Did you know that in a few days, Scotland will vote on becoming an independent nation?
On the 18th of this month, Scots will be flocking to polling stations to vote either “yes” or “no” on becoming a self-governed country, joining in the movement with many areas of Europe, currently campaigning for self-determination (though barring the Catalonians, Scotland’s probably the closest any have yet gotten).
So is this a good thing? We here at CWR say yes.
Scottish independence means smaller government, smaller government tends to be a more representative government. Let me provide an example:
Yours truly lives in the great state of Nevada, with the vast, vast majority of our population centered in the city of Las Vegas.
Even so, there are tons of small towns and farming communities spread out across the state. However, all of the rural counties put together still have fewer representatives than the city of Las Vegas alone. That means the state and local government is going to be looking at urban issues first, and that folks who don’t know much about rural life are going to be voting on rural issues.
Now just expand that to a national level, and you’ve got a case for localized government. The smaller you get, the more representative you get.
Now this is true of Scotland as well, with independence allowing the country to tailor its policies to the specific needs of its population. For example, Scotland has a lower life-expectancy rate than other parts of the UK, and could maintain retirement and pension ages at 65, despite the rest of the isle’s move towards raising it.
A independent Scotland could also very well mean a blow to imperialism in general, with a staggering cut in military spending currently on the table. The UK currently has about 205,000 active military personnel, and the Scottish National Party (who have been pushing for independence) have proposed a defensive force of only 15,000 soldiers. While that doesn’t discount Scotland from imperialist aggression, it does limit the nation in terms of what it can do.
That’s also a ton of revenue now available for education, development, healthcare, environmental protection, heck, even just lower taxes. And that’s to say nothing of the potential for Scotland to effectively shoot down the whole of the UK’s nuclear weapons program through closing off Scottish naval bases where the country’s nuclear submarines are docked.
Indeed, secession would help Scotland extricate itself from many of Great Britain’s sins. Independence is expected to mean Scotland losing access to MI5, GCHQ, and other major intelligence agencies, and this is fantastic. These organizations are deeply embroiled in the eternal-war-on-terror, and have collaborated with America’s own NSA in spying on both nationals and foreign citizens alike. Having to start from scratch would ideally mean a more open, more democratic, and infinitely less-Orwellian network for the Scottish public.
Universal healthcare has been a point of contention on both sides of the argument, with pro-union groups arguing that a independent Scotland would have an underfunded healthcare system and proponents of independence arguing that English groups have sliced healthcare funding anyways. While both sides bring up the issue of funding, it’s probably the former chief medical officer of Scotland’s NHS who recalls that the key point here is not about welfare, but freedom, quoting “If people felt that they were able to engage more with local government, with central government and make choices more easily for themselves then that would improve their health.”
But what about nationalism?
Is supporting an independent Scotland just playing into the wave of racist and nationalist bigotry sweep across Europe?
Well, there’s actually an argument to be made there.
The proposal currently on the table would allow immigration and naturalization in the country, but after a residence of 10 years. However, folks with just a single Scottish grandparent would be immediately become a citizen should independence go through- part of something creepily called “citizenship by descent”. Now that might be tough on immigration, and have the makings of ethnocentrism there, but it’s not what I’d immediately label as racist, in spite of its potential to be used against non-ethnic Scots. At the same time, Scotland staying part of the union wouldn’t exactly do anything to combat this same kind of violent racism fully present south of Hadrian’s wall.
Now there will still be tough questions that need confronting. Immigration on a grander scale, the treatment of the poor and working class, the relationship of the new nation with such oppressive or racist regimes as Israel, Saudi Arabia, or Burma. Independence is not a cure-all, and I don’t believe anyone expects it to be. It is, however, a massive step in the right direction.
Let’s have some good news for a change. Support YES on the 18th. Speak out for Scottish independence.