I’ve been following the campaigns for and against Scottish Independence ever since the referendum was passed and the date announced last year. It’s been interesting hearing the reasons for and against Scottish Independence and for me, as I’m sure for many others - the discussion has not just been about what it means to be Scottish, but what it means to be British. Both of my parents are Welsh, and although I feel a strong affinity with Wales, I was born and raised in England. My wife has a Scottish father and and English mother - so the baby we’re expecting in November will be a very British blend.
The island that we live on is only small. You can fit the UK into Texas almost 3 times. For me, It is a nonsense to bisect this little land that we share. Scotland has it’s own wonderful cultural identity but reports that Scots and English are different are greatly exaggerated. As value sets go, ours are indistinguishable from each other. Scots are broadly conservative with a small ‘c’. Until the 1950s the Tories enjoyed a majority vote in Scotland. ‘Westminster Elite’ and ‘Tories’ get mentioned a lot by Alex Salmond and we are often reminded that Scots didn’t get the government they voted for - but let’s not forget that with the coalition government, nobody in the UK has the government they voted for! Only 36% of those who voted, voted for the Tories. In 1997, Scotland propelled New Labour to power and helped to keep them there for 3 terms. This is the nature of parliamentary democracy. Scotland brings political equilibrium to the UK. Without the Scottish Labour vote, the balance of power lurches significantly to the right for those who remain in what is left of The Union. Independence is something of an abandonment of Labour voters in England and will make it much easier for Tories to pass the post first in future elections. Great for Tories, but terrible for a strong opposition and blow to democracy.
The other element of the separation that I find at odds with itself is the oil. I believe strongly that technology is moving far too fast and world changing far too quickly to rely on oil for a sustainable income, but that is a whole different discussion. British oil lies off the coast of Scotland in the North Sea. The Scots are being encouraged to ‘take what is theirs’ and start over. This presents a disparity with what we are told are Scottish values of justice and equality. It means taking one of our island’s natural resources and most significant economic assets all for themselves. Perhaps there needs to be redress on how those oil revenues are divided but to hoard this resource as ‘ours’ to benefit from it alone contradicts the core argument for moving apart for a ‘fairer’ society. It is Capitalism at it’s boldest.
The world that we live in is shrinking constantly and it seems counter-intuitive on so many levels to divide our nation in two. The UK’s importance as a global power has been in decline throughout the 20th century but we have been finding ways of remaining relevant through our finance, science and tech industries. We have a promising future but Scottish Independence will be a critical hit to our standing. Our island will be on course to be one of the spectators of world events. Our combined strength in the last 300 years come from the ability to control and defend all our united coastline and airspace. We’ll rely increasingly on the US and France and Germany for our stability and safety.
4 million Scots on this island of 63 million will decide the trajectory of all inhabitants of our nation. The pound is already dropping value at the looming prospect of Scottish Independence and the uncertainty in the delicate global economy could be perilous. I could write and write but my intention is just to make it clear that I am one of the Brits who is desperate for Scotland to remain. It can be very difficult to market for the status quo, but that is largely the task of the flawed, sometimes complacent ‘Better Together’ campaign. As a United Kingdom we do need greater regional powers and the concentration of political and economic power in London is in need of reform - but Scottish Independence is not the solution.
The people on this island are not reluctant neighbours with conflicting values and different directions. We are family on a rock and we are inextricably linked. For better or worse we have a shared destiny and and I am in no doubt that we are stronger, smarter, more formidable, better together.
Vote ‘No’ on September 18th. Please
TL:DR: I love the United Kingdom. Don’t go, Scotland.