A few people over the past few weeks have asked me what I think about the Scottish independence vote and honestly, I think it’s a little facile for me to even have an opinion. I mean: I’m not Scottish. I’m not even Scottish by descent. I have basically no stake in this whatsoever, and it seems a little ridiculous for me to issue a proclamation one way or the other.
That having been said, although I don’t have an opinion one way or the other as to how Scots should vote, the pros and cons are fairly straightforward (or in some cases not):
- Self-determination, which given that Scotland and Scots are generally to the left of the rest of the UK is more than a little meaningful
- Full control over, and sole benefit from, Scotland’s oil reserves
- Likely return of major financial companies from London
- Never having to deal with David Cameron again
- Also letting David Cameron be “the Prime Minister who lost Scotland” for all time forever, which is really a fun thing to do
- That whole “national pride” thing
- Groundskeeper Willie is pro-independence
- Scottish oil reserves will likely be depleted in the next forty years so it’s not really a long-term benefit
- Scotland won’t have a currency of their own initially, and will either have to agree to use the pound or the euro (thus putting themselves in a position where they are a sovereign country ceding control of their currency to another) or will have to issue their own currency (which will be hell for issuing bonds for the first few years since it’s untested and therefore will probably mean huge interest rates)
- Scots would basically be telling poor people in the remaining UK to go screw, since the Tories will, you know, then screw them hard
- Never having to deal with David Cameron means realizing you now have to deal with Alex Salmond
- The Union Jack might be replaced with a flag that looks like a jar of smashed assholes
- John Oliver wants you to stay
Snark aside: I have no idea. The currency issue is a really huge one and it’s the element most ignored by the media (predictably enough), but it isn’t necessarily insurmountable (announce the “Scottish pound,” tie it to the British pound for a few years, then sever ties?). The oil issue is problematic, but then again most of the world has the oil issue to deal with and it’s not going to go away whether Scotland is independent or not; the question is really whether you think Scotland or the UK can better deal with Scottish transition to a post-oil economy. And I’m not gonna predict that one way or another – except to say that David Cameron and the Tories will botch it, but “the UK” does not necessarily mean David Cameron and the Tories.
In any event, Scottish participation in the election seems to be at fever pitch levels, and an involved electorate is good, so whatever the outcome, it’ll actually reflect the will of the people, and how is that not encouraging? So go vote, Scotland.