Should Scotland be an independent country?

I’m a writer. So why haven’t I been writing about the referendum? I believe passionately in an independent Scotland, I follow blogs and Twitter accounts, read widely and voraciously sook up every piece of informative debate I can, to help me form a picture of the kind of Scotland we could build for ourselves. And I squirrel all this away, and keep quiet. Why? I suppose because I felt politics was personal, that who or what I vote for is my business, and – just as I would hate another person’s politics shoved down my throat – I don’t feel it’s my job to evangelise. But, as the days and months roll on, as the arguments become lost in soundbites and cheap shots, I feel if I don’t let it out, I’m going to burst. September seems an awfy long way away in terms of keeping my sanity close and frustration at bay. As the Westminster gloves are slipped off, and the massive fault lines in what is termed, risibly, a ‘union’ exposed, I could weep for my nation, for the number of people here who laugh and applaud when told their country is a pitiful basket case, who will side with sworn enemies to maintain the iniquitous status quo, and still look us in the eyes and say ‘I’m a proud Scot’. What does that mean, then? What is it you’re proud of, exactly? What is Scotland?

Last month, I went to a Referendum Big Debate in Dumfries (Radio Scotland 24/01/14), hosted by the redoubtable Brian Taylor. The soul was popping Strepsils thanks to a by-election special the night before, and the prospect of three Burns Supper speeches to come, but he did a sterling job. (Sorry. Are we allowed to still use sterling?). Having moved from Glasgow to Galloway, I’ve found events around the referendum are rare, and was blown away by the amount of folk there, by the tangible sense of expectation in the room. It felt good to be in amongst it. Brian began by asking us in the audience to approach this debate differently, to talk as we would amongst family and friends, and not fixate on the minutiae. So, the only question on the table was to be:

Should Scotland be an independent country?

And off we went.

Two things struck me as the debate unfolded:

One: that I’m not the only Yes voter in the D & G village (though sometimes it feels like that) and: Two: how quickly we veered into fixating on the minutiae.

1510490790_e48a9ccbfbNuclear, NATO, oil, currency, immigration, borders (“will I need a passport to go to the shops in Carlisle?” – yes, really)…like a horrible game of Sisyphean ping pong, on it went. I’m not for a minute saying these issues are trivial – of course they’re not; they’re all crucial topics for any conscientious nation to consider. But the rhetoric and the delivery from the (all male. I’m just saying…) panel was largely same-old-same-old: ‘naw you canny; aye we can.’ A big cheer for the Greens’ Patrick Harvey, who frequently pointed out that politics should be about pragmatism and collaboration; about common sense, not huffs and bluster.

Surely he’s right? Surely we can work together for the common good? Should this debate not be approached in a spirit of passion, and courtesy, and curiosity, and hope? We are all being asked, here and now, to really think about who we are. To decide who and what we want to be. Because, above all else, before we think about creating a socially-just, healthier, happier blueprint for our country’s future; this vote is about identity. Not in the misty hills and tartan-haggis way, but there’s no escaping, this referendum is about who we are. And it’s what all this circular, navel-gazing, tit-for-tat approach doesn’t seem to be addressing. When you say you’re a proud Scot, what is it you’re proud of? Is Scotland a nation? Are we a distinctive, discrete nation that deserves autonomy? And, if so, have we got the courage to make our own decisions, and stand by them? If you believe that, then you’ll vote Yes. The other stuff we can sort, the untangling and apportioning, the planning and the building – if we think we’re worth it.

To me, all the issues we keep debating in the run-up to referendum centre on this fundamental question. Even the very fact of a split, the share of assets and liabilities, hinges on this. Are we, Scotland, an individual partner in a union where we’ve retained our own identity and desires, or have we been subsumed into the nation of Britain, where we are a junior regional associate, who is allowed a little leeway on occasion, but, ultimately, has no distinctive voice (or, by association, distinctive needs?) If it’s the former, then, like any well-managed divorce, both parties will redefine who they are, what they’re prepared to share, what each has contributed, and what each will take away. If it’s the latter, we should sit tight, keep our mouths shut and accept the status quo. Proudly. And never, ever, in the years to come, complain when Holyrood powers are rescinded, or Westminster policies imposed. Because, under the current constitutional arrangements, that’s democracy.

