Dissolution of the United Kingdom

Gramps49Gramps49 Shipmate
edited May 12 in Purgatory
With the Scottish National Parties winning a majority in their Parliament, NPR is reporting there will soon be a referendum to dissolve the United Kingdom.

What are the chances that will happen?

What would it look like?

Help this Yankee understand what is going down.

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Comments

  • KarlLBKarlLB Shipmate
    edited May 12
    No. There is a move for Scotland to gain independence. This would have no effect on the statuses of Wales or Northern Ireland so would not be dissolution of the UK.

    It would mean Scotland would be a fully independent country with complete sovereignty vested in its own Parliament.

    I would expect it would end up much like the Republic of Ireland - UK/Scottish nationals not requiring passports and freedom of movement between Scotland and the UK, except that my instincts tell me Scotland would retain the Monarch as Head of State.
  • Gramps49 wrote: »
    With the Scottish National Parties winning a majority in their Parliament, NPR is reporting there will soon be a referendum to dissolve the United Kingdom.

    What are the chances that will happen?

    What would it look like?

    It would look like the previous referendum that was held on Scottish independence, in 2014.

    One significant argument that was made in favour of the Union at that time was that by withdrawing from the UK, Scotland would also be withdrawing from the EU, and that it would then have to seek admittance as a new member. Post-Brexit, this no longer provides a reason for Scotland to remain in the UK: the case is that Brexit is enough of a substantive change in circumstances that a new referendum so soon after the previous one is warranted.

    (Without such a substantive change to the circumstances surrounding the vote, the previous referendum would have by convention been seen as binding for a generation.)
  • Bishops FingerBishops Finger Shipmate
    edited May 12
    KarlLB wrote: »
    No. There is a move for Scotland to gain independence. This would have no effect on the statuses of Wales or Northern Ireland so would not be dissolution of the UK.

    It would mean Scotland would be a fully independent country with complete sovereignty vested in its own Parliament.

    True, but would that not also mean, in effect, that the *United* Kingdom was no longer united? Especially if an independent Scotland decided not to continue with the King as monarch?
    :naughty:

    @Gramps49 - there are also calls for Wales to be independent, too, though that seems unlikely to happen for some time yet. Northern Ireland (aka Ulster) may at some future date be assimilated into the present Republic of Ireland, thus uniting the whole island.

    A successful Scottish independence referendum would have no direct effect on Wales or NI, but there would be knock-on effects, no doubt.
  • But if Scotland leaves, the independence movements in Wales and NI would be given a boost. It's already likely that, thanks to demographic changes, there will shortly be a majority for a United Ireland. In any kind of federation, once one nation leaves, the chances of a complete breakdown down are greatly increased.

    If Scotland leaves, I suspect that it won't be long before NI goes as well. As for Wales? Too close to call at the moment.

  • Fawkes CatFawkes Cat Shipmate
    But if Scotland leaves, the independence movements in Wales and NI would be given a boost. It's already likely that, thanks to demographic changes, there will shortly be a majority for a United Ireland.

    At the risk of being overly pedantic, but for the benefit of anyone outside the (current) UK - I'm not aware of an NI independence movement. The only options that I have ever heard being considered are remaining in the UK, or joining a united Ireland.

  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    This is already an interesting thread. I wonder if it might be helpful for a mod or admin to add “of the UK” or some such to the thread title. As it is, there’s no clue as to dissolution of what.

  • CrœsosCrœsos Shipmate
    At this rate Prince George will be lucky to inherit the crown of Wessex.
  • quetzalcoatlquetzalcoatl Shipmate
    Incidentally, "aka Ulster" will make many Irish people boil. Ulster has 9 counties, the "six-county statelet" (N. Ireland), has 6.
  • Incidentally, "aka Ulster" will make many Irish people boil. Ulster has 9 counties, the "six-county statelet" (N. Ireland), has 6.

    Yes. My bad. Sorry about that.
    :disappointed:

    Ulster is one of the historic provinces of Ireland:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Provinces_of_Ireland
  • This may be because I am a Unionist, but "Ulster" was never a problem for this Belfast-born Turquoise and "Radio Ulster", "BBC Ulster", "Ulster Way" all seemed relatively uncontroversial terms, which is quite an achievement.

