Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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106 Responses

  1. Avatar Jaybird says:

    It was explained to me that you get one secession and it has to be from Great Britain.

    After that, you no longer get to secede.Report

  2. Avatar Burt Likko says:

    [W]e would be hard-pressed to refuse a request on the part of Hawaii to secede. For example.

    Well, if Hawaii seceded and formed an alliance with Kenya that would explain a few things.Report

    • Ignoring Burt’s crack about Kenya, how would you justify giving Hawaii a different sort of deal than, say, California?Report

      • Hawaii’s history and geography lends itself a stronger case.

        I think California, in turn, would have a stronger case than Mississippi.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Michael Cain says:

        The case for the rest of the US unilaterally forcing Florida to secede is stronger still.Report

      • 1. Burt’s crack about Kenya was effing hilarious. Just ask him.

        2. It’s oft-cited that California has a very robust economy, and would be eighth- or ninth-largest GDP in the world as a separate nation, but of course an independent California would necessarily have to remain very closely-knit with the remaining United States in order to maintain that.

        3. Re: Florida. The Constitution is silent about expulsion of a State. But I worry that an independent Florida would simply be unable to care for itself on its own, out in the wild, based on its recent choices in selection of its leaders.Report

      • Avatar KatherineMW in reply to Michael Cain says:

        3.) That would alleviate a lot of the social security and Medicare issues, wouldn’t it?Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to Michael Cain says:

        @burt-likko , as long as we allow Florida to keep sleeping on our basement sofa and eating us out of house and home, it will never learn to be a grownup.Report

      • That would alleviate a lot of the social security and Medicare issues, wouldn’t it?

        They’re due that money either way. If they have to relocate out of Florida to get it, they would. I’m not sure they would even have to, as I think expats can still collect. I could be wrong on that last part, though.Report

      • It was funny, I just wanted to hijack the conversation in a different direction.

        California really needs to take the rest of the West with it. That takes care of some of the economic-ties problem, while avoiding a couple of potential disasters. If I were California, I wouldn’t want to renegotiate the Colorado River Compact with a nuclear power, and keeping the electricity flows from Oregon, Nevada, Arizona, and Utah (with Wyoming potentially added to that list in a big way in a couple more years) as an in-country matter would be a Good Thing. Ditto for imports of natural gas.Report

      • You can imagine, @michael-cain , how popular a “down the Continental Divide” split would be among the denizens of pretty much every other Western state which isn’t California — the population imbalance would absolutely dwarf the other areas. Sort of eyeballing along county lines roughly tracking the Divide and pulling the present population numbers from Wikipedia, I get:

        California — 38,332,521 — 57.23%
        Washington — 6,971,406 — 10.41%
        Arizona — 6,626,624 — 9.89%
        Oregon — 3,930,065 — 5.87%
        Utah — 2,900,872 — 4.33%
        Nevada — 2,790,136 — 4.17%
        Idaho — 1,612,136 — 2.41%
        Hawaii — 1,404,054 — 2.10%
        Colorado (western rump) — 752,624 — 1.12%
        Alaska — 735,132 — 1.10%
        New Mexico (western rump) — 460,423 — 0.69%
        Montana (northwestern rump) — 300,929 — 0.45%
        Wyoming (western rump) — 157,406 — 0.24%

        Which is even worse than the population imbalances that the Framers faced in 1787.Report

      • @burt-likko
        For various reasons, I split it down the middle of the Great Plains rather than the Continental Divide: (a) Denver, Albuquerque/Santa Fe, and El Paso are all Western cities (but east of the Divide), (b) fire becomes an important public policy issue, (c) that’s the line between the Eastern and Western power grids, (d) generally common attitudes towards nuclear and renewables, (e) flash floods in the middle of a drought are a normal thing, and (f) “Do you know what those d*ckheads at BLM did this time?” becomes an unremarkable political comment.

