Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A Not-So-United Kingdom?

Tomorrow Scotland votes on its independence. This will have wide-ranging consequences should it pass. Notably:
  • Scotland houses British nuclear weapons it will relocate. It, as part of the UK, is, today, a US ally. It's not clear how a break-up would change the UK's ability to aid the US.
  • Scotland would need a new currency. The Pound? It's own currency (maybe pegged to the Pound?). The Euro? No one is certain.
  • A bunch of banks have said they'll leave Scotland if it goes. This would create chaos.
And so on--on the other hand, Scottish representation in parliament, often overshadowed by more conservative UK members, would become a non-issue (they'd have their own parliament). And they'd get the North Sea oil. Maybe. Vox doesn't think the risk is worth the reward--but who knows? The Omnivore sure doesn't.

On the other hand, The Omnivore is quite taken with their actual ballot:
No, although The Omnivore is watching closely, there is no Omnivorous dog in this fight.

On the other hand ...

Does This Say Anything About US Integrity?
A lot of people (including, maybe, Rick Perry?) think Texas has the right to secede from the union. It doesn't: it can decide to break itself into 2-5 states if it chooses--but they're still part of the United States. On the other hand, consider this scenario:
  1. What if, in two months, the GOP fails to take the Senate. Unlikely, yes--but not impossible. Most stats-houses put the election on a knife edge right now.
  2. Texas is not only not turning blue any time soon, it has actually gone from leaning Republican to solid Republican in the last 40 years.
  3. Imagine that in 2016, having not gained the Senate, Dr. Ben Carson loses to Hillary Rodham Clinton.
At this point the GOP has a choice: admit defeat (going the way of the Whig) or become more moderate--a lot more moderate.

Of course The Way of the Whig was, if you look into it, The Civil War (the War of Northern Aggression, eh?). In other words, if the conservative rank and file takes a long hard look at (a) not winning a presidential election in their lifetimes and (b) not taking the Senate in the most favorable mid-term of their life-times, why not have non-binding vote on Texan Independence.

Now, before we go any further, let's note that the Scotland vote also isn't binding. Even if YES wins tomorrow, things don't happen instantly: The British government has agreed to negotiate a divorce if YES wins--so why not try the same thing with Texas? Conservatives of all stripes would git on down to Texas and go for broke.

Could Texas Handle All Those Conservatives?
Probably, YES. Firstly, not every Republican and not even every conservative would move to Texas. Only some would. Secondly, Texas is huge. The most conservative (not necessarily most Republican) states are listed here (topping the list are Alabama, North Dakota, Wyoming, Mississippi, and Utah). If every member of those states moved to Texas (which would definitely not be the case--at best, probably 25%?) the population of Texas would go from around 26 Million to 53 Million. Big jump.

Texas is around 700k square kilometers. This would put its population density around 77 people / sq. Km--About like North Carolina today.

Okay, So, Then What Happens If They Vote?
If The Omnivore were running the show the vote would not be to secede*. It would be to break Texas up into five states as its charter allows (They would be: Bundy Ranch, Galt's Gulch, Texaco, Long Horn Steakhouse, and The Great State of Texas). This move almost necessarily provokes backlash from Washington (it would be a huge disruption) and, when Washington objects, Texas then files for "divorce" on terms of breach of contract.

The invocation of the Texas charter is necessary to give the all-important "leg to stand on" before moving to forceful obstructionism in an attempt to incite violence.

Then What?
So you think you know the answer: Civil War (part Deux). The problem is that while that's the prescription, The Omnivore isn't sure we'd actually administer it. If Rick Perry refused to forcibly [ do something ] to the rebels and, erm, activated, say, the Texas National Guard to protect them from US forces who were trying to [ do something ... collect taxes? ] we'd have a show-down / potential shooting war.

The goal of the secessionist would be to amp up the tensions to try to get the US to move first, move heavy-handedly, and stoke the smoldering embers of secession into a full-fledged separatist flame (just like at the Bundy Ranch).

If enough people were like: "Let our Texas go" ... who knows, it might work. It might not--the Federal government showed admirable restraint at the Bundy Ranch--if no one did anything the movement might peter out like #OWS. Hard to say.

On The Other Hand
On the other hand, the reason we're having this discussion is because something very similar is happening not-so-far-away from us (culturally speaking) and it bears watching closely. If NO wins, okay. If YES wins and it's a disaster, okay. If YES wins and it works?

Texas, like Scotland, has a lot of oil.

That's all The Omnivore is sayin'.

* The vote would be to succeed, of course. Who votes against success!??

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