    "Northern Ireland" on the other hand is a controversial term, with Nationalists objecting to it and preferring "the North of Ireland", which in turn is never used by Unionists.
  • Fawkes Cat wrote: »
    But if Scotland leaves, the independence movements in Wales and NI would be given a boost. It's already likely that, thanks to demographic changes, there will shortly be a majority for a United Ireland.

    At the risk of being overly pedantic, but for the benefit of anyone outside the (current) UK - I'm not aware of an NI independence movement. The only options that I have ever heard being considered are remaining in the UK, or joining a united Ireland.

    There is a small, fringe, independence movement in NI, peopled by cranky Unionists who feel that GB has sold them down the river once too often. I think it could turn into something more, especially if Irish unity were really on the cards, but not very easily.
  • Gramps49Gramps49 Shipmate
    Yes, if it helps to understand what this thread is about, please go ahead and add "of the United Kingdom."

    My impression was when it came to Brexit, the Scottish majority wanted to stay in the E.U. I would think that would be something the Scottish national parties would use in their arguments for independence from the UK.
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    edited May 12
    Gramps49 wrote: »
    Yes, if it helps to understand what this thread is about, please go ahead and add "of the United Kingdom."

    Your wish etc. :smile:

    BroJames, Purgatory Host
  • GarasuGarasu Shipmate
    (Without such a substantive change to the circumstances surrounding the vote, the previous referendum would have by convention been seen as binding for a generation.)

    Do we actually have such a convention?

    (Never mind arguing over how long a generation is...)
  • AnteaterAnteater Shipmate
    Well without being able to decode the entrails, nobody knows. It could happen. Bookies odds are around 8:1, I believe.

    Wouldn't it be better to debate if there is a christian view on this? I am constitutionally anti-tribalism, and everyone separating from everyone else. So I suppose I emotionally dislike Sturgeon/Salmond, not to mention F******.

    But that doesn't make it into a defensible principle. I suspect that the church's voice now is irrelevant, and I'm not even sure if there is a christian view of state-level politics. To me it always come up when people see things going down, and look for someone/thing to blame, like the EU (especially the French) or the English.

    I could see why people wanted Brexit and I can see why people like the idea of Scottish Independence. In both cases, it was a great pity that it was negotiated at the level of The Elites and the People never got a look-in. The creation of The Union was a pretty grubby affair, I'll give Nicola that.

    It's also be helpful if anyone knowns the precise legal position. I believe that the holding of a referendum is a Reserved Power. And I think it unlikely that Sturgeon could force the UK's hand.

    Question: Would the Scots go for a true Federal settlement.
  • Fawkes CatFawkes Cat Shipmate
    Fawkes Cat wrote: »
    But if Scotland leaves, the independence movements in Wales and NI would be given a boost. It's already likely that, thanks to demographic changes, there will shortly be a majority for a United Ireland.

    At the risk of being overly pedantic, but for the benefit of anyone outside the (current) UK - I'm not aware of an NI independence movement. The only options that I have ever heard being considered are remaining in the UK, or joining a united Ireland.

    There is a small, fringe, independence movement in NI, peopled by cranky Unionists who feel that GB has sold them down the river once too often. I think it could turn into something more, especially if Irish unity were really on the cards, but not very easily.

    I stand corrected. Thanks.
  • Gramps49 wrote: »
    the Scottish national parties
    As a point of order there is only one Scottish National Party, not multiple national parties. Though the 8 Scottish Green MSPs make a majority in favour of putting the question of independence to the people of Scotland again, the Green basis for supporting independence is different from the SNP, based on the "think global, act local" philosophy of all Greens that would seek to make government as local as possible, and also a recognition that a lot of Green policies would be very difficult to implement without at least substantial further devolution of powers from Westminster to Holyrood. The SNP tend towards arguments for independence based on national identity.

  • DoublethinkDoublethink Shipmate
    If we want the Union to avoid falling apart, we’d need to federate it (probably with England being represented as the 7 kingdoms).
  • Garasu wrote: »
    (Without such a substantive change to the circumstances surrounding the vote, the previous referendum would have by convention been seen as binding for a generation.)

