No is not always negative
Unless you’ve had your head buried in a freezer or been away in the North Pole, you can hardly fail to know that Scotland will go to the polls this Thursday, 18th September, in what is set to be one of the most important elections of modern British history.
With votes still too close to call, the Prime Minister David Cameron made his last ditch efforts to save the Union yesterday with his emotive and impassioned speech in Aberdeen. Too little too late, perhaps, but still, many remain undecided.
As a firm advocate of the current British Union I am very happy, and consider myself generally blessed, to be part of the UK as it remains. To tear it up with a potential ‘Yes’ vote seems not only unfair (since we in Northern Ireland, Wales, and England have no say in the matter), but also very careless and callous.
Alex Salmond’s substance-less rhetoric fails to mention any concrete plans for much that will need to be clear once the counting has finished on Friday. Yet still, to my utter amazement, we are being told daily in these incessant 24/7 news bulletins covering it all, that the contest is still perilously close to being a majority ‘Yes’ vote for independence.
On a recent summer trip to the beautiful Scottish island of Iona, one could be forgiven for thinking I was anywhere but at home in the north coast of my own beloved Northern Ireland. Such were the similarities between, for example, Rathlin, and other parts of County Antrim or County Donegal.
Yet votes in the Western Islands and Highlands of Scotland are some of those more likely to be voting ‘Yes’, than many in the urban regions.
Sectarian hatred of the English is such, there, that this once in a life-time rhetoric continually being played out by the SNP is not falling on deaf ears. This is seen as Scotland’s chance to seize back power from it’s domineering ‘big brother’ England. But at what cost to us all?
By Scotland’s residents (including many Northern Ireland people who now live there) voting ‘Yes’ a permanent split between the very land Iona’s famous saint, St. Columba, was from, would occur with the nation which came to adopt him as its very own.
Northern Ireland and Scotland have irrevocable historic ties between them, from right as far back as Columba’s era in the 6th century, with the ancient lands of the Picts and the kingdom of Dalriada, to and more ‘recent’ Ulster Plantation of the 1600s, from which my forefathers travelled from Scotland to settle in County Antrim. Many here in these shores have perhaps wisely remained relatively silent on the matter, however, the fact remains, that the vast majority of Northern Ireland’s people do not want ties to be cut, and Scotland to leave the current Union we enjoy.
Sir Nicholas Macpherson, the UK Treasury’s top civil servant (and entirely impartial), stated unequivocally that an Independent Scotland, would not be able to retain the British Pound. Yet still we have no real clarity from the SNP on what would be their actual real alternative?
Sir Nicholas Macpherson, who is the permanent secretary to the Treasury, said the Scottish Government had been “casting aspersions” on Westminster’s integrity and it needed to be made “absolutely crystal clear” that a monetary union was not on the table.
He said that George Osborne, the chancellor, had neither told him to write a letter rebuffing SNP proposals for sharing sterling or ordered the advice to be published.
The comments came during Sir Nicholas’s appearance before MPs at the Public Administration committee in April to discuss civil service impartiality and referendums.
A letter written by Sir Nicholas to Mr Osborne warned that a post-independence currency union would be “fraught with difficulty” and became a central part of the Chancellor’s justification for ruling out sharing the pound in February.
If that’s not another good reason to run from the economically absurd proposition of an Independent Scotland, I don’t know what is. We are talking about putting Scotland on a par wit some third world nations here. Don’t be fooled by Alex Salmond and Nicola Sturgeon’s rhetoric:
New IMF forecasts show that an independent Scotland would have one of the highest deficits of all advanced economies
Upon looking at the figures, only the US would have a larger fiscal deficit than an independent Scotland in 2016, and only just. Surely that statistic alone is enough to scare any savvy Scot away from the foolishness of voting for an Independent Scotland?
Another very good reason I would argue the Scots should be considering, is the spiritual union between Scotland the rest of the UK.As a bible-based Christianally founded nation, is it really what God wants to break away and feed an Independent spirit rather than thrive in Interdependence? Shouldn’t Scotland be seeking to increase its authority by leading the Way more within the Union, rather than breaking away because of national pride? After all, pride comes before a fall.
Like it or not, Thursday’s vote will have significant and long-lasting ramifications for us all, as British citizens, and I for one am hoping to wake up to a positive ‘No’ on Friday morning.
It is fine for the Scottish people to have their right to vote, but as the Queen herself stated in a completely unheard of intervention on the matter at the weekend, they must think very carefully about the long term impact of their decision. Otherwise the consequences of a selfish desire to break ties with the English for the sake of breaking ties with the English may be irreversibly damaging upon us all.
Vote yes if you want, dear Scottish people, but a ‘No’ might not be a negative after all.