September 13th, 2014
in Op Ed
by Reverse Engineer, Doomstead Diner
This rant will review some of the history of the union known as the United Kingdom. It bears some interesting comparisons with the European Union and the United States, as much as for the differences as for the similarities. This discussion is a follow-on from the discussion that ended my rant from a day earlier which touched on the independence vote in Scotland to be held 18 September 2014.
The "United Kingdom" as a Nation-State and Financial Entity has been together now for a good 300 years or so, although there have been some ups and downs through the period. England first merged with Scotland in 1707, and then later they added Ireland in 1800. That union fell apart in 1922 when Ireland seceeded, but a day later Northern Ireland split and rejoined the UK.
Neither the Irish Catholics who seceeded or the Irish Protestants in Northern Ireland ever did too well whether part of this organization or not, and the Scots didn't do a whole lot better. However, it really was not until the late 1990s that Scotland and Wales started trying to gain more independence from Britain and Westminster.
The UK as an entity basically tracks the course of the Industrial Revolution, and as Industry grew, you got consolidations on every level, corporate consolidations and large monopolies forming, and Nation-States consolidating their hold over various territorial possessions which were the source of raw materials and food for the growing entities. The British Empire of the period was the most successful of these, but all the Europeans were at the game, the French and Germans too. You can think of each of these Nation-States as a large corporation with a Military arm for acquiring more resources.
They all were (and still are) in competition with each other both for acquiring control over resources as well as control over the monetary system used to distribute those resources. Although in times of "peace" the Elite in control of each of these places seem to work as a single monolithic entity, the reality is that they all are struggling to be in control over the greatest swath of the earth they can at any given time. The battle is ongoing even in times of peace on the financial level, but through the whole period from 1700 onward has been punctuated by NUMEROUS wars.
A Short List here of the Wars the UK has been involved in one way or the other for the last 300 years:
War of the Spanish Succession , American Revolutionary War , Seven Years' War, The United Kingdom in the Napoleonic Wars , War of 1812 , Crimean War , Franco-Prussian War , American Civil War , History of the United Kingdom during World War I , Military history of the United Kingdom during World War II , The Troubles , Falkland Islands War
Not gonna detail all the rationales behind these wars or their timelines, but I will drop links down for them when I air this rant.
Basically, you can't go more than 50 years between Wars the UK has been seriously involved in, either physically in most cases or at least as financiers and weapons providers in the rest of them. Actually, since the duration of the wars are often 5-10 years, the intervening "Peace" periods are shorter than 50 years.
Do wars come cheap? Hell no, they are VERY expensive, and the UK has been accumulating debt from all of them for a solid 300 years here. The UK Elite have done quite well of course through the period, but the ever increasing debt load and ever decreasing reward for engaging in such actions has over time brought the UK to Insolvency, and the only reason it doesn't collapse right now is because the City of London is at the very center of the credit creation mechanism which allows such wars to be funded.
This brings us back to the whole reason for Scotch Independence, because the Gin the Brits have been selling them for 300 years is not just turning their brains to mush but bankrupting them too! Good Single Malt like Glenlivet is the Nectar of the Gods, Blended Scotch like Johnny Walker Black is pretty good and Irish Whiskey is at least drinkable. Drink too much Beefeater Gin though, you get into trouble. LOL.
On the way UP the ladder of consolidation, accessing ever more energy to run ever more complex systems and Goobermints, it generally was of benefit to be part of a larger organization., mainly because the larger the size of the entity, the greater the access to Credit it has.
You as an individual, depending on your credit standing overall and income, if you are a typical wage earner might have access to up to say $1M in Credit to buy a McMansion. A small biz with good cashflow might be able to borrow up to $10M. A medium to large size Energy extraction company like EOG Resources can borrow into the $6B range. Mega-Corporations like Exxon have almost unlimited borrowing ability, and so do various Tycoons running large Hedge Funds.
On the Nation-State level, it is similar. Small countries like Greece and Ukraine and Argentina have limited borrowing ability, but large ones like Germany, China, Britain and the FSoA nearly unlimited ability. At times it seems TOTALLY unlimited these days, but in due time this will evaporate also.
In any event, for Scotland they benefited some by being part of the UK, with their access to credit, but what this did over time was to keep ratcheting up their total share of the debt floated by the UK. Now as real Growth has slowed if not halted or reversed, Scotland is getting hit with the same type of Austerity just about every indebted nation is being subjected to. As a result, their economy is grinding to a halt, they have large unemployment issues and being part of this large entity isn't bringing them perceivable benefits, at least for the typical J6P.
The folks benefitting from the Union try to hold it together with Scare Tactics, telling the Scots they will be more vulnerable to Terrorism once they no longer are under the Wing of the Brit Military, which while it doesn't cost as much to run as the FSoA Military, is still a pretty expensive operation overall. Those Harrier Jets they used in the Falklands War don't come cheap you know.
The big issues for the Scots in trying to break away is first off their share of the total Debt accrued by the UK over the last 300 years, which I read quoted as something like 8% of the total. They can't pay that off any more than the UK can pay off the other 92%, it is all irredeemable debt. Britain though because it controls the City of London has access to still MORE credit to roll over the old loans to new and bigger ones, but if/when the Scots do get a divorce, they will lose access to credit, especially if they repudiate their share of the debt as Odious.
The second major issue are the North Sea Oil & Gas fields which in theory the Scots own as being in their territorial waters. Problem though is the Scots don't have a Navy that could hold them, they are mostly run by various Energy companies that are all beholden to Wall Street and the City of London for Credit themselves, and if the Scots repudiate their debt these Energy fields will simply be Repoed in a lawsuit at the Hague and the Scots won't get any portion of the revenue these fields still might produce.
In a divorce here, the Scots would about instantaneously be turned into a 3rd World Nation, and it is unclear what if any value any money they print up once off the Pound Sterling would be worth. Most Scots don't realize this though, they just see themselves as being victims of UK Policies they don't have much control over, and they don't see that it could be much WORSE once they become independent. The likelihood it could get much better is quite small.
The downsides for the UK as a whole are equally large, on a smaller scale it is like any of the EU Nations trying to pull out of that Union. It completely bollixes up the system that has been engineered here over time, and all of a sudden debts that once could be rolled over cannot be, bonds go worthless, CDS trip and you get a cascade failure through the banking system. So it's pretty unlikely that the Banksters would even LET Scotland seceed even if they vote for it. It looks like a fairly close ballot right now, so pretty easy to rig the results. Even if the result clearly show a vote for Independence, they could Invalidate the ballot on some premise, and delay the implementation for a year or more in extend and pretend as "irregularities" are "investigated". Finally, they could simply ignore the vote and install Technocrats from Goldman-Sachs to run their banking and state system.
Many places even here in the FSoA talk of Secession, the Texans talk about it all the time, and recently up here in Alaska somebody floated a petition to seceed and rejoin with Mother Russia. LOL. No secession will be allowed simply by a Vote and a peaceful Walk Away from the debt ginned up here over the last 300 years. As it was in the time of the Secession of the Southern FSoA States and the War of Northern Aggression, Secession means Civil War.
And that's all the Doom, this time until next time, here on the Doomstead Diner.