    Do we actually have such a convention?

    (Never mind arguing over how long a generation is...)

    No, there is no such convention.

    Prior to the 2014 referendum the Scottish Government (including Salmond and Sturgeon) made statements to urge the Scottish people to vote Yes that emphasised that this would be a historic vote and that they should cease the opportunity to gain independence because there was no guarantee of Westminster allowing another vote in the future using "once in a generation" language. But, constitutional experts are agreed that there's no need for a generation to pass (whether you take that as a fixed period of years, a political generation of those who entered politics in 2014 to become the leading members of the Scottish Parliament, or for a significant social change such as leaving the EU).

    Many members of the "Better Together" campaign against independence in 2014 did say that it was a once in a generation referendum ... but what would you expect of people who are so scared that Scotland would vote to leave the UK that they'll go to any measure to prevent a referendum?
  • KarlLB wrote: »
    my instincts tell me Scotland would retain the Monarch as Head of State.
    There is a sizeable republican movement in Scotland (not all in favour of independence), and the Greens would certainly seek a situation where the head of state wasn't an inherited position. That would need to be sorted out after independence, but I fear you're right that retaining the current monarchy would be the most popular position.

    Though, being Scotland, it's to be remembered that the current monarch owes her position to a decision by the English Parliament to install King Billy as King of England and Scotland without even consulting the Scottish Parliament. So, maybe the Scottish Government will be putting in a call to Franz, Duke of Bavaria.

  • KarlLB wrote: »
    my instincts tell me Scotland would retain the Monarch as Head of State.
    There is a sizeable republican movement in Scotland (not all in favour of independence), and the Greens would certainly seek a situation where the head of state wasn't an inherited position. That would need to be sorted out after independence, but I fear you're right that retaining the current monarchy would be the most popular position.

    Though, being Scotland, it's to be remembered that the current monarch owes her position to a decision by the English Parliament to install King Billy as King of England and Scotland without even consulting the Scottish Parliament. So, maybe the Scottish Government will be putting in a call to Franz, Duke of Bavaria.

    The problem with that plan is that ~30 years or so down the line we end up in a Union of Crowns with Liechtenstein and we all know how that goes.
  • Dave WDave W Shipmate
    Garasu wrote: »
    (Without such a substantive change to the circumstances surrounding the vote, the previous referendum would have by convention been seen as binding for a generation.)

    Do we actually have such a convention?

    (Never mind arguing over how long a generation is...)

    No, there is no such convention.

    Prior to the 2014 referendum the Scottish Government (including Salmond and Sturgeon) made statements to urge the Scottish people to vote Yes that emphasised that this would be a historic vote and that they should cease the opportunity to gain independence because there was no guarantee of Westminster allowing another vote in the future using "once in a generation" language. But, constitutional experts are agreed that there's no need for a generation to pass (whether you take that as a fixed period of years, a political generation of those who entered politics in 2014 to become the leading members of the Scottish Parliament, or for a significant social change such as leaving the EU).

    Many members of the "Better Together" campaign against independence in 2014 did say that it was a once in a generation referendum ... but what would you expect of people who are so scared that Scotland would vote to leave the UK that they'll go to any measure to prevent a referendum?
    I don’t know - brutal repression? Jailing of journalists? Assassination of separatist leaders?

    But as I recall none of these things happened, and there was a referendum. So maybe there was no one willing to “go to any measure” to prevent it.
  • Gramps49Gramps49 Shipmate
    Yes, I understand that there is officially one Scottish National Party; but our National Public Radio (US) report referred to "parties." I know there are often minor parties that will join the major party to form a government in your system. I wanted to leave open that possibility.
  • CrœsosCrœsos Shipmate
    KarlLB wrote: »
    my instincts tell me Scotland would retain the Monarch as Head of State.
    There is a sizeable republican movement in Scotland (not all in favour of independence), and the Greens would certainly seek a situation where the head of state wasn't an inherited position. That would need to be sorted out after independence, but I fear you're right that retaining the current monarchy would be the most popular position.

