Saturday 27 September 2014

Moving on, but with a glimpse backwards

I’ve learned a couple of lessons about art in the widest sense of the term. Stick with me if you’re still thinking about the independence referendum. This is also about now.  I’ve discovered that what once was popular most likely still has some merit if only we take the time and make the effort to find it. Moreover if I fail to find merit in something that people I respect think is great, it’s worth considering whether the fault may lie with me rather than that which I fail to value.

I read somewhere that in the 1910s and 1920s the most famous woman on the planet, some would say the most famous woman who had ever lived, was called Mary Pickford.  I had only vaguely heard of her and had never seen one of her films. I set out to discover what I was missing. There’s a modern tendency to see silent movies as primitive and ridiculous. They take a little practice. They have rules and conventions like any other art form. Actually you can only really understand them if you can somehow imagine yourself back into the 1910s and 1920s viewing from their point of view. There needs to be a sort of forgetting, a stripping away of what has come subsequently. If you’re lucky you glimpse Mary Pickford as she was, wildly popular even in the Soviet Union, who pretty much banned every other American movie star, but didn’t dare to ban Masha “the girl with the curls.”

When I first started listening to opera I didn’t get it. When I first watched ballet the dance movements seemed contrived. But I persevered, watched more listened to more, read more about what people thought these art forms were trying to achieve. In time I began to understand more. Many years ago a friend played me something by Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992). I hated it. Modern classical music I dismissed as noise without any sort of tune. I continued in this opinion for many years without ever properly giving any of it a chance. But the memory of listening to something liked by someone I respected, but which I hated, nagged at me. A few years ago I gave Messiaen another go. I still hated him, but it still nagged. I’d taken up exercise again and would listen to music while using a step, so I thought this was my chance to see if I could learn about what I didn’t understand. I knew it would be futile to just plough on with Messiaen. Instead I began at the beginning of modern classical music. I started listening to late Beethoven. I then moved on through the 19th century, tracing each development. When I understood what had changed, I tried to move on to the next stage. Something big changed with Wagner. Here was something new. Then Mahler showed still another way of doing things as did Debussy, who I still don’t really get. People like Bartok and Shostakovich pushed more boundaries.  After I began to like them, I could go back and reassess some of those who I had really hated like Berg, Webern and Schoenberg. Finally I returned to Messiaen and listened to everything I could find. Now I got it. Now I loved him more than any other composer, especially Vingt regards sur l'enfant-Jésus.

There are so many great things to discover, forgotten novels from 1910, bestsellers from the 50s and 60s that you can pick up for a penny plus postage, that millions of people once read which now no-one reads. Do a search on IMDB for film’s rated 8.0 and above. Find one that you've never heard of no matter how old, no matter which language. For me the greatest film ever made was made in 1955 in Denmark. It has the power to change your life if you are open to it and don’t read anything about it before hand. It’s called Ordet [the word]. 

There are always going to be things you don’t get, but why not try? You enrich your life by doing it. Of course nothing worthwhile comes easily. In order to learn a language, for instance, you need to spend an hour a day every day for at least a year. Anyone can do it, but it needs commitment.

Many years ago I was feeling rather lonely in a far off land. I was looking for something to read from home and came across Ivanhoe.  Of course my parents had been fans of Scott naming me after one of his characters, but as children do, I had resisted what my parents loved. Scott to me was little more than a monument, a station, a football team and an author no-one read. But I knew that he was the world’s most popular author two hundred years ago. He was also the man who made the world fall in love with Scotland. 

I’d seen the 1952 film of Ivanhoe with Robert and Elizabeth Taylor, but the book was a bit harder to get into. In the first couple of chapters I found the sentences long. There were references to historical events I didn’t know, literature I had never read and there were words I didn’t know. But I persevered. I got into the story and found the novel easier to read. The story was excellent, a real page turner I just had to adapt myself to the style. I didn’t read another Scott novel for a few years, but when I did I was hooked. I picked The Bride of Lammermoor because it was short. It was also rather harder than Ivanhoe as being set in Scotland the dialogue is frequently in old Scots. I grew up speaking Doric, but I still had to turn to the glossary rather often. But again the story was a page turner and soon I began learning the vocabulary of a language we have lost. It took another couple of novels before I began to really get why Scott was so popular. There’s a barrier between our time and his time, just as there is between us and the audiences who watched silent movies. It takes a little effort to bring it down. Two hundred years ago, reading was the equivalent of television. They were as good at reading as we are at watching television. They read better than we do.

Now that I was hooked I set myself the task of reading the Waverley novels. There are around thirty. In this I was aided by the brilliant new “Edinburgh Edition of the Waverley novels”. Scott experts have for the first time gone back to the manuscripts and first editions in order to provide us with the best possible scholarly edition of Scott’s novels. It’s a stunning achievement. They are expensive however, though cheaper second hand.

