The Increasingly Confusing Campaign for Scottish Independence. By Hannah Harrison
I am slowly starting to wonder what would be the point in Scottish Independence? I feel I should state at this point that I am against independence but even as a ‘no’ voter, I am becoming increasingly disappointed, confused and disillusioned with the SNP’s plans for an independent Scotland. It is getting to the stage that I am not even sure the SNP themselves know what they would do if the country votes yes. This was evident on last week’s edition of Question Time.
I was perplexed by the statements made by the SNP MSP Alex Neil and the actor Alan Cumming, who both claimed that they were proud to be British and would continue to be so in an independent Scotland. With Mr Cumming commenting; “I’m still going to be Scottish and British after independence.” I found myself asking if you’re so proud to be British then why do you want to leave the UK? Why not just have greater political autonomy as part of the UK? Mr Neil tired to equate the situation to that of Norway and Sweden who he claimed are both proud to be Norwegian and Swedish but are also proud to be Scandinavian. Even though this is probably true, the two situations are not comparable. Scandinavia is a region, neither Norway nor Sweden voted to leave Scandinavia as Scotland would be opting to leave the UK. The debate then shifted to the rather trivial issue of flags. Both Mr Neil and Mr Cumming stated that an independent Scotland would incorporate the Union Jack and that the blue element of the Union Jack would remain. They in fact laughed off suggestions from other panellists that the blue would be removed as Scotland would be leaving the UK.
Also on the subject of continuity, the SNP have already stated that an independent Scotland would keep the Sterling and that the Bank of England would set interest rates. The notion of monetary ties with London was further reinforced this week in a speech by Finance Secretary John Swinney in which he spoke of a “sterling zone” with the Bank of England continuing to oversee monetary policy. Again I find myself asking, what would really change?
However what has also struck me is the false option the SNP are offering voters. Again referring back to Question Time, those in favour of independence framed the debate in terms of a vote against independence is a vote for a Conservative government, a statement which is completely inaccurate. I am against independence but I am not a Conservative voter, nor am I ever likely to be. There are more than two options; it is not simply a case of one or the other. The fact that the pro-independence panellists were presenting it in this light shows to me that they know that they cannot win the referendum on the merits of independence alone so will now try to play on the strong anti-Conservative mood which exists in Scotland.
If I didn’t already know that the SNP were campaigning for independence, based on the arguments I have heard, I would have presumed that it was Devo-Max they were after not independence. Given the fact that the SNP have been waiting for this opportunity their entire political lives, I expected a better, more thought-out campaign from them. I feel sorry for undecided voters, as the issue of independence is becoming muddier not clearer.