Un-Braveheart: Why I can’t say ’Aye’

Could an independent Scotland be economically stable?

This is it, my big break. This is my first time writing for an audience – unless you count my Nebraskan penpal from third grade – though he couldn’t actually read.

In those first two sentences, I feel like I completely summed up what I hope this article to be: reflective, optimistic, yet poorly written and offensive to Nebraskans. With my first yodel from the mountaintop that is The Concordian, I wanted to defend the Oxford comma, but my editor said I needed a more substantive topic for my first column. So let’s talk about Scotland: why it could become the newest nation in the world, and why it shouldn’t.

A referendum is being put up for vote today in Scotland. The ballot will ask voters north of Hadrian’s Wall a simple question: “Should Scotland become independent from the United Kingdom?” And, at the time of my writing this, the polls are too close to call with voters changing their minds every day. This in itself is quite the achievement for the independence movement, who most analysts believed to have no chance.

From the moment in 2012 when Downing Street permitted the referendum, I was quite opposed to the idea. I told myself that Scotland wouldn’t be able to survive without England backing their economy, that Scotland relies too heavily on English business and service sectors. But all this changed in the weeks leading up to today. I began to see a financially stable Scotland that was looking to grow; I learned that Scotland is overwhelmingly Socialist and, regardless of my ambivalence towards that system, lacks autonomy and proper representation in a largely “conservative” parliament. I will confess – my first draft of this column was in favor of independence.

There was a catch, though, one that Mel Gibson probably didn’t consider while he was painting his face blue. If independence was gained, it didn’t seem likely that the Bank of England would allow Scotland to continue using the pound. Add this to the announcement from the Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Banking Group last week: that both firms will relocate south of the border in the event of a “yes” vote. In short, Scotland’s financial security got pulled out from under them, and independence movement leaders don’t seem to care, let alone have a back-up plan.

The only chance an autonomous Scotland would have would be to jump on the EU wagon so fast you’d think the Brussels skyline was made of haggis. And such a move might not even be possible within the next few years, if Croatia’s halting acceptance taught us anything.

So please, Scotland, please vote “no.” You’re such a cool country, and I don’t want to see your economy tank. We all know that it’s tough having to be tied to England for 300 years (why do you think Thomas Jefferson invented America?) but it just isn’t worth it. And hey, look on the bright side; if you stay a member of the UK, Her Majesty’s corgis won’t need to go through border checkpoints just to come visit.

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