With one of the threatening impacts of Scottish independence being higher taxes for those north of the border, how is Alex Salmond selling the prospect of a release from the United Kingdom?
Despite the occasional use of economic benefits by Salmond and his supporters to gain momentum behind the movement for independence, they are ultimately quashed by the pro Union groups that indicate the potentially painful long-term consequences of an independent Scotland and the infrastructure they would need to develop. Salmond and the Scottish Nationalists are hardly direct in their real reasoning for wanting a split, economic factors are given but easily patted away and aren’t considered the key reason for Scottish people wanting separation but perhaps indirectly see this as a motive.
Obviously, in the political corridors of Scotland there will have been whispers (even if confined to people’s heads) about the extra power they will seize if the referendum falls their way next year. An influencing point this may be, but far from a way to convince the ordinary Scot to vote for independence – political points being scored by Salmond is no surprise but to attempt to flex Scottish nationalistic muscles. The growing divide between north and south has been beneficial to Salmond’s campaign in extortionate proportions, giving a tool to expand support for independence that the current Conservative government don’t care for the Scottish anyway – the biggest charge that the Scottish people can hold against a United Kingdom that they could run their ship better than the titanic mess of British politics and widespread disenchantment with London-based politics.
This is not solely down to Scotland, Russell Brand spoke of similar feelings around the rest of the UK but they don’t have the Salmond-option offering a way out of expenses scandals and broken promises. They are understandable but utilised by some pretty crude political manoeuvres from Salmond and his supporters that feel let down by a previous Labour government and are looking to surrender to the Tory-rule that so many Scots detest, although the loss of the Scottish people to the UK would be terminally damaging to Labour hopes of election. The current Tory government, who seem to be further attracting and drawing wealth to the south are further to blame for Scottish drive away – although the campaigning for referendum begun before 2010, it was driven further on by the actions of Cameron’s north-damaging policies. Hurtful to the Scots it has been politically and socially driven by Salmond to reignite a Scottish pride that many felt is being dented by a poorly run UK that is isolated from many parts of the country, despite the lack of economic sense behind it, the feeling of disillusionment and rebellion against London-centric politics is understandable to all – Scottish socialism wants its own home and perhaps Salmond has a better chance that a lot of the rest of the UK hope.
The hope of a truly United Kingdom should remain, the following months of to and fro between pro-UK and Alex Salmond’s army of Scottish pride wielding optimists will be enthralling for all, but his justification to leave the UK is not exclusive to the Scots but a feeling of political insignificance that many English, Welsh or Northern Irish reflect. A lesser of two evils he may appear for now, but practically it would potentially leave the remaining states of the UK under long-term Tory rule with Scotland struggling to sustain itself, Salmond or Cameron is the populist question but pragmatically it looks pretty bleak for both sides of the border otherwise. Better together.