Waiting for independence

Calton Hill independence march panorama. It ended up taking me a while to elaborate on why I supported independence. In that time a referendum bill went through Holyrood, a question was decided (“Should Scotland be an independent country?”) and Scotland decided it should not become independent (for the moment, at least) with the highest turnout in a UK election or referendum (85%) since universal suffrage.

I’ve had a few people ask me why I want Scotland to be independent. My main reason is that Scotland seems to be drifting further left (or staying the same) while the the south east of England drifts further right. If we had a proportional voting system in Westminster or a federal UK this would not be a problem. Sadly we have neither so swing seats are pandered to on e.g. immigration to win Westminster elections.

What we have with devolution is better than nothing (it’s stopped some of problems with NHS free-market reforms and university tuition fees) but it’s still at the whim of the Westminster budget. If the NHS budget gets cut in Westminster then Scotland receives less money overall. Scotland also does not have sufficient economic levers to encourage the growth of particular industries.

As a result of all this I think that it is better for Scotland (and the rest of the UK) if Scotland goes its separate way and the Scottish people are allowed to decide all aspects of Scottish policy.

2014 was not the year for independence but I think another referendum will happen eventually (and eventually be won). Scottish Labour appear to have won a Pyrrhic victory; successfully campaigning for the union at the expense of their party and polling extremely poorly with Ed Miliband as leader. The SNP have seen a massive growth in membership, have the fresh Nicola Sturgeon as First Minister and are polling well for the next Westminster election. UKIP have won some Westminster seats and the majority of UK MEPs. A Tory majority or Tory/UKIP coalition will see a EU referendum happening in 2017.

If we see a Tory/UKIP coalition, a referendum result to leave the EU, a SNP majority of Scottish Westminster seats and the SNP holding Holyrood (or even just some of the prior) then another independence referendum could be on the cards in a few years. If the UK votes to leave the EU we could even see businesses campaigning for Scotland to leave the UK and stay in the EU.

I don’t think all of these are likely or by any means inevitable but they are possible enough for me to continue to ponder the prospect of independence. Hold onto your hats, it’s going to be a wild few years.