So there you have it again – a big fat ‘No’ to Scottish independence. So please SNP, and all you other Republicans please accept the fact that the old animosities have actually moved on since the 17th Century and get over your impulsive need to ruffle everyone’s feathers every generation or so. Isn’t it finally time to just let it go for the good of the whole because all that these votes ultimately achieve is resentment, not only between Scotland and the other members of the Union but also within Scotland, where divisions between friends and within families will now fester long after this latest dalliance with self rule is long forgotten.
Despite everything that has been said and printed and tweeted, the leaders of the ‘Yes’ campaign (most of whom seemed so mesmerised by a chance to carve their names into history that they wouldn’t let something as inconvenient as the truth spoil their 15 minutes of fame), always knew Scotland would have a hard time of it if they won. Whether that was because they would be left out in the cold and bidding to get back into Europe or because they would soon end up running around like headless chickens desperately trying to organise the logistical nightmare of introducing a new currency.
Photo by kay 222
The ‘Yes’ campaign never missed a chance to brag about Scotland’s fractionally higher GDP at the moment, but even a dyed in the wool nationalist like Alex Salmond must have had his secret doubts, because he knew that this was nothing more than over optimistic ‘spin’. The simple fact is that once you strip the oil from your calculations, as it will be, when it dries up in approx 25 – 40 years time, then Scotland’s true GDP would look much closer to somewhere like Greece or even Albania and certainly a long way short of the rest of the UK. Then what would happen? Ask for another referendum to be allowed back into the United Kingdom? Well I am sorry it just doesn’t work like that Scotland, because despite being allowed the best of both world for far too long within the Union, the other members would more likely just slam the door in your face and tell you to maybe go try Iceland?!
This Vote has cost everyone in the UK, not just Scotland, somewhere in excess of £15 Million, money which would have been much better spent on other essential services. Put this together with the relative cost of the last referendum and that’s a cool £30 Million gone up in smoke. This despite, many people on the ‘Yes’ campaign having now declared that the ‘Referendum’ will effectively become a ‘Neverendum’. This is presumably just in case someone in Whitehall tries to say ‘No’ to something the ever restive Scots (and it seems to take very little to make them feel wronged and restive nowadays, like a child who has been raised without the parents using the word No!) Well fine – go ahead have yourself a Referendum once a year if you really want to, but you – as in the people of Scotland must pay for it. Then let’s see just how keen your politicians, or rather the people, who hold the politicians and their parliament accountable are, when other essential services are cut only in Scotland just to foot the bill, rather than as usual the rest of the UK having to pay most of it. This way if any future politicians should want to try and immortalise themselves, in the same self serving way that the outgoing First Minister Alex Salmond has done in both referenda, you can tell them to do it with their own money not the money of hard working tax payers.
Of course, as we have seen with the pledges squeezed out of Westminster last week, what is actually happening every time there is a vote on Independence, is that the Scots get even more concessions to the point that the people of Wales, Northern Ireland and England, who all pay the same level of tax, all end up losing just to keep people North of the border with a better standard of living. Indeed, one of the countless numbers doing the rounds last week was that every single person in Scotland gets somewhere in the order of £1,600 a head more in services, subsidies and hand outs than the rest of us… why? And now they expect even more, although less than 36% of the eligible population actually voted for Independence. To me that is quite wrong – as a tax payer I expect an equitable return for my hard earned cash not this creeping sense that the rest of the Union is actually getting less than the Scots simply because we are not making enough noise.
Finally, the spectre of nationalistic agitation was never far away from this vote. Although no politician would be stupid enough to use it as a platform, the rhetoric, language and cultural imagery of the strife of the poor Scots was always in the subtext. That may be fine for old dyed in the wool anti-unionists, who possess a knee jerk hatred of anything English, but now the ‘Yes’ campaign is turning all of its focus and energies onto the young. Impressionistic 16 and 17 years olds, who were incidentally, only allowed to vote for the first time at the referendum because the SNP believed the kids would carry the ‘Yes’ vote over the victory line. However, all that is likely to be achieved by targeting this group, is to cloak bigotry and hatred with an air of respectability because it’s about ‘politics’, but if you look close enough it’s mostly about perpetuating old hatreds that should really have been buried centuries ago.
Photo by Betsy Weber
Scotland the time to change the same old overplayed record is long overdue. Yes things may not have always been fair or equitable in the Union but you have actually been part of it and enjoyed it’s protection and prosperity for more than 300 years now. The last great battle between England and Scotland took place more than 250 years ago, almost 20 years before the American War of Independence, although the way history is regurgitated at the service of the anti-unionists you could almost believe it was only a few decades ago.
I am not denying that Scotland has a rich, varied and yes sometimes violent history, with characters such as William Wallace, Bonnie Prince Charlie and Robert the Bruce who still permeate the fabric of society. But this is the 21st Century – not the 13th, so perhaps these characters who are constantly invoked at the service of the Nationalist cause can finally be retired, so they and their images and stories can do what they have always done best for Scotland: help sell whiskey and bring in thousands of curious tourists, who are only too eager to spend their holiday pounds to explore that proud history or just to enjoy the beauty of the highlands and the lowlands.