Paul - who brings friendly nonsense (blur_kiwi) wrote,
Paul - who brings friendly nonsense

Finally, falling on one side of the fence

I’ve just been looking back through some of my entries and I’ve re-read what I wrote here on 19 September last year. It was my column about the impending Scottish referendum on independence.

I saw this video, used as a television advert, yesterday evening ( and it reminded me that I had planned to revisit this topic.  

Basically, I read that I couldn’t decide. In general that doesn’t surprise me, as someone who completely fails to commit to anything at all. It’s far less complicated that way. But, on this particular issue I can understand especially why I was so spectacularly undecided.

As I said at the time, there is a part of me (an ancestry I’m immensely proud of) that wants Scotland as an independent nation – after all, it has a culture of its own, an astonishing uniqueness that is easily recognised around the world. Its music, and the wonderful way it sounds, is familiar to most, its literature demonstrates a sense of nationhood that writing from England could never hope to achieve, its art and design is as Scottish as the hills, lochs, islands and mountains that inspired much of it. I intend every pun I use, and this is no exception; it has a voice that is easier to identify than most world accents in any language. Scotland deserves to be seen as being for and of itself. It shouldn’t just be a ragged northern part of something else.

Scotland has a lot going for it, there’s no denying. To start with, it delights me so very much that Scotland would be the only ‘western’ country where that vile dark brown muck that might just rhyme with Poky Pola isn’t the most popular soft drink. Let’s hear it for the very Scottish Irn-Bru (iron brew).

You can feel a ‘but’ coming, can’t you? Of course there’s a ‘but’, there’s always a ‘but’. And here it comes…

But. The loss of Scotland from the United Kingdom would diminish the country, and the nation, beyond recognition. A UK without Scotland would be a mere shadow of what it is now. I can’t really imagine, and I think I’ve got quite a good imagination, my country not having the Scottish bit.

Obviously, Scotland wouldn’t move geographically, it wouldn’t up and resettle somewhere warmer. It wouldn’t even go for a change of diet, with less fried and more fresh – cold chips are comically known as a Scottish salad among British stand-ups. But its relationship with everyone else would change. And that’s quite a big problem. If the people of Scotland vote for independence, they have already been told that they wouldn’t be able to keep the pound. They’ve been told they wouldn’t automatically keep EU membership (so adopting the Euro would be out too); they wouldn’t automatically cling on to the same Head of State (technically, the Last King of Scotland might just be a queen!) and things like banking arrangements wouldn’t carry on as before.

These announcements, teased out of Westminster and Brussels in recent months, must have come as a bit of a setback to the ‘yes’ campaign.

No one is ahead in the race, if race it is. The average of the polls I’ve seen (and I really wouldn’t set any store by opinion polls before the event, because I think I’d enjoy misleading them if I had the chance, for comedy and practical joke value, if nothing else) suggest that about 40% support the ‘Yes’ vote, about 40% support the ‘No’ vote, and the rest are either undecided or not planning to vote.

There’s still a while to go yet. The vote takes place on 18 September, and only voters registered in Scotland get a say. So, my opinion simply doesn’t count and certainly doesn’t matter, but I still believe I have a right to voice it. Whatever decision the people of Scotland make will have an impact on me, and everyone else in the UK, and Europe for that matter, and on anyone who trades with any of us.

I’ve thought long and hard, weighed up the arguments that have swirled around, however briefly, in my head. And I’ve decided how I would vote if I could.

The ballot paper will have this question on it: ‘Should Scotland be an independent country?’ And I would tick the box marked ‘No’. There, I’ve done it, I’ve nailed my colours to the mast. I don’t want a UK without Scotland, I don’t want to lose the links that all of us being part of one UK bring.

I don’t want a British parliament perpetually run by the conservatives. (Here’s a pleasing fact: there are more giant pandas in Scotland than there are conservative MPs.) We need that balance, we need the cynicism and rebellion that Scotland supplies, and we need the inventiveness, humour and good sense that come along with them.
Tags: columns

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