The Wealth Of Nationalism

It’s a pretty difficult task to choose a subject for my first post. It seems that right now, every issue is can be about Scottish independence. Or, rather, every issue can be twisted around to fit either side’s agenda.

I’ve read enough history that my gut tells me to never trust a nationalist. You’ve got Scottish nationalists on one side and UK nationalists on the other. Half the reason I’m making this blog is to help me ignore the rhetoric and actually consider facts and issues.

Well, once again, the politicians have done my thinking for me, and I can make my inaugural post the debate held at the Scottish Parliament today to mark one year before the referendum.

The debate was an excellent opportunity for both sides. Every criticism of the Yes campaign I’ve heard has focused on a lack of facts about what an independent Scotland will look like, and they had a real chance to set the record straight. The no campaign had a chance to hammer Salmond and exploit the electorate’s concerns and anxieties over independence. Instead, we mostly got a history lesson. The SNP were keen as always to talk about Scotland’s history of exploitation by England and the accomplishments of the Scottish Parliament, Labour to continue squeezing dividends from the NHS and other welfare projects, and the Tories to capitalise on a vague and outdated sense of Britain and its imperial achievements.

On the whole, it was hardly a substantial development. What’s really worth waiting for is the upcoming white paper, due sometime in November. This is when we’ll be getting some ideas about what shape exactly an independent Scotland will have, beyond the quote unquote uplifting rhetoric and scare tactics both sides seem to have abundance.

The timing and relevance of the white paper may prove disappointing. A year is a long time, especially in politics. Any fact given today might not be true in a year’s time. I suppose that’s what the Yes campaign’s job for the next year is going to be; working out every issue that needs to be dealt with, from Scotland’s relationship with the EU and the UK, especially with things like defence and currency, but also for predicted oil prices and international security. Some of these can only be accounted for with clairvoyance. As for the rest, well, that’s why I started this blog.

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