J.K. Rowling, David Beckham, Susan Boyle, Paul McCartney, Stephen Hawking, Simon Cowell, and 200 other Scottish and English luminaries want Scotland to remain part of Great Britain.
But what they want doesn’t matter. What matters is what the Scottish people decide on Thursday, three days from now, when they vote for Scotland to either break away from Britain to become an independent country, or remain as part of Britain in a union that, for both good and bad, has lasted 307 years. Click here for a brilliant and amusing video explaining the situation.
It would be similar to a large chunk of the U.S. saying it no longer wanted to take orders from Washington, and declared its sovereignty.
Scottish independence is a hugely emotional issue, that will be decided, unlike so many situations around the world, such as Ukraine, Crimea, Iraq, Iran, Syria, and too many others to count, by the people involved who will vote peacefully on their own future.
That’s not to say there aren’t very heated arguments on each side.
A “Yes” vote for independence will give the Scottish people the right to benefit from their own resources (notably North Sea oil and their beautiful, mostly uninhabited and unspoilt countryside) and from their own political decision-making, which is to the left of the rest of Great Britain. They would also have the right to banish all nuclear plants and nuclear submarines from their country, which many Scots want. The yearning for freedom and self-rule is intrinsic, and well understood by Americans, whose predecessors declared their independence of British rule on July 4, 1776.
But on the other side, for better or worse, Scotland and the rest of Great Britain have been bound together for three centuries. North Sea oil will run out in 30-40 years. Scotland benefits from a higher amount of spending per capita from the UK government than does England, Wales, and Northern Ireland (though apparently North Sea oil is taxed at a higher rate than other businesses.) The new, independent Scotland may not be allowed to use the pound currency. Banks such as the Royal Bank of Scotland and other businesses say they will leave Scotland and establish themselves in England, thereby taking jobs away from Scotland. And what of the National Health Service (NHS) facilities and hospitals in Scotland?
And, because Scotland is more left-leaning than England, what is left of Great Britain without the Scots would be a more rightist government which may vote to leave the E.U.
Self-determination or better together?
It will all be decided on Thursday. Good luck to all involved, including my Scottish relations in Glasgow, Aberdeen, and Newton Stewart.
But speaking personally, as a British citizen currently living in America who has Scottish members in the family including a great-great-aunt who worked as a maid in Buckingham Palace when Queen Elizabeth was a child, all I want to say is, dear Scotland, won’t you please, please, stay? We would miss you more than you could possibly imagine.