Scotland’s drive to independence has been interpreted by many as a throwback to ancient identity politics – but many of the trends on display in the Scottish referendum have more to do with the politics of the future than those of the past.
The polls show that this week’s vote is too close to call. There is still a chance that the “No” campaign will ultimately prevail – something that I dearly hope will happen both for the sake of the Scots and the rest of the Britain.
But whatever the result of the vote, I think we must recognize that the “Yes” campaign has done more to shape the agenda of Scottish politics. And it is the forces it tapped into that will also change politics around the world.
So far, the commentary has focused on whether a Yes vote in Scotland will have resonance among other minorities in search of statehood – from Catalonia and Flanders to Taiwan and Quebec.
But the truth is that the political trends in Scotland are also reshaping many nations that do not face imminent break-up – from America to Zambia.