Merryn's Blog

An independent Scotland will need to do things better

The question of independence for Scotland is not about different values. We all have the same values. It is about the best way of achieving those values.

More on Scottish independence, reasons for and against.

I sat on a panel at an independence conference. In the Q&A bit, an audience member said that she found being patronised by the English very offensive and went on to say that Scotland has different values and different priorities to the rest of the UK. What's more, she said it has a different landscape. These three things meant that it should be independent.

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This is a slightly bonkers idea that a good many people appear to share. So let's look at it.

I think we can do away with the idea that an area with a different landscape to other areas should be independent pretty quickly. On this reckoning, the Fens should be independent from London. Land's End should be independent from Cornwall. Shetland should definitely be independent from Scotland (is there some kind of union it can join for Nations With No Trees perhaps?) and East Lothian will need to break away from the rest of Scotland sharpish perhaps taking the more fertile bits of Fife with it but clearly nothing past the first few miles of the A9.

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I think you get the point. Let's hear no more about this. On to values and priorities.

Now, what on earth could be more patronising to everyone else than to suggest that Scotland has different priorities to the rest of the UK? This is a little like the "anti-child poverty" idiocy I mention below. Actually, we all have the same priorities.

We want a happy and prosperous society in which we feel secure and which offers our children education and health such that they too can go on to live a good life.

The question is not about different values. It is at risk of repeating myself about the best way of creating the end game everyone is after. Here everyone differs (it isn't about Scotland and England).

But if Scotland wants to make a case for independence it needs to come up with a better way than everyone else has. So far, so bad.

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