The Scots got sick and tired of Thatcherite policies imposed from London.
The American Prospect, By Robert Kuttner, September 23
Why on earth did the Scots, largely quiescent as part of Great Britain for three centuries, suddenly become the mouse that roared?
It wasn’t because they became besotted watching re-runs of Braveheart or Rob Roy, or even because they coveted more of a share of North Sea oil revenues. No, the Scots got sick and tired of Thatcherite policies imposed from London.
Thanks to the partial form of federalism known as “devolution” provided by the Labour government of Tony Blair in 1997, Scotland got to keep such progressive policies as free higher education and an intact national health service, while the rest of the U.K. partly privatized the health service and began compelling young people to go into debt to finance college like their American cousins.
But as long as progressive Scotland, with just one Conservative M.P. sent to the national parliament at Westminster, remained part of Great Britain, its own policies were in jeopardy. So the near-miss referendum was one part revived Scottish pride, one part observation that a dozen small nations are members of the European Union and do just fine, and one very big part revulsion against Tory policies—most recently those of the hapless current prime minister, David Cameron.