Friday, August 22, 2014

That other referendum

Maybe it's the (English) Canadian in me, or the fact that many of my lowland Scots ancestors thrived on building the British empire in places like Shanghai and Hong Kong and New Zealand and Rhodesia. But I have zero sympathy for the ScotNat independence movement  -- or maybe "independence" movement, for they say they want to keep the Queen and the pound and, you know, all the useful things about being Brits.

Now, federalism, that's another matter. We should start taking the structure of the United Kingdom seriously when England has a local legislature to match the ones in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland.

But for a moment this piece on the History News Network brought out the rebellious Scot in me. James Winn, an American biographer of Queen Anne, uses the tercentenary of her death in 1714 to argue that since Anne was a true Scot and uniting Scotland and England "was her most significant political achievement," the Scots ought to stay with Britain in deference to her.

Anne was about as Scottish as the Simpsons' school janitor. And by 1707 parliamentarians ruled in both England and Scotland (that's why her Stuart forbears were tossed out!). Queen Anne had not much more to do with the union of 1707 than Queen Elizabeth has to do with the independence referendum of 2014.

HNN, noting that it has been going since 2001, offers links to its ten most popular articles ever. "Most looked at" does not correlate with best, I'd say, but in fact HNN does have an impressively diverse range of contributions if you go looking a bit, and even their top ten hits are not all about US presidents.  
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