        As one of my friends puts it: the Mountain West states are going to be an energy colony for California, or for the US east of the Mississippi. He and I both think that California is a much better fit.Report

      • @burt-likko You know that Six Californias map? Yeah, that would need to happen. Either that would need to happen or you’d have to cap California’s representation in the people’s house.Report

      • Michael, even with those cities, California has half the population of the WSA. That does shift the center of power some, but there are still issues.Report

      • @will-truman
        Under any of the medium-term (25-50 years) energy scenarios that I see with a reasonable probability of happening, the interior Mountain West is “under the thumb” of one coast or the other. That’s okay with me, because the interior Mountain West needs to be hooked up with one coast or the other for a variety of reasons that are a function of population: markets, capital, technology, etc. My claim is that the Mountain West will be much better off under California’s thumb than under the thumb of the East Coast (and intervening territories).

        Some of the reasons are “cultural” in odd ways — eg, this post I did about the different attitude towards fire at the west (dry) edge of the Great Plains versus the east (much wetter) edge [1]. Some of the reasons are about energy preferences — the states of the Western Interconnect are making the decision, consciously or not, to go down a renewable path that is simply not feasible in the East. Some of it is about various population distributions, and the effects those have.

        [1] I view it as inevitable that there will be a regional air fleet funded by the states for fighting fires on federal lands because Congress is going to abdicate that responsibility. California has one; Colorado is starting one; and the House Republicans, less the western members, have repeatedly tried to defund both fire fighting and fire mitigation in the national forests in the West. You can only pile enough FU moments together.Report

      • There is no avoiding that they would be under the thumb of the West Coast. The alarm bells go off when you’re under the thumb of a single state with a single governor and a congressional delegation that has fifty percent of the lower house.

        I don’t think it would work as a unitary republic, and I don’t think that kind of setup lends itself to a federal one without something being done about California.Report

      • Though I’d be within the elite control group, I must recognize that @will-truman is right.

        Merge the rump of Colorado into Utah; merge the rumps of Montana and Wyoming into Idaho. Use Trumanverse names for the resulting entities.

        Split California into seven entities of roughly equal population (that would not look like the “Six Californias” proposal that just got rejected from the 2016 ballot). A new state boundary would Los Angeles would probably be split

        Slice both Arizona and Washington roughly in half, creating four new states out of two old ones.

        That would result in fourteen roughly equal states, each with between 5% to 8% of the population, and three “small” states — Idaho merged with the rumps of Montana and Wyoming, Alaska, and Hawaii with between 1% to 2.5% of the population each.

        That would produce a situation in which no single state could dominate the national government. If the WSA adopted the same “Connecticut compromise” that both the real Framers did in 1787 and Professor Hanley’s students proposed doing in post-zombie America, that would result in a bicameral Congress with about 100 members in the lower house and no state having more than 7 or 8 representatives, and an upper house with 34 members.

        Doesn’t sound so bad.Report

      • Honestly, you probably only need to split California up (or provide the incentives so that they will). You might also give Washington and Idaho and Oregon some room to do some trading if they are so inclined, but no big deal if they don’t.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to Michael Cain says:

        in 1787.

        I see what you did there. 😉Report

      • I believe I’m accurately quoting Burt from other discussions saying that splitting California is hard, just because there’s so much shared infrastructure (water infrastructure in particular). I admit to being disappointed that Prof. Hanley’s post-zombie students are proposing things that look so much like the way things work in the US today. I had hoped to see proposals that I could steal for other ways to grant influence based on what states might bring to a Union other than people or “stateness”. Since my WSA occurs after it has become clear that energy constraints are going to bite — which may not be the same WSA that I know Will has been toying with a constitution for — I’ve been thinking about letting states vote their GWh of generation instead. Using 2012 numbers, California would still be the largest, but only (in round numbers) at about 25% of the total. Washington and Arizona are about 15% each. Even Idaho, the smallest generator, is about 2%. The three coastal states and the eight interior states just about balance.Report

  3. Avatar Mo says:

    I agree with Taylor, at minimum, the hurdle should be 60%. I think 66% is a fine line. However, I think only voters should count.Report

  4. Prime Minister David Cameron and the government appears to be willing to promise the sun and the moon to get them to stay.

