On Monday morning I carved out some time to make a quick trip to visit a section of the Great Wall of China. There are few things that live up to the hyperbole – this is one of them. Scottish Independence (the theme of this blog) is not.
The other famous wall is Hadrian’s. Built by the Romans to keep the Scots in Scotland. It’s ironic. Now the Scots, or a good proportion of them, seem hell bent on building their own wall. Cutting themselves off from the rest of the United Kingdom, their biggest trading partner, diminishing themselves in the eyes of the world.
If I sound bitter I am. Born and educated in Scotland I spent the first 28 years of my life there and then another 12 working in London and North America for Scottish companies – driving Scottish exports. Of course as I live in London I don’t get to vote on Thursday – along with 750,000 other Scots who live and work abroad.
Passing over the fact that this referendum should never have happened it is an ironic fact that a debate about Scotland’s future should deliberately exclude so many Scots and grant a vote to tens of thousands of people born in other countries who are students or temporary residents.
Do I think that Scotland can survive as an independent country ? Of course I do. But do I believe that Scotland has had it’s greatest days since the Act of Union with England in 1707 and is better served by continuing that alliance the answer is an unqualified yes.
Moreover the sum of the parts is so much greater. The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland survives and thrives because of all of it’s people. Cleave one part off and the result is a diminished global power and a Scotland which is but a bit player on the world stage.
I’m a proud Scot but a great Briton. I recognize that being a part of a nation of 65 million people that is a member of the EU, NATO, the G7, the UN Security Council and the Commonwealth is considerable safer and more future focused than an isolated country of 5 million.
That the vote is so close beggars belief but then the separatists have enjoined the electorate on the basis of some misguided notion of nationhood and not logic. Straying dangerously close to intimidation and bullying they seek to paint themselves as patriots (in their words “team Scotland”) and the rest of us as strangers in our own land.
That’s probably the most galling thing of all. I’m privileged to be able to work and travel all over the world. I’ve yet to meet anyone who understands why this is happening. In Singapore, Beijing, New York I meet Scots who are passionate about their Scottish heritage and happy to carry a British Passport. The two are not mutually exclusive – and nor have they been over the last 300 years and throughout the world.
On Thursday the people of Scotland (correction illegible residents of Scotland at the time of the vote) potentially can make 60 million people distant neighbors not family.
An isolated Scotland and a diminished UK. What a tragedy.
If you have a vote on Thursday please vote NO.