How the hell have I missed this thread? I will post my own thoughts in more depth later, but a couple of points to address presently:
| When talking about this issue people always compare Scotland to Ireland, and I'm not sure why. |
We have a common ancestry and similar societies. The "Scottii" were an Irish tribe who migrated to Scotland ~1200 years ago; you see the remnant of this heritage in Gaelic languages, similar cultural traits etc. Also, Scotland and Ireland are effectively the only Western countries where sectarianism still causes issues, but it's not as bad as the media would have outsiders believe. I am not sure we are very comparable in economic terms though; as you pointed out Scotland has been highly commercialised for a long time, whilst Ireland has only seen such a transformation in the past 50 years or so.
As for what polls say, I am disinclined to pay much heed to them as they vary widely depending on who/where you question, and what question you ask. There is still much talk of people being unsure what independence "means" (either because of Unionist media spin, or because the public are morons. Probably a mixture of both) and this has rendered many people cautious. The SNP pander heavily to the Loyalist community (and that is what they are, only subtler than their Irish cousins) with visions of independence retaining the Queen as Head of State and a "social union" with the remainder of the UK. This has undoubtedly created confusion, but the policies are pretty straightforward to anyone who actually bothers reading them.
| 2014 is going to finally put the whole thing to bed and silence the angry minority who more than anything are motivated by historic bigotry. |
I do not believe a 'No' vote would put anything to bed, it will simply spawn more constitutional chaos for the UK. There is majority support for greater devolution in Scotland, and this desire will only grow should a move to independence fail. What the "unsure" brigade (who will determine this referendum, as I do not believe any credible poll has indicated majority support for either Yes or No) fail to recognise however, is that rejecting the referendum will result in Scotland being forgotten about for another 30 years by London, pulling further devolution off the table. Unless the regionalisation movement in England gains momentum and actually begins pressuring for change.
As for motivation of bigotry, it simply is not present. I have yet to see an argument advanced based on some desire to escape the "English bastards". There is a definite desire to escape the clutches of South-East England, but this is based on notions of legitimacy, representation, fairness and self-determination, not hatred. The only bigotry I have seen in this campaign is from Unionists - an extremely self-deprecating mantra of a Scotland which is "too wee, too stupid and too poor" to venture into the world on its own. For some (see Loyalists) history started in 1707, and thus any break from the UK would be an insult to that legacy. What a great legacy it is, eh?