In the course of reading the Waverley novels, I learned old Scots and I learned huge amounts of British, Scottish and European history. Most importantly I learned to see history from multiple points of view. Scott is a novelist and at times historically unreliable, but in my view if you want to grasp the essence of the UK civil war 1642-1745 you could do worse than read Woodstock, Old Mortality, Rob Roy and Waverley.

Scott depicts each side with sympathy and understanding and finds heroes and villains on both sides of history. His last novel Castle Dangerous set during the Scottish war of independence (1306) has both Scottish and English heroes and ends with reconciliation and honour on all sides. Frequently in the Waverley novels English or lowland Scottish heroes come into contact, often conflict, with Highland Scots. Scott shows that it is this meeting that produced the people that we are today. The genius of Waverley is in the subtitle, “tis sixty years since”. Sixty years later Scott is able to depict the Jacobites with sympathy. At the same time he points out the progress that has been made since then and the achievements of the Hanoverians.  George IV famously asked “Is Scott the author of Waverley?” The Hanoverian King now too could view “the 45” with sympathy as could the whole world. Bonnie Prince Charlie passed into legend, loved by all sides. Scott completed the healing of the wounds that had torn Scotland apart in a civil war. Never has he been more relevant. In Scott you find both the romantic Jacobite and the practical Hanoverian you find both sides of the Scottish character. He shows us what we are and reconciles us to ourselves. He’s “the 45” who in time could see the benefits of losing because loss gave birth to the Scottish Enlightenment, democracy rather than feudalism and the divine right of kings, prosperity, free markets and trade rather than poverty and order rather than revolutionary chaos. Would that it did not take sixty years this time.

Scott showed the benefits of a United Kingdom, but he retained the love of what we had lost. He is about an extraordinary journey taken by a woman who would not lie to save her sister who had sinned. I am that sister. So are you. Scotland needs to make that same journey to save ourselves from ourselves. In the end Scott is about the meeting of the Highland and the Lowland, the Jacobite and the Hanoverian, “the 45” and the “the 55”. We need to find forgiveness and reconciliation. We need to find the one Scotland that Scott gave us.

If you like my writing, please follow the link to my book Scarlet on the Horizon. The first five chapters can be read as a preview.

Saturday 20 September 2014

What we achieved

Something odd happened in August. What looked like being a relatively comfortable victory suddenly turned into a very close race that we were losing. I don’t watch television, but I read about the debates. Mr Darling won the first one well, but was then confronted in the second with a jeering audience and a shouting match. How can a reasonable politician win against that? All through the summer the nationalists had been complaining about bias in the BBC. I rarely checked the BBC web site because it was so dull. Every opinion by one side was matched by an opinion of the other. Yes said this, No said that. There was almost no editorial opinion at all, no criticism of either side. Good old BBC worthy but not very interesting. Why the demonstrations? Well these sorts of demonstrations put pressure on good journalists and on a famous television company that has a duty to be impartial. It won them the second debate for the Nationalists.

But could one debate really have made such a difference? We had a twenty point lead in one poll in August. Some bookmakers were offering odds in August that suggested a Yes vote was almost impossible. But the nationalists I came across on twitter were always very confident, many expressed certainty that they would win. How could that be?

The problem was that the whole debate had become irrational. I thought Better Together ran a brilliant rational campaign. Every serious economist I read in quality newspapers or from think tanks pointed out the problems with the nationalist’s case. The Scotland Analysis series brought together some of the best mind’s in the country to produce scholarly authoritative views. There were first rate minds from business and academia writing blogs based on their knowledge of law and the economics of everyday life.  There was almost nothing of this quality coming from the Yes side. But they were ceasing to listen.

Something rather sinister began to happen. Reasoned argument was dismissed as scaremongering. Every statement that did not accord with the nationalist world view was dismissed as a lie. This had been building up during the campaign but suddenly got much worse in August. An economics professor from Glasgow, a world expert, was dismissed as an Orangeman and a mason.  Some of the best world economists were being dismissed as in the pay of “Westminster”. I came across a young university graduate who dismissed all economics as rubbish, only the word she used was rather worse. What was the SNP doing to the minds of Scotland? The case against independence was overwhelming. Yet with less than two weeks to go it looked as if they were winning.

I’ve heard that the SNP are brilliant campaigners on the ground. They certainly seem to be well organized. They are willing to pay their campaigners large sums of money and pay for little booklets filled with what amounts to propaganda. We had nothing like that. I didn’t receive a penny for my writing. Nor would I dream of asking for money. It’s something you do for love or not at all. But why were my nationalist friends so confident. The change in fortune didn’t happen by accident nor did it happen because of one debate. It happened because of the work of thousands of dedicated nationalist activists.

