I think the word is panic. Last week the prime minister, chancellor of the exchequer, home secretary, defence secretary, trade secretary and Scots ministerial expatriates galore travelled in a posse north to a Labour conference in Oban, like a bunch of Spanish hidalgos racing back from the fleshpots of Madrid to quell a revolt in their home province.I'll be the first to admit that I don't know enough about British law to know if a move by the Scots to undo the Act of Union and go their own way as a separate nation is even legal. After all, before Lincoln, everyone believed our own states had the right to secede from union and boy were they bloody surprised to find out they didn't. Nor do I know if, once the edge is near, the people of Scotland will actually take the leap necessary to demote Great Britain to Middling Britain.
Their objective was to suppress one man, Alex Salmond, leader of the Scottish National party. An opinion poll had shown support for Salmond's crusade, an independent Scotland, rising to 52% of the electorate. Those regarding themselves as Scottish had risen from half to three-quarters in 25 years, while those saying "British" had halved to just 20%...
But the pattern is clear enough for those who are looking. In the CIS, Yugoslavia, Canada, West Africa, Spain, Iraq, Belgium, and now the UK itself, the centralizing tendencies of the elites are now running crash dab into the decentralizing forces of technology. While Tony works Britain into the Super-bureaucracy at Brussles, the Scots wiggle out from under his thumb to go their own way.
Would it not be the ultimate irony* if Iraq survived the Iraq war as a nation but the victorious British did not? No fear of that: Iraq as a political entity is toast. So, too, is the United Kingdom, sooner or later.
* The penultimate irony would be if Wales seceeded from the UK, because Wales is where the original British (now Welsh) were pushed by the English (now British). There could conceivably be a Britain with no British in it. Though from what I understand, one can walk through sections of London today and see no British nor hear any English spoken anyway. This is not the only reason UK is toast, just the latest one.
No, it would not be the ultimate irony if Iraq survived the United States as a political union. That would, in fact, just suck.