I could have been a Yes…

13 Sep

Hello world.

On Thursday 18th September, Scotland’s electorate will vote on whether or not Scotland should be an independent country. I’m voting No. This has not always been my view.

As a man who considers his nationality to be a) English, b) European, and quite distantly c) British, who finds himself living and working in Scotland, this referendum is something that I’ve welcomed for a long time, purely for selfish reasons. I figured that the prospect of Scotland leaving the UK would bring about a real conversation about devolved government in my native land, something which has been largely ignored until now. I also believe that a well run, independent Scotland can, in the long term, be a successful small proud nation, as wealthy as it’s southern neighbour, if not more so.

So why am I voting no?

Ladies and Gentlemen, I present you, from the world of South Park, the underpants Gnomes!


For those of you not familiar with this episode, the Underpants Gnomes are creatures that sneak out in the middle of the night and steal your undies. Tweek, the caffeine addled character who, due to his coffee intake was unable to sleep, warned the South Park kids that this was happening and, though Kyle, Kenny, Cartman and Stan were initially reticent to believe him, they stayed up one night, caught the Gnomes, and pressed them for information as to why, exactly, they were stealing underwear. The answer: Profit.

According to Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia which anyone can edit, this episode was a parody of the dotcom boom in the late 90s/early 00s, which ended in failure for a great many ventures. A stark reminder of this is the Million Dollar Homepage – (temporarily offline as I write, however I have linked to the Wayback Machine’s archived version from June) – a good percentage of the links are now dead, and in turn, a great deal of those dead links belong to dead companies. If I were to ask you to name a top online bookseller, you’d say Amazon. Like ’em or not, they’re the number one online bookstore (well, everything store now). If I’d have asked you in 1998, you’d probably have replied with bol.com. Who? Exactly.

But what exactly does this have to do with the independence debate? Well, both the dotcom losers and ultimately the Underpants Gnomes were let down by a lack of a plan. Crucially, they both had a vision, and both had high hopes of success, but there wasn’t a plan in place to achieve that. See the above photo? See the massive question mark? That’s the problem here. The independence movement has a big, massive question mark in place of a credible plan for the future, and it’s kinda difficult to see past it.

To be fair to the Yes campaign, they may have a plan, it’s just that they’re either not making clear what it is, or they’re just not telling anyone. A quick flick through of the Q&A section of the White Paper (the Scottish Government’s blueprint for the future, available at scotreferendum.com) seems to be a curious mix of the SNP’s track record in devolved government (Q.217, for instance, doesn’t answer how an independent Scotland could avoid poverty arising, but it does mention an existing council tax freeze), some “don’t knows” (Q.119 – What will happen to Network Rail in Scotland – A. The Scottish Government “expects” to become a member), some things which I would expect to be outwith their control (Q.92 – Who would be responsible for financial stability – A. the Bank of England), a few “no changes here” (Q.108+109, weights measures and time zones), but mostly, the white paper is full of “everything will be fine, don’t worry” (Q.42 Credit Rating – iScotland expects a top one, apparently).

As an economic migrant in Scotland, all I want to know is, with confidence, am I going to be at least as well off as I am now? The answer to that is unclear. As I said earlier, a Scotland with a plan, I have every confidence in. A Scotland who expects that x will be the case, and will negotiate with the UK government on y, I have no confidence in. Which leaves me to one, inescapable conclusion: Come up with a plan, that is entirely within Scotland’s hands to deliver, and that has a good chance of success, and I’ll vote yes.

My criteria are as follows:

1) Currency. I don’t give a damn what currency we use, but it must be backed by a central bank that Scotland controls. I am not interested in the slighted by Sterlingisation (keeping the pound against the wishes of the rest of the UK), because that’s not independence, it’s utter lunacy.

2) EU Membership. This is a must. I have no appetite for leaving the EU, as it’s where most of iScotland’s revenue will ultimately come from. I’m not talking about leaving then re-entering, but continuous membership of the EU, on the same terms or better, than the UKs.

3) Cost of living: I need a guarantee that the cost of living will be the same, or lower, than it is now, complete with figures, and how those figures were reached at.

OK Scottish Government? You have until 7am on Thursday.


3 Responses to “I could have been a Yes…”

  1. Emma September 13, 2014 at 7:05 pm #

    1) whatever happens we still have a 10% stake in BoE. Which I think is a bit more influence than now. There needs to be more control over finance, I think this deregulation of finance/ reganomics
    Caused a lot of keech.

    2) Cameron wants out, South England wants out so we’d be dragged out too. This is all new for EU. Loosing a member state won’t do the EU good. Look what they’ve done to keep Greece in. They’ve let Romania in FFs, they’ll keep us 😉

    3) life’s uncertain. Costs may well rise but they may fall. Cost of living has increased anyway.

    Glad yer thinking about it tho.

    Liked by 1 person

    • willmill82 September 13, 2014 at 8:15 pm #

      1) Why do you say that? The BoE have said nothing of the sort.

      2) I’m not sure Cameron does want out of the EU, and I’m not convinced that after this week he’ll have the bottle for future referenda. Remember, I’m looking for a guarantee of Scotland’s instant membership, I need more than “they let Romania in”.

      3) Life is uncertain, hence why I want to stay with the status quo.


      • David Gallagher September 13, 2014 at 10:55 pm #

        That status quo doesn’t seem to be doing you much good Will. Minimum wage job, living in a house where break-ins have been commonplace this year…..if that’s better…..how can it be worse?


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