“Arrogant English politicians could be our biggest stumbling block”

Yay or naw? The question that has been keeping Scotland, the United Kingdom and the rest of Europe on the edge of their seat for the past couple of weeks. The outcome of the Scottish independence referendum remains undecided until Friday, but in the meanwhile Flandersnews invited four Scottish expatriates with a firm opinion on how the vote should swing.

After the debate, Flandersnews presented the Scottish expats with three set questions. Again, the debaters found some common ground. Both camps thought that the state of the potential economy would be the deciding factor on Thursday. If anything could hurt their respective camps? According to Yes-camp Ewan: “Convincing people of that there will be financial security, more jobs, more money in the bank after independence will be the hardest thing to do.”

What will be the deciding factor in the final days?

Hugh: The economy. Salmond is getting so incensed about some financial information getting possibly legally released because it could hurt his cause quite badly.

Elaine: I agree in terms of the economy. I think it is the fear of the economically unknown and the uncharted waters we would get ourselves into that will be the deciding factor.

Ewan: “At the end of the day, people just want to know whether they’ll end up with more or less money in the bank after indepence?”

Colin: “The ability to overcome the fear of the unknown. I think that that favours the status quo. We’ll need a greater push to climb over the inertia of the current situation.”

If the Scottish people end up deciding against independence and Scotland gets its devo-max, what powers should be devolved to Scotland?

Hugh: I share some of the Yes-campaign’s dislikes of Westminster and would like to see them have very limited powers. I cite Switzerland as an example, they run the army, foreign policy. Everything else is done locally.

Elaine: “I suppose that more devolved power would be in the fiscal areas. Spending and taxes would be the most important ones.”

Ewan: “Scotland should be able to take on a bigger role in the European Union. Scottish governmental European offices don’t have any concrete powers. We should be able to provide more input in certain European issues, perhaps we would fare better that way.”

Colin: “Full fiscal autonomy and full control over all the taxes raised and spent in Scotland.”

What do you think will be the biggest stumbling block for your respective camps?

Hugh: “Every time English politicians come to Scotland, I have to hold my breath. One wrong word and they’ll win it for the Yes-campaign. Their arrogance and distance could be our biggest stumbling block.”

Elaine: “I think that the Yes-side’s idea that we’re going to have some sort of Nirvana of Scottish socialism and we’ll have lots of money of money to spend after independence is our worst problem. I’m sorry, but everything will remain the same and we’re probably going to be worse off.”

Ewan: “Convincing people of that there will be financial security, more jobs, more money in the bank after independence. Realistically, they can’t back this up and it’s no good that banks are making threatening statements either.”

Colin: “With the balance becoming more evenly divided and polls looking favourable, the Yes-side could become arrogant and triumphant, which I fear could be our biggest problem. My other concern is that the unionist campaign succeeds to personalise it as an ‘Salmond’-campaign rather than a broad nationalist movement. If they do this, they have a chance of swinging the vote.”