So the people of a Scotland have rejected independence. ‘Yes’ supporters, including good friends, are asking if they are the first country to ever make such a decision.
It’s as though they have chosen to be underdogs, and there is genuine upset from the Yes camp. In the interests of smoothing things over, here are a few facts about Scotland which, had I been given a vote, would’ve pushed me towards voting ‘No’.
Scotland has a completely separate legal system to the rest of the United Kingdom
Scotland has a completely separate education system to the rest of the United Kingdom.
Six Prime Ministers have represented Scottish constituencies.
Prime Ministers Gordon Brown and Tony Blair were both born and educated in Scotland.
Scotland has had their own parliament since 1999. The parliament building was scheduled to open in 2001 and cost between £10m and £40m. It opened in 2004 and cost £414m. Corrupt or incompetent? It’s not for me to say.
The saga of Edinburgh’s trams has been a sore point for taxi drivers in the Scottish capital. Originally costed at £375m (indexed for inflation), a tram network linking the city centre with both Leith and Edinburgh Airport was hoped to be operational by 2009. A shortened route began operating in the middle of this year (2014). It has cost £776m, plus more than £200m in interest on a 30-year loan taken out by the council. For the better part of seven years, Princes Street, Edinburgh’s main shopping thoroughfare has been an inaccessible building site. Again, you have to decide between corruption and incompetence.
In Scotland, prescriptions are free (they currently cost £8.05 in England).
Scottish students pay no university tuition fees. If English, Northern Irish or Welsh students wish to attend a Scottish university, they will have to pay these, though students from the rest of the European Union are exempt, which seems rather unfriendly.
The West Lothian Question. In 2004, Scottish MPs pushed through measures to introduce tuition fees in England and Wales, even though these would not affect their constituents studying in Scotland.
All I am saying to disappointed ‘Yes’ voters is this: none of the above exactly screams the notion that you are struggling under the yoke of English tyranny. Things not only ain’t so bad when you look at them, if you’re a student, elderly, ill, or employed building a tram through Edinburgh, you actually have things pretty good.
I cannot see the logic of rejecting a parliament with dwindling powers 500 miles away for a parliament 1000 miles away that is quietly getting more intrusive. And I cannot see the logic in exchanging the pound for the euro. I am, of course, open to contrary arguments in the comments section.