During the 19th and early 20th centuries, Britain had dominion over so many portions of the Earth it was said, famously, that “the sun never set on the British Empire.”
Since the end of World War II, however, that sun has been steadily dipping toward the horizon. Today, sundown is truly at hand.
On Sept. 18, the voters of Scotland will go to the polls to determine whether their nation will declare independence from the United Kingdom after 307 years of union with England. Polls over the last 18 months reported by the website What Scotland Thinks show a gradually rising tide for independence even though advocates of remaining in the U.K. still lead in the surveys. But many Scots have said they are undecided—and thus they hold a key to the decision.
The Economist magazine has suggested that Scots voting with their heads will choose to stay with England, while those voting with their hearts will opt for independence, but “it is the nationalists who have fire in their bellies.”