Rob The Nerd .com Now available online!


You are here: Home > Rob's Rumblings > > Scottish Independence

Scottish Independence
The Arguments
My Conclusions

Scottish Independence
Well, this is the hot topic in Scotland at the moment, with most people talking about it, propaganda for both sides arriving through the letterbox daily, and people in the city centre shouting their beliefs through a megaphone at the many shoppers passing by. But for me, it's kind of a strange one. Both sides are putting forward arguments that seem to have little grounding in anything other than speculation and scaremongering, so I decided to look at it in a little more detail to see if I could find any reliable information on which to base a decision.
What's Going On?
On the 18th September 2014, Scotland will have the opportunity to vote in a referendum that will decide whether to leave the United Kingdom and strike out as an independent country, or remain a part of the United Kingdom as they are now. It really is a big deal for a country to have such an opportunity, and so isn't to be taken lightly. Either way, it's a pretty permanent move - Scotland won't get this opportunity again for a long time if they vote no, and if they vote yes they can't go running back to the UK if things don't work out.

I consider myself a bit of an outsider to all this. I moved to Scotland from Ireland less than a year ago so I have somewhat of an outside view of the situation. Nevertheless, I'm able to vote on the 18th because I'm a resident in Scotland, and that's what the rules are here: I'm registered for Council tax and I'm an EU citizen, so I get to vote. Coming from Ireland however, I'm a little shocked that I haven't yet received any sort of impartial guide to the referendum. I've had plenty of leaflets through the door - at least one a day including Sundays at the moment - but I have yet to receive an impartial one. Apparently one was produced, and it is available online, but I had to go looking for that. Not that it's much good - it is quite sparse on actual information. In Ireland, whenever there's a referendum, every address in the country gets an impartial booklet, in plenty of time to make up your mind. It will have a lot of information and facts for both sides of the decision, and will avoid giving opinions or speculation for either side.

Where's the Info?
So, what information is available? As the information for this started flowing some time back, one thing struck me: facts are hard to come by. Speculation is available from the Yes and No camps, but it's just that: speculation. Not facts. It seems that nobody really knows what will happen, and in the absence of this knowledge, fill the void with speculation. That's human nature, our brains fill gaps with anything that reasonably fits so that we can get on with the day-to-day task of living. It's why we have to actively check our blind spots when we pull out. And when those occasional facts show up, how they relate to the referendum tends to be vague. So vague, in fact, that in many cases both camps are using the same information to argue their side. To me this just seems like a crazy situation, it's no wonder so many people I've discussed the referendum with are undecided on which way to vote. You'd have thought that for something as big a deal as this, people would have made their minds up a long time ago. I'm sure many have, but what surprises me is that it feels like a majority have yet to decide, little more than a week before the vote is held.

All this means that there's a lot of FUD floating around (that's Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt for those less nerdy amongst us), and that's a bad thing when so much is at stake. People can use FUD to take advantage of that human tendency to fill in the gaps in order to influence their thinking - spreading FUD is the phrase used for this particular activity. I've been listening to a lot of arguments both for and against independence, and have been bombarded by FUD, propaganda and the odd fact twisted to fit a purpose, again from both sides. Some points put forward seem to make sense, some are based purely on speculation or vague interpretations, and some are downright threatening and scaremongering. So I've decided to put my main impressions here for the world to read... Or not.


Read more:  Arguments  |  Conclusions