At the heart of the Scottish independence debate is an issue which sadly most commentators are not talking about: fairness. (for the uninitiated, see this – which is pro-independence, and this / that – which are anti-independence links. If you have a bit more time, these two links here are also informative : via Guardian; via Telegraph)
It’s okay to have devolution of powers Westminster deems safe to sacrifice, to Scotland and Wales; its okay to have London calling the shots on major decisions affecting the UK; I’d imagine it’s perfectly fine for Westminster to stand tall when shaping government policy, be it attracting Chinese investment, signing defence deals with the Saudi’s and controlling the banks (or rather having a say on monetary policy); its okay to have London and its media machinery influence the country to hate migrants – as if the Queen’s subjects were puppets who couldn’t think by themselves; its okay to have Westminster determine security, it’s okay for the house of commons to decide whether to go to war or not, or indeed make decisions on everything major that matters.
But if on top of all those decisions (whether you consider them right or wrong), there lacks a somewhat comprehensive undertaking to ensure that the decisions are representative, and reflect the genuine and honest will of the people, be they in Aberdeen or Eastbourne, then something is critically amiss.
For Scotland, the nutshell case for independence is that they feel cheated (on various levels – see one of these levels here) by the Union. Think of it as being a bit like Catalonia protesting that they give more to Spain, than they received back (see another link here)…Put plainly, decisions made in Westminster are not as representative or fully indicative of what the people north of the border stand for or in fact want. Not always, if we are to believe some of the Scottish politicians in support of independence. This inevitably causes frustrations in many quarters.
However, why can’t Westminster just offer additional powers to Scotland, or rather why can’t Scotland demand more powers other than requesting its people to vote on what will effectively be a whole full-blown divorce? Why can’t Scotland be a little bit like Canada, a federal parliamentary democracy but nevertheless a constitutional monarchy which considers Elizabeth II as head of state? Surely, that would be a better bet, than the highly uncertain future currently being proposed?
By now, you must have figured out that I do not support the independence of Scotland. Neither do I support the independence of Catalonia from Spain, no I do not, couldn’t possibly do. I’m from the old-fashioned school of thought which believes that there’s strength in numbers; that the storms in marriages must be weathered, that solutions to difficulties must be found…
In principle I agree with David Cameron, but not without serious reservations. Politicking aside, Cameron must stop making populist speeches and ask himself the difficult questions: What would he have wanted to see had he been in Salmond’s shoes? Or better, had he been an uneducated fisherman carving out his trade in some remote place, say in Lerwick?
While it may be difficult to separate one’s feelings from issues that demand patriotism in order to be objective, the truth is in such circumstances, what would an ordinary citizen expect from their government, when it is the case that the union is not equally beneficial, or as beneficial to one of the partners, as to the other?
I’m not advocating Westminster giving everything away, but let’s be sensible here; if the leaders and people of Scotland had as much a say in the major decisions affecting the UK, as parliamentarians in Westminster (which include some Scots), if they had a proportionate share of their ‘wealth’, why would Scotland want to leave the union? If they had control of their economy, were able to determine taxes, immigration, military decisions, and other important issues, surely any pro-independence ‘separatists’ would be deprived of meaty and sensible justifications for independence??
Alex Salmond must reconsider his dangerous demands, and Cameron must give out a bit more meat…