Independence has a question, but what does it mean. Should scotland become an independent country. Two things come to mind on this question.
Firstly, Should Scotland become an independent country. Yes it should. there is no real holding us back as a nation. we have the ability and set up to become independent. I don’t see many people people who think scotland is subservient and couldn’t cope on its own.
The question is more to do with the perceived benefit or lack thereof if Scotland was to become independent from the rest of the UK. And I suspect that is a question of timing as much as anything else. @014 will be the year of a conservative/Lib Dem government in westminster, The commonwealth games in Glasgow and no doubt a rerelease of Braveheart! Scotland is a nation capable of being independent and doing well at any time.
At this time things are good in Scotland. We have a good relationship with England, we have good representation at the Uk Parliament, we have a good settlement with the barnet formula, we have a stable tax set up, we get left alone to do what we want with several issues such as how to spend our budget. Another good thing is that by association we have a big voice at european level, at UN level and a sorted system of diplomatic representation around the world.
I am not sure the argument has been made that this is ‘the’ time for a change.
Yesterday in an interview the SNP position on european membership post a referendum win was under attack. The SNP position was once independent, Scotland would continue as a member of the EU. It would be recognized that the UK has split and the on UK seat should become two (UK and Scotland filling the two seats) . The Interviewer questioned this. The alternative view was that as a new independent country who had left the UK, Scotland would have to start the application process from scratch, while the Uk retained its EU seat.
The Spokeswoman for the SNP, intimated that a vote for ‘Yes’ in the referendum is a vote to stay in the EU. A ‘No’ vote, would lead Scotland to being a part of the UK EU referendum sometime in the future, and Scotland could end up out of the EU. The Uk has a good deal at Europe, and having to restart from the outside as a smaller country would lead to a not very nice place to be.
I wondered if voting to to become independent was actually the second problem with the referendum question. What does it mean to be independent? Legally my life is managed by laws decided and implemented by several layers of government.
Layer 1 – Local council – South Lanarkshire
Layer 2 – Scottish national – Scottish Government
Layer 3 – UK national – UK Government
Layer 4 – European wide – EU
Layer 5 – International – UN
The referendum question asks about Scotland’s future status “independent? Yes/No”. Independent of what? At which level will Scotland be independent. It seems obvious that this is all about the UK, but I am not sure that then Independent is the right term. If the Yes campaign wins, and the Uk stay in Europe, does scotland end up subject to laws and decisions that we would ave less voice in the creation of. Would we have a smaller chair at a bigger european table. That would leave Scotland with a smaller voice, and less ability to represent our views to the larger political power brokers.
It is slightly inconsistent for the SNP to argue on the on hand fro Independence from England and Wales and Northern Ireland, while arguing that we still want to be in the EU. Independence from one group of countries who work together for the common good, while fighting to then become a member of a group of countries who work together for the common Good.
The advantage of this move would be the removal of one layer of bureaucracy. thats is surely a good thing. this would inevitably lead to the scottish government would have to grow to take on some of the functions of the UK government to ensure continuity of our country.
Either way I am not sure the questions has helped me understand on what issues I will be making a choice when the election date comes around. On reflection, perhaps the biggest obstacle is actually the politicians themselves, how they choose to work and do business in Holyrood and Westminster. how a culture of political life and working has developed. Yesterday I watched prime ministers questions from London. Today I watched First Ministers questions from Edinburgh. Both were depressing representations of how we are governed.
If it was a choice based on watching the two as one offs, one seemed slightly less depressing than the other. You can make up your own mind on which one is which.
The English are waiting
And I don’t know what to do
In my best clothes
This is when I need you