World View: Scotland Faces Reality as Independence Referendum Approaches
This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com
- Scotland faces reality as independence referendum approaches
- Venezuela expels three American diplomats after anti-government protests
- United Nations accuses North Korea of 'unspeakable atrocities'
Scotland faces reality as independence referendum approaches
On September 18, Scotland will have a referendum on the question, "Should Scotland be an independent country?" If the vote is "yes" then
nobody knows for sure what will happen next. During the last ten
days, two major issues have arisen to threaten the viability of an
- Britain's Finance Minister George Osborne said that the UK
would be unwilling to enter a currency union with Scotland, presumably
meaning that Scotland would have to create its own currency.
- Jose Manuel Barroso, the president of the European Commission,
said that it would not be automatic that Scotland would belong to the
European Union, and that in fact there would be a long process requiring
the approval of all 28 countries.
In the worst case scenario, Scotland would be an independent entity
completely on its own, like nearby Iceland and Norway.
If the UK continues to refuse a currency union with an independent
Scotland, then Scotland will have three major choices:
- Just continue using the British pound sterling as before, in
the same way that Panama uses the US dollar as a currency and
Montenegro uses the euro.
- Issue a new Scotland pound currency and peg it to the British
- Try to join the eurozone, but once again, this would be a lengthy
Ten years ago, when talk of Scottish independence began, these
choices seemed a lot easier. Since then, there's been a
major financial crisis which has split southern countries
like Greece and Italy against the northern countries like France
and Germany. Even seemingly solid Ireland has been in trouble.
An independent Scotland, whether in the eurozone or a currency
union with the UK, might just end up being another crisis.
It's not at all clear that an independent Scotland could become part
of the European Union. Spain in particular is fighting its own
internal battle with its Catalonia region seeking independence, and
supporting Scotland might encourage Catalonia to fight harder for
The English and the Scots are as different as Irish Protestants and
Catholics, or as Sunni and Shia Syrians. Scotland and England have
gone through a number of periods of unity and disunity for hundreds of
The Battle of Bannockburn, on June 24, 1314, was a great victory for
Scottish forces against superior English forces. It was the climax of
the First War of Scottish Independence, and established Scotland as an
independent nation. Scotland and England fought against each other in
a number of subsequent wars, including the War of the Roses (1459-87),
and the Armada war with Spain (1588). The most explosive war that
followed Scottish independence was the English Civil War (1640-49),
that climaxed with the beheading of the English King in 1649. There
followed a generational Recovery Era when Britain had no King, but
was actually ruled by a military dictator, Oliver Cromwell, bringing
Scotland under English control, until a new King was crowned in 1661.
During the generational Awakening era in the 1660s and 1670s, Scotland
began demonstrating against English control, culminating in the
Awakening era climax, the so-called "Glorious Revolution" of 1689,
making the Scottish Parliament independent once again. In 1701, the
next generational Crisis war began, the War of the Spanish Succession,
which allied Scotland and France against England. Miraculously,
England defeated the French army in the Battle of Blenheim in 1704,
and then again in the explosive and tumultuous climactic Battle of
Malplaquet in 1709. After France's defeat at Blenheim, Scotland was
finally brought to heel, and England and Scotland signed the "Acts of
Union" between the two countries, under a single king or queen,
forming the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707.
It's now been 700 years since the Battle of Bannockburn, and the
question of Scotland's independence is rising again. Polls indicate
that the Scots themselves are slightly opposed to independence.
BBC and Scotsman
United Nations accuses North Korea of 'unspeakable atrocities'
A United Nations panel has accused North Korea of crimes against
humanity, including systematic extermination, torture, rape, forced
abortions, starvation, arbitrary detention, executions, and prison
camps. The police and security forces of the Democratic People's
Republic of Korea systematically employ violence and punishments that
amount to gross human rights violations in order to create a climate
of fear that pre-empts any challenge to the current system of
government and to the ideology underpinning it. The institutions and
officials involved are not held accountable.
The U.N. recommends prosecution of the country's top leaders by the
International Criminal Court. This will never happen, of course,
because China will veto any such attempt in the Security Council.
Venezuela expels three American diplomats after anti-government protests
Venezuela on Monday gave three U.S. diplomats 48 hours to leave the
country, accusing them of conspiring against the government to incite
large, violent, anti-government protests.
Venezuela has the highest level of inflation in the world, 56%.
There's a huge crime wave, but 90% of the cases are never solved.
Despite its oil reserves, there are shortages of electricity. There
are shortages of most everything else, even toothpaste and toilet
paper. Last year, President Nicolás Maduro announced a new Vice-Ministry for the Supreme Social Happiness, whose purpose was to coordinate anti-poverty programs,
but apparently it hasn't succeeded.
It seems likely that the disastrous economy is behind the new wave of
anti-government protests, which has led to three deaths in clashes
with police. Nonetheless, the Maduro government blames the protests
on the United States. According to Foreign Minister Elias Jaua:
They have been visiting universities with the pretext
of granting visas.
But that is a cover for making contacts with (student) leaders to
offer them training and financing to create youth groups that
In November, Maduro accused the United States of orchestrating a
"massive attack" against the Twitter accounts "of Bolivarian patriots
and Venezuelan Chavistas." The world Bolivarian alludes to Simón
Bolivar, the 19th century founder of Venezuela. The word "Chavista"
alludes to Maduro's late predecessor, Hugo Chávez. When Chávez was
dying of cancer, he accused the United States of giving him cancer by
poisoning him. Reuters and Latin American Herald Tribune
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