May 1, 2007
Pre-election jitters, that is. Is a vote for independence the death knell of my great nation? Or will it release us from our cage?
I’m not qualified to say, which is why it scares me that I should have this decision bestowed upon me. I’m not a money man. I’m not a politician. I’m an academically-inclined nerd who works at a University. Why should I have to make this important decision regarding where our nation goes?
Given that I feel this way, it strikes me as really scary that most of the rest of the nation can also vote. I’ve tried to dig into the facts behind the propaganda pushed out by the political parties, but how many people actually do that? How many people really think about their vote beyond “Oh, I really like that McConnell chap” or “Fuck the English”? That independence is potentially fueled by hatred than levelheadedness scares me even more.
So it is with interest that I picked up the current issue of the Economist, to see what they had to say on the issue. I enjoy the Economist; it’s well written, and provides me with a hell of a lot of new information whenever I pick it up.
They say the jury is still out on whether Scotland could support itself, but they err on the side of caution. Summary? Labour’s numbers show that the Government spent £11.2billion more in Scotland than we raised in taxes. But these numbers don’t include revenue from North Sea oil. This is where previous SNP campaigns, by suggesting that our North Sea oil money would have made us rich, have fallen short in credibility: oil prices vary heavily with respect to time, oil reserves are running out (and in the meantime, becoming harder to extract), and perhaps most importantly we haven’t yet negotiated which parts of UK North Sea oil belong to England, and which to Scotland.
The Scottish Executive suggests that if all North Sea oil revenues were attributed to Scotland, we still fall 5% short. I’m not against increased taxation, as such, to make up the shortfall. But how angry will people be if the numbers really don’t add up, and the SNP fail to provide what they’ve promised? Does Scotland need an ugly burn of right-wing capitalism directly after independence? I’m inclined to think so. We might still be a bit too left-of-centre to succeed.
Do I want to believe in an independent Scotland? Yes, I most certainly do. Do I feel qualified to suggest that we can make it as an independent Scotland? Certainly not. Do I feel so inclined to support the underdog (ie, ourselves) that I should vote for the SNP this week? Almost certainly yes.