    To be fair, the SNP has been pretty much promising a “have your cake and eat it, too”. Salmond has basically been promising things that are impossible, like Scotland retaining the pound while gaining expedited EU admission, and simultaneously getting to keep the various kickbacks the UK has been getting. Then there’s the promises about the national debt, social spending, North Sea oil, etc. that appear like it’ll have no chance in hell of actually happening the way envisioned.Report

    • Avatar KatherineMW in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

      and simultaneously getting to keep the various kickbacks the UK has been getting.

      Separatists like to do that. It’s easy to promise thing that another country has to give you, but that doesn’t mean you’re going to get them. The separatist movement in Quebec told people they could secede from Canada and still get transfer payment (i.e.: we’d keep on sending them money, no strings attached, if they became an independent country). Yeah, no.

      I like the “50% of the total voting-age population” suggestion as a requirement for separation, although I prefer requiring 50%+1 of the entire nation (i.e., Scotland only gets to leave if at least half of voters in the entire UK support that). It affects everyone in the nation, so everyone should have a say.Report

  5. Avatar North says:

    I’m of limited sympathy to the Scottish separatists primarily because I see them pulling a lot of stunts that the Quebecois separatists did the last time they got within spitting distance of conning their voters into separation. It reminds me of nothing more than a kid proposing to separate his room from his parent’s house while adding sotto voice that of course he’ll retain full access rights to the kitchen, the fridge, the television and of course his Mother will continue to do his laundry and his Father will continue to pay the utilities.
    The Scotts are making similar promises about keeping the Pound, full membership in the EU, full trade rights with the Uk, favorable division of territory, oil rights and the debt. Still they’re pikers compared to the Quebecois since the French separatists laid claim to all of those things while also stating that they would expect to keep all the Canadian Federal Jobs* in the new separate Quebec and that they’d expect full access to American markets and Canadian passports. Oh and then on top of that when the First Nations stated they intended to stay in Canada and keep their lands with them (the upper half of Quebec roughly) the French were shocked, (SHOCKED!) that anyone would suggest that Quebec was divisible.

    *The other provinces laughed so hard at this proposal you could hear the chortling in British Columbia from Newfoundland.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman in reply to North says:

      @north @nob-akimoto That’s true, the pro-Indy side are offering a lot. It’s a bit of a bigger deal for the UK, though, because they’re more in a position to deliver (or the expectation of delivery is more reasonable).Report

      • This is true. One of the odder things about devolution in the UK, though, is that there’s no Parliament of England. The full Parliament of the United Kingdom IS the English parliament, which means that England basically has no independent self-rule, while Wales and Scotland do (to differing extents). If there’s more changes in this vein, one might eventually expect England to be the one to get fed up with the arrangement.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Will Truman says:

        Imagine the US having presidential elections after California seceded.

        What happens to the electoral college numbers?

        This is what GB will look like after Scotland leaves.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw in reply to Will Truman says:


        Or Texas 🙂

        You are right though that England will become safer for the Tories because a majority of Labor votes come from Scotland.Report

      • What the Tories would gain from Labour, they might lose to UKIP.Report

      • It’s interesting to ponder what would happen to US politics if @michael-cain were to get his WSA. The chasm between the north and south would explode.Report

      • It’s interesting to ponder what would happen to US politics if @michael-cain were to get his WSA. The chasm between the north and south would explode.

        Since you mention it… :^) The fictional treatment I’ve been trying to outline counts on it, or at least on Texas.

        Somewhat more seriously, I claim that the region of the country that most needs the Union to hold together is BosWash, aka the NE urban corridor (reasonable people can disagree). Absent a noticeable percentage of the country’s tax flow sticking in Washington to support that end of the economy, and a similar percentage of overall financial flows sticking in NY to support the other end, they have problems. Fortunately for them, that’s a good part of 12 states, so they only need to buy one more vote to block an Amendment that would let the South and West leave. I’d bet at least one of the Midwest states could be had pretty cheaply. My plan is to make holding onto the other parts of the country more trouble for the NE than it’s worth.Report

      • @michael-cain A quick statistical analysis demonstrates that Obama wins the electoral college with or without the Western 11.

