By Hannah Bettsworth
In light of the Jubilee weekend and the Olympic Torch beginning its journey around Scotland, it could be argued that now is a great time to be British. With #proudtobebritish trending worldwide on Twitter just after the Jubilee concert, it seems those who call for Scotland to be freed from what they perceive to be the oppressive yoke of Westminster may in fact be a noisy minority.
Indeed, large holes are appearing in pro-independence arguments. Much of the little detail that has been revealed about an independent Scotland has in fact been invented by the SNP without consulting the relevant authorities on the issue. They are adamant that, as a successor state of the United Kingdom, an independent Scotland would be automatically admitted to the European Union. However, during a televised debate, Ruth Davidson produced a letter from the European Commission showing that the SNP had never asked them whether Scotland would have successor status or not.
Europe has been a key issue in the independence debate. At a time of economic turmoil in the Eurozone, advocates of independence are keen to avoid any insinuation that an independent Scotland would join the Euro. Instead, they have decided that they will continue to use the Pound Sterling as the currency of an independent Scotland, ironically creating another currency union and giving them no influence over monetary policy. This was another of Salmond’s half-formed ideas for the future of Scotland, and he had again not checked it with the Bank of England.
As such, there is an underlying uncertainty with regard to the whole issue of independence. I have a Scottish mother and an English father, but I have not lived in England since I was five. This puts me in the position of not knowing whether I will be able to apply for British citizenship or not. The future of our nation cannot be left to those who have the mentality that we should vote Yes now to get rid of the nasty Tories, and work out the detail later.
Overall, it is hard to be convinced of the necessity for Scotland to become independent. The ball is firmly in the court of independence supporters, and they simply have not made their case. Greater power could be given to Scotland in the form of devolution max – providing Scotland with the ability to fully control its own budgets and raise its own taxes, while retaining the benefits of the Union with regard to foreign policy influence and defence. As it stands, we are being given the choice to sacrifice a country with great influence on the world stage for something that is as yet undefined, but asserted to be automatically better. Until the Yes campaign provides convincing reasons why we would be better off outside the UK, they cannot expect the people of Scotland to blindly follow them.