Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Should Scotland be an Independent Country?

Yes or No?
As a non-domiciled Scot I have no vote in tomorrow's referendum but, and this will come as no surprise to any of you, I do have a view.
We have reached the end of a passionate debate, over many years and covering a wide variety of issues; nationalism, the democratic deficit, Trident, sterlingisation, the Barnett Settlement, oil revenue, the privatisation of the NHS, the Scandinavian model ... even pandas! Both sides have bombarded us with statistics, paraded experts before us and cited examples of the success or failure of small independent states to support their opposing arguments. So much information but no right or wrong answers.
However, the question being posed of every voter tomorrow is a surprisingly simple one: Should Scotland be an independent country?
If independence means the freedom to create a fairer juster country in which to live, and to leave to future generations then, for me, the answer must surely be Yes. No one should be under any illusion that the ride will always be smooth, but it will be the Scots who will chose the direction of travel.
Never has the much used phrase 'too close to call' been more apt. There is little more any of us can do except watch and wait to learn the settled will of the people. But, there is a sense that, no matter what the result, Scotland has already won so much more than anyone could ever have imagined. The debate has ranged over every nook and cranny of the land, engaging people who don't usually do politics, giving 16-18 year olds a vote and with it a voice in their future, provoking a 97% registration and promising a record 80+% turnout. The Scots have invested everything in this referendum, too much for this to be the end of the process, no matter what the result.
I have always been proud of Scotland, the land and its people (in a completely non jingoistic way, of course). This referendum has done nothing to diminish my pride and everything to vindicate it.

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