Category Archives: featured

Not too small

When ordinary Scottish voters are asked whether they’d vote yes or no to Scottish independence, one frequent response is that Scotland is too small to be independent.

I really don’t understand how anybody can believe this. Surely it must be a consequence of living in a big country and being used to comparing yourself with Germany and France.

In reality, Scotland has a very average size for an independent country in northern Europe. Have a look at the graph on the left, which shows the population sizes of various northern European contries (it’s Scotland in blue).

Of course Scotland won’t have the same influence as England, but similar countries such as Denmark, Norway and Ireland typically feel they have plenty of influence.

I definitely don’t know of a popular movement in any country the size of Scotland that advocates joining a bigger neighbour because their country is too small to remain independent. Even very similar countries with a long shared history, such as Denmark and Norway, never seriously discuss becoming one country again.

Internet country code for Scotland

Countries in the grass
Originally uploaded by Darwells

If Scotland wins her independence one day, it will be necessary to assign a ccTLD (country-code top-level domain) instead of .uk. A ccTLD always consists of exactly two lower-case letters without any accents.

However, there are so many countries in the world that there aren’t many options left.

The most natural one would be .sc, I guess, but that’s the Seychelles. .sl? No, that’s Sierra Leone. .so? .st? .sa? .sn? .sd? Nope, that’s Somalia, São Tomé and Príncipe, Saudi Arabia, Senegal and Sudan, respectively.

Hmmm, so what about basing it on the Gaelic name for Scotland, Alba? Well, .al is Albania, and .as (for Alba/Scotland) is American Samoa, but .ab is actually free, so I guess that would be the most obvious ccTLD.