In my view, there is a certain inevitability to independence in Scotland, whatever the voting results this week.
I have no idea when devolution was first mooted but the passing of the Devolution Act under the last government opened Pandora’s Box. Independence will happen… at some time.
By way of background, I am a proud Scot, living in England.
I was born in Aberdeen, but left with my grandmother, parents and older sister when I was a toddler to live in the Middle East where my father was a doctor.
Unfortunately we were forcibly made to leave Aden when my father died (no benefit system in Southern Arabia) and with little more than a few suitcases stuffed with personal possessions, we returned on the last plane to the UK in 1967 and lived with Scottish relatives living in Manchester on their living room floor until we were able to pick ourselves up again.
My family (who are all Scots) is amazing, we all pulled together and now I am proud to say are well established again in the UK.
The point of all this ramble is simple. Albeit I haven’t lived in Scotland for over 50 years, I am no less Scottish… but have no say in the future of my country… so when asked to write a piece on the yes/no vote, I felt compelled to say a few words.
I really fear for not only Scotland but for the rest of the countries in the UK if/when the vote favours a split. No-one has any real idea what will happen and there remain many unanswered questions… so how can a vote be based on anything other than fear vs sentiment?
There are questions such as, what will the currency be? Yes, Scotland will probably be able to use Sterling but how can independence really be independence when the currency is controlled by a foreign bank…The Bank of England.
Currency union requires political union so what interest would the decision makers in England have in protecting Scottish economy?
How would an independent Scotland survive a financial crisis? Mortgage lending has already started to stutter for all but the best customers. Investment & recruitment has slowed pending the vote.
All the countries in the Union would probably be damaged as a consequence of a split. England would be weaker and have less influence in the EU and Scotland, even less.
The Scots would be swapping a successful Union for another that is still unproven (whatever side of the European argument you are).
Whatever you feel about defence spending, currently the UK has the second largest military in the EU so a split would leave all weaker. Our relationship with the US and the rest of the world would weaken too.
What happens to Scotland’s influence abroad? England would keep the embassies. What would Scotland have? What happens if oil doesn’t throw up the wealth being suggested? There are so many unanswered questions that should have a material influence on an educated decision.
Yet for all that, the one thing I feel most sad about is the way the voting system has been constructed specifically to favour a “yes vote”.
I and the rest of the 750,000 Scots living in the UK but outside Scotland have no vote but I suspect would favour the Union. 16 – 18 year olds have been included, not because “it is their future we are voting for” but because they will be more inclined to be enthusiastic about a new exciting independent Scotland. The design of the voting structure is so transparently in favour of “yes” it’s comical.
Strangely, I will be a foreigner, living in England.
I would not be so arrogant as to believe I could and frankly would not want to sway educated opinion, but for god’s sake, why are we voting on such a massive and potentially damaging event while there are so many critical questions unanswered?
Too late now, so all I can hope for is that there is a no vote and when the question comes round again, we are better prepared and informed.
Written by a manager at a CN100 top contractor