The Gillian Bowditch piece in the Times yesterday has attracted the expected response that Scotland is indeed big enough and smart enough to cope without the interference of the moral and economic cripple next door. That is, of course, true on many counts but misses the real point, that it is the UK which is the wrong size for these times.
More than 10 years ago, David Goodhart Founder and Editor of Prospect magazine hit it on the nail:
The nation state is too big for the local things, too small for the international things and the root of most of the world’s ills.
Around that time, I was still teaching and that idea seemed important.
As always, you won’t get a fully worked out argument here, more a starter, so here are some of the ideas which suggest that the bigger nation states, such as especially the centralised and delusional UK, are both too big to do some critical things well and at the same time, too small to do other essential things well.
Because of the centralising of power in London, the UK is too big to:
- develop an economic strategy that suits all of the different parts
- be fully transparently democratic and thus prevent corruption and waste at the centre
- accept the end of empire and stop military expenditure and projecting power in post-imperial advntures
- hold together disenfranchised regions and nations
and too small to tackle global flows of:
- extreme weather events
- organised crime
- population movement
An independent Scotland can do the first set far better and, as a voting member of the EU, is far better able to do the second set.
And ‘The root of most of the world’s ills.?
Indeed, it is the larger nation states such as the UK, France, Germany, Russia, the USA and others before them, which created the monstrous empires based on slavery, invasion and exploitation responsible for mass death, starvation and widespread other suffering. The UK clings to that awful past, still deluding its people that it was glorious.
The EU has many faults but they pale against those of empire and it has the potential to be improved by its members.
The UK, in sharp contrast, is no longer fit for any purpose.