Contrary to what the Yes campaign wants us to believe, there is not a political party called Independent Scotland fighting a general election on 18 September, whose victory will answer every problem with a utopia to suit every taste.
It’s in the Scottish government’s White Paper and all the Yes campaign’s barnstorming speeches and all its shout-down-everyone-else contributions to televised debates.
Voting Yes will not bring about utopia or solve any problems. It will create a whole heap of new problems and utopia will be delayed. Until independence actually came about at least two years after a Yes vote, Scottish politicians would not know the full extent of the possibilities before them, the problems they would face, the domestic and international pressures they would have to manage or how much money was available to pay for utopia after an independent Scotland’s inherited public spending had been accounted for.
Inside the United Kingdom problems and pressures are shared and each part of the UK is shielded from their full force – and London can always be blamed if there is not enough money for the devolved Scottish government’s plans.
Outside the Union, Scotland would have to face all this alone, weakened unnecessarily if the SNP carried out its threat to default on Scotland’s share of the UK’s debt. A Blazing Saddles threat, if ever there was one.
If the vote is Yes on 18 September, how long would it be before Yes voters realised utopia was deferred indefinitely?
Alex Salmond and the SNP and their fellow travellers would go on promising and blaming London and perhaps the other parts of the UK for the failure of the nationalist victory to deliver utopia.
Nationalism, whatever you call it, always goes like that. Soon there would be recriminations within Scotland. The Yes campaign has already shown its vicious intolerance of opposing views whoever expresses them.
The truth is voting Yes is a step in the dark. I can respect Yes voters who recognise that.
There can be no certainty about what would happen after a Yes victory. Scotland independent might be worse or better than now. No one can know now how it would turn out.
No one can know which party would form the government of an independent Scotland. A Yes vote would rob the SNP of its reason for existing. Its promises might count for nothing after a Yes vote if another party were voted to power in 2016.
The only certainty is that after a No vote, we will continue to work together in the United Kingdom for our different versions of social and economic justice in these islands, as we have for over 300 years. After a No vote, the Scottish Liberal Democrat, Labour and Conservative parties will deliver their promises of further devolution. They will offer policies in the general election next year on jobs, welfare, pensions, the NHS, overseas aid, the economy, education, enterprise and business, defence, security and so on that they can deliver, because the United Kingdom – that great Scottish creation – exists and together we work for all our futures.
Voting No is a vote of confidence in the future of the Scottish people and all the people of our Union.
Because, we are indeed Better Together.