I’ve lived in Scotland all of my life. It’s a beautiful country, I love living in Scotland and would definitely consider myself a proud Scot. By no means would I say I’m a nationalist, nor do I eat shortbread, drink Irn Bru and watch Braveheart every evening. My Glaswegian accent draws a certain interest when I’m across the border that I have to admit I quite like. It’s a good conversation starter. The independence debate is rife in Scotland, but recent conversations I’ve had with friends over the border have made me a little concerned.
From my point of view, it seems that a large majority of those living outside of Scotland have this warped idea that everyone in the land of the Scots is rooting to be independant. Have a quick glance on the comment section of any Daily Mail story relating to Scottish independence and you’ll see comments like, “Give them what they want!” and “The sooner they’re independent the better!” I am well aware that the comments posted on the Daily Mail website come from a very particular type of reader, but nonetheless, many of us (if not the majority) do not want independence for our country. Let me explain why.
First and foremost, we are the United Kingdom. United. If Scotland were to break away, we wouldn’t have the same influence and global presence. As a team, we’re far stronger politically and on a global stage. Although Alex Salmond is a good public speaker and leader, he has left endless questions unanswered. With little information about what an independent Scotland would actually look like in practice – how can we be sure it’s what’s right for us?
…”The sooner they’re independent the better!”…
It’s a pretty obvious one, but going independent is like taking a huge gamble with our economy. We’re only just emerging from a huge recession and financial crisis, so would independence just be an added hindrance to getting back on track? As the United Kingdom, we have debt to pay and some of that debt is ours. If we were to become independent, sorting out who needs to pay what could become a very long, drawn out process and one that could work out to be a lot more expensive than previously thought. Spending cuts and an increase in taxes would be necessary as our government spending per person is a great deal higher than anywhere else in the UK.
Oh, but the oil! All of Scotland’s delicious oil. Well, that one isn’t as clean cut as it seems. Regardless of where the oil is, that doesn’t mean we owns it. Companies from all over the world own the oil, very few of whom are actually Scottish. According to a report in The Guardian, “North Sea tax revenues would not be enough to offset the loss of monies currently transferred from the rest of the UK, leasing to a net loss of funding at time under independence.”
…going independent is like taking a huge gamble with our economy…
The ‘Braveheart Effect’ is still one that is worrying to those who can see the bigger picture. Some people still hold on to that burning patriotism and moan when Andy Murray is Scottish when he loses and British when he wins. These people will most certainly vote blindly for independence without examining all of the points for and against. They will tick that ‘yes’ box due to sheer nationalism – but this isn’t the way is should be.
Questions still remain regarding currency, defence, healthcare, education, construction and multiple other key issues. I fully understand the frustrations that arise from feeling that we are poorly represented and that laws are passed in England without much consideration for Scotland. Doesn’t this mean that all that is needed would be greater devolution? If there were three options on the ballot sheet on Thursday the 18th of September this year, ‘Yes’, ‘No’ or ‘Greater Devolution’, I know which one I’d be choosing.