by Ken McEwen, Ken McEwen Public Relations
The ‘Edinburgh agreement’ has cleared the way for the referendum on Scottish independence in 2014. It will be the most momentous political choice any of us are likely to have to make. Just one question: yes’ for independence, ‘no’ for retaining the union.
I have, genuinely, still to make up my mind. But, what I am 100% clear about is that Scotland can be independent. To suggest that, for some reason, Scotland could not run its own affairs (as it did until the Acts of Union) is as insulting as it is ridiculous.
What I find particularly disappointing is the inherent negativity in much of the “no” campaign.
The more they try to peddle the myth that Scotland relies on handouts from Westminster and that we could not stand on our own feet, the more they act as the best recruiters the ‘yes’ campaign could hope for.
The union is a bit like a marriage. The trouble is that one of the partners in this marriage keeps trying to suggest that the other is spending all the money and not pulling their weight.
This is an argument that has gone on for decades. In the 1970s and 1980s, Westminster governments delighted in portraying Scotland as a subsidy junkie going to London cap-in-hand. Our economy, they suggested was a basket case.
Thanks to the 30-year rule, we now know that the message inside Government was very different.
Government economic adviser Gavin McCrone was telling ministers that, If Scotland was to go independent: “The country would tend to be in chronic surplus to quite an embarrassing degree…”.
At this morning’s Aberdeen and Grampian Chamber of Commerce business breakfast on the economy Sir Peter Housden, Permanent Secretary to the Scottish Government, pointed out that Scotland is the second most productive region in the United Kingdom. Even without oil, it would drop only to third.
So, let’s stop the bickering about who is, or is not paying their way in this union. If we can’t re-establish trust that both partners are working hard for the greater good, then this marriage is doomed anyway.