Unfortunately there are areas of deprivation in Scotland and all over the UK. There shouldn’t be, but we just had the worst recession since the 1930s.  There are poor people who naturally want a better life. They were sold a dream that simply to vote Yes would cure their ills. Of course it’s not true. There are no magic fixes in economics, just hard work. If we grow economically, we have more to share. It’s as simple as that. But economics is hard, often dull and most people only have a hazy understanding of it. If you train them to think it’s all rubbish anyway, then it’s easier to sell your own version of snake oil.

I don’t know exactly what techniques the SNP use to persuade people to join the cause, but it strikes me as something similar to evangelism. First you get someone to agree with independence a little, then a little more, finally you have a convert. The trouble with this is that you end up also with the zeal of the convert.

This is what we began to see in the last few weeks. Mobs were summoned by social media and they sought to shut down debate. But worse than that, I found it almost impossible to have any sort of rational debate online. They had a one point lead, they had momentum and they really thought they were going to win. I was scared.

I was scared above all that I was about to lose my country. We fought for Britain in 1914 and 1939. What the Germans could not achieve, the destruction of the UK, was going to be achieved by a cause I considered unworthy, paltry.  I knew also that this would have a damaging effect on the UK economy, possibly the European and world economies too. Personally I believed a Yes vote would damage my own financial circumstances. But I would still have options. Worse still it would damage the financial circumstances of the poorest in Scotland who have few options. What was desperate was that I couldn’t reach my opponents. They replied with cliché, with pat arguments, with words that seemed to be coming from crib sheets.

I had a think that day when we all must have thought that we might lose and changed tack. I was not going to lose my country without one heck of a fight. Firstly I remembered from history what Napoleon said about morale. “The moral is to the physical as three to one.” I was determined to do what I could to cheer up our troops. So even if I felt nervous, I made sure I didn’t show it and instead projected confidence. The more I did this, the more confident I felt. Suddenly something rather wonderful happened. Huge numbers of people responded in the same way. I tweeted about 1940 and reminded people that we’d been in tough times before and seen off worse than this lot. Of course, we were not in a war, but the UK had never been in more danger of destruction than a few days ago.

I began writing a positive case for Britain. It’s something we’re rather shy about in Scotland. Personally I don’t like flag waving and find patriotism a bit embarrassing. But throughout the campaign we had rarely mentioned Britain, conscious I think that some Scots have little time for Britishness or don’t feel very British. But I began thinking about what we had gone through in history and what we would go through in the future if only we didn’t separate. I thought of some unknown time years from now when the UK would be needed, when we would need each other. I felt the connection with my relations who had fought for both Britain and Scotland. I remembered the achievements that had been made by people from all parts of the UK and from all political parties. This was a part of me and I was going to stand up for it.

All around the country people were standing up to be counted. We literally threw the kitchen sink at the nationalists. Some brilliant articles were written by experts explaining that independence was folly. I couldn’t understand how nationalists could not see what they were doing. Then I realised they were caught up in the emotion of nationalism. I’ve seen this in Eastern Europe. It starts off reasonably enough. Then it gets out of hand. It is one of the most powerful emotional forces appealing to the instinctual tribal instinct. This is why it is so dangerous. It closes minds and makes people behave irrationally. It makes people believe a wee blue book rather a world renowned professor of economics.

Scotland was on the brink a few days ago. But we did something together that is very special. We were heading for defeat but turned it around by millions of individuals making an effort and then a little more. We fought for our country and had another “finest hour”.

I’m going to continue fighting. I never want to see what I saw this summer happen in Scotland again. I want Scotland to feel less divided from the rest of the UK and more a part of it.  I want the divisions within Scotland to heal. For this reason I have been saying to everyone that we must be kind to our opponents. They are hurt and unhappy. Don’t make the next few days worse for them. I want to show over the next few years that they were mistaken to vote Yes. That Britain will become a better country for all its citizens. I want a new Britain where power is devolved equally to everyone.  We must be fair to England and the English.

I have never been a member of a political party and have voted differently at different elections. In Scotland we must cease obsessing about the 1980s. It’s a long time ago now. It is in part this obsession with a now dead prime minister that is responsible for the rise of the nationalism in our country.  I am going to try to keep blogging from a Lib Lab Con perspective. Whichever party I vote for in the future will be because of the circumstances at the time.  Above all I am resolved to continue fighting nationalism. I think there is a case for voting tactically against them next May. I will look at my constituency and vote for the party with the best chance of defeating the SNP. I never want us to have to go through another independence referendum. I am willing to help any political party to achieve this goal. Sorry nationalist friends, but we must put this genie back in the bottle.

