I received an interesting comment earlier today from a Scot living in Portugal. He expressed that he had never considered Scotland’s independence from the United Kingdom until recently, but that now he was increasingly in favour of it. As evidenced by the Scottish flag in the topmost position on my sidebar to your right, my stance on Scotland’s independence is neither private nor ambiguous.
This gentleman brought up an interesting facet of the debate when he mentioned Scotland’s massive oil reserves (estimated to be approximately 20-25% of the EU’s total). But what makes a clearer case for Scotland’s success is not necessarily North Sea oil — it’s her renewables.
Scotland leads the UK in the progress toward renewable energy sources. She outstripped her target of 31% in 2011 by four percentage points, and each year Scotland cultivates more of her vast natural resources to provide renewable and sustainable energy sources for her people that will extend into the future.
Wind, hydro, wave, biofuels — those are just a small sampling of Scotland’s arsenal. And Scotland last year provided over 40% of the UK’s total renewable energy.
While Scotland still uses oil and gas to power the country, the disparity between the figures is a swiftly closing gap — one that will provide opportunity, job growth, and a cleaner, more beautiful nation when she achieves her independence.
Scotland’s devotion to clean energy is not only remarkable in Europe — it’s world class.
With the referendum growing closer and strong feelings on each side, I want to hear more opinions. From Scots. From the English. From the Welsh and the Northern Irish and the Irish. From Europeans in general and anyone who cares enough to learn about this decision.
I’ve said it before, but I think when that ballot arrives and Scots have the opportunity to cast their votes for Scotland’s future, it won’t necessarily be about the facts and figures. It probably won’t be about North Sea oil or offshore wind and wave farms. It won’t be about what currency they’ll use or if they’ll join the Schengen territory of the EU. It won’t be about William Wallace, and it won’t be about Edward Longshanks.
It will be about Scotland. It will be about Scots. It will be about the future of their nation, their land. And I believe it will be about a feeling.
When I lived in Scotland, I can’t count the number of times I heard a Scottish person refute someone’s claim that they were “British.” While it’s merely anecdotal, in my experience both Scots and Welsh are far less likely to say they’re from the UK or self-identify as British.
That self-held portion of identity will play a large role in the upcoming referendum, something I think has come into play during this Olympic games as proud Scot Andy Murray was forbidden to wear his trademark saltire wristbands as he earned the gold medal — and while unionists have crowed over his draping the Union Jack over his shoulders, it’s important to remember that he would not have been allowed to do so with the Scottish saltire.
Though the Guardian has gleefully taken the stance that the Olympic Games have birthed a new British patriotism — a stance that to me seems contingent on the lack of Scottish flags, which are banned — I see the opposite. I’d love to hear more voices on this.
What I’ve seen is many phenomenal Scottish athletes like Andy Murray and Chris Hoy subsumed into “England.” Not to mention the slew of jokes that occurred at Wimbledon at Murray’s expense, “He’s British if he wins, Scottish if he loses.” I’ve even heard commentators refer to Team GB as the English team on multiple occasions, and I believe that in the Opening Ceremonies, the pro-unionist movement missed a vital opportunity to showcase the diversity of the union in favour of anglocentrism.
This choice is a reflection of a wider belief, I think. There is a wealth of discrete history and culture in the “fringe states” of the United Kingdom, but none of it seems to matter. Will it have an effect on the referendum? No idea. More telling might be the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow in which Scotland is competing separately — incidentally the summer before the scheduled vote.
My Question For You
I would love to hear more opinions from English people on the subject of Scottish independence. What do you feel Scotland brings to the table? Do you believe Scotland should be an independent nation? Why or why not? Have the Olympics and Team GB affected your thoughts on the subject?
And from Scots, what benefit do you see in staying within the UK? Do you feel that inclusion in the United Kingdom continues to look out for the best interests of Scotland? Do you feel that the wider UK government accurately and consistently addresses your needs and beliefs?
And if the answer to the above questions are no, the most important question is: do you believe you have the power to improve the state of Scottish affairs within the United Kingdom, specifically in regards to immigration, public services, education, and foreign policy? For those powers that are not devolved to Scotland already (all foreign affairs, immigration, etc.), do you feel that your best interests and the best interests of Scotland are represented by the Conservative government in Westminster?
I know what my answers to those questions are. But I want to hear from people who will have the power to make this decision — and those upon whom it will have a direct effect. (While I might be included in that down the line, for now I have no say but this blog.)
Scotland Beats 2011 Green Energy Target, scotland.gov
Andy Murray Beats Federer, Guardian.co.uk
- London 2012 Olympics: Chris Hoy ‘very proud to be part of British team’ (scotsman.com)
- Questions about Scottish independence? We’ll get back to you (express.co.uk)
- “Scolympians” or Team GB? Games flare secession row (oddonion.com)
- British success at the Olympics is a nightmare for Alex Salmond and the SNP (blogs.telegraph.co.uk)
- London 2012 Olympics: Scottish athletes inspire the next generation (scotsman.com)