    My guess is that timing may be a factor. My outsider's perspective is that support for the monarchy is significantly influenced by opinion of the current monarch. A lot of people seem to genuinely like the current throne warmer. I'm not so sure those good feelings would carry over to her immediate successor and making predictions based on the continued presence of a 95 year old woman seems foolhardy.
  • Alan29Alan29 Shipmate
    Well, if its OK for the UK to have a referendum to leave one union, I can see no reason why Scotland shouldnt follow that example to leave another one.
  • jay_emmjay_emm Shipmate
    edited May 12
    I don't think we're really in a position to know yet, though it is likely that the referendum would be about Scotland becoming independent (from governance from Westminster) rather than 'shall we dissolve the UK'.

    The 2014 question was "Should Scotland be an independent country.

    I'm not sure how it will be framed as a whole, and suspect that convention won't be much of a guide. Except in regards what fig leaves are used, and that depend on who does what.

    Although the name 'United' Kingdom was based on formally uniting the puppet (English) kingdom in Ireland with the kingdom of Great Britain (which united Scotland with England). I suspect it will manage.
    Bede makes a big distinction between the English and the British so if Cornwall, Wales and Scotland go really they probably have a claim to British. On the other hand England is the larger part of Britain and the other parts 'left' (plus our press is more arrogant)

    Brexit has put northern Ireland in a strange state that (according to the person who negotiated the position) is not sustainable. Many of the unionists have close ties with Scottish (unionist) groups, so in the event of an independent Scotland that could be interesting emotionally.

    Welsh support for independence is also rising. Although the 'actually english now' parts of Wales are probably too significant to shift.
  • GarethMoonGarethMoon Shipmate
    jay_emm wrote: »
    Brexit has put northern Ireland in a strange state that (according to the person who negotiated the position) is not sustainable. Many of the unionists have close ties with Scottish (unionist) groups, so in the event of an independent Scotland that could be interesting emotionally.

    Maybe we could see a deal for an indy Scotland to join the EU in return for them taking on the "British" part of the GFA?

    Perhaps NI could be independent/an autonomous region and have symbolic joint heads of State like Andora does, with the Scottish monarch and President of Ireland?
  • KwesiKwesi Shipmate
    There is virtually no chance of a Scottish IndyRef in the near future. Sturgeon probably doesn't want one, given the uncertainty of the outcome, though she would like to force Johnson to refuse a request. The likelihood of Wales breaking away is zero- it was shoe-horned into devolution in the first place to justify Scottish devolution. At the moment a United Ireland looks the most likely, given the crisis created by Brexit and increasing indifference towards that union in Britain, though there is little sign it would be welcomed by the South.
  • GarethMoon wrote: »
    jay_emm wrote: »
    Brexit has put northern Ireland in a strange state that (according to the person who negotiated the position) is not sustainable. Many of the unionists have close ties with Scottish (unionist) groups, so in the event of an independent Scotland that could be interesting emotionally.

    Maybe we could see a deal for an indy Scotland to join the EU in return for them taking on the "British" part of the GFA?

    Perhaps NI could be independent/an autonomous region and have symbolic joint heads of State like Andora does, with the Scottish monarch and President of Ireland?

    I've heard the first suggested before but there is essentially zero chance of its happening. There is no way in a million years that an independent Scotland would want to have responsibility for Northern Ireland. And anyway the sympathies of the ScotNats would be entirely with Dublin.

    The second seems even less likely. An autonomous NI is just as much anathema to Irish Nationalists as NI part of Britain. Having the President of Ireland as joint head of state would make Unionist heads explode too. Everyone would be (even more) unhappy.
  • Gramps49Gramps49 Shipmate
    Would it be possible to develop a federalized system or even commonwealth where the various countries can have independent governments but still be united with the queen as the figurative head?
  • Marvin the MartianMarvin the Martian Admin Emeritus
    Gramps49 wrote: »
    Would it be possible to develop a federalized system or even commonwealth where the various countries can have independent governments but still be united with the queen as the figurative head?

