Sunday 2 March 2014

Scotland's Vote 1: Scots Wha Hae

Scots, wha hae wi' Wallace bled,
Scots, wham Bruce has aften led;
Welcome to your gory bed,
         Or to victory!
--- Robert Burns, Scots Wha Hae

The Braveheart option

Exactly 200 days from now, on 18 September 2014, the people of Scotland will vote in a referendum on whether they want to remain part of the UK.

First of all, I want to say this:  No matter which side wins, I am extremely glad the question is being settled in a peaceful and democratic fashion.  Current events in Ukraine are just the latest in a long line of examples of what can happen when nationalism turns violent.

Thankfully, the days of Scottish independence being determined on a battlefield are over. The question at hand is whether a single (more or less) democratic state, the UK, should be split into two smaller ones: Scotland and the United Kingdom of England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Scottish independence and me

Scottish Parliament building. Source: Wikipedia
The Scottish Parliament building, Edinburgh
Living as I do in England, I won't get a vote in the referendum. I am taking a keen interest in the discussion though, especially since I lived in Edinburgh for nine years, I still have many friends there and some of my close relatives were born in Scotland.

I am honestly not sure which way I would vote, if I could. On the one hand, the UK has been around for 300 years and achieved some great things; that is nothing to throw away lightly. On the other, there is a serious case that Scotland has diverged too far from London and the south of England, and it is no longer in Scotland's interests to be part of an economic and political union with them.

I will have a lot more to say on this topic as the referendum approaches. To start with, I will be writing about two recent developments, regarding Scotland's currency and its membership of the European Union.

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