated the same as any other former Colony or Dominion.

Why should Scotland or Ireland be any different to Australia, New Zealand, Canada etc?
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Old 17th February 2013, 03:49 PM   #37
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"Colony or dominion". Says it all, really.

Thanks, we've passed over all our revenues and resources to Westminster to get only a fraction back, for too long. It has done us no good. We've been told the pocket-money we were given was England's munificence, without which we couldn't survive, all the while the evidence that we were a net contributor was being hidden from us.

Cameron seems to want to woo us with this "Better Together" stuff. Respect agenda my bahookie. Rather a lot of people have had enough of it, and more join them as the facts become better known.

Thanks, but we'll take it from here. And the EU will do what the EU wants to do. Since it is in nobody's interests for either Scotland or England to be out of the EU for even ten seconds, it won't happen. The "how" is for the negotiators to figure out.

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Old 17th February 2013, 03:50 PM   #38
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The general reason people view breaking up countries as bad is because of inertia.
Complex societies have lots of shared networks. Breaking them up loses economies of scale, creates duplication of effort and incurs costs.

The POV of those pro independence- as in Scotland- is that these costs and inconveniences will be outweighed by gains to the citizens of their area. This may be a "moral" gain- freedom, standing on one's own feet, whatever- or financial gain- ("It's our oil").
Some well intentioned souls may feel it's honestly better for both parties, (the amicable divorce model); but true "win / win" situations are rare.
In general, few people seek independence if they feel they would then be materially worse off. Despite some talk about a moral imperative, I have yet to meet a Scot who is seeking independence because he altruistically feels England, Northern Ireland and Wales will be better off on their own and he is happy to take the hit.

Countries get bigger for two reasons; military conquest and common interest. Such interest can change if circumstances change. However if mutual interest has declined sufficiently for a state to divide, it is likely it will continue to decline after the split.

It has taken 300 years for the present "British " identity to form. It has always been somewhat fragile- almost a consensual illusion. Most Scots believe that when anyone from southern England says "British", he really means "English" - and few Scots make a secret of their feeling of being Scots first and Britons second. After a split, how long will it take for the innate perceptual differences whose importance is often stressed by the pro- independence camp to widen to the extent of real mutual alienation?

Also, outsiders may have an interest in the preservation of the status quo.

The EU may be divided on the UK / Scotland question, but the US (at least inside the beltway) probably is not. We do not yet know how the EU would see the rUK (the bit left if Scotland were to go its own way). Nor do we know how the UN would see it.

Could the rUK still have a legitimate claim on a permanent security council seat? *
What if Wales and Northern Ireland also separated? Would England still keep the seat?
(And would that not prove what the nationalists said all along, that England never truly committed itself to Britain as a union of nations?)

The Americans do not want to see their closest western ally lose that seat, or lose a significant chunk of its resources and military, or become involved in potential internal differences that take attention away from the (supposedly shared) international agenda .
I don't suggest the US is silly enough to do anything to influence the referendum, but I'm equally sure they would prefer a "No." result.
Which I think there will be.

* We might ask why Britain as presently configured still thinks it has that right. If Scotland does not, then who actually does?

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Old 17th February 2013, 03:55 PM   #39
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Originally Posted by mummymonkey View Post
Fine ye ken. Ironic no, delusional yes. Hillarious too.
Better together.

If you disagree with what I said, it might be interesting to have a discussion about it. Simply parroting "Better together" is not going to win either hearts or minds or votes.

Rolfe.
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Old 17th February 2013, 04:44 PM   #40
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You could split the whole of the UK into independent counties, France, Germany, Italy Spain, The Scands (Sorry) and every other town into a maelstrom of microstates for all I care. as long as ('twas mentioned above) that the individual entities remain a cohesive whole in regards to Defense and Trade.

If the UK decides to leave the EU I will leave the UK,

Quite fancy the Baltic Coast myself {6thsense}I see dead tasty fish{/6thsense}
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