The beast we’ve bred in Scotland will growl for years to come. Look at whom it growls. There are the mild, unadventurous middle classes, who do very well, thank you. There are those who are not so lucky and frequently need a hand-up or even a hand-out. And there are those who don’t care and don’t deserve a vote.
Yet this is no longer a true assessment of us Scots. Vocal among us are people of all races who believe that nations have a duty to be themselves. It is for all these people, Yes, Nos, Don’t cares, that I, a very old man, have pity if we vote No.
Think for a moment what will happen. There will be a sea-change of MSPs at Holyrood. The SNP has provided us with a group of able administrators. Yet they are there not for the limited power of the peedie parliament. They are there to see their country become independent. Compared to industry and the professions, they are ill paid. Unlike Westminster, every penny they get in expenses is publicly posted on the internet. There is no ’skin’ to be trousered even if they were tempted and the job itself carries little respect and social kudos.
Able people aren’t going to spend their lives at Holyrood doling out money given us by Westminster. Able people want power. If we vote No, unionists say we will get goodies. They don’t say what they will be. They don’t say why we are better together. Undefined goodies are as worthless as the people who promise them. After No you can say farewell to good government from Holyrood. The SNP will dissolve. Real people will look for careers elsewhere.
With whom will we be left? First of all we will be left with England. My London correspondent tells me they seldom think of Scotland. When they do it is with indignation that Scots want away from English rule. When we hold Westminster up to international derision by showing that a third or so of us don’t want them they are not going to be pleased. It will not be with the promised straws of new power they flog us. Be afraid of what you get if you vote No. Be very afraid.
And who will there be left at Holyrood to protect us? They will be the cast-offs of the London parties, not good enough even for London’s back benches. Judge them by how they are now. The Labour Party, like the Tories, gets its arguments from the Daily Telegraph. At present they’re on about the pound. Alex Salmond is playing it gently. Osborne and Cameron are singing dumb because they know the truth.
After independence we could rock the pound into free fall by saying, ‘You keep the pound. We’ll go it alone. Keep the embassies and consulates throughout the world. Keep the union’s real estate, including the Houses of Parliament. England was a poor country before the union and everything you have has been built jointly with us. Keep our share and keep your national debt too. We can do nicely on our own’.
The wild beast of Scotland begins to growl.
This piece first appeared in The Scottish Review, the weekly on-line Scottish magazine with a circulation of over 20,000.