Monday 8 September 2014

Scotland's Vote 18: Thorough Reality Analysis (Or Not)

Here is a much-needed distraction from the serious arguments about Scottish independence.

An opinion column in the New York Times had the following comment, from somebody called Chuck Brandt in Berlin:

I don't have any particular axe to grind in this contest, so I am merely passing along a bit of information that I came across at an after party. 
It seems that this particular date of the Scottish referendum, September 18, 2014, falls in an especially inauspicious period astrologically, that could terminally impair the vitality of the new independent Scottish nation likely to be conceived out of its aftermath. 
True, the actual process of independence would take place only circa 2016, but this 09/18/2014 is the critical relevant factor in the equation. Of course, you are free to go where your passions take you, but it would be far better if you sat down and did a thorough reality analysis
One more thing: if at all a new independent Scotland comes into being, and then when it goes to seed, a lot of us would've developed a healthy respect for the skills of that Berlin astrologer.
[Emphasis mine, grammar and American date format in original]

If Scotland votes Yes, it is alleged the positions of gigantic nuclear reactions billions of miles away give us a dire warning. Scotland will be befallen by some terrible doom: Unspecified in nature but possibly involving the Loch Ness Monster.

A man in the pub told me the SNP have denounced this claim. A druid has performed a reality analysis upon the entrails of a sheep (before making them into haggis) and pronounced the 18th of September to be an auspicious date for Scotland.

It would be altogether more interesting if Mr Brandt's friend had predicted the referendum result itself. I can't imagine why an astrologer would be reluctant to make testable predictions.

The column is by the Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman, and explains why it would be dangerous for an independent Scotland to continue using the UK pound sterling -- in an agreed currency union or otherwise. Krugman is horrified at the SNP's glib assurances that continued use of sterling would be good for Scotland. It's worth a read, although unlike the comment it is not funny at all.

Update 2014-09-09: Krugman has clarified the argument from his column in a short blog post.


  1. Since no one has commented lately on your passionate and erudite blogs about Scotland's vote for independence, I thought I should, comment that is, not vote. Well done!