BY RORY MCGLASSON If you haven’t heard, Scotland, that wee country off the northern edge of the United Kingdom – about the size of Jersey – will decide if they want to become an independent state on Thursday. Scottish referendum day will decide whether the Scots stay Unitedish with England, Wales and Northern Ireland (UK) or, if they vote for Independence. The bottom line is simple: If the Scots vote “Aye” on Thursday, it will end Scotland’s 300-year union with the UK. That’s a-bigger-than-your-Ray Rice-beats-his-girlfriend-NFL-player-slaps-his-kids-around-a-bit kind-of news story.
You have the Scottish Nationalists – led by party leader Alex Salmond – cheering the “Aye” vote. On the other side, you have the Unionists – led by British Prime Minister David Cameron and stack full cards, such as David Beckham, yes him, cheering on the “Naw” – we’re better if we stay together” message. The nationalists are the bookies favorites. Gulp! A whopping 75 percent of the 5.3 million people of Scotland – including 16 -year-olds – are expected to vote at the Scottish referendum day on Thursday. Why can’t 16 year-olds vote in the United States? Oh, that’s right, because they are 16. Sixteen.
Scottish Nationalists believe a yes vote will provide Scotland with a unified governing body, as opposed to a current Tory-led Government that the Scots did not vote in to power. “Don’t believe a word coming out David washes-his face-in-moisturizer-hasn’t-worked-day-in-his-life Cameron’s cake hole. Awrite!” The word on the streets of Glasgow: He doesn’t give feck about us, eh. Nationalists also believe one Scottish democracy moves all governing powers to Scotland, obviously. Nationalists also believe sole ownership of oil from the northern sea will result in an unlimited bounty of riches; wee Scotland becoming one of the richest in the European union. Define never-ending resource, Mr. Salmond? There’s also support behind the idea of a nuclear free Scotland; get your U.S. owned Trident missiles off our shore kinda speak. Nationalists tout equal rights, wages and benefits. One interesting, but fundamentally flawed idea, however, is the Nationalist narrative: Decisions about the Scottish National Healthcare system are made by a Tory-led government. That’s bollocks, that is.
The almighty pound sterling for one. No matter how you slice and dice it, staying in the UK and keeping the pound as its currency is better for Scotland. David Cameron and Co. have publicly rejected the idea of sharing a common currency. Unionist will tell thee, Scotland exports more to the UK than any other nation – and sticking a border between nations makes little economic sense. Oh, and creating a barrier would also result in a loss of jobs, six figure numbers, Unionists say, but back to health care. Yes, that old universal health care issue. Unionists will tell you, and it’s true, that decisions about the NHS in Scotland are all ready made in Scotland. Again, this notion that a Tory-led government will destroy the Scottish healthcare is simply rotten haggis. I just went there. One thousand apologies.
Before I moved to Philadelphia in 2001, I lived in a northern town in England. On a nice clear day – we have about three per-year – I can see the Scottish lowlands across the northern sea from my bedroom window. I still have this lilt Scots-English hybrid accent going on; albeit peppered with Philadelphian grit these days. I remember Sunday afternoons as a youngster sipping Irn Bru – a Scottish institution – with my English and Scottish friends. I am English, but made from a little bit of girders. Google: Irn Bru. Please don’t leave us, Scotland! “I wonder if the process has been thoroughly thought through in all respects,” said Tony Cunningham, a Labour MP from my hometown Workington, via Facebook on Monday. “For instance, if there is a yes vote, Scotland ceases on independence to be a member of the European Union, so England would have a border with a non EU state with all the implications and complications that would bring.”
TOO LITTLE, TOO LATE?
Despite an open letter to the people of Scotland, signed by folks such as Mick Jagger and David Beckham – him again – the Nationalists are leading the polls. The unionist message “we’re better together” appears to have come far too belatedly. Despite publicly denying it, Cameron could be forced to resign if he loses Scotland under his tenure; members of the Conservative Party are already eying a leadership coup. Despite Deputy Prime minster Nick Clegg added a “Vote No” Twibbon on his Twitter avatar last week, and spreading the NO message all weekend – the “better together” narrative is proving far too little, far too late. And despite flying the tartan colors all weekend, Labor leader, Ed Miliband, has a better chance of finishing off a bacon sandwich with dignity, than he has of persuading the unionist masses to come out and vote No on Thursday. I fear Cameron and company have left it too late. The arrogant blighters! The NO message looks likely to fail.
However, surely there are other ways for Scotland to partake in the devolution of England without a fully fledged divorce. We are better together. The collective “We” I’m referring to is basically my northern English (and Scottish) family, and friends. I guess what I’m trying to say is, please don’t leave northern England alone with that Westminster lot. I support more power for local councils; regional assembly groups in the House of Commons; ideas and reforms that could exist within the current United state, surely! That said, come Thursday morning, I fear the Unionist fight might fail.
I can visualize Scottish National Party leader Alex Salmond on the phone with officials from Department of Defense and the White House as early as Friday morning.
“Git me th’ President!”
“Mr. President: Where do we send these Trident submarines?”
Be careful what you wish for, folks.