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Old 09-03-2019, 10:06 AM
Dead Cat is online now
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: UK
Posts: 4,272

The 2014 Scottish independence referendum showed that Scotland needs England more than vice versa

I have been enjoined to start this thread as a spin-off from page 3 of the pit thread here:, to avoid continuing a hijack. I'm not sure it qualifies as a great debate but it's about a referendum, not an election (and one some time ago at that), and I see no need for discussion to get heated to Pit level, so I'm putting it here - mods feel free to move if you wish. I doubt it will generate much attention anyway.

For those who don't care to read the original, in summary I made the claim in the thread title, which was described as a "fallacy". I am prepared to be convinced this could be the case but this hasn't happened yet, indeed I think it more likely that we are just talking past each other a bit.

Here is the bit of the Pit thread I would like to respond to:

Originally Posted by Gary Kumquat View Post
How about we go with your original claim that "the 2014 Scottish independence referendum showed that Scotland needs England more than vice versa" and then have a look at some of the arguments made by Westminster politicians in the buildup to the referendum:

Boris Johnson*

We are told that if Scotland votes to cut its ties with England, that will be a disaster on a par with the loss of the American colonies in 1776; but it is far worse than that.
David Cameron**

It would be the end of a country that launched the Enlightenment, that abolished slavery, that drove the industrial revolution, that defeated fascism. the end of a country that people around the world respect and admire the end of a country that all of us call home.

And we built this home together.

It’s only become Great Britain because of the greatness of Scotland
It takes a rare mind to look at pleading like the above from the Better Together movement, along with some of the claims that have since proven to be absolute fiction (Scotland had to stay in the UK or it would drop out of the EU, etc) and then conclude that by voting to stay in the union the Scots showed they need the English more than vice versa. All the referendum proved was that a slim majority were happier with the status quo of the UK then going it alone. It's funny to think that the lunacy of brexit has now pushed the majority of Scots to think it's time to move on***.

Now, if you really do want to carry this on as a topic, how about you start a thread on it rather than try to continue a hijack?

I don't think we necessarily disagree on much in general, we are just putting it differently. My thesis is that the title of this thread and "All the referendum proved was that a slim majority were happier with the status quo of the UK then going it alone" are basically saying the same thing. After all, had a majority of voters in that referendum been convinced that Scotland did not need to be in a union with England (and Wales and NI, but I don't believe Celtic solidarity, if that is a thing at all except in terms of being anti-English, was a big factor), then presumably the result would have gone the other way. So calling my statement a "fallacy" is a bit strong, especially as you haven't yet offered any evidence for this conclusion. Granted, the referendum result says nothing about how English voters feel about the union, so I assume that is what you are taking issue with. I also grant that many English politicians campaigned heartily in favour of the union, but I find it amusing that you chose to use Johnson and Cameron, two of the most discredited (and discreditable) politicians in living memory, to try and make your point. Like most politicians, they are quite clearly in it for themselves first, party/power second, and country/principles a distant third or fourth. Obviously they were going to back the status quo in that referendum, because the alternative was being called for by their political opponents, the SNP. They were also in government at the time, and wouldn't have wanted to cede ~10% of their power at a stroke. They could hardly have waved it through happily, could they? And whether you accept that or not, I don't think pseudo-Churchillian rhetoric is convincing evidence either way.

I also don't think drawing an equivalence between this thread title and "Scotland benefits more from the UK than it contributes" is moving the goalposts. There are three possibilities to consider: Scotland and rUK are equal partners; rUK needs Scotland more than Scotland needs rUK; Scotland needs rUK more than rUK needs Scotland (there is also the, perhaps most likely, possibility that the UK is greater than the sum of its parts, but that is not relevant to this point - if such is the case, one of the previous three statements is still true). If they are equal partners, they have equal benefits. If not, one benefits more than the other. So if my thesis that Scotland needs rUK more than vice versa is true, it follows that Scotland benefits more from the UK than vice versa. Note that I am not claiming rUK gets no benefit from the union, nor even that they would be better off if Scotland were independent, as I don't believe either of those to be the case. Maybe that's what you think you are arguing against?

Last edited by Dead Cat; 09-03-2019 at 10:08 AM. Reason: Fixed broken link.


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