If the roles were reversed, and we were already an independent Scotland, how would you vote on a referendum to join the UK?
Imagine if you will, a campaign whereby Better Together are pushing for YES to join rUK, and iScotland are campaigning for NO and to remain independent.
Argument for YES (to join)
We would have the best of both worlds - all the benefits of a shared nation, while still maintaining autonomy on a selected few areas deemed appropriate by the new government in Westminster.
NHS would remain under control of our government, in the reduced Scottish Government, whereby the funding we would receive from Westminster would allow us to afford it. This would be the case for the next 5-10 years, after which time, the privatised NHS of the rUK may then be the only viable option for Scotland to take. Whats so bad about privatised health care - you get what you pay for.
Barnet Formula - the system that distributes the (for want of a better description) disposable income to each area of UK to spend as each sees fit. It would mean, that because of the level of tax Scotland would pay into the treasury, we would get back, in this calculation, more £ per head than rUK
Austerity - there is a huge deficit that the UK are trying to bring down. There are measures in place to ensure that savings can be made. A reform of the welfare system is underway, people are being encouraged to get back to work, have a bit of pride in their jobs and communities and a reduction in the number of people on welfare claiming not be fit for work. The number of welfare cheats is under close scrutiny and money is being generated through the taxation on under occupancy in homes. There are far more savings yet to be announced, as much as 70% more to come. No more scroungers living off our tax pounds, lazing about smoking and drinking, being a drain on society.
House of Lords - the hierarchy of the UK Government goes back centuries. These Lords and peers have a wealth of experience in government and laws/policy making. They know how to run a country. We can trust them to make the best decisions for us.
Defence/War/Trident -under the umbrella of the UK we would have support of the full military, be able to confidently send out troops into conflicts with the rUK, together, as a stronger unit. We would also gain the protection of the nuclear deterrent, Trident, in the event of a terrorist attack.
North Sea oil - Supplies are dwindling, and there is no economic future for a prosperous Scotland without oil.
Sports - with the backing of Team GB - we could be in with the sporting glitterati. There is rumour of a Team GB in the Football World Cup, Andy Murray would always be British (not just if he wins) and we could wave Union Jacks at sporting events.
National Anthem - a joint anthem to unite the 4 countries of the UK under the Monarch.
Argument for No (to remain independent)
NHS - all funding for NHS comes from and remains in Scotland, for the country. The service and its core values are fundamental to the continued health and wellness of the Scottish population. The Scottish Government has given a cast iron guarantee to continue to protect our NHS. If we join the rUK, what would happen to our less well off or vulnerable citizens, if they couldn't afford proper health care in the future? This is Not a Scotland I'm voting for.
Barnett Formula - an old fashioned, supposedly temporary measure, used to calculate the distribution of pocket money for each of the 4 parts of the UK, allocated from Westminster. There are discussions currently being held to abolish the highly complex system altogther or renegotiate its terms, meaning that either way, Scotland would be financially worse off. The reduced allowance would also impinge on the ability to maintain the aforementioned NHS, as cut would have to be made to manage the new allowance. No Thanks
Austerity - Penalising the poor and vulnerable. Forcing physically and / or mentally unwell citizens to prove that they are not fit for work or cut their benefits. Cut the amount of benefits received for people who have a spare bedroom, or encourage them to bring a stranger into their homes as a lodger (and still cut the benefits, as the lodger's rent is then deemed 'income'). The amount of cost cutting on the welfare budget hasn't even made a dent in the deficit. The amount of people who 'work the system' is negligible compared to the scroungers and cheats who claim expenses and are incharge of inventing and implementing these measures, ie the MPs. Does it really matter if a welfare claimant smokes or drinks and watches tv - some have not much else in life, so who are we to deny anyone a little pleasure? Not in my Scotland.
House of Lords - a group of imagined 'betters' some of whom are there purely through family connections, costing the tax payer millions to pay each of them £300 per day. Lords who make policies and laws for people with whom they have no connection, no idea of their reality and most importantly, are not accountable to. To reform the this outdated elitist system will cost in the region of £500m, which equates to around £50m for Scotland alone. I know where Scotland's money will be better spent. And its not for the high life of a Lord.
Defence/War/Trident - who exactly would we need defending from? Scotland is a peace keeping country with no need nor desire for nuclear weapons. The proposed placing of Trident subs is the waters off the west coast of Scotland. In the Israel/Palestine crisis ongoing at the moment, Scotland has opened its doors to the needs of the Palestinian people, the Scottish Government has written to offer medical support and hospital treatment for those in need. In contrast, reports have shown that 50% of the UK MP's are on the Israeli payroll. http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2009/nov/16/pro-israel-lobby-conservatives-channel4-dispatches No way.
North Sea oil - There is more to the oil industry than the North Sea. There is the site that was discovered on the West coast, (where they want to home Trident), plus a brand new discovery has been made off the coast of Shetland that has not made it to the news and the UK Prime Minister plans to get his hands (not personally) on it for the purposes of Westminster wealth, http://yes2014.net/2014/08/01/oil-around-shetland-could-be-more-than-it-appears/ Not sharing the potential of an oil fund,at the risk of Westminster mismanaging and squandering it.
Sports - Andy Murray will always be Scottish, win or lose. A Team GB World Cup Football Team, really? How many Scots would make that squad? No Thank you.
National Anthem - lose our own anthem, only to be sung at Rugby matches? Have to sign about 'Rebellious Scots to crush'? How aboot Naw!
Can you use your imagination for a moment to visualise a thriving economic, multi-cultural, democratic, stable 'wee' independent country? A country at the forefront of sustainable, renewal energy, a successful NHS, stable currency, highest standard of education, where our citizens, can earn a wage that allows them to actually live, without the need for food banks. A country that looks after its citizens, including the vulnerable. A country where everyone (regardless of excessive wealth, celebrity or family status) pays their taxes and the government is held accountable by the people.
Does that sound too utopian? I think it sounds like the basics of a modern country.
What would you give or gain to join the UK?
Would you want to give up your vote in a general election since it has no impact on the outcome?
Would you want to gain a Tory/UKIP coalition? A coalition whereby one of the leaders has already publicly stated that it is his desire to abolish the Scottish Parliament, as well as the Welsh and N.Irish Assemblies?
Would you want to join a union where politicians are proud to stand and smile for local press at the opening of another food bank ?
Would you want to give your tax pounds to fund a high speed railway line that only travels up the country as far as Manchester?
Would you give up your country and place on the world stage to reduce it to, essentially, Scotlandshire?
Would you want to join a union that protects the wealthy and punishes the poor? Where the architects of the economic crash are rewarded with abhorrent bonuses, and the rest of the everyday population are left to pick up the pieces, in the face of redundancy, diminished health (mental and physical), austerity measures, housing bubbles and financial collapse. But its ok, we got tax breaks on beer and bingo!
Would you want to join a union who is so against integration with other human beings?
Would you choose to join a union where a select few are so privileged, by no more than their birth, to live a life of unimaginable wealth and superior position, that the rest of the population of said union, were not referred to as citizens, but as subjects?
Would you want to join this union?