Is a successful union one in which one partner says: you’d be nothing without me? You’re too stupid, too wee, too inconsequential to ever make it on your own (while the other whines It’s all your fault. Nae wunner I take a drink). Or one where both partners go: I didn’t realise you felt this way. Can we talk about it? See if we can reach some common ground?

The closer we get to the vote, the less I see that demonstrates what is ‘good’ about this union. I see rage and derision on both sides, I see people who are feart to speak out in case they are shouted down. I see a place where calling yourself a Scot is to somehow start an argument. And that can’t be right, surely? It’s certainly nothing to be proud of.

 

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  1. Alan Mitchell says:

    I am 65 years old and having recently retired lived long enough to think I know something about this great country of ours. How wrong I was!
    I am currently reading BLOSSOM by Lesley Riddoch, if you want to know what is wrong with Scotland and why we must vote YES to have a chance of living in the country we can be then you simply must read this book. It will open your eyes.

  2. Theuniondivvie says:

    ‘a horrible game of Sisyphean ping pong’

    Love it!

  3. atypicalscot says:

    Brilliant.

    Quite rightly so, the current must-burn-effigies of Westminster are not the real issue. To cite – retch – an unpopular SLAB leader on a tv debate last night. (Still retching)

    But the question could be are we heard? And if not, and more importantly, do we want to be? Even as a region, this is palpable.

    The under current is that no matter what, Scotland as a region, or a country is voiceless as far as Westminster politics are concerned. So do we want to be the silent minority tucked away in the wilds of the north, or do we want to be the absolute majority, using our voice to shape our future?

  4. A country full of pragmatic, not dogmatic, politicians. That would make me a proud Scot.

  5. evan says:

    I live in Quebec!!

    I will never understand peoples in the world were a distinct group live in one area with common socio-cultural characteristics, and those peoples need to vote on whether they want to be sovereign of their land?!?!

    Why would a Scotsman,Catalonian,French Canadian etc. not. want to have their own nation?

    Who needs a referendum to decide one’s liberty? You seize it without discussion as a people and run your own affairs!!! Imagine giving a people’s sovereignty to one woman? How strange!

    On the 18 September, if you are Scottish and do not vote yes, please go in for psychiatric therapy…

    1. Firmly Yes says:

      Not quite how I would have said it but the sentiment would be the same.

    2. Alasdair Frew-Bell says:

      C’est vrai mon camarade, nous n’avons rien à perdre que nos chaînes….nous avons tous un monde à gagner! Vive le Québec! Vive le Québec libre! (Charles de Gaulle)
      Viva Alba! Viva Alba saor! (moi)
      bonne journée!

    3. andyshall says:

      So working class French-Canadians should identify with millionaire French-Canadians rather than other working class (non French) Canadians ?

      1. Morag says:

        Frankly, yes. A community needs to be diverse. Even rich people deserve their place. And if they’re excluded because you’re all so busy identifying with the working classes in other communities hundreds or thousands of miles away, they’ll shit on you from a great height.

      2. andyshall says:

        Sorry Morag but if the future of Scotland is kowtowing to the wealthy and trying to screw over workers in rUK then you can keep it.

  6. Claire Duffy says:

    Fantastic post. It’s been a funny thing observing all of this as a Scot abroad – I can’t vote, but i’m asked my opinion a lot, and am unfortunately reminded how few people outside of the UK really understand what the union is and has meant historically. I live in Sweden, and the more I read about this debate the more I think that an independent Scotland could function in a similar way to the Scandinavian countries – small, self protecting, and with an engaged populace. I’ve been talking myself in and out of blogging about it too… maybe sometime before September!!

    1. I’ve been talking myself in and out of blogging about it too… maybe sometime before September!!

      The more the merrier as each has a different perspective over things which chime with some and not with others no matter which side of the fence one is on. Go for it.

