Why I am Voting Yes

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I have lived in Scotland since I graduated from St Andrews University 10 years ago. I am English. I was born and grew up in Lancashire.  I am not Scottish. I am not an English Scot. I am English. I felt this made my choice on whether Scotland should be an independent country all the more important. My decision would not be based on nationalism or a historic need to gain one’s independence. It would be based solely on the future of my home and my children’s home. I felt it was important I looked into the arguments on both sides in depth. I love this socialist, progressive country I live in, and I like to believe Scotland is the greatest small country on the planet. Could we make it on our own? Would it be best for my life? I have two businesses; I need to live in a successful country for these businesses to prosper. It would be silly of me not to ensure the stability of my livelihood. So my choice had to be beneficial for the country, my children and the expansion of my businesses.

Since making my decision, I have had many a quizzical look. And I think unfortunately many of the questions I am asked are not clear enough to the general public.  If the undecided got the answers to these questions, as clearly as I see them now – I think Scottish voters would be much more confident in their decision.

1 . Scotland can’t afford independence.

Well, the UK spends approximately £60 Billion on its defence budget every year. Scotland’s saving’s on defence alone would reach over a billion pounds a year, every year, you know, forever.

Many of Scotland’s businesses have head offices in London because it is the financial capital of the UK. Scottish taxes are therefore accrued as part of the London economy. Scottish taxes and assets belonging to the Crown Estate are also included in London’s finances. In the event of Independence, Scotland would regain much of its drained economic prosperity back from London. This figure is unknown but is in the billions.

Scotland would no longer have to pay for its share of many aspects of the UK establishment. The judicial system, the huge Westminster bureaucratic system, the immigration system. This is worth billions to the Scottish economy.

2. Ah, but you will get invaded without the UK’s nuclear capability.

Well, joining the likes of Canada, Australia, and most of Northern Europe in becoming Nuclear Free does seem like an awful risk when you look at how often those parts of the world get invaded.

3. And the oil is running out so you’ll run out of money.

Scotland’s oil has been running out imminently since the 1970’s according to all UK political parties. But the future of Scotland is not in oil and gas, it is in renewable energy. Scotland has the capacity to provide the energy to power a quarter of Europe through tidal and offshore wind energy. Scotland’s population of 5.2 million could provide the energy for 180 million people in our neighbouring countries. That is our future, and it’s prosperous.

4. You won’t be able to use the pound.

 Independence means making your own decisions, not asking permission. The pound sterling is an asset that belongs to Scotland as a large percentage of its accrued value has included growth from Scotland’s economic prosperity. Scotland used the pound before the Union and will use it after the Union.

5. All the big companies will leave if Scotland is independent.

 Leaving an advanced, secure, rich, educated economy is simply bad business. Any company that left on a matter of principal would find their position in the market filled instantly by one of various competitors. That is the nature of international business.

6. Scotland can’t get into Europe.

The Scottish people are already citizens of the EU. The EU would have to expel the 5.2 million Scottish citizens before telling them they cannot rejoin. No EU citizen has ever been expelled, including convicted criminals, murderers and terrorists.

7. Scotland will have no say on international matters which it does as part of the UK.

Scotland’s politicians and citizens were against the Iraq war, Scottish soldiers went to war. Scotland’s international policies will differ greatly from that of the UK, with a more progressive and peaceful approach to diplomacy.

I have loved Scotland all these years and I love its people. To which extent I am happily settled and live here with my young family. Unfortunately my wee ones are not of voting age. For them and for the betterment of Scotland on September 18th, I will be voting YES.

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  1. hektorsmum says:

    Clare thank you for that, it remind us that we have so many good people involved with Scotland’s future. When I read blogs on the YES side If I had any doubts, and I don’t but if I did. I would know which side was the correct one.

  2. Cozmiester says:

    Good article but please note Scotland is of average size as a country rather than being smal. We are actually 118 lsrgest out of 266 http://www.nationmaster.com/country-info/stats/People/Population

  3. Les Wilson says:

    Power to you Clare, you embrace the possibilities for us to be different in soo many ways.

  4. davidmccann24 says:

    As succinctly put as I have seen so far in this debate. Who needs OBRs, Scottish Grand Committees or even white papers?

  5. Tom Platt says:

    What is most valuable about this piece IMO is the straightforward answers that Clare provides to the common questions raised. If the undecided, and even many of the “No”s, saw those answers to these questions there would be much less doubt about “Yes”.

  6. Ian Kirkwood says:

    Excellent post Clare. Sincere, succinct and without embellishment. You are an asset to the people of Scotland and I wish you the best of success!

  7. YESGUY says:

    Superb.

    great read and the questions , simple but very effective.

    Thank you

  8. Seamus MacNeacail says:

    As far as defense budget savings, I would hope that a free and independent Scotland would join the world’s nations as an equal and would take responsibility for its own defense and not not want to be a “protected” defenseless 3rd class country. I hope Scotland does as other independent, free European neighbors such as Norway, Sweden and Switzerland, who accept the responsibility for their own defense and don’t rely on a benevolent “big brother” protector for their safety and protection. Reality shows that when times get tough that one can only depend on oneself for defense. Look how the US has stopped protecting weak countries under attack. If Norway, Sweden, Canada and Switzerland can afford to defend themselves there is no reason a free and independent Scotland can not either.

  9. Crubag says:

    I’d agree with the defence savings (I’m thinking we will be around Norway/NATO, Ireland/neutral levels of expenditure) but savings on ” judicial system, the huge Westminster bureaucratic system, the immigration system”? We’ll still need justice (already devolved) plus the new functions (so more public servants), but a new start means we should be able to do these cheaper – we don’t have to exactly copy the existing structures and can use new technologies from the start..

    On energy, I think you’re being a little panglossian, and have confused electricity with energy. Electricity is typcially only around 20% of total energy use. Scotland’s offshore wind resource (the mature technology), assuming it is all developed (there are now environmental restrictions on where piles can be driven) would generate about 94 Terawatt hours a year. EU-27 energy consumption is 20,000 Terawatt hours a year.

    “Scotland used the pound before the Union and will use it after the Union.”

    No. Scotland had its own currency, the Scots pound before the 1707 union. It was replaced by sterling at a 12 Scots pounds for 1 sterling pound.

    There is no reason why we shouldn’t have our own currency (and lots of reasons why we should).

  10. James Sharp says:

    Yes

  11. Voices like this are so important. This is the spirit of England at its best. We do not need to be in a “marriage”. We an simply respect one another’s differences, and support one another, in working towards a post-imperial world. Thank you Claire Ferguson.

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