Could someone explain to me just why the No campaign is so unrelentingly negative about Scotland? And why do they get away with this pretty much unchallenged? Most of the focus of the No campaign has been on the economy. While they call themselves Better Together, the reality is that there is little positive about their campaign, when it comes to the Scottish economy and its prospects with independence. A few poor souls occasionally remember to say that of course an independent Scotland could be successful. However most of the No speakers just hammer on and on about how worse off we will all be if we vote for independence. We get a lot about the uncertainties and the risks that independence will bring. I should rewrite that last sentence, for in truth there is little room for uncertainty with the publications from the UK government. They are all about the certainty of impoverishment that independence will unleash on all of us. We will not be able to afford our pensions, public services will have to be cut, taxes will have to go up, mortgages will rise, as will the price of everything. The message is abundantly clear – without the largesse and strength of the rest of the UK, Scotland will become an impoverished basket case. An independent Scotland will be too wee and too poor to survive.
There is though a couple of problems with all these wild assertions, for wild assertions they are. None of the claims from the No camp are backed up by evidence, historical precedent or reason. Not that any of these concepts has every bothered the minds of our BritNat and Unionist friends. But in the spirit of goodwill, let us assume for a moment that the No camp is right and that Scotland is indeed too poor to be a successful independent country. What should then be the big, big problem for Better Together is to explain precisely why this is the case? It is almost impossible to argue that Scotland does not have a rich vein of resources – in and under the sea, on the land. in addition to the talents of the people who live here. So why is it after 300 hundred years of Union are we in such a poor economic state? The benefits of these 300 years of Union are not obvious to most Scots. The levels of poverty, deprivation and inequality should be regarded as a disgrace and an affront to all of us. The Union has not led to any kind of better present for most Scots. Yet Unionist politicians and their friends in the media seem to glory in their assertions of how poor our country is. They seem to relish the prospect of Scotland remaining forever in thrall to the largesse and goodwill of England. For not only do Unionists rejoice in claiming that we are too poor, they propose to do nothing about it. Where are the Unionist plans to turn Scotland into one of the richest and most successful of countries in the world? Surely a campaign that was based on Better Together would at the very least be outlining how Scotland could become rich enough to be independent in 20 or 30 years time? Or are we so incompetent that we can never aspire to achieve what the likes of Denmark, Slovenia, Slovakia and countless other relatively small countries have managed to do – become successful independent countries?
Given the resources available to us, if we are indeed still too poor to be an economically successful independent country, then surely this can only be the fault of the Union. I would like to see the Yes campaign challenge Unionists on this contradiction. Why after 300 years of what is supposed to have been the most successful union in history do Unionists persist in claiming that Scotland is too poor to succeed as an independent country? It would also be good, if somewhat miraculous if the media in Scotland were to just occasionally ask this question?