Why the Scottish Vote Is Shaking Up Europe

From a leftwing article in Politico by Andrew Connelly entitled “Why the Scottish Vote Is Shaking Up Europe“:

Even within the UK’s own borders, some restive regions are using the Scottish drive to cough loudly at the back of the room and get the teacher’s attention. Teetering off England’s south coast, the impoverished region of Cornwall, famous for meat-filled pastries, ice cream and stunning landscape, has long vocalized its cultural and linguistic pride (Cornish is also a Celtic language) and even managed this year to gain national minority status.

Similarly, the northeast of England, a region still emerging from its post-industrial shadow, currently looks across the border and sees people in Scotland enjoy the fruits of free universities, free prescriptions and free care for the elderly—none of which they have—and wonders if a drive for more autonomy could bring more riches. And we haven’t even mentioned Wales or Northern Ireland yet.

The “woefully uninformed” Connelly really turns on the charm when discussing the phenom that is UKIP:

Traditionally the average British citizen has also been woefully uninformed about the workings of the supranational entity “on the continent” that partially governs them, although the meteoric rise of a euroskeptic populist party has harnessed this ignorance and transformed it into political action. In the most recent EU elections, the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) came out on top, gaining 24 seats, more than any other party. It was a stunning victory for a group most Britons considered to be a glorified band of disaffected golfing barflies with a romanticized image of a vanquished old Britain and some unenlightened views on foreigners; now it may soon even gain its first national MP. Its oleaginous leader, Nigel Farage, has managed to convince a sizeable chunk of British society that the country they hold dear is no longer in control of its own destiny but instead at the mercy of sinister EU bureaucrats in Brussels who wish to ban fun and flood the country with job-stealing immigrants.

On the wider implications for the E.U. of the dirty masses’ nativism:

Add to all this a continent increasingly running into the arms of the far right, and the stage is set for a bumpy ride across a far greater landscape than Scotland. More than ever, the European Parliament is populated by a dyspeptic rag-tag rabble of nationalists, populists and outright fascists. Following the EU parliamentary elections in May, Germany let the team down by electing a neo-Nazi candidate (who now cutely sits on the parliament’s “civil liberties” committee), Italy went dynastical and brought in Benito Mussolini’s great-grand daughter and France completely lost the plot by elevating the far-right Front National to be the country’s largest political party represented in Europe. These eruptions are frequent, the mutant marriage of an electorate generally uninformed on the workings of EU and populations that have suffered from years of post-crisis austerity measures and are thus willing to give incumbent governments a bloody nose. Nevertheless, it presents a worrying situation: A vote for Scottish independence could embolden other, less savory nationalist movements across Europe.

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