Scotland, don’t become strangers

Scotland,

The past few weeks you’ve shown more engagement, more humanity, more care about the things I wish we all stood up for, than ever. You’ve campaigned on both sides with passion, wit and intelligence, yet for such a momentous vote have been admirably amiable.

‘Project Fear’ is a bunch of crap, you’re right. Alex Salmond might be slightly too reliant on oil, his figures might not be watertight, some businesses might leave, but basically Scotland’s economy will be alright. The sky will not fall on your heads. Extricating yourself from Britain could drag on and tensions might flare, but it will be done and will be largely painless. I’ve no idea if you’ll flourish using the pound or decide to create your own currency, but either option will not be a disaster.

Joining the EU could be tricky but I’m sure it’ll happen, and you’ll have free trade and free movement in the meantime. NATO? The rest of Britain would never leave you open to attack or invasion, and you’ll quickly be able to defend yourselves. Your united hostility to nuclear weaponry is inspiring, and many Britons hope the Westminster government will listen.

Battle of Balaklava, ‘Thin Red Line’ We often remember the glorious and crazy ‘Charge of the Light Brigade’, but the day would have already been lost had not a Thin Red Line of highlanders and marines held off the Russian cavalry.

If I was a Scot I would be very tempted to vote Yes, even understanding all the economic and geopolitical uncertainties. The idea of a greener, more socially just, more Nordic-model country is incredibly appealing, added to the self-confidence and dynamism a new nation-state would have.

Norway peacefully left Sweden (‘The United Kingdoms of Sweden and Norway’) in 1905. The two are still neighbours, still friends. They speak similar languages and have similar cultures. One’s in the EU, one’s nearly in the EU. Both are good at sports and have very high qualities of life.

Here’s the thing though. They are different countries. Theirs is not the friendly rivalry of an England-Scotland rugby match, they don’t have a joint team in the Olympics or Eurovision or in war. They have fellowship, but no union, and that’s fine for them.

But I’m not sure it’s enough for us, which is why I’m urging you to vote no. Scots are not subject to England, Scotland is not a colony or a dominion. It’s a crucial part of the motherland, often the pioneering, leading part.

I wrote this incendiary piece much earlier in the year to show how absurd and disgusting Britain’s anti-migrant rhetoric seems when it’s applied to people we consider ‘like us’. I look at current Scottish migration patterns and show that if Scotland was independent and (in say a generation) its people were technically foreign, then Scots would be a very large ‘immigrant population’. There are about 750,000 in rUK right now. They would, like Romanians or Bulgarians or Poles, be counted in the statistics that are plastered across our news screens and Ukip’s posters.

When a Scot, for whatever unfortunate reason, draws a state benefit in the rest of the UK, she will count towards what xenophobes call ‘welfare tourism’ or ‘immigrant scrounging’. When a Scot is offered a job in England, Wales or Northern Ireland and takes it, she will be officially seen as a ‘jobs thief’. And after a few years of this, some fellow British people could start to internalise this message and see Scots in the same prejudicial light they already see various Europeans.

That’s what I’m afraid of. We could keep up good spirits and fellowship. Both our economies could flourish and our international standing remain proud. Scotland could avoid a few Tory governments. But we’d lose the basic sense, and legal truth, of coming from the same state. I do not want to be a foreigner in Scotland, and I don’t want my Scottish friends to be foreigners down here. Simple as that.

 

Also everything this guy says

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