        What do you mean “at least on Texas”?Report

      • What do you mean “at least on Texas”?

        As the US Army struggles to occupy/pacify the Front Range of Colorado before moving further West, Texas announces its own secession. The Texas Congressional delegation, and one of the Joint Chiefs, are arrested and charged with treason after they resign and prepare to leave for home. Texas shuts down the eastbound natural gas pipeline terminals and wires them with explosives. An early season cold front with ice storm moves through the NE, complicating the fuel and electricity supply situation further. I haven’t decided exactly where I’m going to take it next.Report

      • A quick statistical analysis demonstrates that Obama wins the electoral college with or without the Western 11.

        True. But to your original point, with the Western 11 removed, except for Florida as an outlier there’s a contiguous block of blue states (NE, the Great Lakes less Indiana, and Iowa) and a contiguous block of red states (everybody else). County-level maps suggest some additional things going on, but damn.Report

      • Avatar Dand in reply to Will Truman says:


        Imagine the US having presidential elections after California seceded.

        Removing California would not change the results of any presidential election since 1876.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe in reply to Will Truman says:

        “Somewhat more seriously, I claim that the region of the country that most needs the Union to hold together is BosWash, aka the NE urban corridor (reasonable people can disagree).”

        And I believe I have. There’s no doubt DC & immediate vicinity are only sustained by the American Empire and the government that it requires, 1) New Jersey and Delaware are among the largest net federal tax contributors (per dollar of federal spending), 2) New York gets its wealth by being the financial capital of the world, not just the US 3) The NE Atlantic coast has a diverse transportation infrastructure plenty of access to oceans, and even better, plenty of water falling from the sky on a regular basis.

        The model for Norfolk – Boston rump country is either Japan or the Netherlands, perhaps even England itself.Report

    • Avatar Jesse Ewiak in reply to North says:

      Actually, in only four of the past 18 elections would the Scottish vote made a difference in who held Downing Street. The people claiming that Labour would never win Parliament again are well, being a bit over-the-top.Report

    • Avatar James Hanley in reply to North says:

      Imagine the US having presidential elections after California seceded.

      What happens to the electoral college numbers?

      Easily figured out with a spreadsheet, for anyone willing to take the time.Report

  6. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    I thought this was going to be about Belle and Sebastian writing a new national anthem if Scotland votes for independence.


  7. Avatar Kim says:

    If Hawaii secedes, 10 days till Japan buys it outright.Report

    • Avatar zic in reply to zic says:

      And I can see a realignment here with Northern Maine and Quebec; perhaps the Maritimes, aligning as a nation, too; say Bar Harbor north of Route 2, south remaining with the States.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to zic says:

        Maybe we can finally get rid of all of the states that wanted to secede last time.Report

      • Avatar Glyph in reply to zic says:

        If at first you don’t secede….Report

      • Avatar KatherineMW in reply to zic says:

        I can’t stop laughing at that, Glyph.Report

      • Avatar KatherineMW in reply to zic says:

        Jay – If that would happen (and I don’t think it should) you’d see another Great Migration in the same direction as the first one.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to zic says:

        With a border this time, though.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to zic says:

        I doubt it Zic, the Maritimes are simply too poor- Quebec wouldn’t want em. Also Quebec seperation is rather a dead letter from the way I see it. The rules have been clarified so there isn’t any monkeying around with the wording of a seperation question; The First Nations have made it clear that if Quebec leaves they’re staying and they’re keeping their land with them and the rest of Canada has made it pretty clear that they won’t pay Quebec’s bills if they seperate. The Quebecois have no interest in being an impoverished enclave in the heart of Canada.

        Hell, Canadian policy is specifically geared to penalizing Maritime ports financially and using that money to subsidize keeping the Quebec waterways open in the winter. Railroads go to Halifax; Quebec seperating might be a bonanza for the Maritimes.Report

      • Avatar zic in reply to zic says:


        I’m guessing that the Maritimes are going to see a huge boost in energy production once the tidal-generation research going on now get’s implemented. And I know, that’s so silly. Such a thing could never happen. But silly me, I think all those glacial-cut coastal shapes hold promise of more than the bounty of stinky fish and smelly tourists.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to zic says:

        We’d have to build the dams, foundations and berms out of trussed up environmentalists Zic my dear. Tidal power causes coastal erosion, it kills coastal birds and is unacceptable.

