Wednesday, September 17, 2014

So, That Scotland Thing

As you know, I try to keep this blog politics free. It's hard to do so right now, though. I was born in Nottingham, England...and tomorrow, Scotland will vote in a referendum on independence.

Needless to say, I'm a little more personally invested in this than the average American. Scotland and England were officially united in 1707 - and now the polls show a secession race too close to call. President Obama has spoken out in support of Scottish independence.

So, my stance? I'm going to say that I'm against it - and I have never been a Unionist.

I just question whether this is a good move for Scotland to take. The pro-independence people want to count on North Sea oil and gas, which makes up between 12 and 21 percent of their revenue - but the North Sea fields are, bluntly, starting to run low. Production is dropping and so are revenues.

On top of that, the pro independence people think they can just continue to use the pound sterling - whilst English Unionists are insisting they won't be allowed to do so. (The likely compromise - a new Scottish pound pegged to sterling on the exchange rate).

Oh, and quite a few companies are threatening to move their headquarters (and jobs) to England if the referendum passes.

Then there's the fact of the land border. Scotland, independent, would have to reapply for EU membership. So, border controls could be introduced - splitting families and possibly forcing some people to move. Or, it would end up like the US/Canada border. Either way, there will probably be some checks...and in some cases the border may even run through somebody's farm. (And even if Scotland does become part of the EU, there's a risk England would leave!)

So, do I think it's a good idea? No. The poorer part of the country seceding didn't work so well for Slovakia.

Do I think it will happen? A month ago I was pretty sure it was pie in the sky. And I'm not one to place overmuch reliance on polls, but...