    2. Ian Kirkwood says:

      I also live in Sweden and support YES firmly, partly due to seeing the benefits of what I see in the Nordic countries and reflecting on what Scotland (and indeed many other parts of the UK) could aspire to. It really can be much better but I do not see it happening through the BT lack of vision and status quo alternative.

  7. We Scots form a country that we should be proud of,not just of our past but what we can do in the future,we can be a country or become a county.I favour a country that can be friendly with the neighbours,but still ask them to turn the noise down.There has been a very lot of Scottish assets taken from us,no! not oil,nor whisky or even our hydro schemes that we paid extra on our electricity bills from the ’40,s to build,so it would be on care and maintenance and we can have much cheaper electricity (LOL) but our young men and women who after being educated had to move elsewhere to fulfil their dreams and nourish their abilities.We could not keep them here with offers of good creative jobs that they required to test their minds and bodies.We need to be able to build an economy that can afford to keep our best “products” we must be able to give them the best places to work,to produce to discover and invent.We can only do this if we can control all of our country’s assets and finances.I think to remain in this union we lose out on the bigger union,I would have thought that when one union joined another union the first,smaller union would have allowed each part to be ,at least,semi-independent so that they (we) could speak for ourselves within the bigger union.I could go on but I feel I must stop before comment becomes a “blog”

  8. bringiton says:

    The point is that if you agree that Scotland is a country then what we have is not democracy.
    What we have is a quasi colonial system dressed up to appear as if it is democracy but in reality allows people in another country to elect our government.
    The union is the structure which allows this to happen and has been from day one a government in England (and now elected by English votes) who dictate to Scots what happens in our country.
    The unionist’s country is the UK where Scottish interests are of no concern to Wesminster until we threaten to remove from their control the resources they covet.
    There are no “proud” Scots who support this feudal system of government,only Scots who see their personal interests as being with the London elite.
    This was the case at the inception of the “Union” and is still the case after 300 years of pillage.
    Voting No says we agree to continue this form of governance and don’t really believe in democracy.
    Thanks Karen.

  9. Quin Dickie says:

    I’ve no read the lot,but will read! Once i’ve got a bigger sceen(i’m some-what cross-eyed@the mo veiwing off my wee mobile)So i have saved.Will read all when i’m sorted! What i’ve read so far is sound so’s thank’s:-Q

  10. Phil says:

    You ARE a writer, and a good one; I’ve just printed this article formatted into pocket-size to have at hand when those moments of real communication with a friend or neighbour spring forward.

    Thank you. And, thanks @Alan Mitchell for the reference to ‘Blossom’. It is on my Kindle now.

    1. wwilmawatts says:

      @ Alan Mitchell and Phil: Please also read The Claim of Scotland by H J Paton, available to download from:scottishindependencereferendum.info click on Books and it’s free.
      This was written in the 60s and could have been written today except we have a Parliament and we no longer need dog licenses!!

  11. Lost Inspace says:

    Its simple really. Will the world be a better place if Scotland has its own, however small, voice. I think the answer is yes. All the rest is just silly gossip.

    1. Alan Mitchell says:

      It is that simple.
      I like the comment attributed to one of the founders of the SNP around the early part of the twentieth century who said ” I’d rather think of my money being squandered in Edinburgh than squandered in London”

  12. David Agnew says:

    The union is no longer fit for purpose, that much is certain. That is why it has been all but impossible, for the bettertogether campaign to promote a vision of Union that is positive. They have had no alternative but to pursue an idiotic lie and promote that as truth, and worse yet, promote it as a benefit to Scotland. This “truth” is that Scotland relies on and has always relied on, English money. It was and still is a dangerous and treacherous argument to use against independence. Mostly because it ignores the opinions of the English themselves. They are increasingly resentful of Scotland and the idea that they are happy with this implied state of affairs is idiotic. Why Bettertogether chose to do this, rather than celebrate Scotland’s achievements within the union is a mystery to me. Are they so fearful of Scottish success that they can’t trust us to want to stay because we see value in being in the union? The independence campaign has made its missteps as well, but we can say that it has never traduced or mocked the English as having contributed nothing to the Union. Nor have the yes campaign ever mocked Scotland’s achievements, as having been only possible through the good graces of a benevolent UK.

