As the northern hemisphere rolls towards summer solstice we delivered some leaflets in Lochmaben with information supporting the case for an Independent Scotland at next year’s Referendum.
It’s difficult to encapsulate the importance of achieving independence but most people would recognise the importance in their own lives and how it allows them to take control of their own lives and become full adults, making decisions and taking responsibility for choices that affect their lives and futures directly. Extending this to the context of nationhood is not a large conceptual leap but fear is often the default when faced with the prospect of a change to the status quo.
From my experience of the recent Police and Fire Reform process which delivered the national Police and Fire services on April 1, 2013, it is clear that the day-to-day reality has not changed that much (except that there are more police on the street and specialist services can be deployed in more targetted way) and fears before it happened were greatly exaggerated. If Scotland became independent tonight I don’t think we would even notice the difference when we woke up tomorrow and went about our business.
Except that we may feel a stronger sense of identity with our nation and realise that there are a lot more opportunities than disadvantages. Even the hyperbolised arguments for the status quo are playing again on fears that things would get broken or difficult. The opposite would seem to make more sense: maintaining all the good relationships we already have with our national neighbours and those in Europe, more influence over key national decisions like who we go to war with and why, fairer distribution of national assets and resources to the people of Scotland, control over tax setting and spending, to name but a few aspects of benefit, not to mention the huge saving in time, expense and frustration with the removal of interference by Westminster in Scotland’s affairs.
Independence today would still mean that the plasterer would turn up tomorrow to finish the render on our house. My broadband would still work and the lights would be on. I’d still have to go to work and still have to pick up some messages from Morrisons before I came home. My daughter would still go to school in an already devolved education system. The recent terms of devolved Scottish Government have demonstrated that, yes, governments are still governments and we’re allowed to moan about them, but also we’ve proved as a nation that we can continue to deliver and exceed what was there before, despite the cuts forced upon us by the Westminster Government. Scotland can also respond more creatively, quickly and directly to the needs of it’s society in a way that remote government can’t – we simply aren’t represented well enough to benefit from what the Westminster government deems a priority.
If you were a country would you choose to be independent?