As promised, this is the second and concluding part of my analysis of Better Together so-called positive case for the union. Of course I've not the room to say all that I would like to, but I'm sure you will add bits I've left out in the comments...
In an uncertain world Scotland's security will be
strengthened as part of the United Kingdom. The British Armed Forces that
protect us are the best in the world. In Scotland we are proud of the Forces
and proud of the vital contribution that Scotland makes to them. As part of the
UK we have real clout in the UN Security Council, NATO, the EU, and we have
Embassies around the world.
It's always an uncertain world. It always will be. Maybe it's a different kind of uncertainty now from the cold war period most of us grew up in, or the European and world wars of the 20th century.
A lot of the uncertainty now is made by bankers and financiers, insurance people, swindlers inventing ever more complex ways of making themselves millions if not billions at the expense of other people.
Our enemies are different, although we still have them. Al Qa'eda seem to be at the top of them, but we mustn't ignore the fact that in Britain we still have the so called loyalists and so called nationalists in Northern Ireland. So religion rears its ugly head. Radical Muslims, sunni and shi'ite. Radical Christians, protestant and catholic.
Our home grown ones we will have to live with, but it seems to me that the Middle Eastern terrorists are mainly angry with the United States and their poodle waging war against them. Maybe if we were a country that minded its own business a little more and worried about the starvation and hypothermia, the early deaths and the drink and drugs problems at home, and less about the running of other countries which we don't understand, we would be less bothered by radical Muslims pissed off because we have flattened their village.
Scotland wouldn't be powerful; wouldn't be prosecuting wars against the Taliban, Saddam Hussein, Col Gaddafi, or Mr Assad.
Of course we would take our place with the other small nations, providing some help here and there to Security Council backed wars, but we wouldn't be in a position to take a lead, like Britain always does, just a respectful 2 steps behind their master.
Do we have real clout in the Security Council as part of the UK? Honestly Or do we do what America tells us? have we ever vetoed something America proposed? Likewise, we only have some clout in Nato because we agree to everything America wants and we have the fourth largest military spend in the world, despite being completely and irrevocably broke.
It is farcical to say that we have any clout in the EU. The UK is the one state which has been (as the French said we would) awkward and belligerent all along over everything from day one. They probably hate us. I wouldn't mind betting they can't wait for the referendum so they can be rid of us.
Yes, we have embassies all around the world at the most phenomenal cost. Ambassadors don't come cheap. As John Major once said, they live like kings. We should be looking to share embassies with our friends. Our Scandinavian partners already do some of that in less "important" capital. All this is a status symbol of something we once were and no longer are.
I hope you are not suggesting that we would not be proud of our forces in an independent Scotland. Wasn't it Mr British Virgin Islands Hammond who suggested that no one would want to join a Scottish army because they wouldn't get to fight anyone. Strange man to chose for a Cabinet Secretary for Defence!
As Scots we believe there's nowhere better, but we
understand there's something bigger. By contributing to and benefiting from the
multi-national, multi-ethnic and multi-cultural United Kingdom of the years
ahead, Scotland's society and culture will be enriched.
Hundreds of thousands of Scots and English have made their
homes in each other's nation. Half of us have English neighbours.
Hundreds of thousands of Scots were born in England. This interdependence - the
coming together of family, friends, ideas, institutions and identities - is a
strength not a weakness, and is an ideal worth celebrating. The truth is we're
Our case is that Scotland is stronger now and will be
stronger in the future - economically, politically, and socially - as a partner
in the United Kingdom.
Nowhere better? Well personally I'm not that kind of sloppy sentimental Scot.
I've travelled quite a bit over the years to nice places and not so nice places. Norway, Iceland, Switzerland, Denmark, Luxembourg, France... and several other places have a great deal to offer. Nowhere is perfect and I think the idea that nowhere is better than Scotland is sentimental twaddle designed to appeal to the non thinker.
We are part of the EU (and without the traditionally Eurosceptic UK we might be a better member of Europe). Thanks to the EU, and EFTA, I include several Bulgarians, Hungarians, Frenchmen, Germans, Italians, Danes and Swiss among my close friends. And thanks to us being in the Commonwealth, I have Pakistanis, Australians and Indians in my friendship groups. As a member of a club for Petula Clark I have American, Australian, Canadian and all sorts of European friends... and some from the Philippines, China, Russia, Uruguay, Brazil and Chile. That's more multicultural than the UK, or certainly more multicultural than Scotland as part of the UK.
Multiculturalism actually seems to be a problem for many people in the UK and, as such it seems a bit disingenuous to use it in an argument for the union. A great deal of the richness that could come from it does not because of hatred and fear.
Yes, many people have made their homes in England and the English have come here. But you paint a picture of some sort of idyl, when, in reality, I was teased mercilessly as a kid going to school in England, and I have heard of the same things here.
But although your assertion that "half of us have English neighbours" is a bit far fetched, I'd agree there has been a big spread between the counties... as there has been in Spain, Greece, Bulgaria, France, America, Australia Canada .. We don't have to have the same government (that we didn't vote for and that we don't approve of) to be able to live in each other's countries and contribute to multi culturalism.
I can't imagine that you are really saying that we can't have friends and family in other countries (I have many), and that we can't share ideas (I taught at university in France while a colleague from Grenoble came to Dundee!). My friend, Dani, is at university in Scotland, although he comes from Budapest. Another friend came from Malaysia to do his Masters. Friends from Scotland are working in a research lab in Budapest, although they come from Wick. A gym buddy has just left to start his doctorate in Dublin. We already share institutions far more widely than just with England or Wales or Ulster. We live in a world where sharing things is done with the click of a mouse. Whether down the road, to London, or to Ulan Bator.
Your case that we are stronger together simply hasn't been made. You've offered nothing but a pile of worn out platitudes.
On the other hand, if we weren't together we would be living in a world far more like the one in which Norwegians live. Our roads railways, communications would be far better, because we would have spent our oil money on them instead of on unemployment benefit, bailing out banks and buying weapons that could wipe out Moscow. We would have a massive reserve of money in our oil fund, instead of £0.00. We wouldn't have a bedroom tax or Atos, we wouldn't have sold off our housing stock for people to make money. We would be in the top ten of rich nations.
Better Together? My Arse.