    We already have a Commonwealth.
  • Gramps49 wrote: »
    Would it be possible to develop a federalized system or even commonwealth where the various countries can have independent governments but still be united with the queen as the figurative head?

    I would say that was what Tony Blair attempted to produce in the 2000s with devolution to Edinburgh (Scottish Parliament), Cardiff (Welsh Assembly) and Belfast (Northern Ireland Assembly), as well as the mayors of London and other elected mayors.

    I am not entirely sure this was a good idea. I think the intention was to draw the sting of nationalist movements but instead it gave them a boost. But maybe that's a good thing, even though I don't personally like it.
  • Gramps49Gramps49 Shipmate
    edited May 13
    Gramps49 wrote: »
    Would it be possible to develop a federalized system or even commonwealth where the various countries can have independent governments but still be united with the queen as the figurative head?

    We already have a Commonwealth.

    But do Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and even England have the same independence as other commonwealth nations?
  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host, 8th Day Host
    Gramps49 wrote: »
    Would it be possible to develop a federalized system or even commonwealth where the various countries can have independent governments but still be united with the queen as the figurative head?

    I would say that was what Tony Blair attempted to produce in the 2000s with devolution to Edinburgh (Scottish Parliament), Cardiff (Welsh Assembly) and Belfast (Northern Ireland Assembly), as well as the mayors of London and other elected mayors.

    I am not entirely sure this was a good idea. I think the intention was to draw the sting of nationalist movements but instead it gave them a boost. But maybe that's a good thing, even though I don't personally like it.
    While Westminster was still the Parliament for England AND for the U.K., I think the plan was doomed to fail.

    I don’t know whether, if a separate English Parliament had been established it would have worked but ISTM that the present asymmetry is not sustainable in the long term.
  • Fawkes CatFawkes Cat Shipmate
    Gramps49 wrote: »
    Would it be possible to develop a federalized system or even commonwealth where the various countries can have independent governments but still be united with the queen as the figurative head?
    Gramps49 wrote: »
    Would it be possible to develop a federalized system or even commonwealth where the various countries can have independent governments but still be united with the queen as the figurative head?

    We already have a Commonwealth.

    I thkn @Marvin the Martian is getting a little bogged down over specific words - this might be one for the 'Divided by a common language' thread, but in UK terminology 'Commonwealth' is generally taken to refer to the fairly loose grouping that links the countries that formerly made up the British Empire (or at least the final version of that empire) while I understand that in the USA at least a couple of states are entitled 'Commonwealths'.

    But be that as it may, proposals for a more federal UK generally run into problems because of the wildly different sizes of the likely federal members. In broad terms, we find populations of

    Northern Ireland: ~1.9 million
    Scotland: ~5.5 million
    Wales: ~3.2 million
    England: ~56.3 million

    A four member federal system would have to cope with the 800 pound gorilla between Carlisle and Penzance - which might be tricky. And experience over the last 25 years or so has not shown much appetite amongst the population for creating a number of English regions which might be nearer to the size of the other three nations.

    This is not to say that the current settlement is good, or cannot be bettered. But the obvious alternative wouldn't work either.
  • Marvin the MartianMarvin the Martian Admin Emeritus
    Fawkes Cat wrote: »
    I thkn @Marvin the Martian is getting a little bogged down over specific words

    If so then the word I’m getting bogged down in is “independent”, not “commonwealth”.

    Britain and Australia have independent governments but still united with the queen as the figurative head of both. That’s what I was thinking of. An independent Scotland would have the same legal relationship to the UK as Australia (if they kept the monarchy, of course), and would be equally free to join the commonwealth. No new arrangement required.
  • CrœsosCrœsos Shipmate
    If so then the word I’m getting bogged down in is “independent”, not “commonwealth”.

    Britain and Australia have independent governments but still united with the queen as the figurative head of both. That’s what I was thinking of. An independent Scotland would have the same legal relationship to the UK as Australia (if they kept the monarchy, of course), and would be equally free to join the commonwealth. No new arrangement required.

