Scotland remains part of the UK. Implications for Canada?

The vote was to remain part of the UK. 56/44, or something like that. A very large turnout as well. This article uses the historical analogy of Ireland in 1914 and their aspiration for independence with the rise of Scottish independence that culminated with this vote. It wisely speaks to the deep connections between Scotland and England within the last three centuries of Constitutional accord but highlights a cultural divide akin to Ireland a century ago.

As a Canadian I didn’t see the Scottish referendum itself as all that analogous to the Quebec one two decades ago: there are better analogies, Ireland in 1914 is probably the most historically useful as the author employs. But there are other similarites.

What did strike me was the immediate reaction of the British PM to recognize that certain economic polices were a casus belli of this independence movement and these sentiments were felt elsewhere as well. Brown noted that these economic polices were misaligned with the cultural sentiments of a large segment of the citizenry. What the constitutional changes will be (if any) are yet unknown but I think that one of the reasons why Canada is so divided today is that this issue was never addressed by the government of the time here or since. I think that most people were just happy that Quebec remained part of Canada. I know I was. And because it wasn’t addressed, it simmers to this day. Much like the treatment of aboriginal people in Canada. The land is still haunted.

The author notes that one reason Scots were unhappy with the Union was attitudes towards compassion and social welfare. I note this same difference between French and English Canada and many other communities in Canada. In this analogy, the communitarian ethos is stronger in Quebec culture as evidenced by public policy choices and that focusing simply on linguistic rights obscures the deeper identity and socio-cultural issues.

I think that this desire to negotiate may be the best lesson for Canadians to take from the Scottish referendum. Searching for a stronger and better way to achieve your goals, in this case a united Kingdom, in and of itself may reward all citizens.