Nationalism is a limiting philosophy which erects barriers where none need exist. It divides friends and families. And it goes against the sensible trend, in a world where instantaneous global communication is now the norm, to realign former nations into larger power blocs. It is self-regarding,where localised self-interest should no longer be being thought of. It is reactionary: the nineteenth century idea of the proud nation state, operating alone, is no longer valid.
Scottish independence is a chimera, a distraction from the real problems that exist in all the countries of Britain. It is a utopian dream that uses nationalist ideology to placate people; to make them suppose that their problems can be solved, not by engaging in the politics of the Union, but by cutting themselves off and leaving themselves out to dry.
The polls closed for Scotland’s independence referendum a couple of minutes ago. We should know the result by the morning. The above are two comments two of my friends have made on Facebook over the last couple of days.
A decision has already been made and it’s probably slightly futile to comment at this stage, but the comments I’ve seen from people voting “yes” in the last twenty four hours has left me feeling obliged to write something.
I wish to make two very brief comments.
Echoing my two friends above, history has shown again and again that nationalism is a dangerous philosophy which unnecessarily divides people. The Scottish Nationalist Party has been very successful at creating and then exploiting these divisions.
Second, the idea that Scotland’s problems are a product of the Union and thus can be solved outside of the Union is not correct. An independent Scotland will not become a more equal society overnight and economists have warned again and again we simply do not know whether an independent Scotland — a claim peddled by the Yes camp — can achieve this.
Too many questions remained unanswered and any attempt to make this point has been dismissed as scaremongering. Currency and EU membership (specifically with regards to Spain’s potential hostility and the likely non-transfer of current UK EU opt-outs, which include items such as the Euro and Schengen Area) are two huge unknowns. If I was voting those would be absolute deal-breakers.
Fundamentally, we do not know, but we do not need to be further divided. I’m going to bed now, and I very much hope I wake up to find Scotland has voted to remain part of the Union.