    You could say the debate is Cringe Vs. Grievance. And it can resemble that at times. But the sense of grievance is real. The cringe on the other hand is nothing to be proud of, nor should it ever have been used as a positive boon of union. The labour MSP who spoke of his shame at seeing a Saltire at Wimbledon, seems to have forgotten that the Union Jack, that made his heart swell with pride, was a composite flag designed by a Scottish monarch, using the national flags of England and Scotland. He also seemed to have chosen to ignore the English flags that were prominently on display that same day. This is a fairly typical viewpoint and seems to portray “Britishness” as some sort of benefit that Scotland gains without really being a part of it.

    When Osborne came to tell us we could not have currency union. He didn’t stop there, he went on to ridicule the notion that Scotland even has a stake in the UK. it was UK money, not Scottish money he seemed to say. It was almost as if the Union existed before Scotland joined. Indeed it seemed to imply that the UK pre-dated the union. None of these arguments are true. If it were true, then clearly there is no benefit to England being in union with Scotland whatsoever. It is a curious argument to make, that Scotland should vote no, to keep receiving English charity.

    I can see a no vote leading to a constitutional crisis similar to the one that Scotland endured after another narrow “no” win back in the late 70s referendum for a devolved parliament. The Tories then as now pledged that something better would follow a no vote, while at the same time, played on peoples fears of financial ruin if they voted yes. In the end, the yes camp won but by a narrow margin. it allowed the no camp to win by default. But they then decided that they had in fact won a comprehensive victory. They fooled themselves into thinking that the No vote was a hardcore vote of support for continued Westminster rule. They chose to ignore that that no vote consisted of those they had scared into voting no, and another substantial group who had voted no, because they believed the promise of something better. When the Tories reneged on that promise and implemented a program of destroying Scotland’s industry and civic society, it engendered resentment & anger in those it had scared and a sense of betrayal in those who felt they had voted for something better. It took 20 years to see that anger manifest itself in a substantial victory for devolution in 1997. To this day anti-tory sentiment is as strong now as it was back then.

    A no vote, that sees Scotland mocked for having voted no. Ridiculed for being seen as having voted no to keep taking English money and not for union, will lead to a rise in Anti-British sentiment. Any party that then seeks to implement savage cuts or rolling out any program of dismantling Scotland’s civic society, will lead to a melt down of unionist party support. It will also lead to, I think, a constitutional crisis that will herald in Independence anyway. In other words, I do not think that the Union and the status quo can survive a no vote, within a poisonous atmosphere of Scotland as subsidy junkie.

    Yes or No, the Union loses.

    1. Ian Kirkwood says:

      “It is a curious argument to make, that Scotland should vote no, to keep receiving English charity.”
      Now there’s a very good point!

  13. Sammy says:

    Thank you for the well thought out article.

    It certainly made me think. However, I think I will still find myself voting ‘no’ in September.

    I just can’t bare to see the country which built the greatest empire on this earth and gave it away without a gun raised, fought half of Europe while freeing the other half (on several occasions), abolished slavery, gave the world a functioning functioning democratic system and spearheaded many other social advances, break up.

    I think the Union still has something to offer young Scots now and in the future.

    1. Alan Mitchell says:

      Became extremely rich from slavery would be a more valid comment Sammy. Scotland too, Glasgow, Paisley anywhere else you care to mention it is part of our shared and shameful Empirical past.

    2. DaveyM says:

      There were plenty of guns raised during the collapse of the British Empire (during the American War of Independence for starters). And remember that the Empire was collapsing because London was bankrupted by its continual wars. As for ‘freeing half of Europe’, that was only possible thanks to the intervention of the USA (twice). Revisionist history doesn’t make the case for the Union.

