O Reino Unido é um Estado Unitário, certo?
Mais ou menos.
E não é só pelo fato de que nos campeonatos mundiais de futebol vemos Inglaterra, Escócia e País de Gales.
O mais importante é que aos poucos o Reino Unido tem desenvolvido processos que eles chamam de devolução ("devolution") de poderes para suas organizações locais.
A Escócia já tem seu parlamento. Agora, cresce a luta por independência completa.
Tuesday 10 May 2011 21.30 BST
It is time for England's first empire to get independence
In a fit of Anglo-Saxon machismo, Cameron has vowed to fight Scottish self-rule 'with every fibre I have'. But why?
Simon Jenkins - guardian.co.uk,
Last week David Cameron reacted to the election of the first Scots nationalist majority government by saying he would "campaign to keep our United Kingdom together with every single fibre I have". Dare we ask why? Cameron has no political interest in Scotland, where the Tories have had just one MP in 20 years. He would have a strong Tory majority at Westminster were it not for the Scots Labour hordes. Scotland's economy sucks England's taxpayers of £8bn in annual subsidy. Its first minister, Alex Salmond, is Dracula at Cameron's milk-white throat. Yet when Dracula wants to kick the habit, Cameron pleads for more.
Scotland, like Ireland, has always turned English politicians mad. James Callaghan was felled for refusing the Scots devolution. Margaret Thatcher was axed after piloting her poll tax north of the border. Tony Blair got the point and granted partial devolution, but spoiled it by refusing fiscal autonomy and continuing with subsidy. He gave the nationalists power without responsibility. In each case the Treasury acted like Cromwell, with a ruthless centralism.
Calling political events seismic is usually rubbish. Things that "will never be the same again" are soon the same again. But the re-election of Salmond as Scottish leader last week was remarkable. Incumbents seldom increase their support so resoundingly, least of all in times of increased hardship. Nor did Salmond conceal his ambition for an independent Scotland. He trounced not only the London coalition but also the Scottish Labour party. The election was not between British parties but against English ones. It was a vote, if not for independence, then for the kind of Scotland towards which Salmond is leading.
Any visitor to Edinburgh is aware of it as the capital of a proper country. A decade of devolution has repatriated political identity after three centuries of suppression. Not just education, law, medicine, football and the arts but the governing sinews of the Scottish nation have grown apart from England. Press and public interact with the new parliament. Salmond is no longer a tartan-clad throwback to Bannockburn of London caricature. He is a shrewd leader with an ability to rally his country behind him.
The strategy has been cunning. Blessed with a London Treasury happy to anaesthetise Scottish nationalism with cash, Salmond has subsidised student fees, given free prescriptions and free care for the elderly. He has frozen council tax, showing that he may want devolution to Scotland but will not tolerate devolution within it. He has maintained spending on capital works, with help from Europe, and given his people the illusion that money grows on trees, or at least on wind turbines. He has milked England, and England has allowed itself to be milked, terrified of partition. The Scottish MPs who kept Labour in power at Westminster were crucial in this. For 13 years, Scotland has decided who ruled England.
Salmond now wants to bide his time. There will be no independence referendum as long as polls suggest it will not pass. More to the point, there are many forms of autonomy to bring to the table. Regional subsidiarity is rendering Europe's constitutions ever more complex. The Lisbon treaty has sovereignty slithering up and down the hierarchy of government, from Brussels to nations to regions to town halls. The United Kingdom is a union of four very different entities. Ulster's victorious Democratic Unionists are unionists only in not being Irish republicans. Otherwise they have more in common with Sicily. Wales continues to reject separatism, distracted by its north-south divide and linguistic fanaticism. Each case is different, but in each the direction of travel is clear.
A favourite English political game is to think up reasons why an independent Scotland makes no sense, mostly relying on money. It was money, or at least trade, that browbeat the Scots into the union in 1707, and money would certainly dominate their exit. But Edinburgh is awash with experts on financial autonomy. Besides, the message of European partitions is that nationalism trumps money. Where there is a will there is a way, and small nations tend to do better after separation than before.
England would be better advised to think of reasons why Salmond should get not just what he wants but what he deserves. Already preparing a referendum alternative of partial autonomy, on the model of some Spanish and Italian provinces, he wants "Scottish taxes for Scottish services", and only agreed sums sent south across the border. It took the Basques a quarter-century of terrorism to achieve such powers. On an alternative vote, this option might well win.
What is a continuing mystery is why London does not call Salmond's bluff, if bluff it is, and give him what he wants. If the Scots want to order their own affairs, England should not complain. The price is the £8bn subvention, less oil royalties and with the number of Westminster MPs slashed. As it is, the Scottish bill now before parliament is a morass of control freakery and confused accountability. It even refuses even to repatriate corporation tax, the key to most small-country economic revival. These delegations will come one day. If Cameron was sensible he would make it happen when in his interest to do so.
The saga now unfolding north of the border is familiar across Europe. Similar national movements led to independence for Slovakia, Croatia and Slovenia, and partial independence for the Basques. It may yet break Belgium into Flemings and Walloons. Britain supported the dissolution of Russia's east European empire and went to war to promote partition in Bosnia, Kosovo, Kurdistan, Montenegro and now Libya. Britain lectures the world, and even bombs it, in the cause of regional self-determination. Only in Helmand does it fight to maintain central state authority, with singularly little success. It is bizarre to champion local autonomy in sovereign states abroad, yet "fight it with every fibre in my body" at home.
What historians call "England's first empire" is plainly continuing the disintegration that began with Ireland in 1921. I cannot see what is menacing or intrinsically evil about this, except to some latter-day imperialist. A sign of a mature democratic union is that it can accommodate the political ambitions of its component parts, even to the extent of self-rule. It was insensitivity to such ambition that lost Britain Ireland in the last century. Why show the same insensitivity towards Scotland as Thatcher did with the poll tax and the coalition is showing towards Salmond?
Scottish nationalism may offend Anglo-Saxon machismo, but that is hardly a motive for condemning Celtic self-rule. For the Tories, enemies of centralism in Europe and champions of partition abroad, now to oppose autonomy for Scotland is hypocrisy. The ghosts of empire are still rattling their chains.
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