    It's an old arrangement, in fact. From 1603 to 1707 England and Scotland were theoretically independent nations which just happened to have the same person as monarch. The power balance between monarch and Parliament(s) was a bit different then, but structurally it was the same arrangement as the proposed independence-but-keep-the-monarch idea.
  • Gramps49Gramps49 Shipmate
    Regards the differing sizes of the countries/regions of the United Kingdom, the American federal system does not seem to have much problem with the various state sizes--okay some people do grate their teeth over the fact Wyoming has as many senators as California, and their power in the electoral college is magnified. We do not have a perfect system, granted.
  • Gramps49 wrote: »
    Regards the differing sizes of the countries/regions of the United Kingdom, the American federal system does not seem to have much problem with the various state sizes--okay some people do grate their teeth over the fact Wyoming has as many senators as California, and their power in the electoral college is magnified. We do not have a perfect system, granted.

    Sure, but as you point out, there are issues about small states having "excess" power, and the US has 50 states. I suspect that the problem would be rather more acute if the US consisted of the state of California plus three of the little states.
  • Gramps49 wrote: »
    Gramps49 wrote: »
    Would it be possible to develop a federalized system or even commonwealth where the various countries can have independent governments but still be united with the queen as the figurative head?

    We already have a Commonwealth.

    But do Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales and even England have the same independence as other commonwealth nations?

    The degree of autonomy and independence among the Commonwealth varies and always has. Before the Statute of Westminster in 1931, states' legislation could be amended in Westminster. In 1939, Canada insisted on its own declaration of war as did South Africa, but New Zealand felt that the UK's declaration was sufficient. India had its own Foreign Office and signed treaties (e.g., Versailles) but its policies and constitution were set in Westminster and for WWII Viceroy Lord Linlithgow declared war on his own authority. I imagine that a federated/confederal/neologism states of the British Isles could have whatever arrangement they pleased and concoct arrange, but with Ireland and likely Scotland in the European Community, I suppose it would be an extremely loose arrangement. Assymetry is what they would like it to be.

    In mentioning the Commonwealth, it should be noted that the majority of members are republican states, with a few monarchies among them (Malaysia, Tonga, Swaziland, Lesotho) as well as Elizabeth's sixteen realms.

    @GarethMoon refers to the possibility of an Andorra solution for Northern Ireland. I have heard this put forth to the sounds of mockery, but I wonder if it's not a workable solution, providing Loyalists with assurance that their identity is part of a united Ireland, while Republicans get their united Ireland. Loyalist fear and isolation are very powerful engines for their negative (and destructive, sometimes viciously so) notions. The details of that untidy marriage can be worked out, if need be. Both will grumble for a while, and committee rooms will quiver with enraged and eloquent commentary, but the body count will be down.

    And a Scotland-Lichtenstein union of the crowns? I can see the Lichtensteiners not liking it, perhaps, although they are used to centuries of absent princes and they might prefer that situation to return. Just ensure that all official royal statements will be in Scots Gaelic, and decades of puzzled incomprehension will guarantee an untroubled situation.
  • AnselminaAnselmina Shipmate
    This may be because I am a Unionist, but "Ulster" was never a problem for this Belfast-born Turquoise and "Radio Ulster", "BBC Ulster", "Ulster Way" all seemed relatively uncontroversial terms, which is quite an achievement.

    "Northern Ireland" on the other hand is a controversial term, with Nationalists objecting to it and preferring "the North of Ireland", which in turn is never used by Unionists.

    I think Ulster has always been synonymous with Northern Ireland, even though it is true that the Province of Ulster is nine counties. And confusingly, Northern Ireland was also called 'the Province' by nearly everyone commenting on Northern Ireland's problems.

    I was taught in school that Ulster = FATLAD (Fermanagh, Armagh, Tyrone, Londonderry, Antrim and Down). I can't remember at what point I learnt that my fellow Ulstermen/women also existed in another three counties in a 'foreign' country! No wonder we're all crazy, mixed-up kids!
  • CrœsosCrœsos Shipmate
    edited May 13
    Gramps49 wrote: »
    Regards the differing sizes of the countries/regions of the United Kingdom, the American federal system does not seem to have much problem with the various state sizes--okay some people do grate their teeth over the fact Wyoming has as many senators as California, and their power in the electoral college is magnified. We do not have a perfect system, granted.
    Sure, but as you point out, there are issues about small states having "excess" power, and the US has 50 states. I suspect that the problem would be rather more acute if the US consisted of the state of California plus three of the little states.

