The Scottish National Party’s overwhelming victory in last week’s election increases the likelihood of an independent Scotland. I have never been one to discuss politics (or football, or religion) but I’ve noticed a very distinct pattern over the last few days that I feel is worth pointing out.
I’m cynical enough to discount both the nationalists’ utopia and the unionists’ apocalypse
Although there are strong emotional reasons for wanting independence, we should base the way we’ll vote in the inevitable referendum on more pragmatic issues, in particular how it will affect us financially. I’m cynical enough to discount both the nationalists’ utopia and the unionists’ apocalypse, knowing fine well that they are both extremely biased, as they must be.
But how can we make a decision when the two stories are so dramatically varied? Unionist’s will cite how much we need London’s subsidies, and present us with forecasts of financial ruin if we elect fiscal independence. They may well be right, but the recent admission by David Blunkett that the £250 million projected cost of electoral reform was ”made up” to scare voters into voting against it, demonstrates just how easy it is cajole us into behaving like sheep.
Nationalists on the other hand have finally made space for a more varied financial argument where in the past it was dominated by the claim that North Sea oil would keeps us going. But my inherent skepticism tells me that despite our world leading progress in renewables, the picture they paint is overly optimistic. The reality lies somewhere between the two forecasts.
These are not your Braveheart watching blokes from the pub that derive the same joy from watching England’s football team lose a goal as they do from watching Scotland win a game
Which brings me back to the pattern that the last week has made evident. Every single person I’ve discussed independence with who has had the luxury of the considering their home country from afar as a result of having worked abroad, is pro independence. These are not your Braveheart watching blokes from the pub that derive the same joy from watching England’s football team lose a goal as they do from watching Scotland win a game. No, these are rational business people, who stand to gain or lose most from such a decision.
Perhaps the referendum will be timed to coincide with the high of the build up to the Commonwealth Games in 2014 to help capitalise on the inevitable increase in national confidence and patriotism, giving us a yes vote which won’t have the power to actually create legislation, but will give London’s Conservatives an unmissable opportunity to jettison a vast number of Labour members of parliament. Should Scotland gain some degree of independence (it’s likely we’d still pay some dues to London, subcontracting our defence and foreign policy) the result will be some hard times.
like the doom mongers that vocally claimed the smoking ban would cause pubs to shut down, they will come around once the dust settles
It won’t be plain sailing, but it won’t be apocalyptical either. Those that voted against independence will use the initial hard times to lay on some “told-you-so”, but like the doom mongers that vocally claimed the smoking ban would result in financial ruin for publicans, they will come around once the dust settles, we’ve found our legs, and we stand proud in front of the world having shed our pessimism to finally see ourselves as the rest of the world see us — a successful nation that punches well above its weight.
It will be hard, but in the long run, it will be worth it.