Counterpoint: Scotland is far safer within the union than outside it at the mercy of Brussels
To suggest Scotland is somehow not free implies that she is subjugated. This is a complete fallacy, and plays right into the SNP’s propaganda war
I was astonished to see Harry Cole’s article on The Commentator yesterday titled, “Leaving Politics Aside, Scotland Deserves Freedom”. You see, I was one of those lucky few to have the “dubious pleasure” of listening to Mr. Cole “hone [his] public speaking skills in the debating chambers and drunken dinner parties at Edinburgh University”.
Aside from those youthful, glorious times of debate and drunkenness, I was not only on the Edinburgh University Conservatives’ executive with Mr. Cole for a number of years, but also one of his flat-mates for two. Based on all of those experiences, Harry Cole was the last name on earth I expected to see next to a pro-Scottish independence article.
Whilst I appreciate Mr. Cole’s change of heart and his ability to be frank about it, the arguments contained in his article fall far short of persuasiveness, not to mention the truth.
First of all, the issue of Scottish “freedom” is not at stake, and I find Mr. Cole’s use of the word offensive. The debate of our time is on Scottish independence, and the difference between the concepts of “independence” and “freedom” could not be more important. To suggest Scotland is somehow not free implies that she is subjugated. This is a complete fallacy, and plays right into the SNP’s propaganda war.
Mr. Salmond makes every possible attempt to put Scottish history into an Irish narrative, and I would trust Mr. Cole not to indulge him in the future. Scottish freedom, if that’s what one is truly worried about, is far safer within the union than outside it at the mercy of the European Union.
Mr. Cole, in a quick history lesson, notes that Scotland “is the nation that gave us the telephone, the television, reason, logic, economics and whisky. Yet since the business interests of some three hundred Edinburgh merchants over-ruled the desires of the rest of a nation in 1707, Scotland has been in decline.” Really tugs on the heart strings, does it not? Mr. Cole of course fails to mention that the telephone, television, the Scottish enlightenment, and modern distilling techniques all occurred after 1707, and some, myself included, would argue that it was improvements bought with “English gold” and the spoils of the blossoming, now-British, Empire that enabled those developments.
Mr. Cole is correct in pointing out that “Scotland is not well”, however to suggest that this is the result of Union is just wrong. Mr. Cole highlights Scotland’s over-dependence on the state for jobs and handouts, but this over-dependence is surely the result of the creation of the post-war welfare state, and the same economic policies and labour laws that killed industry across the Midlands and North of England as well as Scotland.
Moreover, to suggest that were Scotland in charge of her own purse strings, and realized the full cost of social programs, she would scale those programs back is laughable (see:economic policies of every Western government since 1945, popularity of Keynesian Economics, global economy 2008-present).
Do I have a brilliant, ironclad argument as to why Scotland should remain in the Union? No, but I believe she is better-served within. I believe to be united with England, albeit with a parliament in London, is preferable to subjugation to France and Germany, albeit with a parliament in Brussels.
I believe in the values inherent in the concept of British Liberty, born in Scotland and nurtured in England. I am proud of the empire we built together, of the struggles we overcame, and of the traditions we share. I am proud of the countless numbers of Scots in uniform who, standing shoulder to shoulder with their Irish, Welsh, and English counterparts, bled and gave their lives for our flag – the Union flag – and who are still willing to do so. I am proud to be able to call my Scottish friends fellow countrymen, and I would be truly heartbroken to no longer do so. And I am proud to be British. I just wish I knew why Mr. Salmond and Mr. Cole are not.
Ed Kozak is a political commentator, writer, and musician, working for a publishing firm in New York City
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