The UK: Both too big and too small

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
  • terrorism
  • organised crime
  • drugs
  • population movement
  • disease

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.

5 thoughts on “The UK: Both too big and too small

    1. After losing the last two cats to the ‘bypass’ our current one is a hybrid house cat on my daughter’s command. Goes out on a tied extended lead wearing a harness. She’s 9 and despite the lead has nevertheless killed!


  1. Illegal wars, tax evasion and financial fraud. Westminster total failure causing trouble worldwide. Independence for Scotland could stop the Westminster failure. Brexit and economic failure. Empty shelves.

    Revenues would stay in Scotland, instead of being wasted by Westminster. More rational decision could be made. Westminster increased military spending and cut foreign aid.

    The UK the most unequal place in the world.


  2. But but … does that mean that all the ”Great British..” claims on a plethora pf TV shows is just a pile of sh*t ?

    What about the ”freedom” we brought to so many countries after milking them dry for centuries – is that an illusion ?
    Did we not bring civilisation to many nations after destroying their primitive cultures ?
    Have we not spread our values far and wide – with more British controlled offshore-Tax-Havens than anyone else ?


  3. In the car listening to the Waterboys and some of Mike Scott’s poignant lyrics on Old England:-

    “His clothes are a dirty shade of blue
    And his ancient shoes worn through
    He steals from me and he lies to you
    Old england is dying

    Still he sings his empire song
    And still he keeps his navy strong
    And he sticks his flag where it don’t belong
    Old england is dying”


    Liked by 1 person

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