      1. Bill says:

        Westminster never learns from its mistakes it seems. They have consistently treated all of their former colonies in the same manner when they tried to take their Independence as they have consistently trreated Scotland at the very mention of our Independence. Its always threats, armed assaults on unarmed civilians who dared to protest, and looting the wealth of these same nations. Plenty of guns were fired and people killed for demanding their freedom just because of English greed and superiority due to the fact thet they think they ‘own’ other nations.
        It is the right time now for Scotland to go Independent as westminster follows its usual tactics of lying, cheating, and mis-informing the people of both Scotland and England of the true facts.
        Scotland has everything to gain from going Independent and certainly NOTHING to lose in leaving this very one-sided ‘union’ which has never been an equal partnership due to the forementioned attitude of ‘English ownership’ of us.
        NO ONE ‘OWNS’ SCOTLAND but our people, and in September we will make this very clear!!

    3. Theuniondivvie says:

      Fair enough view Sammy, but doesn’t it strike you that the achievements you mention all happened at least 60 years ago, some much, much further back. If Scotland votes No, what sort of advances would you be looking forward to?

  14. Alex Buchan says:

    David Agnew I hope you are right that a no vote may yet sow the seeds for a slow maturing of Scottish awareness of the reality of the sham nature of the union.

    “I see a place where calling yourself a Scot is to somehow start an argument. And that can’t be right, surely? It’s certainly nothing to be proud of.”

    This concluding sentence gets to the nub of the whole piece. All this talk about union; what does it mean? The English, by and large, have no concept of “a” union. Their historical experience has shaped their attitudes and their historical experience is radically different from ours. They have had multiple unions, first with Wales (yes I know they conquered Wales, but they still had an “Act of Union”), then with Scotland, then with Ireland (yes I know they conquered Ireland but they still later had an “Act of Union”).They see themselves as having submerged their identity into this larger union (not one union, and they actually feel superior because England didn’t just conquer it allowed the other areas to retain their nationality). They see Scotland as no different from Wales or Ireland. So by wanting to emphasise that it was not conquered, they see Scots as having a massive chip on their shoulders “sour losers”. So we are seen as ungrateful and petulant. So to CALL yourself a Scot is to start an argument, literally.

    But it’s even more complicated because the BBC and the other channels and mass internet media that are London centric, transmit this basic set of English values into Scottish homes and have done since the time most of us were born. Because this is not an overtly political message but a subtle attitude underpinning all TV and other media, we don’t even know we are being indoctrinated. That’s why Scots seem to have a lack of national self confidence, first and foremost because from an early age they have been indoctrinated into feeling embarrassed about thinking of Scotland in a positive way separate from the rest of the UK.

    Blogs like this help show just how crazy this culture is, which makes people feel embarrassed about who they are. But what percentage of Scots actually read Bella Caledonia? Understanding this helps one grasps the magnitude of the problem. Their is no mind space for most Scots which is not conditioned by the Sun or the Mail or the BBC or the other channels which are all reinforcing this subliminal message that it’s somehow dishonourable to think of yourself as a Scot separate from your fellow countrymen. With a backdrop like that is it any wonder that people restrict themselves to questions about pensions or passports. To talk openly about being proud to be Scottish and to want to see your country flourish outside of the UK is to break the rules. That’s why it feels strangely embarrassing, it’s tantamount to saying the wrong thing at a social gathering. So how do we get through to the millions of Scots who don’t read Bella Caledonia?

    1. Ian Kirkwood says:

      Alex, you make some very good points here and your final question is something which concerns me given the very real problem which the, now less than subliminal, MSM messaging delivers. That is not going to change over the coming months and will, no doubt, be exploited even more by the nay sayers.
      YES is about positivity and must remain so. There is clearly a widening exposure through the grass root and social media networks. We all have to play our part in helping to spread the truth, exposing the lies and tricks. The opportunities and long term vision is what is important for Scotland’s future. Not always easy for people to see, understand and accept but comparing to have them believe that the alternative is a positive one, I believe is a strong and compelling message.
      I also believe that the YES campaign has got the timing right. It is time to step up the game, brush away the deflection tactics and really go for it. Please do your part and actively work for a YES for Scotland!

      1. Alex Buchan says:

        Thanks Ian. I don’t think positivity on its own will be enough. The no campaign is using negativity because they will have correctly deduced that, in a vote over something which is risky and untried, a negative campaign always works. (The SNPs 2011 election is not a useful comparison because there was no risk, the SNP had been in government and independence was not an issue because voters knew they could choose on it separately).

