Of course Scotland should be independent, but could it be independent? This is the other question that, as a resident of Scotland, I have to ask when casting my vote in the referendum on the 18th of September.
I’m no economics expert; I’m not a political geek; my history knowledge is English schoolboy level; no-one has put me in charge of a country: so for this question I have to look around for answers, and for answers I can trust.
By being independent my question is, would our quality of life remain the same, drop, or improve? A broad brush answer is sufficient at this stage.
Is Scotland big enough?
This is an easy one. It has a population of 5,327,700 and seems to be rising.
It has a land area of 30,414 square miles (78,770 km2) and interestingly a coastline of 7,330 miles (11,800 km)
So how does that compare with other small countries? Take a look at this quick comparison table of the wealth of countries. It shows how rich each country is per person. A quick scan shows an awful lot of small countries in the top of the table, so size is not a problem, although I have my doubts about the source of the wealth of some of them.
My daughter has just returned from Iceland. Iceland is 27th in this list. United Kingdom is 32nd. Iceland has a land area of 103,001 km2 (39,769 sq mi), and a population of only 316,252. They seem to manage okay, thank you. New Zealand and Norway are roughly comparable: I see no great issues there. New Zealand does not seem to be clamouring to be managed by Australia, or Norway by Finland, for example.
I don’t want to live in a country that wants to be a ‘world player’; I’m happy to live in a country that gets along well with its neighbours, and has no pretensions of telling other counties how to behave.
Does Scotland have the resources to manage on its own?
Again I’m no expert, but I’ve lived here long enough (over 30 years) to realise that it has we have abundant natural resources, with a potential for renewable energy from wind, tidal, hydro even solar energy; the sun does shine in Scotland. I drive along the M8 from time to time. It’s not the most scenic of Scotland’s routes, and I wonder about the potential of building a string of wing turbines interspersed with arrays of solar panels.
I’m not going to worry about oil. I think it is best left in the ground until we can sort out the biggest problem this world faces; man made climate change. However, we do seem to have rather a lot of it, and the value of it will only increase over time as it becomes rarer and harder to extract.
Does Scotland have the skills?
Cripes, yes. We have some of the best universities in the world, and we have a legacy of creativity and invention going back centuries. An independent Scotland, I hope, would value and nurture this creativity far more than the UK does at the moment.
I could go on, but I leave you to look at this: Advantage Scotland
Who wouldn’t want to live in that country?
Scotland could be a successful independent country, it should be an independent country.