Scottish independence

Possibly I might as well reveal where I stand on the issue.

Emotionally I’m torn on this. On the one hand, I’ve grown up more on English (and American) writers than on Scottish ones, and I have spent six weeks working in Essex and travelling the south of England (from Cornwal to Norfolk) before setting foot on Scottish soil for the first time. On the other hand, I’ve grown up in another nation always in the danger of being culturally absorbed by its bigger neighbour.

That said, rationally I’m for independence, although the argument is a bit torn as well. Personally I believe that either much less devolution or much more of it than there is now would be better. Whether compared with a full union or with independence, the current state of affairs has more disadvantages than advantages. The probability of devolution retracting is in the foreseeable future infinitesimal, which leaves full independence (or at the very least devo max) the only good option.

I could pile here arguments both for the union and for independence for hours, but we’ve all heard them and for two years more will keep hearing them ad nauseam. However, I had one thing more to consider than most: for about two decades I lived in the then Czechoslovakia and after it split in two I lived in the region for about two decades more. I’ve seen this before, so to say. And as far as I can tell, neither the Czech Republic nor Slovakia gained much from separation, but likewise neither of them lost. If anything, it put paid to the constant mutual accusations of who is more – whether economically or culturally – discriminated against.

Incidentally, having seen it before makes one even more sceptical about many of the proclamations on both sides of the debate. Splitting the armed forces, for example, woud be neither as easy as the SNP claims, nor as difficult as the unionist parties maintain. As regards currency, even having an independent one like the Greens have proposed this weekend wouldn’t be any harder than keeping the sterling or joining the Euro. (In fact, I suspect it might be the best solution.) EU and NATO membership? No such organization voluntarily lessens its power by letting its members go unless they ask for it themselves, although they would naturally threaten they might to start with a better haggling position when the details are discussed. And so on.

All in all, unless I get a fit of sentimentality I should vote for independence – but won’t slash my wrists whatever the result shalt be.



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