Common Sense is a philosophy that has been at the heart of Scottish thinking for centuries and continues to be a popular way of thinking in pubs around the land. The Aberdeen philosopher Thomas Reid founded the Scottish School of Common Sense saying:
“If there are certain principles, as I think there are, which the constitution of our nature leads us to believe, and which we are under a necessity to take for granted in the common concerns of life, without being able to give a reason for them — these are what we call the principles of common sense; and what is manifestly contrary to them, is what we call absurd.”
Across the country you’ll hear many a voice proclaim “aye, but it’s just common sense” when talking about independence so we put together 11 common sense reasons to vote Yes in September.
1. Scotland is a country
Image by Brian Smith
It shouldn’t surprise anyone to say that Scotland is a nation. As such, it should have it’s own voice among other nations as an independent state. It should take responsibility for its own decisions and how it’s run.
2. It makes our democracy more accountable
Image by Giorgos
The House of Lords is completely unelected and made up of party donors, landed gentry and Bishops from the Church of England. It is not a representative or accountable body of Government, and there are no plans to make it such.
Westminster MPs are elected on an outdated First Past The Post system which favours the Conservatives and Labour above smaller parties. There are no plans on the table to reform either the House of Lords or the voting system in the House of Commons. The Palace of Westminster is out of date and out of touch with modern democratic accountability.
The Scottish Parliament though is elected using an Additional Member system which sees smaller parties given a greater chance of election, and the makeup of the parliament more closely reflecting public voting across the country. It’s not perfect, but it’s more accountable than Westminster and easier to enact change.
3. Because Tories and the Establishment
Image by Number 10
The Conservative Party have every right to stand for election and then be elected. People across the UK have every right to vote for them and even with independence we may still have Tory MSPs. They might even form a government one day, but they would do so having been voted for by the people of Scotland. Not imposed upon Scotland by its larger neighbour.
You can’t help but look at those who support or donate to the No campaign and wonder why such a large part of “the Establishment” is represented in their ranks. Grand estates, the richest people in the UK and alumni from the oldest public schools, all gather to profess their love for a Union which supports their tax breaks; their vast estates (just over 400 people own over half of Scotland); their inheritance; their investments and their lifestyle. They’re not backing the Union to support you, they’re backing it to avoid banking regulation, land reform, higher taxes for the top earners, climate change targets, redistribution of wealth and social justice.
4. We’ll get more representation in Europe
Image by Yanni Koutsomitis
After the recent European elections, Scotland elected 6 representatives, the same number as tiny Malta. Denmark, which has a similar population to Scotland, elected 13 representatives. Because the EU rules weight representation in favour of smaller states so that they can have a strong voice in a union featuring some real economic heavyweights, Scotland resources an allocation split from the overall UK allocation. When leaders of EU countries meet, Scotland is represented by the Westminster Government who, quite rightly, fight for the interests of the majority of their population – the south-east of England. Scotland’s different needs with regards to population dispersal, fishing and farming, re-industrialisation and immigration are often argued against because they do not suit the agenda of the rest of the country.
Independence would change that. We’d have greater representation and our own voice as an equal member of the European Union. Scotland would have the opportunity to assume the Presidency, as all members do and to take part in Europe-wide negotiations and treaties, arguing for its own needs. That’s not selfish, it’s just responsible, accountable democracy in keeping with the rest of Europe.
5. It’s not about building borders but working with other countries
Image by Moyan Brenn
There’s already a border between Scotland and England, and it won’t change much if we become independent. Independence isn’t about becoming an isolationist state looking out for number 1, but taking a seat at the family table with our own voice. No one in Scotland is advocating ignoring the troubles facing the world with regards to climate change, poverty, war and famine. Quite the opposite in fact.
Independence would give Scotland the opportunity to project a welcoming, open and peaceful ideology to the world. To stand shoulder to shoulder with our friends against war, militarism and extremism of all kinds.
6. Just because the Union is 300 years old, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t reassess it
Image by Caroline
Presumably you would remortgage if the economy changed? A business partnership would re-assess their agreements at regular intervals and likewise, if you and your partner (like, hugging and kissing partner, not your business partner) realised you wanted different things, then you might have a chat about where your relationship is going.
If anything, the very fact that the Union is 300 years old is a perfect reason to reassess the agreement. Times have changed and the world is a very different place with different challenges. 300 years ago Britain was building an Empire through vicious expansionist military aggression and economic war. Now it’s coming to the end of the process of breaking that Empire up so that the individual nations may have their own voices and make their own decisions. It might be that the UK is the next part in this process.
7. Scotland has different needs to England
England is pretty packed. Covering an area of 50,346 sq miles with a population of 53.01 million means there are 1052 people per mile packed in to this space. Much of Scotland on the other hand, is just great big tracts of nothing but deer and sheep (central belt excluded), with the odd settlement of people thrown in to keep an eye on them and provide shortbread for rich holiday deerstalkers. With a population of 5.295 million living in an area covering 30,414 sq miles, we have a density of just 174 people per sq mile. We need to address this, but much of the legislative powers to do so are reserved by Westminster who are trying to restrict immigration and hold re-industrialisation in the swing voter territories of England.
Scotland needs to attract immigrants to bring skills, knowledge and families to our rural communities who see their populations drifting towards the central belt and England constantly. Our cities thrive with immigration, welcoming new cultures to add vibrancy and modernity to our growing urban centres.
8. Smaller democracies/states adapt quicker
A small, efficient state is more adaptable than a larger state, economically and democratically. We will be better able to grow and change during challenging times.
9. For the opportunity
Photo: Ross Colquhoun
Independence isn’t full of facts and certainties. It’s full of opportunity, right up to the fucking brim. Frankly, it’s overflowing.
We are being given the opportunity to put everything up for discussion about how a modern, democratic nation should be run. Everything. It might not come on independence day, but with independence our Parliament can go on to discuss everything – monarchy, currency, Europe and everything else. On the day after a Yes vote we start discussing what our democracy looks like, what our constitution will look like and what our bureaucracy looks like. We can really do things differently.
10. We’d be a phenomenally rich country
Image from BBC News
Like Richie Rich rich dude, we’d be up there as one of the wealthiest nations on the planet and that’s before you take into account the oil. Scotland is basically rolling in money (relative to the majority of other countries). It’s already the richest part of the UK outside of south-east of England and would rank within the top 20 wealthiest countries in the world, even on the CPPR’s lowest estimates of wealth per head with independence. We’d be wealthier per head than France, Japan and the UK.
What I’m saying is we have got this covered. But what we really want to do with independence is change this, to create a country focussed not on becoming wealthier but on becoming more equal. With independence we can refocus our energy sector on renewables creating a lasting industry and expertise for generations, while also setting up an energy fund that will ensure we have the apparatus to tackle inequality for the next three hundred years, not to spend the revenues attacking the poorest in society and ripping apart our industrial heart as the Tories did in the 80s. And finally…
11. Independence is normal
Image from cometstarmoon
Of all the nearly 60 countries who have become independent from the UK, none have requested to rejoin. 30 countries around the world have become independent nations since World War 2 and again, none have reverted back to their former union since.
Let’s be a normal, independent nation.
Main image by Simon Baker