On Scottish Independence

Recently the headlines have been full of the spat between members of the Scottish  Nationalist Party (SNP) and David Cameron the British Prime Minister, which once again has given some publicity to the SNP’s push for Scottish independence from the rest of the United Kingdom. The big question is though; do the Scots really want independence from the rest of Britain?

Alex Salmond – A Man With A Mission?

If you believe Alex Salmond the leader of the SNP, then the answer will be a resounding yes in favour, however, if you look at the result of polls taken among Scottish people then the answer is definitely no! According to a recent poll 54% definitely wanted to stay in the Union while only 29% (mostly under 30’s) wanted full independence for Scotland. I guess the remaining 25% are still trying to decide.

But still Mr. Salmond is going ahead with his referendum, and still he hopes to lead ‘his’ country to independence by ‘hook or by crook’. He even wants the referendum be held on or near the 700th Anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn on the 24 June 2014 which was a significant Scottish victory in the Wars of Scottish Independence. If ever a day was to inspire Scottish patriotism that would be it, and he obviously hoped it would be enough to swing the vote his way.

N.S. Oil Production is Falling

Independence for Scotland would be fraught with peril, for the country does not have any real industry that can fully support the economy, and that is an important factor. Alex Salmond always used to quote the North Sea oil and gas fields as the main money-maker for Scotland, but they are close to drying up, and will be producing only a third of their peak 1999 production by 2020, and certainly will not sustain the Scottish economy for very long.

Not Enough To Sustain the Economy

The country has always been famous for its fine whiskey, but again, this industry, while well established and an obvious survivor, is nowhere near large enough to prop up the economy. Shipbuilding used to be the major Scottish industry with the shipyards on the Clyde, but the deadly strikes of the fifties were enough to practically kill off the entire industry in the whole of Great Britain. So to be honest, I cannot see how Mr. Salmond hopes to finance his independence in the short or long term.

Ever since the last election he has been beating his gums about leaving the Union even though he must have known from poll results that he was preaching to a minority of Scottish people. I have always had the impression that Alex Salmond is a man with an axe to grind who is determined to tear Scotland away from the rest of Britain no matter what anyone says, including his fellow countrymen!

The Voice Of Reason

In his outburst yesterday he accused David Cameron of ‘dictating conditions’ governing the timing and content of the referendum. It seems to this observer that what the Prime Minister is worried about is the legality of Salmond’s referendum plans. Cameron has never said he is against it, he just wants it to be held in an impartial way and in accordance with the law. In my view he is quite correct when he says that any referendum held for independence in any one of the  four nations that make up the United Kingdom affects the remaining members, and therefore, each must ensure it is correctly done. The British Prime Minister also believes that the referendum should have one basic question put to the Scottish voters: Do you wish for full independence for Scotland – yes or no? Salmond on the other hand is clouding the issue with other questions like: Do you wish to see further devolution? David Cameron has stated that the referendum should be held in 2013 and if Salmond is not willing to do it, he will do it himself.

Scottish Pride

Why for example does Salmond insist that the referendum is held in 2014? Because this is the year of the 700th Bannockburn celebrations, and when Scotland hosts the Commonwealth Games and the Ryder Cup, all events that will give a tremendous boost to Scottish pride. He wants to tag on this future defining referendum during these celebrations as an afterthought? Come on Salmond! – Do you think the Scottish people are stupid and can’t see through your little charade? In a year when Scotland is centre-stage and Scottish pride at its maximum, he hopes that will be enough to swing the much needed votes his way from people who are on a ‘patriotic high’, and may not fully realise the implications of their actions.

If you put all the cards on the table there is not a hope in hell that Scotland can survive on its own economically, which means in effect the country will always be dependent on the rest of the UK. However, if the Scottish people do vote for full independence then they should have to manage on their own without being ‘propped up’ by money from English, Welsh and Northern Irish taxpayers. Fair is fair, you cannot ‘have your cake and eat it too’ as we all know.

Johann Lamont – Plain Speaking

Today (12/1) Salmond is being accused of sleight-of-hand even by members of the Scottish Parliament at Holyrood. Labour SMP Johann Lamont accused Salmond of dictating terms to Holyrood and refusing to allow full government cross-party talks on the subject. Salmond also wants 16 and 17 year-olds to be allowed to vote in the referendum for he knows most of the backing for independence comes from the young Scots today.

I have always believed that Alex Salmond is doing this for Alex Salmond, not for Scotland or any other noble purpose. I think he means to go down in history as the man who brought Scotland ‘out from under England’s shadow’ single-handed, and of course he would not really want the job of Scotland’s first President, but would feel bound to accept it if it were ‘forced ‘ on him by a grateful party. Poppycock Salmond!

The Scottish Government

So you see, if the Scottish people can see through Alex Salmond’s con job in the Scottish Parliament, the whole episode will be a non-event and with luck Salmond’s political career will be over. On the other hand, should he be successful in bamboozling the Scottish voters into voting yes it will be a disastrous day for Scotland, and a sad loss for the rest of the British Isles. I hope common sense prevails.

Roy.

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