We have all known about the referendum for more than two years. Some, like myself, could see at the time that there were issues with the proposition for Scotland to become an independent country. At the time the referendum on Scottish independence was announced, I felt that if the Yes side could present a strong case then I would support separation. However, even with the referendum less than two weeks away, unanswered questions remain, which is why I have continued to back Better Together and the union.
Some might argue that the No campaign is basing the majority of their campaign on rubbishing Yes claims, however, the truth is, if Salmond cannot answer the “what if” questions, then how do we know that Scotland is simply not going to crash and burn on its own? With every point raised by the No side, Salmond simply replies with something along the lines of “Oh don’t worry, we will get what we want”. Mr Salmond, Scotland cannot just cherry pick the best of the United Kingdom’s policies whilst changing the ones that suit you best. And even when he does answer these questions, they often cause more confusion and create more questions than before…
When the Yes campaign were questioned by both the opposition and their own supporters about the currency debate, they finally cracked and said that their plan B for if Scotland does not get a currency union is that we will still keep the pound, just out of a formal currency union. What would be the sense with this? We would have just as much power over the Pound as Zimbabwe has over the US Dollar – nothing. Even if you were to join the Euro, Scotland would have more say over what happens with the currency, and let’s face it, no-one wants to join the Euro.
Being part of the UK means that we are backed by the security of one of the world’s largest economies and also means that we face a comparatively low cost of living. Despite what you may read in the news, people in the UK are still in a much better position than those in other European countries like France and Italy. Our economy is growing, inflation is below the Bank of England’s 2.0% target and wages are increasing. If we become independent, we lose this security and we could be in a worse position than the UK. Three out of four bosses of the “Big 4” supermarkets in the UK have warned that food prices will almost certainly rise. Admittedly, there is the potential for Scottish people to be £1000 better off if we were to go independent, however, financial experts, who are importantly neutral, believe that there is a greater chance of Scottish people being up to £1400 worse off. Why get out of something that is growing when the risk is so big?
In Scotland, we are lucky that the government helps to pay for a lot of important services: university fees; childcare; the NHS and free prescriptions. However, let’s be honest, if Scotland were to become independent, without the financial backing of the rest of the UK we would struggle to continue to afford these luxuries. At some point, the Scottish Government would simply not be able to afford to keep these services free for us and all that will do is put immense pressure on people’s back pockets. In the UK, everything continues as normal, the only change being that more powers will be devolved to us, meaning that we can have more control over our future with the support and backing of the rest of the UK.
The case for voting No is so extensive that I cannot mention it all in the 800 or so words I have. Don’t forget that more than 600,000 people are employed by rest of UK based businesses. 65% of our trade is with the rest of the UK. The EU and NATO have not offered straight entry into their exclusive clubs. And that’s just the first few barriers…
What people seem to forget is that if we vote for independence, that’s it. The UK will not welcome us back. We will be out in the wilderness, all on our own. Remember that we are voting not just for our generation, but for future generations. Being with the UK means that we still have the security of a country with a big say in international relations. Scotland will not be in the UN Security Council and as a new state will not be recognised as a particularly important a player on the world stage.
Why risk what we already have for something that could quite easily go hopelessly wrong?
Image: Union Jack © Tristan Martin (mukumbura, flickr)
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