It has been three hundred and seven years since Scotland joined England to form the embryo Great Britain through the Acts of Union 1707. This was a protection measure for England so that Scotland would share that nation’s debt and stop any potential alliance between Scotland and France. Unfair allocation of members of the ruling houses, Parliament and the Lords, followed, sound familiar?
Now I’m not going to cover all the various disputes, rebellions and battles that have ensued in that time between the Scots and the English nor get involved in the rights or wrongs of the period. I would like to consider the prospects of the Scottish referendum in September this year, to decide whether they leave the union or not.
The politicians in both countries have been arguing the case from their respective ‘yes’ or ‘no’ points of view. The famous Scottish comedian, Billy Connolly, has been quoted as saying, ‘Anyone who puts themselves up for public office should be immediately barred from doing so because they are crooks!’ A sentiment fuelled by stories of corruption in governmental bodies the world over.
Scotland has been told by England that they will not be allowed to keep the pound as their currency and the European Union has expressed doubts that Scotland could ever become part of the union. There are those who argue that a small independent country cannot survive in the decentralised global community. All sorts of dire consequences are been fired over the border towards Scotland with counter arguments being fired back.
But can they make a go of it? Scotland has a wealth of talent in their business world, filled with people with acumen in spades and the experience built up over many decades in the oil and gas industry. The whisky industry is one of the biggest jewels in the UK’s export crown. The tourism industry, with the largely unspoilt countryside and its rich, romantic and tragic history, brings people pouring in from all four corners of the earth.
Should the vote go the ‘yes’ way the move to independence will start immediately. Now every new child in the process of growing up will stumble occasionally and there will be some setbacks and some successes. Hopefully England will help support the new independent country as Scotland has done for them and the commonwealth through numerous wars over many centuries. If they are not willing to help certainly they should not provide any hindrance.
I believe Scotland, given the chance, will make a success of independence.
Should the vote go the ‘no’ way, I think there will be a sigh of relief from south of the border. The issue will fade quickly but the possibility is that Scotland will be treated like a petulant child who has succumbed to failure in demanding their own way.
We shall have to wait and see!