Scotland: The REAL Story
By Shlomo Maital
The Scottish flag, chosen by the Scottish Parliament in 2003 (yes, there is such a thing) is very beautiful; it forms part of the flag of the United Kingdom and Northern Ireland. (There was a huge debate over the precise color of blue).
Today the Scots are voting on independence. The vote is very close. It is roughly even. Some 4.2 million Scots men and women have registered to vote, or 97 per cent of the voting age population aged 16 and over (yes, 16 and 17 year olds can vote!). It is expected that at least 80 percent will vote. I predict the ‘no’s’ will win, by a small margin.
There is fierce controversy. UK Prime Minister David Cameron predicts apocalypse, catastrophe, if the vote is “yes”. And just a one-vote margin in favor of yes will do the trick. There are many who favor a ‘yes’ vote and independence, predicting utopia.
Where does the truth lie?
Smack in between. The truth is, it makes almost no difference whether Scotland is an independent nation or remains a part of the UK.
Why? If “yes”, it will retain the British currency, the pound, trade with Britain, remain part of the EU… basically nothing of importance will change. What will change is that Scotland will be formally, nominally and independent country. So? Who cares what you call it? What matters to the people of Scotland is their wellbeing and standard of living. And that simply will not change.
So, don’t believe the hysteria. Neither ‘yes’ nor ‘no’ vote hysteria is right.
Scotland is part of a broader geopolitical picture – the fact that increasingly politics is local, while business is global. The reason is, many regions feel they can do better without the burden of the lazy bureaucrats in the central government. And there is some evidence. Slovenia divorced Yugoslavia, just in the nick of time, and has done super-well. Bangla Desh divorced Pakistan, and has not done so well, though arguably better than Pakistan. Quebec did NOT divorce itself from Canada; if it had, it would really not have mattered, business would have remained global (Canada wide).
What about Scotland’s vast oil wealth? It’s not really wealth; it is leased by big oil and Scotland gets royalties, not that much, because this oil is among the most expensive in the world to pump from under the sea. What about Britain’s nuclear naval base in Scotland? It won’t change; it will be leased. Who owns the RAF jet fighters based in Scotland? Well, who the heck cares?
Let the politicians on both sides babble on. Business, trade, economics are global. They disregard borders these days. So whether or not there is an imaginary border between Scotland and England matters not at all.