One year to go

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You know when you want a new gadget or big purchase, you always make sure you do a bit of research first before spending a large amount of money? If the responses from critics was mixed and there was little information that was based on fact available would you buy it? If it was something like a car or even a house, would you risk your family’s economic future on it if there were no guarantees available?
If you answered yes to either of the last two questions I worry about you, and more importantly this is the kind of decision that we in Scotland are being asked to decide one year from today. We will enter the polling booth and decide whether we want Scotland to be an independent country or not.
As I’ve said on many occasions on this blog I am in the “No” camp as I cannot see the benefit of becoming a separate country would actually bring in the long term. My main reason is probably the lack of facts and information that we have on what a post-yes vote Scotland would look like. It’s easy for both sides of the debate to throw figures and “head and heart” sound bytes back and forth, but this is much more important than that – we are considering a divorce from a partner of over three hundred years with little or no chance of that ever being reversed.
The short term argument including oil and prosperity is fine and on that basis I can see the appeal, but in fifty years time when we have no oil what will happen then? This is more than a whim or a risk, it’s the future of our country and the shape it will be in for our children. I don’t want to risk the stability, opportunities and security we have as part of the bigger picture in the UK.
Devo max is returning to the table from all three of the opposition parties in Scotland and ultimately I think that’s where we’ll end up. We will take control of our own taxation but still exist as part of the Union.
What frustrates me is the tired cliches and suggestions of being unpatriotic by voting no. I am voting no because I am patriotic and want the best for my country. Nicola Sturgeon has been doing the rounds this week on BBC2’s Newsnight, the Today Programme and Good Morning Scotland within 12 hours of each other and each time throwing out prepared and vague answers. The SNP and Yes campaigners must convince us to change and these generalised token phrases and half truths disguise too much of the picture for us to make fully formed judgements. Better Together has been largely negative in it’s campaign and needs to come forward with concrete reasons why the Union is key to the future of Scotland.
Finally the romanticised vision of an Independent Scotland is one we should be very wary of – the shortbread tin, passionate, insular future is not a real one and we need to understand that any decisions that we criticise Westminister for will have to be made at Holyrood instead. The notion that those issues will go away are false and we need to realise that there are still more questions than answers.
The biggest fly in the ointment is that we will not get those answers until we sit down with “London” and thrash out an agreement. Share of debt, income from taxes, memberships of EU and NATO, pension provisions, NHS, border controls, trade agreements, armed services and so much more are things that we cannot sort out before this time next year.
If you want a solid and reliable answer to all these issues then your only options to vote no and continue in a successful partnership while still maintaining your cultural and national identity.
JD

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