Many people have been talking about the UK going for a Canadian solution after Brexit, or failing that, an Australian one. I’m starting to wonder, however, whether the UK is actually starting to drift towards the model provided by Russia and Turkey instead.
The three countries are actually quite alike. They are all former empires, and neither has ever fully got to terms with the loss of most of their possessions. They all like wee military adventures. They are fond of strong leaders. And crucially, none of them is happy to be just another European country.
They are all democracies from a superficial point of view, but in reality they all have problems. In the UK, it’s the electoral system combined with a sycophantic press that is making it difficult to get rid of a useless government, and of course the lack of a codified constitution makes it easy for an autocratic ruling party to rewrite the rulebook to suit themselves.
The other former great powers of Europe – such as Germany, France, Italy, Austria-Hungary and Spain – all seem to have accepted that they’re now too small to play a significant role on the world stage on their own, and they’re now more or less content to use the EU to pool their powers so that they can be part of the top flight in that way. But the UK, Russia and Turkey seem to prefer to stand alone in the hope that they occasionally catch a glimpse of their former glory, rather than always having to share the stage with former rivals. And as Russia’s military invasions of Georgia and Ukraine show, they might still want to regain at least parts of their lost empires.
Of course the three countries are hugely different in many regards, but I think we should seriously consider the possibility that the UK will become more similar to Russia and/or Turkey over the next decades, drifting further away from the liberal democracies of the EU. Who knows, the three countries might even set up a new free-trade area together as an attempt to challenge the EU.
If I’m right, then it’s really bad news for Scotland, of course. The type of authoritarian, fascist-light, imperialistic and warmongering country exemplified by Russia and Turkey would never let a crown jewel like Scotland escape.