    Think, for example, of the states comprising the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. There are nine of them (Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington) plus two non-state territories (Guam and the Northern Marianas). The population is just under 67 million and breaks down something like this (using 2019 population estimates):
    • California 59.0%
    • Washington 11.4%
    • Arizona 10.9%
    • Oregon 6.3%
    • Nevada 4.6%
    • Idaho 2.7%
    • Hawaii 2.1%
    • Montana 1.6%
    • Alaska 1.1%
    • Guam 0.3%
    • Northern Marianas 0.1%

    Yes, this adds up to more than 100%. Rounding errors. Due to the structure of the U.S. Constitutional system, while California may have 59% of the population of the Ninth Circuit it controls only 11% of the U.S. Senators who represent these states (and would get to have an up-or-down vote on judges for this Circuit). In this case the counter-majoritarian structures of the U.S. system make it fairly easy for the less populous regions of the Ninth Circuit to stack that court with judges more sympathetic to their interests than to the interests of the majority of people who live in the Ninth Circuit. There's a tipping point somewhere where "preserving the rights of minorities" transitions into "minority rule", something to bear in mind when designing a federal system.

    Guam and the Northern Marianas are in grey because as non-states they have no say whatsoever about who gets appointed to the judiciary.
  • DafydDafyd Shipmate
    Crœsos wrote: »
    From 1603 to 1707 England and Scotland were theoretically independent nations which just happened to have the same person as monarch.
    There were some wobbly bits in the middle between Charles I and Cromwell.

  • Yes - did Scotland acknowledge Cromwell as its Lord Protector?
  • Scotland was under military occupation, and with the sacking of Dundee with the death of almost 1000 inhabitants of the town including 140 women and children it was only the Highlands that remained in rebellion against the Lord Protector.
  • Thanks @Alan Cresswell - not one of England's finest moments, to say the least...
  • Wait, I've seen this film before, in 1995. I don't think the SNP will like how it ends.
  • Gramps49 wrote: »
    Would it be possible to develop a federalized system or even commonwealth where the various countries can have independent governments but still be united with the queen as the figurative head?

    I would say that was what Tony Blair attempted to produce in the 2000s with devolution to Edinburgh (Scottish Parliament), Cardiff (Welsh Assembly) and Belfast (Northern Ireland Assembly), as well as the mayors of London and other elected mayors.

    I am not entirely sure this was a good idea. I think the intention was to draw the sting of nationalist movements but instead it gave them a boost. But maybe that's a good thing, even though I don't personally like it.

    There was in Wales a long-established campaign for some form of devolved government from at least the 1960s, that was derailed by the referendum of 1979 (4 to 1 against, in the dying days of the 74-79 Labour government). This took new life after the Thatcher years (we probably suffered no worse than English industrial areas, but it felt personal) and the increasing disparity between Welsh election results and the UK ones. These were not simply 'nationalists' but a range of people who wanted recognition of a different political outlook and a wish to take a different path. The original Assembly could be said to have added 60 politicians to run a territorial department, rather than creating a national Parliament.

    On the comment by @Kwesi that there is 'zero chance of independence for Wales', don't be so certain. The opinion poll numbers are growing and, if Scotland left, the pressure of being the little sibling to the much bigger England might be untenable. The practicalities might be different but nothing is impossible.

    Technically, the 1801 Act of Union was indissoluble: that lasted just over a century before it was re-formed, so it can (and will?) happen again.
  • Yes, an independent Scotland (and IIRC Ms Sturgeon has said that a referendum will be held within the next couple of years) may well be the boost for Welsh independence that others have mentioned.

    Interesting times, as the old curse puts it...
  • Devolution was a long standing policy in the Labour manifesto, it wasn't something that was introduced by Tony Blair and New Labour. Finally getting back to government after the Thatcher and Major years simply allowed Labour to do what they would have done if elected in 1979.
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