In most people's minds, "democracy" means elections. The citizen's role is to be an informed voter. Most discussions of Scotland's referendum assume that the moment of vibrant democracy is over. But there are some like Whitman who see much greater promise in democracy.
Why on earth did the Scots, largely quiescent as part of Great Britain for three centuries, suddenly become the mouse that roared? It wasn't because they became besotted watching re-runs of Braveheart or Rob Roy, or even because they coveted more of a share of North Sea oil revenues. No, the Scots got sick and tired of Thatcherite policies imposed from London. Thanks to the partial form of federalism known as "devolution" provided by the Labour government of Tony Blair in 1997, Scotland got to keep such progressive policies as free higher education and an intact national health service, while the rest of the U.K. partly privatized the health service and began compelling young people to go into debt to finance college like their American cousins.
This week, the world reeled from a welter of cross currents. Though the "yes" vote on independence lost in the end, the Scottish referendum revealed a passionately dis-United Kingdom. Elsewhere, Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in India, the other Asian giant, calling for a global economic alliance of the "world's factory and world's back office." On Wall Street, China's Alibaba launched what is expected to be the biggest market valuation of an IPO ever. Pope Francis, meanwhile, mused that we had already entered "a piecemeal WWIII." In an exclusive commentary for The WorldPost, former U.K. Prime Minister Gordon Brown argues that the real quarrel of his fellow Scots is with the dislocations of globalization, not the Union. (continued)
The overwhelming majority of the British media celebrated on Friday morning when the Scottish people voted to remain part
"Absolutely amazing," said unionist campaigner Stephen Stanners. "They shouted the loudest, so it made it seem like a majority
I think that this realization was actually not there previously to any significant extent, apart among zealots, but has developed
The 20th century challenge was for Scotland to maintain its cultural identity while at the same time cooperating with the four nations of the U.K.. Now the challenge is even greater: to uphold cultural traditions and national identities in a world where there are no such things as nation-only solutions. By answering those who claim that independence can make a difference with policies that show interdependence can make the difference, Scotland can show the way forward by thinking big and not small.
As a kid, I didn't understand why we could marry, pay tax, leave school and join the armed forces -- but not vote. It's funny to think that 15 years later, with the polls too close to call, 16 to 17 year olds may hold the key to Scotland's future.
The proud words of Scotland's unofficial national anthem, "O Flower of Scotland" are a lot like the American anthem -- if we'd lost the Revolutionary War to the British.
On September 18, Scots will go to the polls and decide whether to remain part of the UK. The debate has mostly focused on economics, with banking, oil and debt dominating the discourse. Largely absent from the discussion has been international affairs.
"Don't think: I'm frustrated with politics right now, so I'll walk out the door. If you don't like me I won't be here forever
Lodge member David Hughes, wearing a smart suit and Orange Order regalia, said he had come up from Liverpool in Northern