Here is a clip from a talk in Glasgow, seven minutes about Scottish independence. The main theme is, "Look how successful the fearmongering and divisiveness were. That shows there is work to be done -- because what kind of country do you want to have (whether independent or not)?"I was aware when I spoke to that audience that most of them had voted Yes (aye!) to independence, but that there were likely some "no's" in the audience as well. My own inclination was toward Yes, since I'm generally partial to anything that shakes up the established order and brings governance to a more local level. A political unit of a few million people is much more accessible than one of 65 million, or whatever the population of the UK is. On the other hand, political Balkanization has made many countries less able to resist the pressures of the hegemon and the world financial system.
That means the question of independence, framed as it is within the conventions and tacit assumptions of the nation-state, can be a diversion from more important issues -- or it can be a gateway into them. What does national sovereignty mean, for example, when that nation is beholden to global bond markets, transnational corporations, and the geopolitical players that serve them? We see already in Europe how national governments have less and less leeway to decide their own economic policy, despite their nominal political sovereignty. We also see ample evidence that small countries are not necessarily more just in their treatment of ethnic minorities than large ones, nor are they exempt from political corruption and brutality.
The question becomes, What kind of society do you want to have? What need for healing has the vote, and the tactics used in the campaign, revealed?