Well, let the battle begin. The SNP have announced the date of the referendum: Autumn 2014. The anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn, the end of the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and possibly the end of the Ryder cup in Gleneagles. Let us hope that we will have a proper debate on this and not a negative attack by the Unionist parties, which has been their preferred tactics so far. I have asked every supporter of the Union that I have met to give, at least, one good reason why Scotland should remain in the Union and no one has managed that so far. There have been attempts, such as:
a) We will be stronger together. OK, explain what you mean by 'stronger'. If you mean the armed forces then we would like to point out that we don't want to stride the world bullying all the smaller nations of this world, or if you mean in a financial sense then why is our economy in such a mess. No country-which was part of the Anglo-Saxon banking industry- was strong enough to resist the crashes that have happened; even the USA.
b) The UK has a seat on the security council in the UN therefore Scotland will not have a say on that council. Scotland does not have a seat-and for that matter, neither does England, it is the UK-anyway, we are not interested in playing at being a world policeman. We want to live in peace with everyone.
c) Scotland is too small to take care of itself. You mean like Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Slovakia, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Switzerland and all the other small nations of the world who are happy being independent?
d) Scotland is too poor too take care of itself. You mean apart from the abundant supplies of oil, gas and the 4th largest export in the UK; whisky? When you add all those up and divide that by the population of Scotland-which is just over 5 million-it makes the Scots pretty wealthy. Keeping in mind that is only a fraction-admittedly a large fraction- of our wealth. We still manufacture-no thanks to the decimation of our industries under Maggie Thatcher-and we still have a financial sector; admittedly not as big as the City of London, but when has the square mile ever concerned itself with Scotland?
e) It has mentioned that we are to stupid to look after ourselves. Scotland has produced world leaders in science, technology, philosophy and many more things that have added to the advancement of the human race. Considering our size we punch well above our weight.
f) Will Scotland be able to have a military capable of defending its borders. Our only land border will be with England. Are they thinking of attacking us? We will need a navy and air force to patrol our oil and gas fields and a small army in case of international peacekeeping duties. We have no reason, nor need, to invade other countries-unlike the UK-therefore we don't need a large military.
g) If it wasn't for the UK investing the money in the North Sea there would be no oil and gas. The UK never 'invested' a penny. They gave tax breaks [never took money off them as opposed to giving out money] to the oil companies who invested their own money in the exploration.
h) The oil is running out so what is Scotland to do? There is still decades amounts of oil and gas and more fields are being found every year. This is a lie. However, oil will run out eventually but that will apply to all oil and gas producing countries so the question also applies to Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Venezuela, Brazil, Libya, Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and all the other producers. I don't see them begging to be taken under the control of the UK.
i) The union has been going for 300 years. That's not exactly true as the Union, when we joined it, has changed several times so the Union is not the same Union we joined. In reality the last major change to the Union was when Southern Ireland got its independence in 1919. Therefore the Union-as we know it today- has only been going for 93 years and not the 300 as often stated.
These were just some of the negative comments being brought forward by the Unionists but not one of them has given a positive reason to stay in the Union.
The Referendum Debate
Let us hope that we can have a full and frank debate devoid of any negative comments. Negativity will do nothing to further the choices of the voters of Scotland and may, indeed, force voters over to the independent side. Strangely enough that is not what I want. I am already convinced of the need for Scotland's independence but I am willing to have my mind changed if the Unionists can come up with good counter-arguments. Independence is a big step for the Scottish peoples-which we are more than capable of taking-and I want to be sure that this is the correct course to take. My view, so far, is that we have been abused and ripped off by the Westminster government who don't give a toss about the Scots. I hasten to add that the Westminster government don't give a toss about the Welsh, the Northern Irish and, for that matter, the English. Which brings me around to some of the vile, and some would say, racists comment seen in the media by those that want to retain the Union as it is. I don't need to produce links to them as we have all seen them. I want to make this perfectly clear, independence is not about being anti-English; it is about being pro-Scottish. I, for one, have an English daughter and English grandkids. I live in England and like the English people, as a whole, and would stand up, and have done so in the past, for some English people abroad. This is solely about the BRITISH government and the way that they have treated my nation in the present and the past. As an aside, I don't particularly like the way the British government have treated the rest of the constituent nations of the UK & NI.
So, let us have a forthright discussion on this. The ball is now in the court of the Unionist parties to come up with a reason why the Scottish voters should remain a part of the UK& NI. Good luck to all.