Scottish voters on Thursday chose to keep Scotland a part of the United Kingdom in a referendum on independence. Before the vote, independence movements in the U.S. looked to the Scottish secession campaign for inspiration—now, in the aftermath of the failed secession, the same groups are considering the lessons they can learn from Scotland's experience.
Despite the ten percent margin between the no and yes votes, some independence movements stateside are far from disappointed. "This development should encourage other nationalist and independence movements in Europe, America, and elsewhere to keep on pushing toward their goals," said Michael Hill, president of the League of the South, a secessionist movement that advocates for a "free and independent Southern republic." The Southern Poverty Law Center designates the League of the South as a neo-Confederate hate group.
The mere fact that Scottish voters were given the power to decide their own fate at the ballot box is what excites some of these groups. That the independence campaign made pro-union politicians extremely jumpy in the lead-up to the vote as they made significant gains in the polls is only icing on the cake.
"The Scots have proved to the world that 'secession' is a legitimate and viable political option for smaller states enmeshed in larger imperial realities to consider," Rob Williams, publisher of an independent-minded online journal about Vermont, wrote in a statement.