Co as leth a Thir, sa Coir,
Thairneas staillinn chruaidh na dhorn?
Above, in Gaidhlig (Scots Gaelic) is Scotland’s national anthem. I hear you say that I am wrong, as it is ‘Flower of Scotland’, but no. I am not talking about the ‘official’ one but instead ‘Brosnachadh Bhruis’ by Rabbie Burns. The translation is ‘Scots Wha Hae’ and the lyrics I have used are quite emotive for nationalists. It translates as ‘Wha for Scotland’s King and Law, Freedom’s sword will strongly draw...’ This was song created just before the Battle of Bannockburn and if you read up on Scottish history you will know why the Battle of Bannockburn is so important to Scots – it was the most decisive battle won by the Scots in the First War of Scottish Independence. It seems now that in 2013, there commences a new war for Scottish Independence and this is in the form of the Scottish Nationalist Party (SNP) and its leader Alex Salmond. It does not seem surprising that Alex Salmond has called for the independence referendum to be held next year in 2014 – precisely 700 years after the Battle of Bannockburn was won. Smart move by the SNP.
Now based on the above my learned friend, Tom or if he was Scottish Tam, has asked me to answer a couple of questions surrounding Scottish Independence. He has asked if I support the Yes campaign and why I do or why I do not.
Now I think that is a somewhat difficult decision to make right now since it seems that the SNP do not have any idea what they are talking about in regard to fiscal policy if independence does indeed emerge. They have not yet produced a solid document with any creditworthiness establishing how on earth Scotland will cope on its own without the rest of the United Kingdom and recently emerging the European Union. Does the SNP honestly think that Scotland has the potential to sustain itself without these two bodies? I am not entirely convinced.
From a personal perspective, I do feel very patriotic and do feel that my national identity is Scottish as opposed to British. I do not want to go into great lengths about the whole ‘British’ issue but I guess it is like saying to an English person the same question about are they patriotic about England and is there national identity English. You will get the same answer that the Scottish individual gave and that’s understandable. The two nations are very different and although I have forgotten about Wales and Northern Ireland, you will hear the same thing if asked.
Now how patriotic do I feel about Scotland that I wish it to be independent from the rest of the United Kingdom? My answer would be that I feel that Scotland is a different place altogether and so on that alone, I would vote yes. However, I do not feel that voting yes is the right decision. Therefore I will probably not be voting yes.
The reason for me for declining my beloved little land another vote in favour of independence is because I do not want to see Scotland suffer. I firmly believe that we will not be better off without the rest of the UK and certainly not without Europe. There have been various business figures that have said Scotland has the power and capabilities to become independent and that may very well be so in terms of business. However my concern is how do you get businesses to move away from the big city of London up to Scotland? The answer I reckon lies predominantly through the creation of tax breaks and the lowering of corporation tax. With this in mind, business will be more open to seeing it as a better deal. However if businesses do this, what about the revenue of tax that the government relies on to pay for our services such as education, health and welfare? If there is not enough revenue then goodbye services. This is a probably sceptical view and may not even be a concern but it is one I have. We do not have the population to provide the amount of revenue required to fund and sustains. Therefore it is up to external factors such as businesses. It is a complicated issue and quite frankly it still has not been dealt with properly.
Moving on to the ‘money maker’ – oil. It’s Scotland’s oil. We can become like Norway. SERIOUSLY? ARE YOU STUPID? If you had advocated independence back when oil and gas was first discovered in the North Sea then maybe we could have been like Norway but as a society we are anything but similar. We have an entirely different attitude and that is probably what does not make us as successful as Norway. It is a shame really. What people also forget is in the Northern North Sea where predominantly the most amount of oil is and also west of Shetland where new fields are currently being discovered, it is not Scotland who has the oil but Shetland. Shetland has always been known for its views about Scotland and according to international law; Shetland has the right of self-determination. If Shetland were to do this then I am afraid not all would be well. Shetland could become independent in its entirety or side with the rest of the UK and then the oil and gas would be rest of the UK’s and not Scotland’s. Is this really what the SNP want? I am not so sure.
I do think that it is a complicated issue and there are a lot of benefits to having independence such as making decisions more central to the people living in that nation and maybe devolution max or more devolved powers would be better suited at this stage. Going back to the song I mentioned at the start, voting yes will mean ‘But they shall be free’. However if we follow the song right to the end it will not be a matter of ‘Let us do or die’ but instead ‘Let us do AND die’ and I would never want to see that. Scotland has too much to offer but not on its own.
I've been sitting on this post for a few months now, as I asked both Glaswegian Sensation and another friend for their inputs. Glaswegian Sensation came up with hers in just a couple of days, while the other individual (an ardent supporter of Scottish independence) has encountered some delays. I'm finally posting this because I've given my nationalist friend a deadline of early next week to get his long-awaited response to me. So, either it's coming in the next few days, or else he'll forfeit his opportunity to present the nationalist perspective. Hopefully that forfeit won't take place, as I prefer that debates on all issues provide proper attention to both sides of the argument so that people can make informed decisions. So, since I know that he's reading this: the gauntlet is thrown down, my friend! The Operation Highlander audience is waiting!
As I've mentioned before, I remain skeptical of the proposed Scottish secession referendum, but I'm also willing to be convinced that the SNP has a plan and a justification for secession. The wait continues.