Friday, 17 January 2014

The Scottish Referendum

‘Aye or nut'

I was born and raised in Scotland, my dad was a formal Naval officer and ‘aye’ I do consider myself to be Scottish!  For me the issue of the referendum is the single most exciting thing to happen within my lifetime, and might be the only chance that this will ever happen in this generation.  Subsequently, it is super important to me to think about this logically, and not just go with the cop out ‘we canny dae it’ attitude without proper economic evidence that this really is really the case.

I think for me the most insightful look into how parochial we have become in terms of what we ‘think’ we can achieve was highlighted by Andy Murray’s win at Wimbledon.  I did a piece on this for broadcast oan the telly and I remember being in a wee bar when the game wis oan.  Right up tae the last minute so many people doubted that he could actually win.   I suppose for me after travelling around the world I have learned that what we think can directly affect how we feel, and  I would further argue even our potential ‘life chances’. 

To me, being born in a dichotomy of culture and philosophy I tend to read between the lines and remain positive.  I am sure many might argue that my optimistic view of Scotland is naive; but really if this is the case can we please see more actual evidence that proves Scotland could not be a hugely successful independent nation or that disproves that it is not already an established strong country, rich in culture history and was once even ruled by the first black king Kenneth The Dubh?  Why do people think that just because Scotland may become independent that this means that the country will need to completely dislocate ourselves from the UK?  To me it makes absolutely no sense to change more than we need to and that obviously having an Independent government will mean that Scottish people just have more control over their own lives; rather than this sort of top down centralisation of power that currently exists.

I am not bashing England, and I love the UK, to me it one of thee most plural and diverse societies which exist in the world, and I am proud to be a part of it.  What people need to understand is that throughout the United Kingdom there are many many inter-textual  and complex social issues which could be difficult to understand if you are not actually directly engaged in a particular community or area.  So whit ah mean is jist think about the superfluity of unwritten social etiquettes that we encounter on a day to day basis?  Never mind if you need to make a decision aboot the entire United Kingdom from an often singular perspective. Ah mean ah dinnay ken, am jist sayin.

What surprises me most about Scotland is the lack of knowledge of how rich and colossal Scotland’s contribution is to the new world actually is.  I am forever correcting both Scot’s and others about how so many of the UK’s most recent prime minister’s were either born or educated in Scotland, and quite frankly the amazing expanse of ridiculously talented people in every single industry from fashion, to literature, never mind our other massive and real industries such as agriculture, food and drink, tourism, gas, construction as well as between 15-24 billion barrels of oil which will certainly carry us through the next part of the 21’s century before we get some greener methods in place [i].  I mean for heaven’s sake it was the site of the industrial revolution, and with a population of only 5.3million you would have to be an absolute numpty to mess up governing such a small population with such vast wealth.   So whit am tryna say is it is’nay China! We dinnay huv 2billion people tae worry aboot!   I mean the reality is that (according to the Office for National Statistics) the population of London alone is nearly double:

·         City of London 11,700 (2010 estimate)
·         Inner London 2,859,400 (2001)
·         Greater London 7,172,036 (2001)
·     London Metropolitan Area 12-18 million (number of   residents depends on the definition you use)[ii]

Scotland is a very wealthy nation and could potentially be the 8th richest nation in the world by GDP per head of population (National Collective Scotland).  In 2011 and 2012 we provided 9.9% of the whole of the UK’s tax, and only received 9.3% of UK spending which means we lost over 4.4 billion pounds [iii].  Truth be told it has always been well noted that the Scots give more per head in terms of tax than anywhere else in the UK.  So what does this mean?  How can we move forward?

I am hugely confident that with such a rich and highly talented legacy that Scottish people could look after it’s people and continue to be a huge contributor both to the UK and to the rest of the world.  The reality is there are many issues that Independence, one being will we remain part of the EU.   I think that these are correct and natural questions, which we will deal with.  For the record though, I could not even fathom why the EU would not want to have us as a part of Europe, and if we need to reapply then that is the correct procedure.  This is indeed unknown territory but I am positive that we can successfully negotiate these issues as and when they arise.

Let us not lose such an amazing opportunity for real conversation and change because of  fear or paranoia, surely by now the human race has seen how destructive this can actually be.  Let’s  make a decision that is informed and educated. 

Thanks for reading !
Eunice Olumide

[i] National Collective Scotland
[iii] National Collective Scotland


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