Magazine article The American Conservative

Rebel North

Magazine article The American Conservative

Rebel North

Article excerpt

Today secession and nullification are mocked as fringe in America, but Americans who look across the Atlantic will see a political union in which the ties that bind may soon be loosened. In British elections this May, Scots rejected the London-based center-left parties and awarded the homegrown Scottish National Party an outright majority in Edinburgh's 12-year-old Scottish Parliament.

The British commentariat is already fretting about the breakup of the United Kingdom. Those who pine for a revival of the Labour Party in the Westminster Parliament certainly have reason to worry. Home to former Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Scotland was long a bastion for the Labour Party. Its secession would make a Conservative majority south of the border even more likely.

Polls don't yet show enough support for full independence in Scotland, but the nationalist leader, Alex Salmond, hopes to use his new bully pulpit to convince Scottish voters they might be better off on their own. And the next few years could be his moment: ruled in part by a Conservative prime minister whose party controls only one of 59 Scottish seats at Westminster, the Scots feel more like colonial subjects than full partners in the London government. …

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