Together – or apart

The front page headline in Monday’s Globe and Mail newspaper read “Britain takes aim at Islamic state”, and it left me wondering if it could be the last time I would ever again read of Britain aiming at anything.
On Thursday citizens of Scotland go to the polls to decide whether they want to remain an integral part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain, or whether they want to journey on through the 21st century independent and alone. Thursday is the day of the great referendum vote seeking a simple “yes” or “no” answer to the question asking Scottish voters if they want to sever close to four centuries of unity with England, Ireland and Wales, or if they prefer to remain a strong partner in the UK.
A “yes” vote will be for independence; “no” will be to stay with the UK. And by all accounts the outcome appears too close to call for even the boldest pollsters – who are all too often wrong with their predictions anyway.
A few things are clear: if the separatists prevail the rest of the world will be witnessing the final collapse from greatness of the British Empire on which a hundred years ago “the sun never set.” The old empire began to shrink when strong colonies, governed from and by London, severed their governance ties with the mother country but remained strong members of the Commonwealth and loyal to the heartbeat of the United Kingdom’s of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
On Thursday the voters of Scotland will decide whether to keep the core of the old Kingdom united and with still strong voice in world affairs, or whether to remove a key foundation stone – Scotland – and and precipitate further damaging collapse of the UK. The “stay united” supporters stress that four nations united are a force that England, (Northern) Ireland, Scotland or Wales could never be on their own.
Prime Minister David Cameron continues to make his plea for Union with pledges of further powers for the already established independent Scottish parliament and warns there can be no turning back if the “yes for independence” vote prevails. Others on the “no, let’s stay united” side echo the warning that the vote is not like voting for a five year government. This is a decision for a long time, they say: The economic problems created by a “yes” vote will be irreversible.
Alex Salmond, leader of the Scottish Nationalist Party and First Minister in the Scottish Parliament, issues a similar warning to his “yes” supporters. There will be no second chance he tells them if the “Yes” vote fails. A stay united vote, he warns, will be “no” for at least one “political generation” maybe forever…
Salmond is banking heavily on support from 16-year olds recently given the right to vote by his government, and from thousands of recent immigrants now residing in Scotland. It is estimated that of the 4.5 million eligible voters at least four percent are of Asian, African, Caribbean, or Polish descent with many thousands located in Glasgow in lower paid working class areas.
It is safe to forecast the Thursday vote will, internationally, be the most watched political event ever monitored by millions of Scottish-UK loyalists with birth or ancestral connections now scattered to every corner of the world but holding firm “Yes” or “No” opinions – and frustrated because only current residents of Scotland can vote.
Things to watch for as the day unfolds (remember the time difference): The experts say if the vote in Dundee is less than enormous, it will indicate an overall win for staying united. Another belwether will be voters along the eastern borders of Scotland and England. The “no” vote will need to win big there, or lose it overall.
A forecast? For sure. The Scots are a canny lot and know the value of a penny. They’ll vote to stay with the Union because it is economically sounder to stay than to leave. And the Lowlanders of the eastern borders will swing the vote.
A narrow but binding win to keep the Union strong – and forecast more in hope than in confidence.

One comment

  1. If the yes side win I guess the losers will be the unemployed and those on social assistance because they will be loosing their nest egg, also will those that vote no be able
    to keep their British Passport

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