A year ago, this blog welcomed the One Dynamic Nation website to the debate on Scotland’s future, especially its relationship with England. Obviously a reasonably professional effort, in the intervening time, it has been fleshed out with a number of pages and maintained a reasonable, if simplistic, graphics “feel”. Nonetheless, I have been disappointed with the content and apparent lack of new things to say.
Take, for example, one of the five ‘Campaign’ pages entitled “Benefits of the Union” which starts off with:
“The Union serves all four parts of the United Kingdom well and enables us to achieve much more together than would be the case if we were separate nations.”
The presumption underlying this is that bigger is better—and could use a couple of examples if they believe this to be true, especially as Switzerland and Denmark—not to mention Luxembourg or Liechtenstein enjoy GDPs per capita that Britain can only envy.
They then go on to cite three points on history, none of which relate to the 20th century, let alone the 21st, and then cite a number of economic points they obviously consider to be major advantages but they start off badly:
- The Union allows Scotland to be part of a larger, more powerful economy and within the Union, Scotland enjoys the four freedoms – movement of goods, services, people and capital.
…err, if that were the case we should all integrate with Europe tomorrow because those same four freedoms underpin the EU. Yet the UK is the EU’s most eurosceptic member.
- By remaining part of the Union, Britain has the fourth largest economy in the world. Edinburgh’s role as a major financial centre is built on the expertise of its workforce and underpinned by its position in the UK.
…err, so explain how tiny Hong Kong or Singapore (never mind the glorified reef that is the Cayman Islands) can possibly hold on to their leading roles in global fianance.
Rather than deconstruct the rest of their rather weak and poorly thought-through points, I challenge whoever is behind the site to up their game. What they have now is a series of platitudes for the faithful to (as they say on their site) “Keep Calm—and tell us why you love the United Kingdom.” Given the latest survey of independence from the British Social Attitudes, they are missing the fact that decisive debate is over those who are not thirled to either view who will wind up being decisive.
In a sample size of 1,197 voters, support for more powers being repatriated to Scotland from Westminster now stands around three-quarters. The detail figures from BSA are:
This shows, as clearly as anyone could wish, the extent to which the debate centres not around those who have entirely resisted the trend towards Scotland handing its own affairs (now down from a 20% peak to an irrelevant 5%) but on the half of all people who are pleased with what devolution has brought so far. The real question that web sites like ODN must answer is how are they to persuade that block in the middle that what they now have is adequate, that this positive process is at an end.
They must look across the world at the Norways and Singapores and they must make a strong case why they should have remained part of Sweden or Malaysia, how they would have been more prosperous, more highly respected and able to ‘punch above their weight’ had they stayed where they felt they no longer belonged. The onus of proof is not on fans of independence to prove how it would benefit Scotland, but on those who hold onto a historic but now antiquated union that denies the Scottish people the right to develop their own future, as many others have.