The Centre for Irish and Scottish Studies hosted a Panel Discussion for Scottish Independence.   Four Scottish migrants and a New Zealander who will studying in Scotland long enough to be eligible to cast a vote in the Referendum.  The Referendum reads:

Should Scotland be an independent country?

Fourteen months out and the polls on the referendum are so close a swing in the margin of error could change the decision.  5.3 Million people are going to decide the political structure that affects 60 million people.

What could happen?  Well, don’t forget that yesterday, the 25th of November was New Zealand Independence Day.  It marks the date when following Britain’s decision to enter the European Union the New Zealand government quietly removed British Subjects from our passports.  A market for New Zealand produce closed.  New Zealand looked elsewhere for new markets.  We stopped being British Subjects and identified ourselves as New Zealand Citizens.  I think that was 1974.  The world did not end.  Next day we got on with the job.

Nationalism isn’t independence.  Scotland can have a national identity without being an independence nation.

So what matters?  The oil boom in the North Sea probably won’t last.  Scotland is better positioned than other parts of Britain to take advantage of wave and wind power.  The London Government might move the frigate industry from the Clyde.  Of course, Garloch on the Clyde is the home to the British Nuclear Fleet, not London.  There is a possibility that London might claim Garloch as a United Kingdom Military Base.  I hope they pay rent!

Do Scottish soldiers have to continue dying in Afghanistan?  Can Scotland have a voice in the United Nations independence of the United Kingdom’s seat on the Security Council and speak with its own voice?  It has already started an initiative at home to work for Climate Justice for the world’s poor.  New Zealand prides itself as a nation that punches above its own weight in foreign policy.  We could have competition from the Scots!  Still, we are both part of the Axis of Nations Who Like to Put Lipstick on Sheep so we understand them.  (The third nation in the Axis is Spain.  Never understood that!)

The richest 100 people in Scotland have an income bigger than the Scottish government.  There is an equality issue to be addressed here.

Can Scotland opt out of the British Surveilance State? Can they take control of their own policies on issues like migration and state assets?  Join the Nordic nations?  A looser Federation in Britain?  There is another referendum approaching in 2017 in which the United Kingdom can vote whether to stay in the European Union.  If Britain opts out, then Scotland may yet leave the United Kingdom to stay in Europe.

What kind of Scotland do the Scots want to live in?  Fair? Green? Prosperous?  Whichever way Scotland decides there is a national question to answer together.  Will they change?  At this point there was an interjection from the audience: “I hope you’re right!”