        Alas… Nova Scotia has very little fish anymore. It’s Make and Break Harbor from Yarmouth to Sydney now. Though even the factory ships are gone now (damn them to hell forever).


      • Avatar zic in reply to zic says:


        tidal power has some potential to limit coastal erosion; that’s it’s selling point to the wealthy owners of coastal properties.Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to zic says:

        Tidal power causes coastal erosion, it kills coastal birds and is unacceptable.

        I haven’t heard this stated so strongly before. Are you talking solely about tidal power, or are you including wave power? Are you thinking only about subsurface turbines, or other forms of tidal/wave energy?

        Some non-turbine forms can be seen here, here, here, and here.

        With so many different approaches being tested, it seems doubtful to me that such an absolute claim can really be made with certainty.Report

      • Avatar KatherineMW in reply to zic says:

        James – It’s a fairly prevalent trend that environmentalists like alternative energy until you propose specific projects. Once you actually suggest something, especially any big project, be it hydro, wind, tidal, or even solar, they turn against it, because pretty much anything you do is going to have some negative environmental implications, even if it’s just birds flying into wind turbines.Report

      • Avatar KatherineMW in reply to zic says:

        Personally, I would like to see more tidal power, both in the Maritimes and in BC if we can find the right kind of sites. And more wind, and more solar (okay, there’s a limited number of places in Canada where large-scale solar is viable…I think large-scale solar power would be a great direction for the US southwest, though.)Report

      • Avatar James Hanley in reply to zic says:


        I agree completely.Report

      • Avatar North in reply to zic says:

        James, the ever gracious Katherine provided the necessary interpretation for me. I am quite in favor of tidal power but in Nova Scotia it is adamantly opposed by environmentalists for a variety of ecological reasons.

        The tidal sweep of the Bay of Fundy and especially the Minas Basin is a massive movement of water that instills primal awe. At low tide one can wander across endless flats of mud and rock; then when the tide comes in the water comes in fathoms deep. It is a titanic force of water as regular as clockwork. It seems to me that it should be harness able in some practical way. But salt water is Satan itself to mechanisms and environmentalists around the Maritimes are stolidly opposed to building any power generation on it.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to zic says:

        I was told that tidal generators have a measurable effect upon the earth’s rotation.

        Now I’m not an environmental nut or anything (nuclear, nuclear, rah rah rah) but I get all antsy when we start talking about rotational issues.Report

      • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to zic says:

        I was told that tidal generators have a measurable effect upon the earth’s rotation.

        Naturally-occurring tidal friction amounts to a continuous power level of about 3.75 terrawatts (TW). Call it 32.8 petawatt-hours (PWh) per year. The results of this has been to increase the length of a terrestrial day — slow the rotation — by about 2 hours over 600 million years. Assuming a uniform effect, about 12 seconds every million years. (Sidebar: someone commented the other day that humans’ natural sleep cycle, absent outside cues, is 25.4 hours. In 420 million years, give or take, the Earth’s rotation will have slowed to match that.)

        Current total global energy use is about 150 PWh per year (all energy, not just electricity). If all of that were to come from tidal flows — in effect, increasing tidal friction — and ignoring inefficiencies, it would indeed slow the Earth’s rotation, to the tune of an additional 55 seconds per million years. Can we capture that much energy from tidal flows? Is there a chance in hell that we could do it for a million years, thereby lengthening the day by about a minute? This is pretty far down on my list of environmental concerns.Report

      • Avatar Kim in reply to zic says:

        humans effect on earth’s rotation has been negligible, and is more because of hoover dam (and other storage places), than tidal rotation.Report

      • Avatar Michael Cain in reply to zic says:

        …is more because of hoover dam (and other storage places), than tidal rotation.

