Wednesday, September 17, 2014

When Scotland changes forever.....

In a world of history, a truly historic event is rare, but that's what Scotland gets tomorrow. On the 18th of September 2014, we the people of Scotland, get to vote on Independence. We get to decide whether we break away from the United Kingdom, or whether we stay. But either way, things look like they'll change, for the worse or better is anyone's guess.

The Stay together campaign is promising loads of new powers from Westminster, and that the UK will stay strong, in both military and monetary might. They say everything a Yes vote promises is dangerous, and too big a risk to gamble on. Perhaps their right.... perhaps.

Or perhaps not. The Yes campaign obviously states the exact opposite, that staying will continue the downward spiral of Scotland, and more and more power and money going to Westminster. They will continue to take Scotland's Oil and squander it, while giving little or nothing back. They also say the so-called powers that are on offer, will never appear and not to trust them.

A couple of years ago, I started out firmly in the No camp, but over time came over to be a resounding Yes. So what changed my mind?

Well, at the start I was concerned with things like defence, and thought that being an island nation, we can defend our borders better together,  and that leaving would make travel ultra complicated - at least for a few years.

But over time I realised that just like with other nations, partnerships could be done for defence - and probably will be, while travel disruption will actually be fairly minimal as I'm still on a UK passport - that isn't going to change.

The other thing I came to realise was that Scotland is just as capable of running her affairs as Westminster, after all there have been both Scottish Prime Ministers, and Scottish Chancellors. We're a smaller country with amazing natural resources, something Westminster really want to keep a hold of, and I do wonder if it wasn't for Oil and renewable energies (not to mention some place to keep their nuclear arsenal), would they care so much?

I also don't trust the current promise of new powers, because while the "current" leaders may indeed be sincere, there is no way they can promise. Any set of powers MUST go through current parliamentary procedures and be approved by both the House of Parliament, and probably the house of Lords. Back bencher's of all parties - not to mention some grass roots members, have expressed distress - and no small disgust, at additional powers being promised without proper discussion and review. So chances are, whatever comes - IF they come at all, won't be what they are promising, nor what No voters are expecting.

The ironic thing is, that the SNP wanted "Devo-Max" (which is what the offer of new powers is) was on the ballot paper as an offer, but Westminster refused, saying if MUST be a yes/no only. If it was on, I suspect it would have been an easy victory for No/DevoMax folk.

There's also the argument of Money, and what currency to use. I'm indifferent to this at best. We can of course use the English pound, or we could use the Euro or even just make our own. I don't really care either way. I suspect it'll be a few years uncertainty, and then stabilise. Scotland is, or would be, a wealthy nation. Oil rich, great renewable energy, and we export more than we import.

Why does the Better Together campaign think Scotland would struggle? What other Oil rich country struggles? And this isn't even considering the renewables. Scotland is currently on track to have 100% of it's power generated by renewable energy - we're already at 40%.

Not that I actually think we'll win to be honest. While there have been huge - HUGE Yes rally's, I also think those voting No are more the kind to just watch, stay at home... then vote No. I know this because many of my older relatives are no's, and they are exactly like this. On top of this there is also the undecideds, and they may well swing it either way.

But the thing I'm truly excited about, is the level of engagement on this vote. Unlike a general election where the public believes their vote counts for nothing - especially in Scotland, everyone here feels their single vote could swing things, so they HAVE to take part. It's amazing. There has been a 97% registration rate - unheard of in any election, and they are expecting 80-90% of these to actually vote. That's astounding.

So, yes.... I'm looking forward to tomorrow, to take the leap and cast my vote, and while I don't "think" we'll win - I'm certainly not sure, and I'm excited to hear the voice of Scotland - virtually ALL of Scotland.

So I'll vote Yes, and I'll hope everyone else wants to take that leap of faith with me, believe that Scotland is best suited to govern Scotland, because while it might be a tricky road ahead, nothing truly worthwhile is ever easy, and this is something worth taking that leap of faith for, not just for me, but my kids and my kids kids.

Wish us luck, no matter how the vote goes!!