What if Scotland tried to separate in 1900?

Lonely Scots or "better together"

In this gallery: 3 pictures

Edinburgh - The day is here. Three and a half years ago, in May 2011, the Scottish National Party (SNP) recorded an unexpected election victory: 44 percent of the votes with a turnout of 70 percent resulted in an absolute majority of the seats in the regional parliament of Edinburgh. Since then, the polls on Thursday have been inevitable. No British government could or would have allowed itself to stop the SNP election promise.

That could lead observers to praise the peaceful, serious way Westminster conducts politics. Something like this praise did not appear in the almost endless debate. On the contrary. The separatists have opposed the "London establishment" from the start and cleverly used the popular dislike of David Cameron's conservative-liberal coalition for their cause. "We never want to be governed again by someone we did not vote for," says separatist leader Alex Salmond, declaring around 30 percent of the Scottish population to be excluded - those who voted for one of the two coalition parties in the 2010 general election.

Westminster outside

Even with "Better Together", the reputation of Westminster politics does not seem to be much higher. The Unionists' umbrella organization, the alliance of Labor, Tories and Liberals, gathered at the last minute behind a plan for extensive autonomy. Among other things, this provides for greater access to Scottish income tax revenues. So far, Edinburgh receives only ten percent from the tax, which makes up a quarter of Britain's income. In addition, however, Scotland receives billions from the London Treasury Secretary every year. The amount is calculated using the 35-year-old "Barnett formula" and enables public spending on health, schools and infrastructure that is 19 percent per capita higher than in the rest of the country. This amount should remain.

It is a problem of Westminster politics: in the London government offices there is undoubtedly a deafness to the problems of their own in the various regions of the country. This is the only way to explain why the lively, dynamic campaign of the nationalists, based on Scottish self-confidence and old resentment against England, was not taken seriously for a long time. Above all, it was always said that it was about the secession of the northern province. In reality, Britain's future is at stake.

The fact that with the vote the position as the sixth largest industrial nation in the world, as a permanent member of the UN Security Council, as an important, sober voice in the EU, as an indispensable pillar of the Western community of values ​​and security is at stake, not only in Westminster, but many overlooked many in Scotland too. And in Edinburgh, too, a possible weakening of the West, for example in the conflict with Russia or in the fight against the Islamist IS militia in the Middle East, is hardly an issue, nor is possible consequences for the 28 Club in Brussels in the consolidation of the Eurozone or on NATO, at a time when Great Britain is providing one of the few armies capable of preventing massacres like those in Sierra Leone or Kosovo.

Little thought about world events

The separatists have successfully smuggled their way around the answers to all these serious questions. There was plenty of rhetoric about it: "We want to be perceived as an adult country." The answer as to whether Bavarians, Tyroleans or Valais would not be self-confident and in good hands in their larger communities was not given.

Scotland was just more socially attuned, more peaceful, more concerned with social context than its cousins ​​south of the border, was a common slogan used by the nationalists. As if the English had not welcomed millions of immigrants from all over the world in the last few decades - so many, after all, that England is now a much more multicultural country than Scotland. As if millions of British had not demonstrated against British involvement in the Iraq war as well as Welsh and Scots. As if the rule of law tradition that Britain stands for around the world had not shaped Scotland's reputation.

At the beginning of the union with England, which was entered into in 1707, Scotland was one of the poorest regions in Western Europe. Today the nationalists speak uncontestedly of one of the 20 richest regions of the world. There is no doubt: this country can also manage as a separate state. However, regardless of how the vote ends, it will also be necessary to take a closer look in the mirror. Whoever leads Scotland in the future has to rebuild torn bridges quickly. (Sebastian Borger from Edinburgh, DER STANDARD, September 18, 2014)