A truly equal partnership is possible

Can you be a unionist and still vote yes without fear? It might sound silly, but hear me out. Lots of people in Scotland quite clearly have a deep and emotional attachment to the union, so much so in fact, that the word 'independence' simply frightens the life out of them. Some may even refuse to engage upon hearing the word.
Scotland and England shaking hands

This is where the yes movement must make time to address a common myth - that somehow a yes vote will mean that Scotland cuts itself from the outside world, that there will be a hard border at Berwick and that we will somehow forfeit the special relationship that we have with our friends, family and neighbours down south.

Scottish independence has been quite falsely compared with the UK's exit from the European Union on a number of occasions by prominent politicians.

Here's why that's a lot of nonsense.  Firstly, the Brexit that the UK Government are seeking is a very distant relationship from the EU.  They seek a 'hard Brexit' so to speak.  They seek to break all association with the European Union altogether.

However the proposals put forward by the SNP for an independent Scotland, far from seeking a distant relationship with the rest of the UK - they actually advocate for a very close relationship indeed, and would herald the beginning of a truly equal partnership that could finally put the constitutional issue to rest.

There is no such thing as a no deal exit from the UK union.  It doesn't exist.  Neither the yes or no side would ever suggest such a thing.  A yes vote will simply herald the very beginning of discussions, of negotiations that would result in Scotland having the final say on things that effect us.

A yes vote does not mean an automatic split from the UK.  It will however finally force the UK Government to acknowledge that Scotland must be treated with respect, that Scotland must have full fiscal autonomy, and that we will no longer accept our place as merely a 'region' of Britain.  It will herald the gradual hand over of power from London to Edinburgh, and a new deal between our brotherhood of nations.

The land mass of Great Britain would still remarkably remain intact after a yes vote.  There would not a sudden earthquake, causing the physical "break up" of Great Britain - contrary to reports you may have read in the Daily Express.

Just look at the lengths the UK Government have gone to ensure a completely open border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland after Brexit.  It is quite sensible to come to the conclusion that it would be in the best interests of both nations, that the border between Scotland and England would remain open, with limited checks.  It also makes sense that the UK would seek to scaremonger about these things before a yes vote, because quite frankly, they would rather that all the power remained in the hands of Westminster politicians.

The 'Common Travel Area' has been around for almost 100 years.  It was created in the year 1923, and included the following nations and regions...

Scotland, England, Wales, Ireland, the Isle of Man, Guernsey and Jersey.

The Common Travel Area literally guarantees in law that someone born in any of the above mentioned places can move freely between those countries and regions without hindrance.  It means you can move to another country or region within the Common Travel Area, and you can enjoy all of the same benefits as citizens of that country.  As a citizen of Scotland, you can live, work, love, claim a pension and use the health service in any of the other nations within the Common Travel Area.

Of course, Scotland's place in the Common Travel Area would remain intact upon a yes vote.

In terms of defence, it frankly goes without saying that Scotland and England would still continue to support each other from the threat of global terrorism, and that we would continue to be allies should unforeseen circumstances arise.

Voting yes for independence does not mean that the sky will fall in.  It does not mean falling out with our neighbours, or walking away from our special relationship.  Far from it.  The opposite is true in fact.  It will simply herald the beginning of a new, improved, reformed relationship, to the benefit of all four states of the union.

A few examples of why the SNP's vision of 'independence' should not actually be feared by unionists...

Firstly, the SNP advocate that Scotland keeps the Queen, and remains a member of the Commonwealth.

Secondly, the SNP have said that they would prefer to have a currency union with the rest of the UK, and to keep the pound - now of course the UK Government have argued against the viability of this, but it's pretty obvious that it is for political reasons in order to prevent a yes vote.  Within minutes of a yes vote, I would bet my last pound that a currency union will be firmly back on the table.

Thirdly, the SNP put forward the suggestion that people in Scotland would be able to remain UK Citizens after independence, and would be able to choose to possess both a Scottish and a British passport.  Legally speaking, it would be outrageous to suggest that people born in Scotland would suddenly lose their British citizenship upon a yes vote.

The independence that the SNP have proposed, far from being a distant relationship, may actually bring us closer together.  In reality, not much would change, apart from the fact that Scotland could opt out of war and would no longer be forced to be a nuclear base for Westminster.

The primary differences after independence would simply be that the tax payer in Scotland would no longer be forced to subsidise the UK's nuclear weapons program, would no longer be obliged to pay for the UK Government's wars and would no longer have to pay a share of massive English infrastructure projects such as the HS2.  It would mean that Scotland could opt out of military action if we didn't agree with a plan for war.

If Scotland were to vote yes, it could actually be argued that far from being a "separatist" ideal, it would actually result in a much stronger relationship, and that Scotland and England would become truly equal partners in the world.

So yes, it is possible to be a unionist and an internationalist, and to vote yes in a second referendum for Scottish independence.

We could finally establish a more lasting and amicable relationship with our friends and partners down south.  We would still enjoy the perceived 'benefits of the union' such as having the ability to travel freely within the Common Travel Area, we will still be able to trade with the rest of the UK, we will still have the Queen, and you will be able to keep your UK passport and will still be free to identify as either Scottish or British, or as both, if you so wish.

A truly equal partnership is indeed possible, and it begins with a yes.

We, within the yes movement must reach out to those who feel emotionally attached to the union for the reasons outlined above and possibly other reasons I haven't addressed, and we must make sure that we communicate effectively with those people, so that they are fully aware that the SNP's vision for independence does not in fact threaten them in the way that they perhaps believe.

We must communicate the fact that a yes vote will simply mean a better, stronger, more lasting relationship with England and will create a truly equal partnership that will put the constitutional issue to bed for once and for all.

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