An independent Scotland would have made an interesting economics case study. How would Sterlingisation or a Currency Union have affected the Scottish economy? Now we may never find out. There were undoubted risks involved, though I’m not sure how much the issue affected the outcome. The Eurozone is also an interesting economics case study, but it has been a disaster for those who are at the receiving end of austerity and mass unemployment. I’m glad we don’t have a situation where five years down the road Scotland is marooned by English monetary policy and a lack of a Central Bank. Perhaps the SNP lacked the confidence to go all out for independence which means their own currency and Central Bank.
Last week, I made a rare foray away from economics in writing about why I emotionally I hoped Scotland would stay part of the UK
However, I watched an interview of Alex Salmond a few days later and was surprised at how much I agreed with him. I agreed with his views about nuclear weapons, the Iraq War, vague notions of social justice and what constitutes a good nation. I was reassured by his homilies about Scottish independence would mean England losing a surly neighbour and gaining a good friend. He is a talented politician – probably very skilled in knowing what his audience would like to hear. I suppose he’s not always been so forthcoming in promoting English / Scottish oneness. But, as the campaign went on I was impressed by the optimism of the Scottish independence movement – even if I was glad Scotland voted no.
There are times when you feel a bit small minded for always thinking of economic risks, pension funds and optimal currency areas. There are more important things than economics and financial stability, but whether Scottish independence is, I’m still not entirely sure.
If the question had been:
Do you want to remain part of the UK?
The campaign and outcome may have been quite different. It would have been easier for the Better Together campaign. The Better Together Campaign were criticised (with a degree of fairness) for being ‘negative’ – but when you campaign for a “No” vote – it does lend itself to a certain negative slant.
If the Scottish Independence movement were campaigning for a no, they would have found it much harder. In some senses it was quite a generous question that the UK government agreed to put on the ballot paper.
Looking through human history, it is remarkable to have an independence debate which is wholly democratic and – despite rising tempers towards the end, remarkably good natured and peaceful. It is a powerful example of democracy in action; it is something that both Scotland and the UK can be proud of.
There are many regions looking in envy on both Scotland and the UK
Post referendum Squabbles
There will be inevitable post-referendum squabbles, especially revolving around the last minute vow of the three main parties. But, however difficult and problematic – they are nothing compared to the bitter divisions which would have been created by independence. The SNP had already put on the table walking away from their share of the national debt. Osborne had already ruled out Currency Union (without making much effort to explain why it wouldn’t be good for Scotland). A split in the union would have been a messy divorce. This is probably best outcome of the result – at least it’s clear and we can move on.
I haven’t read so many political articles since I was 18 and actively involved in politics. It certainly has touched something deep in Scotland and Great Britain. A very interesting experience.