We are ten days away from the Scottish independence vote. A year ago....I gave the vote a thirty-to-forty percent chance of passing. Within the last month, we've passed the fifty-percent point. Current expectations are that they will get somewhere between fifty-one and fifty-three percent of the "yes" vote....meaning the first step is done. I have ten observations over the episode and what it all means.
1. While passing, no one is saying it'll happen quickly or without public displeasure in the north. When the political players hint that they have to be part of the EU.....to make this work.....it'll quickly go into a negative phase. I would forecast the final day of this union.....to be at least three years away. No one in the EU has made any kind of comment on possible acceptance.
2. While the Prime Minister isn't going away.....I'd see his significance draining fast, and within two years.....he'd have to step down. Number Ten Downing Street will continue to have importance in the world.....just not as much.
3. Scotland will wake up at the end to realize that there's not enough real funding in the bucket to maintain a military.....so at best....they will have a coast guard and a national guard-type army. No real army....no real navy.....no real air force. For England itself? They will have to cut approximately forty percent of their military force by the time that Scotland is totally independent....meaning a much smaller navy and air force. Budget cuts will wipe out any future deployments beyond Europe.
4. England keeping its seat at the UN? This would be mostly a joke at the point where Scotland is not part of the "kingdom". I would imagine by 2020.....Germany would step up and openly challenge a mini-state such as England.....with limited structure, and demand the seat instead.
5. G7 meetings? G6.5 meetings instead? I'd take a guess that within four years.....the G7 game is finished.
6. This separatist movement will spread quickly. The Catalonia situation will go through, and they will be separated from Spain. At least five other movements will gather steam. Belgium will likely split in half. I think both Brittany and Basque areas of France will drag out past issues and try to motivate their residents to split off from France. I'll predict that the Tyrol area of Italy will move to separate itself, and become a Alpin state of sorts. And I'll predict that the Canary Islands of Spain will gather enough support by 2020 to have their own election and try to split off from Spain.
7. Smaller states.....mean smaller military commitments....to NATO and to the smaller countries themselves. NATO is likely finished off by 2020.
8. In some odd way.....the EU mechanism makes a great kitchen for small individualist countries to exist, develop their own commerce, trade openly, and work under a democratic umbrella.
9. Is this really change? Pull out a map and observe Germany in 1800.....then note almost 300 separate kingdoms, states, city-states, and empires in existence. Only under pressure and force from Prussia.....did they unit. If left to their own devices.....there'd likely be forty separate German countries today. We are simply moving back to what existed prior to modern times.
10. Can smaller governments better represent the public.....ought to be the primary question to ask here. Are big political parties operating at optimum thinking and planning? Do massive state operations really benefit you the consumer? How much corruption is hidden in each budget that exists in Europe today?
In ten days.....as the results come in....we are going to start pondering the future. It'll be radically different, and maybe in some ways better. But we tend to have fear over change, and that will be our problem to eventually accept.