        Filling the reservoir behind the Three Gorges Dam in China is estimated (by NASA, no less) to have lengthened the day by 0.06 microseconds. The Sumatra earthquake in 2004 shortened the day by 6.8 microseconds. Eff’ing earthquakes; now we’ll have to build more big dams… :^)

        Interesting that doing real-time programming on modern processors leaves me sometimes thinking that a microsecond is a long time.Report

  8. Avatar Glyph says:

    @will-truman – I know you are a flag guy, so you might already have seen this:


    • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to Jaybird says:

      If the first four (and admittedly, least populous) returns are any indication, this will be an academic discussion. So far, it’s 57.85% voting “No, thanks.”Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Burt Likko says:

        The least populous areas are the ones that I’d expect the most yeses from.Report

        • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to Jaybird says:

          That’s turning out not to be the case. Yes is doing better in the cities than in the more rural areas. Glasgow voted “Yes” by about 7%. But Scotland is going to wind up voting no, and choosing to remain in the UK. It may have been a little bit closer than the PM thought it would be when he authorized the vote, but the outcome is not in any particular doubt.Report

      • I’ve been kind of wondering about that all night myself. Even before the results started coming out, I had seen that it was understood that the cities – especially Glasgow- were viewed as Yes strongholds, while the more rural and/or remote areas were viewed as No strongholds, combined obviously with the Borderlands.

        It’s a good reminder that political dynamics do not translate well from country to country.Report

      • I would guess that Glasgow felt less vulnerable to the consequences as the surrounding areas. Just a guess.Report

      • Avatar Burt Likko in reply to Burt Likko says:

        The Beeb got an academic (from a Scottish university) on their panel to look at electoral cleavages:

        John Curtice, Professor of politics at Strathclyde University:
        Those areas with more middle-class folk were more likely to vote “No” than those areas with more working class people.
        Those areas where there were more people who have come to Scotland after being born in the rest of the UK have a relatively high “No” vote.
        Thirdly, those places with a relatively older population are again the places where “No” did well.

        That all seems fairly predictable, but perhaps what we aren’t taking into account is if the wealth is diffused out of the urban areas, and the cities are where younger people congregate, which are not things that are reliably true in the USA.

        Shorter: Scotland may be different than the USA, being a different country and all.Report

      • Avatar Jaybird in reply to Burt Likko says:

        I guess the “I WANNA SECEDE!” Scots all must have immigrated to the US in the 18th and 19th centuries.Report

      • The joke I saw the other day was that all the best Scottish freedom fighters killed each other in American Civil War.Report

      • It seems we’re oversimplifyng even by talking about a distinction between urban and rural – Edinburgh looks to have been one of the strongest No regions, while Glasgow (which I understand to be substantially less wealthy, in addition to being the seat of the Scottish Parliament) was one of the two or three strongest Yes regions. So….yeah.Report

      • Avatar KatherineMW in reply to Burt Likko says:

        Yes – it’s not an urban/rural divide, it’s a rich/poor divide. The parts of the country with a larger proportion of low-income people were significantly more likely to vote “yes”.

        It makes sense in at least two ways: low-income people would prefer to have a country not governed by the Conservatives, and well-off people would have more to lose and thus be more risk-averse and more inclined to favour remaining in the UK.Report

      • Avatar KatherineMW in reply to Burt Likko says:

        Also, Edinburgh’s the home of the Scottish Parliament, although Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland.Report

      • Edinburgh is an enormous financial services sector city. It’s the #2 financial services city in the UK behind London It’s a bit akin to Boston to London as New York. It’s not in the first tier like London, Zurich, or Frankfurt, but it’s certainly up there with the likes of Luxembourg, Geneva, or Amsterdam, with a similar standard of living. It definitely has the most to lose from a breakup of the UK AND being shut out of the European common market, so it’s not really surprising its population doesn’t care for independence.Report

      • Avatar Michael Drew in reply to Burt Likko says:

        I kind of got an Obama-’08 vibe out of what I’ve saw & heard of the Yes campaign. Young people hoping for things they couldn’t quite name or describe and almost certainly didn’t understand, which is to say, largely young & urban. (In both cases a lot of people in each campaign didn’t fit that description at all, but the most interesting and telegenic ones largely did.)

