Tomorrow, Scots aged 16 and over will go to the polls to answer the question “Should Scotland be an independent country?” and the results will be legally binding. Unbelievably, we could see the 307 year union come to an end, and it turns out there are reasons for wanting this that go beyond breaking a whisky-drunk-per-capita-in-one-day world record.
In a way tomorrow’s vote is guaranteed to produce the right outcome. If we say No, it shows that we don’t have the ambition needed to do this right. We’ll go back into our box, and be happy with what Westminster gives us, forfeiting the right to complain the next 100 times we don’t have a say in who is elected to parliament.
But if we vote yes, we send a message within and without that we’re ready for more. We’re ready to stop listening to the fat banking industry and the moribund media, and to start opening the door to technology and innovation.
With the littlest of effort, we could turn our highlands and coastlines into centers of energy R&D that bring investment from all over the world – investment that goes towards something truly valuable.
With the slightest of incentive, we could turn our central belt into a technology powerhouse: Even done poorly, Dublin was able to host the European headquarters of Facebook, LinkedIn, Amazon, eBay, along with huge service centers from Google and elsewhere. We could have all that and more, given our bigger population, better infrastructure and education.
Imagine our world class universities, attended regardless of the ability to pay, producing world class engineers that can work for world class companies right here.
Whatever happens tomorrow, we’ll be ready for it. If it’s a No, it’s because we’re ready to have our future handed down to us from the classrooms of Eton, the privilege of Oxford, and eventually from the scraps that fall from the leather-topped tables in the City of London.
But if it’s a Yes, we can at least guarantee that our future will be shaped by us: if that happens to be a future filled with social justice, innovation and invention, then good for us.