I thought I’d pen a few thoughts about the forthcoming vote on Scottish independence. Firstly, a general observation about the country which should give the reader an idea of my standpoint.
The Highlands are beautiful. Of that there is no doubt but they are nearly always cold, often freezing cold, and wet. When the weather is good, the place is infested with the Highland Biting Midge; a minute creature of unparalleled savagery that makes life unbearable for the sheep and deer that roam as well as the few humans who live there. In between the Highlands and England lies the major cities and towns. Again, the climate is miserable for a large part of the year while the people eat porridge, haggis and deep-fried mars bars. This diet makes them have a naturally aggressive nature, especially against the Auld Enemy aka the English. They cannot forgive the Act of Union because it is a perfect example of how financially irresponsible they are. Similarly, the bagpipes are the “musical” instrument of choice which shows how miserable the Scots are at heart.
Apart from the comments about the midge and the bagpipes, most of the above is written in jest. I am friends with several Scottish people who are perfectly nice, affable folk who do not exhibit homicidal tendencies. However, all jokes contain a kernel of truth. The Scots, as a people, have a deep suspicion and dislike of the English. They conveniently forget about their centuries of plotting with the French while maintaining a tribal hatred of the Auld Enemy. This goes to the heart of the Independence debate.
Financially, independence poses a huge gamble for Scotland. The leaked briefing paper from Deutsche Bank makes this clear. The paper is eloquently summarised here. http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/fraser-nelson/2014/09/deutsche-banks-devastating-analysis-scottish-independence-would-bring-austerity-on-a-scale-never-seen-before/
An independent Scotland faces a huge challenge. Not in the UK, not in the EU and already vetoed by Spain and Belgium, not in NATO, not in the World Trade Organisation, not in the IMF and with no control over whatever currency they decide to use. Even financial illiterates should be able to see clearly the road ahead will be rocky at best. Which possibly explains why schoolchildren have been given the vote.
Then there are the myriad other problems. Property, companies relocating so tax revenues are still raised in London, insurance, railway ownership and timetables, time zones and so on ad infinitum. None unsolvable but my bet is they will go rUK’s way by virtue of relative size.
And yet the vote for independence is currently a coin flip. Logic shows independence is not viable for Scotland without sacrifices that will last a very long time and no certainty of better times afterwards. So, the vote is down to emotion based on the perceptions of old battles and plots at least 300 years old.
Which brings me to my final point. Whoever wins the vote will be faced with a nearly equal number of voters who wanted the opposite. Scotland will be riven by internal political intrigue and hostility for decades to come. Win or lose the battle for independence, the war has been lost.