        I also got the sense that the Yes campaign was being run by smooth but grizzled pros who are great at creating attractive campaigns for whatever you want to pay them a lot of money to make campaigns for. Along comes a passionate nationalist lottery-winning couple, and bango, you’ve got yourself a sleek, youth-oriented, socially mediated campaign for democracy and optimism. Only problem is they didn’t develop answers to basic questions about what comes after independence, which shortcoming they chose to address by yelling “Scaremongerer!” at anyone asking said basic questions. Result: scare half the country sober enough to quietly walk to the polls to say, “Nah, we’re good. Thanks though.”Report

      • Avatar scott the mediocre in reply to Burt Likko says:

        The devolved 🙂 Parliament sits in Edinburgh (Holyrood), not Glasgow.Report

      • Avatar scott the mediocre in reply to Burt Likko says:

        Moderately interesting, though unsurprising, that the turnout is significantly higher in the “no” areas than in the “yes” areas. Unsurprising in that the “yes” groups are mostly in demographics which, at least in the US, turn out in smaller numbers, even in Presidential elections.Report

      • Avatar KatherineMW in reply to Burt Likko says:

        scott – Huh, my interpretation of those numbers was the opposite of yours – that, roughly speaking, the higher voter turnout was in an area, the stronger the “No” vote was, therefore the people staying home in strong “Yes” areas like Glasgow probably leaned towards “No”. I think higher voter turnout would only have given the “No” side a stronger victory.Report

      • It’s still going to be interesting. Cameron promised Scotland the moon for a “no” vote; now he’s got to deliver. His statement this AM sounds like he’s going to try to tie those changes to the West Lothian question. My impression from reading lately is that Cameron is stuck playing “whack-a-mole”: he’s dealt (at least temporarily) with the Scottish nationalists, and now he’s going to have to deal with the English nationalists.Report

  9. Avatar scott the mediocre says:


    Interesting how two minds, one of them great (yours, to be clear, cf my handle), can reach such opposite conclusions from the same (admittedly coarse) data.

    What I meant, in case it wasn’t clear, is that the pre-referendum polling indicated that the no vote was stronger amongst the elderly, the rural, and the upscale, all of which are groups which turn out in higher numbers than their antipodes 🙂 in the US (My guess, based on half remembered facts and ungrounded speculation, is that the demographics of the various Quebec referenda were quite different, with e.g. the elderly and rural being pro-secession). I speculated, since of course the US is the model for the world :), that the poor turnout in Glasgow and related areas like Lanarkshire north indicated a failure of the SNP/Yes side to get their soft voters to the polls.

    I hope that at some point that Nate Silver/Harry Enten, or for that matter Sean Trende, does a deep dive into the exit poll crosstabs. Should be fascinating. Does anybody know of a UK-based or Canada-based equivalent – a heavily quantitative psephologist – to those three? Harry Enten used to blog at the Grauniad, but 1) it was always about the US IIRC, and 2) there’s been nothing from him there since he went to fivethirtyeight.

  10. The morning-after comments at a Scottish blog I occasionally read were polite but polarized. On the one side seemed to be the Scottish “no” voters and people from Wales, Northern Ireland, and assorted northern counties in England. They were “The promises will be kept, won’t they? And we’ll all get us some of that devo-max, right?” The other side seemed to be the Scottish “yes” voters and SE English Tories, who were “There are a huge number of ways to keep from honoring the promises and blame you lot for it. But there will be retribution, oh yes.”

    I was left with the impression that the UK has at least as much problem with regionalism as the US does. Any chance that the powers-that-be around here can find someone knowledgeable to do a guest post?Report

  11. Avatar Michael Drew says:

    As a federalism skeptic (not an opponent at all, just a proponent of right-sizing the degree of federalism whose view of that probably departs from maybe the dominant American one), I should own to the fact that this news story required me to do some further reflecting on where I stand on the question.Report

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