Scots – say ‘Yes’ – you’ll do yourselves a favour

Scottish National Party leader Alex Salmond who is hoping it will be thumbs up for Scottish independence.
Scottish National Party leader Alex Salmond who is hoping it will be thumbs up for Scottish independence.

It’s only a personal opinion – but Scotland is a grim country. It’s cold, wet, dreary, and too Presbyterian and there’s a lot of tartan about the place. The best thing about it is that it isn’t Wales.

Maybe my opinion is jaundiced as it was formed 30 or 40 years ago when you could hardly get a meal after six or a drink after ten pm.

And, what’s the point of singing about “Old Edward’s Army” and sending the English homewards “tae think again” just before you lie down and allow them to hammer you at rugby for the umpteenth time?

If God invented Irish whiskey to stop the Irish taking over the world, He must have invented Scotch to help local people cope with the place.

Possibly it’s not so bad now. Maybe it’s more visitor friendly. Glasgow is an underestimated city. It’s grimey and post-industrial but it has a rugged sort of appeal. And the influx of Italian, Chinese and Indian immigrants into Scotland has done wonders for the choice of cuisine. It used to be all basic things like fish and chips, steak and chips, mixed grills and maybe haggis, neeps and tatties as an exotic nod towards the tourist trade. It would be hard to think of anything blander. Of course that’s how it used to be here too, although at least we were spared the haggis. Maybe it’s the resemblance to Nrn Irn that made me take against the place.

I’m sorry to be critical – honestly. It’s just that I’m not one of those Protestants who think of Scotland as a mother country, full of our nearest ‘cousins’.

My opinion will rise enormously if, in just over two weeks, (Thursday September 18) Scottish people have enough self-confidence to vote for independence. Small countries don’t work as well as big countries – they work better. For proof you need look no further than here.

Before partition in Ireland, per capita gross domestic product was much higher in the Six Counties that became Northern Ireland than it was in the 26 counties that eventually became the Republic. Since independence, the position has been reversed.

There is no reason to think that post-independence, Scotland’s prosperity won’t accelerate just as it has done in every other country around the world that was formerly under British rule.

What’s the point of voting for left-of-centre politicians only to find yourselves governed by English Tories?

Government should always be as close as possible to the governed. Alex Salmond wrong-footed Alistair Darling in last week’s debate by coming out from behind his lectern and moving closer to his audience. It symbolised government moving closer to the people. In the first debate there was no clear winner, but this time Salmond made it a case of, ‘not tonight, Darling’.

A ‘No’ vote on the 18th will be a vote for fear. That’s why ‘No’ campaigners have used scare tactics about the currency an independent Scotland can have. George Osborne says Scotland won’t be “allowed” to keep the pound. What’s it got to do with him and the English? Isn’t the pound Scottish as much as English?

Go on Scotland, do yourself a favour. This column has no influence in the vote but the Scots will rise enormously in my estimation if they find the courage to say ‘Yes’.