Friday, August 08, 2014

Scotch Mist - Occasional reflections on a referendum. No 5 –What is best for whom?

The first televised debate between the leaders of the opposing sides took place the other night. As it was on STV I was unable to watch (not that I necessarily would have, what with the build-up to the West Middlesex pro-am hopscotch first round relegation play-offs on Garbage) but gleaned the impression from the press coverage that Alastair Darling, for the “Naes” made a good case for the economic weakness that an independent Scotland would experience.  Predictably Alex Salmond for the “Ayes” continued to bluster that Scotland would remain in the sterling area with the full support of the Bank of England because this would be in the best interest of both countries. This line of argument has irritated me for a long time. The SNP have always campaigned, single-mindedly, that their policies were for Scotland and nothing else mattered. For them to now suggest that everything they do is best for everybody, even though their policies are contested by all of other the main political parties in the UK (yes, UK, there are other parties in Scotland), is confusing. Why should they care what is in my best interest?

Anyway, as I said in my last piece on this particular topic, what matters is the instinct not the endless batting back and forth of numbers. I believe that there is no conflict whatsoever between a healthy patriotism and the choice to join or remain part of a larger polity. Many of the North American states made this choice at a time when most of their residents identified with their state first and the USA second. Increasingly the citizens of Europe are moving this way, at least in part (Try driving from France through Belgium, Netherlands and Germany and see how many times you have to produce your passport). I believe that the UK can produce a better and safer quality of life for all of its citizens than if it breaks apart. The Scots have a flag, an anthem, a football team, a language (if they want it) and huge numbers of them prefer to live and work south of the border. Do they really want to see Prime Minister Salmond taking his place with the minnows at international conferences while Prime Minister Cameron (or should that be Johnson?) sits down at the top table? Do they really want to see their finest businesses relocate to ensure that they remain within the sterling area?

The vote is on 18 September. Five weeks before this business can be put behind us. It matters to me because I am a citizen of the UK and I continue to be frustrated that my views will not be taken into account on that day.

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