        In my opinion the biggest mistake would be to take a holier than thou attitude towards the negative campaign of the no camp. The best policy is to not allow yourself to be pushed onto the defensive by it but instead go to war on the negative campaign itself, using satire. But not just using satire in a youtube video that only those in the know will watch but by having a national campaign of satirically sending up the no campaign; using humour to show just how ridiculous it is.

        The more varied the means of sending up the whole no campaign the better. I don’t mean sending up people who believe that they are doing the right thing voting no, but instead sending up the arguments of the no campaign. There is a far greater constituency of people, than those planning to vote yes, who are thoroughly sick of the constant running down of Scotland (many of whom will be planning to vote no).

        The important thing is not to question the intelligence or motives of those who plan to vote no but to show how utterly pathetic ridiculous and hilarious the no arguments are. The no campaign want the yes campaign to be always on the defensive, that’s why they keep up their negative campaign. What they have no way of dealing with is if they themselves become the main focus of the campaign. Humour is a more incisive way to critique a ludicrous argument than any amount of back and for argument. In fact, the no side don’t even need to win arguments (and they know this) they just need to sow sufficient doubt that people turn off from the arguments because of a feeling that the whole thing is unrealistic.

        The yes campaign should call on all of Scotland’s talents to create something fresh. In effect to demonstrate how Scotland could be a European nation by doing something very European and very not-British by opening the campaign to anyone, poets, musicians, artist, writer, stand up comic, anyone, to see what they make of the no campaign’s dystopia.

  15. evan says:

    One really needs to look at Norway…It was in a union under Sweden. This nation of fishermen and shepherds decided to go its own way in 1905! One should read Jane Jacobs’ book, “The question os separation,Quebec and the struggle over sovereignty” 1980.

  16. Abulhaq says:

    The big question is, Why should we remain in a relationship from which only the few have benefited? We all know of the damage done, the emigration, the poverty, the bad health and other social and cultural wreckage the union has produced in the 300 year long grip of our version of Stockholm syndrome. Our Uncle Toms (and lately Auntie Johannas) and their puppet-masters say we are unfit, defective, maybe even preprogrammed to political indecision and ineptitude, and if you dare to “secede” we will destroy you. This is more than huffing and blustering it sounds like a voice coming from beneath a plumed colonial solar topee. The British state is back in classic, imperial default mode. As they say in Egypt KIFAYA! in other words ENEUCH! CUS!

  17. Andy McDonald says:

    Yes Yes Yes. If in any doubt read the book “The spirit level” and see the official stats that this “great union” has left us with.

  18. florian albert says:

    ‘I could weep for my nation, for the number of people who laugh and applaud when told their country is a pitiful basket case.’
    Where are all these people rejoicing in Scotland’s misfortune ? Perhaps, Karen Campbell can tell us.
    I have never come across them.

    1. wwilmawatts says:

      You obviously do not watch FMQ to see the faces of Labour or other parties cheer when they hear their leaders tell us that the oil is running out or Standard Life is talking of leaving Scotland.Or jeering when they claim that RBS will be forced to relocate, losing jobs for hundreds of people. Open your eyes. Did you not see the Commons debate when a Labour MP from Lanark actually said that he didn’t care if his constituents would be better off in an Independent Scotland he would vote against it — and he was cheered! Or Michael Kelly say that if there was a Yes vote he and other Labour people would work against our Independent country. These are the proud Scots that Karen Campbell is talking about.

      1. florian albert says:

        So political opponents of the SNP government, who criticize its performance, are guilty of laughing and applauding ‘when told their country is a basket case.’
        We are getting into Emmanuel Goldstein territory here, where those you disagree with are enemies.
        Are you incapable of understanding that politicians are cheered because they are scoring political points, such as the one that it is the SNP’s proposals which threaten the jobs of Standard Life employees in Scotland ?

        1. wwilmawatts says:

          Sorry, you have completely misunderstood my point. I used the Scottish parliament as an example. I could have used any televised debate, the Westminster Parliament or even Question Time on the BBC. I have never been a supporter of Alex Salmond or the SNP in my life but I am a supporter of Scotland and Scottish Independence. Political point scoring is a pathetic part of our adversarial political system, which I must accept- I don’t like it but is a fact of life.

