Why do I want Independence for Scotland – I hear you ask?
Is it because we will be richer, or have more clout internationally, or what?
Nah, although I don’t find Labour’s scaremongering persuasive on the financial front. And, Anabel Goldie’s line that Scotland has more influence in the UN/NATO/EU because we’re part of England (sorry, the UK) is simply barking, (at least an Independent Scotland would have it’s own chair rather than having to sit on Westminster’s knee).
My reasons for wanting Independence are psychological and cultural. When Scotland win at football I rejoice, when Scotland lose, I don’t despair – because obviously Scotland isn’t 11 men on a football pitch….! Scotland is a bigger, a huge concept, rich in history, culture, identity, success, failure, promise. When an author like Ian Rankin (he’s so vain he’s bound to Google himself and find this) says that Scotland wouldn’t gain anything by Independence – he’s worrying about whether he’d still be eligible for the Man Booker. He’s not thinking about Scotland or about Scots.
What Scotland would gain from Independence is not being dependent on England. In a world where people refer to the UK as England, we’re playing a crap hand by condescending to put up with that degree of invisibility. An underperforming asset. If we play Independence right, with due regard to the global PR opportunity it presents, Scotland and Scottish culture (including, but not only, the Loch Ness Monster) will come out of the shadow of England. That’s what we gain from Inedependence.
And now is the time. The consequences of the internet revolution are still being worked out. But it blindingly obvious that you can build a much bigger presence on the web than your relative population size. The internet is a great equaliser, it abolishes the need for trading borders – why not think global.
The SNP aren’t responsible for the economic success of Ireland, Norway, Iceland. Nearly half of the members of the EU have populations smaller than Scotland. So, clearly the fearty assumption that it’s better to be big are now shown to be hollow. Being nifty is better than being big. Being sharp and clever are the premiums in a world where just about everything you touch or do could have been made on the other side of the world. Let’s stop rehearsing how it was Scots who invented everything and get on with doing it all over again (but this time applying for all of the patents).
Our biggest asset is our people – Scottish people. Scottish people who’ve gone to London at every opportunity just to prove they can. Funny how the benefit of that Scottish capital to England and the London tax take is never included in Labour’s Union overdraft calculations. Independence won’t curtail the ambition of Scots to emigrate and test themselves against unknown challenges, but an Independent Scotland will have a better chance of encouraging some of our diaspora to return (starting with the 59 Scottish MPs who’ll be kicked out of Westminster – those who really did want to serve could sharpen up Holyrood no end).
Being culturally at ease can only really be achieved in your own culture, otherwise you’re always a foreigner, an outsider. The very many Scots who live outside of Scotland or who leave because it’s the thing to do might well be persuaded that an Indpendent Scotland is worth giving a go. With opportunity no longer limited by geography, the internet makes Scotland a land in which to have a go go.
But this is the weird bit. Independence is no big deal. You still get your food from Tesco or the farmer’s market. You’ll still get your insurance from Italy, your power from Scottish Power’s new Spanish owners, buy your clothes from an Icelandic company and settle any number of transactions with a lovely call centre in India and let’s not forget the Chinese in the mix. When you vote for Independence, the Sky won’t fall in and you’ll still get Sky plus. It’s simply a constitutional rewiring. The substance will stay, but the intellectual content will be reconfigured. Being Scottish, being Scotland won’t look like a dangerous risk when looking back. In fact those gainsayers who think the Scots are too chippy(?) to be a real country will hang their head in shame.