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Scottish independence would ask more questions than it answers

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

Readers' comments (2)

  • Dear fellow Scot,

    I understand you concerns, but having been outwith the country over the last 50 years you will I hope appreciate that things have moved on considerably.

    Regretably we are in a position where wealth, power and media output are vested heavily in the south east to the detriment not only of Scotland but other parts of the UK. Put simply, the population have had enough of the imbalance.

    Increasingly the outlook of professional young Scots is a global one, and whilst the border with England is important we are concerned about the politics of isolation from Europe which is bubbling in Westminster.

    You may not be aware, but answers for many of the questions you have raised have been given many times over during a debate which within Scotland. There has been extensive discussion for over two years. The complexities of this constitutional change have had more advance discussion and analysis than any other in western history.

    Re the voting structure, recent polls suggest that young voters are inclined towards a No. It is any case unreasonable that people can have family, pay taxes and fight in the armed services at 16, but cannot vote.

    As for what happens at the end of this week, it's too close to tell. Power will now leave London regardless of the outcome. This is something that is long overdue not only for Scotland, but also the regions of England which retains so much potential.

    Written by another manager in a CN100 top contractor.

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  • Dear fellow Scot, in my opinion your view is typical of many Scots who move down South and talk of their patriotism and love of Scotland whilst in reality care more for their own well being rather than the Scottish people themselves. This is amply shown by politicians like Blair ( born in Edinburgh but quickly shorn of any accent or loyalty and Douglas Alexander (couldn't get a seat on Scotland so moved south to a safe seat and troughs the expenses like his sister) who like to lecture everyone from the safety of their protected surroundings. I too live in England forced away from Scotland to find a job because of high Scottish unemployment during a time when Scottish companies were taken over by English companies with head office jobs then transferred down south. So in my opinion Alec Salmond is looking to provide the best future for the majority of Scots which I'm sure will not be an easy path, rather than look after a small minority who always out themselves before the common good. I just hope that the Scottish nation does not make the same mistake as historical generations by allowing themselves to be bought out by 20 pieces of Silver. I believe there are 400,000 English people living in Scotland allowed to vote. This equates to about 10% of the voting population so rather than what my poor fellow Scot alludes to in his post the Yes campaign already starts the race with a 10 yard penalty.

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