henry_the_cow: (Default)
The arguments for Scottish Independence from the UK are remarkably similar to those for Brexit. Both entail leaving a trade union with our largest trading partner, ostensibly to regain more local control from an undemocratic institution. Both would lead to worse economic outcomes, although many of the advocates for separation claim otherwise. These advocates often portray a rosy future that depends on all other parties acting in our best interest, even though there is no obvious reason for those others to chose that path. Some proponents seem to think that these positive outcomes will come about because we want them to; if we just believe hard enough, we will reach our dream. It is the disneyfication of politics.

#NotAllIndySupporters think that way, of course. Some recognise the economic challenges and think other benefits outweigh the economic concerns.

It is sometimes suggested that people in Scotland are more left-wing or community-oriented than those in England, and will create a better society given their independence. I'm sceptical; surveys report a small difference in attitudes and I'm not convinced the difference will last when Scotland has its independence. I wouldn't be surprised if an independent Scotland had a centre-right party in power within 12 years.

Brexit itself is a complicating factor. For some people, Scottish independence is the anti-Brexit, quite the opposite of my opening statement. They want independence from the UK so that we can rejoin the EU, regain freedom of movement across the EU, welcome immigrants, and have access to a larger market than the UK. I have sympathy for this feeling, but it would still cut us off from our most immediate neighbour, especially if Brexit leads to a hard exit, would take time to rejoin the EU, and could run into EU-imposed austerity.

Despite all the above, I find myself with considerable sympathy for the prospect of independence. I feel disgust at the way the Westminster government conducts itself. The actual process of the Brexit referendum and its aftermath was a complete shambles. Watching debates at both Holyrood and Westminster, the Scottish parliament comes across as civilised and efficient, while Westminster sounds like a public school debating society. Holyrood is elected by PR, which means it reflects a range of views, while Westminster is stuck with an outdated system which makes many voters irrelevant. Westminster has had plenty of opportunities to update itself, yet has failed to do so.

My head still thinks that independence would be a poor choice (literally: it would increase poverty), and I no longer wish to be governed by the UK. So I am caught between a rock and a hard place.

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