Scotland Decides?

There is a referendum about to take place in Scotland, to determine whether or not they wish to separate from the UK. I have deliberately not said if they are to be independent, simply because I do not view that as the case.

If the vote is yes then they wish to join/remain part of the EU, not really independence. Do not misunderstand me, I believe the EU is a very good thing that the UK should be part of, it is just in dire need of a serious overhaul.

Alec Salmond and the SNP have run a very good campaign and got the timing pretty much spot on and they are now threatening to win the vote. In my view a big part of this is down to it being easier to argue for change than it is to argue for the status quo.

Whichever way it goes, it is now looking like a close call. So, will the losing side accept that is the end of it? I think that depends on which side loses, if the pro-UK side loses I do not see how they cannot accept it. However, if the separatist vote loses by a relatively small margin I can see them calling for another referendum before the end of this decade. So, the once in 300 year chance will only be that if the vote is to leave the UK.

It is clear to me that September 19, 2014 will not bring clarity, it is likely to bring more confusion. For example if the cities of Scotland carry the vote to leave the UK but the islands overwhelmingly reject separation, should the islands be given a referendum of their own with 3 choices:

  • Stay with Scotland and leave the UK
  • Stay with the UK and leave Scotland
  • Leave both the UK and Scotland

Yes, this referendum will open a very messy future for some time yet.

My personal view, is simple, no one is better off with the break up of the Union. Governance within the Union needs looking at and changing not just for Scotland, but for all of us. There are a great many things that need to change and voting for separation just changes how vulnerable the economies of both will be.

I did watch a little of the debates on TV. There is no doubt to me that Alec Salmond is a better debater than Alistair Darling but if you paid attention you would have noticed that many of the things he said were in fact inconsistent. A simple example to show is on nuclear weapons, he kept going on about the £4 billion pounds a year could be better spent, but he also asked if there was a better way to spend £100 billion over 40 years. Either he was unclear about what he was saying or he shifted the cost by 40% in 5 minutes! He clearly wanted to use the £100 billion figure due to the enormity of it, but is this a figure looking back at what has been previously spent or looking forward at what will be spent. The context makes the maths very shaky here, but if they can be 40% out on a fundamental part of their calculations what faith can you have in the rest of the financial plans?

I think that is enough for now, but at least for the next ten days I predict more on this subject.

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