Now here’s something I don’t know too much about, but that won’t stop me from rambling on about it: Scottish independence. There’s to be a referendum in 2014 on whether the Kingdom of Great Britain should break up after 300 years. Fans of independence think that the North Sea oil will keep the Scottish economy ticking over if it becomes a sovereign state.
I hope the Scots vote with their head and not with their hearts. They are ageing faster than the rest of Great Britain, their birth rate is lower, there are pockets of appalling poverty in its cities, and sooner or later the oil will run out. It will be easy for dynamic young people to cross the border into England. Proud, poor and depopulated: will it be worth it?
One fascinating aspect of the referendum is that the politicians have agreed to allow 16 and 17-year-olds to vote. This involves some sticky administrative problems, like registering 14-year-olds now. But the real problem is whether these kids have the maturity needed to determine their nation’s future? Probably not. Surely that must be why Scotland’s canny First Minister Alex Salmond welcomes them on the electoral rolls. Sixteen-year-olds whose life revolves around Facebook, boys/girls and sport will be easily persuaded.
So far this week, we have published four articles. I’ve written two. The first about Mo Yan, the Chinese winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature. It turns out that one of his latest novels is a searing indictment of the one-child policy. The second asks why a leading medical journal is fantasising about creating Humanity 2.0.
Then Alma Acevedo examines the combative rhetoric of the US election and finds it wanting. From Texas Karl D. Stephan discusses the rise of biometric identification. He thinks that it will not be as safe as its champions are promising.