Transatlantic Relations Program Nonresident Senior Fellow Nicholas Dungan writes for IRIS on the referendum on Scottish independence:
Now that the referendum is over, wouldn’t it be best for the UK to go back to ’business as usual’ ?
The jubilation of the British leadership classes that the No vote prevailed, and so thoroughly, shouldn’t mask the appalling lack of strategic thinking that the referendum demonstrates. The decisive result, 55 per cent against independence and only 45 per cent for, and the high turnout, 85 per cent, make it easier to pretend that the UK is waking up to an unchanged reality, that the prospect of Scottish secession was just a bad dream, that the No vote was somehow inevitable all along. The fact is that neither the British government in Whitehall nor the Scottish government at Holyrood were in the slightest prepared for a Yes vote. Alex Salmond — Scottish First Minister, leader of the Scottish National Party and champion of independence — clearly had no plan for a currency, for defence, or for international recognition, such as membership of the European Union or NATO. Those are all core elements of national sovereignty. The three main UK parties — Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats — were all obliged to go on bended knee and plead for Scotland to stay part of the UK on the ground that Scotland and the rest of the UK were ’better together’, but they could not say precisely what would happen, to Scotland or to the remaining rump of the United Kingdom, if Scotland voted to secede. Indeed, nobody appears to have given much thought to the danger of holding such a referendum with so many important issues not only unaddressed but even largely unidentified