First of all, I feel we should have full disclosure: I am a Scottish nationalist. “Boo, hiss” I hear you say. And given the recent rise in Scottish nationalism, I can understand why you might fail to understand my point of view. Independence, in any form, is a bit of a touchy subject (just take Brexit for an example). So let us tiptoe around it no longer, and instead run head first into one of the most contentious issues north of the border.
Nationalism is defined as “patriotic feelings, principles or efforts”. When I have feelings of patriotism it is not for the Union or the Empire, it is for bonnie Scotland. From my own experiences, I would say that a majority of my peers feel the same way. Yes, I will support Team GB at the Olympics but I get annoyed when Andy Murry is referred to as a Brit at Wimbledon rather than a Scot. I harbour no shame in believing that Scotland is the best nation in the world.
That being said I don’t believe Scotland, in the current geopolitical climate, should divorce itself from the UK. The UK as a whole is in a state of political flux and until the dust has settled it would be foolish to try and leave. There is no way of knowing what the outcome of Brexit will be, whether or not a deal will be struck or indeed if any deal will benefit the people of Scotland. Now, this doesn’t mean that I think independence should be totally abandoned. Instead, the timing should be reconsidered, preferably until such a time as Scotland is capable of self-sustainable independence.
The SNP is still by far the largest party in Scotland, there is nobody that can deny that. They have the most seats at both Holyrood and Westminster. Everyone knows that their endgame is independence from the Union, which I believe to be a reasonable goal. I just wish they wouldn’t be so hell-bent on achieving it as soon as possible. The Scottish public tends to be a far more left wing in their views when compared to England. I wouldn’t read too much into the recent Tory revival in Scotland as it seems to me to be more of a protest vote against the incessant beating of the #indyref2 drum.
In order for the SNP to make up for the recent losses in the general election, they need to start focusing on other issues that concern the Scottish public. Personally, I feel that they should look to develop industries that will create jobs in the short-term and give Scotland a better chance of success if we ever do become independent. Investing in renewable energies, so that we can become leaders in developing renewable technologies and electrical production could be one way this could be done. If you have ever been to the west coast you know how the howling wind can blow you away, so why don’t we start to use the natural resources that we have to our advantage?
Speaking of natural resources, it is time that Nationalists stop using North Sea oil as the engine that will keep the Scottish economy running. Everyone and their Gran knows that oil is a finite resource. Nobody, not even my Gran, knows how long we’ll be able to sustainably drill for more black gold. The reason that nationalists are doing this is because it is the only way that they can justify independence immediately. Who knows, maybe it could finance us for the next one hundred years. Or maybe it could run out in ten. The point is there is no way of telling, so why would you risk the future of your own people just to stick it to the man.
Leaving the EU is also a fabulous opportunity for the SNP. It means, if they take their time developing business, they can learn from the mistakes of the Brexit. They can demand negotiations about key issues be started before any vote so that the people know what they are voting for. The biggest disaster of Brexit is that people voted for something which, not only they but nobody had any ideas what the consequences would be. If Scotland can develop their economy to the point where it is more successful than that of the rest of the UK they will have the upper hand in any talks that are heard.
It boils down to this; the SNP can forever go on with their Braveheart mentality fighting the supposed oppression of the tyrannical English, or they can play the long game and get on with the job at hand. They can build Scotlands economy, educate more young people to a higher standard and be in a stronger position in ten to twenty years than they are now. They just need to broaden their horizons.