Today the Scots decide. Everybody says things will never be the same, whichever way the vote goes. So, how can some good come out of this?
A ‘Yes’ vote, if it comes, looks like it will be by a narrow margin. This, surely would be a disaster, and no kind of birthday present for a nation founded on the need for its existence. If Alex Salmond, with years to make the case, can only convince a tiny majority of his ain folk to agree with him, he can hardly claim the mandate he needs to boss around the rest of the world.
There is a case for Scottish independence, or a least for greater Scotish autonomy, especially if it is made within a larger case for regional reform of the existing UK. But Salmond has not embraced this – properly democratic – agenda, he has instead peddled a fantasy. Vote yes, he has said. so that ‘we can get the country we want’. How childish, how narrow, how wilfully dismissive of the existence of the rest of the world. So a country can be fixed with one scratch of the pencil? And what exactly is it that ‘we’ Scots want? The idea that international relations, the laws of economics and the realities of politics can be abolished with a scribble is quite risible. An independent Scotland will still contain its own range of rich and poor, and does he seriously contend that all the rich people will maintain a newly discovered, specifically Scottish social conscience? The border may have changed but the pre-existing social diversity of Scotland will remain, and tensions will be exacerbated, if anything, by the newly claustrophobic Scotland he will have created.
The intellectual mendacity of the Scot Nats has been on show for a long time, capped last night by Salmond’s assertion – his final rallying cry – that the Nats were still the underdogs. Does nobody get this? How can a nationalist party that truly represents the nation BE AN UNDERDOG?
Despite the many unfilled holes in Salmond’s prospectus, it has to be said that Better Together have run a lacklustre campaign, though admittedly they did have the difficult task of defending the status quo in the midst of a recession, and at a time when British politics is ornamented with its least inspiring leadership cadre ever.
Back to the question; how can some good come out of this?
A narrow win for ‘no’ followed by proper reform of the institutional structure of the UK. That’s how. What exactly thsi means can be worked out. This would help everyone, unlike Salmnond’s dream which would wreck the currency, give us two armies and navies where one would do, and condemn Scots, especially the poorer ones, to live in a grim world with no one left to blame.
An independent Salmond-topia might not be as bad as I fear. But it cannot possibly be as good as he has promised.