Truth can stop Scotland sleepwalking to catastrophe

For the sake of Kirsty's future, Scotland should vote no to independence. Or maybe she wants to grow up in a declining country with poor job prospects; an isolated and angry country. Is that what Kirsty wants? Is that what Scotland wants?

A beautiful country. Its future?
Steven George-Hilley
On 14 September 2014 09:51

One of the most successful aspects of the Yes campaign has been its ability to hide the economic, social and historical consequences of a vote for independence.

The choice for the people of Scotland has been framed by Scottish National Party (SNP) leader Alex Salmond as an opportunity to take revenge on an out of touch Westminster elite, a narrative which for several reasons has struck of chord with a significant portion of Scottish voters.

The centrepiece of the Yes campaign’s message is a three and a half minute video from Kirsty, who we are told will be born just in time to live in two different futures, one within the United Kingdom and one without.

The key question repeated throughout the video is: “Will I grow up in a Scotland where...?” followed by a string of doomsday scenarios where people have to pay for tuition fees, and weapons of mass destruction are tolerated.

The mix of dramatic music, emotive language and the motif of either enabling or destroying a child’s future is compelling, but unfortunately the reality of the argument is dishonest.

In recent days we have heard loud and clear what growing up in an independent Scotland will mean for a girl like Kirsty. With all of the country’s leading financial services providers, including The Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds Banking Group, TSB, Clydesdale, Tesco Bank and Aegon planning to exit the country, she will be born into a country which has just lost some of its biggest employers.

When she grows up and hopefully has a family, the price of food which be much higher, as leading supermarkets will have to account for the additional costs of operating in different countries instead of under one United Kingdom. She will grow up in a Scotland less protected from terrorist attacks, making it much harder for the security services to identify threats and take action to protect the country’s security.

She will grow up in a Scotland where intimidation is rife and anyone who dares to say that independence was the wrong choice will be pelted with eggs; where those with a voice are shouted down and in some cases do not feel safe to campaign on the streets; where having a sticker in your window supporting the No campaign means your window may be smashed.

This will be an isolated and angry Scotland, with very high unemployment and poverty; a shadow of its former self.

As leader of the Yes campaign, Alex Salmond must take responsibility for the ugly mood his speeches and his activists have created on the streets.

Whipping up hatred instead of presenting a positive proposal for an indepdent Scotland has given his campaign momentum. But as polling day nears and reality takes hold, voters appear to be waking up to the dire consequences of voting for independence.

The people of Scotland need to recognise that Thursday’s vote is not a referendum on Westminster, it is a decision for life. There is no turning back; any regrettable decisions cannot be rectified in five years and nothing can be done about it.

The truth, despite all the lies of the Yes campaign, is that we are better together. We are stronger together, we have a shared history that an angry little man like Alex Salmond could not, and should not be able to break.

None of us would want Kirsty to grow up in a Scotland with high unemployment, a broken financial services industry, a £1billion black hole in the NHS and an isolated environment. So voting No can be the only choice for those who really care about Scotland’s long term future and prosperity.

Steven George-Hilley is a director at the Parliament Street think tank and a Conservative Party activist. He is a Contributing Editor to The Commentator

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