The time has almost come: on the 18th of September, Scotland will go to the polls and will decide on its future, either with or without the United Kingdom. If you don’t live in the UK, though, you might be wondering: what do I care? Does it even matter for me what the decision ends up being? And if I do care, what should I be hoping for? To answer those questions, I will give a short and simple explanation of my own hopes and opinions while giving you all the reasons to adjust yours based on your own political stance. Prepare for a roller-coaster going up and down from yes to no!
First of all, a major reason for independence is nationalism. It is evident all throughout the campaign, from both sides, and many people are led on by this, letting it influence their decision. Nationalism, however, is irrational, and therefore a very bad reason for making major political decisions. The idea that many Scots have, that once they have their own government the entire country will rapidly improve and everything will be great, is a gross oversimplification. It will not happen. The world does not work like that. So in that respect, as someone who is quite strongly anti-nationalism, I would vote no, both if I were a Scot, and if I had lived anywhere else in the world. But nationalism isn’t the only argument.
To keep things short and simple, I’ll just stick to the most basic consideration we should keep in mind, and that is that the UK is rather right-winged, while Scotland is rather left-winged. The UK is not very supportive of the EU, while Scotland is, and whereas the UK is a proponent of nuclear arms and a strong military, in Scotland that is much less so the case. These are all generalisations, but in politics, generalisations are all that matter: if the UK ends up voting in a referendum for or against the EU, it doesn’t matter what each individual thinks. It only matters what the general public thinks.
With that in mind, if I were Scottish, I would be voting yes. See, I am personally very strongly on the left-wing side of the political spectrum, I am a big supporter of the European Union, and I certainly don’t support strong armies. Because of that, had I been Scottish, I would most definitely have wanted to leave the UK, because it would mean that my country would spend more on welfare and healthcare, less on the military, and on top of that, my country would almost definitely remain a part of the European Union, something that is at risk if the UK was given a referendum.
However… I am not Scottish, and that changes things. See… being that left-winged supporter of the European Union, I want the UK, an important country in this world with a seat in the UN security council, to be as left wing as possible, with as little military spending as possible, and of course as a part of the European Union. Scotland can help with that. Scotland pushes all of the UK just a little bit in that direction, making the chances bigger that the UK, with all its influence, will indeed remain a part of the EU. In that case, then, I will be hoping for a no-vote after all.
Then again, there is one more consideration to keep in mind… what if the UK leaves the EU? Or what if the UK starts another war with the funds it currently has? If those things happen, they would drag Scotland with them, both out of the European Union and into war. On top of that, the UK has been privatising hospitals and has made huge cuts into welfare, all of which affect Scotland. From that perspective, would it not be better for me if Scotland left the UK? At least it would be another country, another 5 million people, one step closer to what I envision as an ideal state.
As true as that is, however, I will still be hoping for a no-vote. If I had been Scottish, I would have been hoping for a yes, but as a Dutch citizen, I have hope that Scotland can keep the rest of the UK from going in the wrong direction. That, though, only applies from my point of view. If, for instance, you are against the European Union, you support military spending and you are on the right-wing side of the political spectrum, most likely your thinking would be the exact opposite. In the end, it is all subjective, and as with everything in politics, there is no right answer. Only you can decide what to hope for, as it depends entirely on what you want this world to be like.
As it turns out, today is exactly the 1 year anniversary of my Nationalism is Dangerous post: how time flies… Check it out here! It’s definitely related (unfortunately).
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