The weekend polls were unsurprising and made dismal reading for unionists. The problem besetting the “No,” campaign now is the nagging concern that they’ve allowed the “Yes camp,” to seize the initiative, set the agenda into the final phase and have allowed them to gain significant momentum. As the “Yes,” block gain more “don’t knows,” and turn previously set “No,” voters have they in fact reached escape velocity? That is, have we just witnessed a Berlin Wall moment this weekend when passion and emotion overtake logic and reason when the end simply becomes inevitable? I see a growing number of “ah, fxck it, lets give it a go,” type of one liners on social networks and the hope now, that voters adopt a pragmatic and reasonable stance with a high turnout of “No,” voters looks at this point at least, doubtful.
Within Scotland the “Yes,” camp consists of a pretty broad church of constituencies. Surely the oddest must be this collection of loons, English Scots for Yes. I initially though they must be a bunch of ultra conservatives campaigning for a yes vote to rid parliament of 43 Scottish Labour MP’s but no, they seem to be fully paid up members of the Turkey’s for Christmas Club. Be careful what you wish for. On the other side of the nonsense wing are characters like Bruce Ogilvie of Siol nan Gaidheal.
A kind observer might think him an eccentric cove but actually, he’s just a rabid racist of National Front type extremism who will inevitably end up behind bars one day. I remember there used to be a few clowns like him running around in the seventies dressed in what they thought Jacobite s wore and spent their time being angry and chopping down telegraph poles. The independence consortium consists of left wingers, right wingers, nationalists, naturalists, greens, immigrants, special interest parties, bored people, mischievous people, anti English people, anti government people, anti establishment people, passionate people, rich people……………… and all the rest. I’ve even heard of “no” voters who intend to vote yes because they want the relocation package to the south from their employers.
Thing is, once Motherwell Man has cast his deciding swing vote, what next? The experience in Estonia was that everyone wanted independence, they got it and then produced a fragmented political landscape consisting of many, many parties. Salmond has promised so much to so many but has not managed any expectations. In the transition phase Scotland will need a strong government acting with a fair but firm hand to navigate its way through the decoupling process. There is no indication that such leadership yet exists and there will be a danger of squabbling and division sinking the boat before it makes it out of the harbour. The SNP’s default position of “blame Westminster,” for anything they get wrong simply won’t cut it on a go forward basis and any “yes,” voter who sees some utopian vision where all Scots act as one is simply being disingenuous as to the reality of how Scots see fellow Scots across geographical, cultural, demographic and social divides.
The entire exercise will have a negative impact on the UK during and after any transition. The hard facts however, are that England, Wales and Northern Ireland are likely to emerge more or less economically intact after a prolonged period of restructuring. It will though, probably take Scotland a generation to reengineer its economy and there are likely to be some early hits to tax revenue and business morale with some companies moving out or reducing investment. Voters who are influenced by a need to teach Westminster / England / anyone-not-voting-yes may wish to ponder that.
Certainly, if I lived in Scotland and had a mortgage I’d be sprinting to lock in a fixed rate.
But, this is becoming less about the detail and more about the psychology of the crowd. Certainly, there are some pretty important aspects to a restructuring such as pension liabilities that at the moment, are dismissed with a catchphrase and wave of the hand but when the hard reality hits individuals they may wonder what happened to the Utopia they were promised. There will though, be no way back. “Yes” voters are buying a one way ticket which is why Devo Max is so attractive since they get the best of both worlds without the liabilities. That outcome is perhaps the least fair to the individual English tax payer which is why a “No,” vote ought to present the greatest satisfaction to any fervent nationalist.