  19. Hi Karen and well done for poking your head above the parapet. I had a chuckle about the ‘speaking like you would amongst your family’ idea for the debate. I have found that, for the first time ever, ours is not a family in agreement and so we cannot discuss independence without offense being taken by one sister or another. Even my husband does not agree with me on this but, because I feel like a lone hedgehog with my one big secret, I’m saying hello and it’s nice to be amongst like-minded folk.

    1. wwilmawatts says:

      ingridamurray, hello to a fellow traveller. My son called me a fundamentalist because I believe so passionately about Independence. Needless to say we cannot discuss the issue.The irony is that until September of last year I was an ardent No voter and my husband a Yes. I then read a book, purchased in a charity shop, and it changed my life. I have already named it on another post here but it is The Claim of Scotland and available to download. In the first chapter H J Paton describes how an English gentleman says to him it must be wonderful to be a Scot because Scots have a double loyalty, one to Scotland and one to the United Kingdom. That was when he realised that the English have only one loyalty and England and Britain are interchangeable. Really really worth a read.
      May I suggest you also visit Wings over Scotland and Newsnet Scotland where you will find many friends?

  20. Barry says:

    Leave the current union to be placed in a union with Europe, great idea folks!

    1. Abulhaq says:

      Two quite different species of union.

  21. Murdo Morrison says:

    Of course Scotland can be an independent country, but we need to plan a lot better than the SNP are at the moment.

    For a start the 2 year timetable is a joke – even without the fact that our negotiating partners cant really get going until they have a mandate after the 2015 elections. The whole parliament will change and presumably all Scottish MPs will be going. This only gives us a few months to thrash out banking (do we really want our banks to be 12 x more valuable than our GNP?), share of deficit, territorial waters, fishing, replacements for the general medical and dental councils / law society / fsc, public sector pensions (who pays and are we really going to have to wait till state pension age as the Yes campaign website suggests?) etc.. It is complicated to split a country.

    As for EU membership – of course we will get in, but most new states take 10 years. Lets say 5 years if the Spanish don’t get too much hassle from the Basques and Catelans (not likely, but for the sake of argument) – how are we going to replace the EU farming and fishing subsidies for those years?

    Of course we can do it if Norway has – but I, personally, would be financially crippled by Norway levels of taxes and I am not the only one among my friends.

    I am really frightened by the lack of pragmatic planning that has gone into this independence bid. Scotland’s Future seems to me to be a web of flim flam and pie in the sky, based on oil reserves that are becoming more expensive to extract every year.

    Splitting a country costs a lot of money and it is not like a general election where you can chuck the swine out the next time – there will be no going back. A future of uncertainty when we already have a parliament, health service, education system, legal system of our own and have input into a much larger country to impact the wider world. A yes vote would be a tragedy.

    1. bellacaledonia says:

      Thanks for the comment Murdo. On EU timetable you should read Angus Roxburgh in the New Statesman on this. He cites Czechoslovakia and others as precedent and suggests the timetable is quite adequate (I’ll dig it out its not online yet)

      Writing earlier in the Guardian he wrote: “In every instance, I find myself asking (and wondering why BBC interviewers do not ask): why are all these politicians suggesting that Scotland should be cast out when sheer self-interest and common sense would dictate the opposite? Why, Mr Baroso, would the EU expel a country that has been a member for 40 years, and which has already transposed all EU legislation into Scottish law, knowing that this would cause utter havoc – not just for Scotland, but for all the other member states? Why, Mr Osborne, would you refuse to share a currency when it would be in the interests of British business to do so?”

      See here: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/feb/18/scottish-referendum-independent-scaremongering-eu

  22. karencampbell says:

    Can I just say thank you to everyone who commented on my blog. I wasn’t expecting such a powerful response, and am very appreciative of everyone who took the time to join in the conversation. Because that is absolutely what we need in the run-up to this referendum – to talk to each other. Cheers all, Karen.

  23. Pretty! This was an extremely wonderful post. Thank you for providing this info.

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