If you like my writing, please follow the link to my book Scarlet on the Horizon. The first five chapters can be read as a preview.

Saturday 13 September 2014

To vote Yes would be worse than folly

I didn’t intend to write another blog about independence but as John Maynard Keynes said "When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?" The facts have changed. I passionately disagreed with independence a week ago.  But now it is absolutely clear that to vote Yes is an act of unpardonable folly. Here’s why.

There are two financial journalists I respect above all others. They are I believe two of the finest minds in Britain. Economics is not a science like physics. No one can predict everything, but that doesn’t mean they are witch doctors either. To suppose so is simply irrational.  Two pieces by Ambrose Evans Pritchard give very grave warnings from international investors and economists who probably had never heard of Alex Salmond a month ago. Credit Suisse and Nomura are obviously not controlled by the Westminster Government, nor are Asian Pension funds. To suppose they are is to succumb to a delusion and a paranoia that fed German nationalism in the years after the First World War. Andrew Lilico is someone who writes very deep commentary on economics. I frequently find myself struggling to understand some of his writing, but always know that the fault is my lack of intelligence rather than his lack of understanding. In this piece he shows that the SNP economic case is without foundation and demolishes each of their supposed arguments.

We have learned in the last week that every Scottish bank and many major companies would leave Scotland if there were a Yes vote. Imagine if any European country knew this was about to happen because of a vote in an election. Which of them would vote for it to happen? It would obviously damage Scotland economically and make us all much poorer. But more importantly if all of these companies, (who again unless you believe “Westminster” controls world economics are quite free to decide), believe that an independent Scotland is not a place they can do business, what does that tell you about what the SNP promises about independence.

Mark Carney the most respected central banker in the world has confirmed that Scotland could not be independent and have a currency union with the UK, moreover if we tried to use the pound unilaterally it would cost each of us up to £18000 pounds. Something the SNP haven’t even thought of in their calculations. Imagine what that would do to public spending plans in Scotland. Imagine how taxes would have to be raised or spending cut. Imagine how the poorest in Scotland would be hit.

Finally Deutsche Bank has just warned that a Yes vote would be a historic mistake having the potential to set off another great depression. These are Germans who are sober and perhaps a little dull. They don't tend to exaggerate. We’ve spent the last 6 years trying desperately to recover from the greatest economic crisis since the 1930s. To set off another is sheer folly. 

The world economy is tightly interconnected. The Eurozone which is still struggling is one shock away from a renewed crisis. Have you seen how poor the people of Spain and Italy are? In Spain many people get no benefits at all. How do you think these people will react if Scotland makes their situation worse?

The EU was set up in response to nationalism destroying Europe twice in the first half of the 20th Century. I know Scottish nationalists think their nationalism is different, but most Europeans will fail to see the distinction if their lives are blighted with a threat they thought they had seen off. It is for this reason that Europe’s top lawyer gave a warning this week that Scotland would not be allowed into the EU. JosephWeiler has been called the greatest lawyer in the world and he absolutely destroys the legal and moral case for an independent Scotland joining the EU.  There’s a reason for this. There is latent nationalism all over Europe. There are groups of nationalists quite small in number who would love to use the example of Scottish independence to resurrect their grievances about lost countries or boundaries that don’t include their people. If you doubt this read the following.

I have personally experienced what happens when Civic nationalism sets off latent emotions. I’ve known Ukrainian civic nationalists who just wanted to promote their culture, their language, who wanted to get on with their neighbours and create a prosperous western democracy in the EU. They told me all the same things that Scottish nationalists tell me. They also had the best intentions. But like so often their nationalism blew up in their faces.

I promise you if the sort of people who are warning now about the consequences of a Yes vote were doing the opposite and warning of the dangers of a No vote. I would vote Yes. It would be my moral duty to do so.

There are a lot of Scots who are either unable or unwilling to understand the economics that has been set out here. There are charlatans spreading lies who have no expertise about what they speak and not much education either. Nor are many Scots willing or able to understand Scotland in an international context. But it hardly needs to be said that if even a fraction of the damage that is threatened internationally happens because of a Yes vote, Scotland would hardly be welcomed with into the international community with open arms.

If you think all this is scaremongering, if you think the whole world is wrong and only you are right that "Westminster" is making them say all of this. I would seek treatment if I were you. The world isn't scaremongering, it's scared. So am I. 

I know there are thinking, intelligent Yes voters. Good people who have supported the SNP all their lives. If you understand the issues, if you realise the danger that Scotland faces, you have a clear duty to speak out. I know that you desperately want independence. But this goes beyond politics. It is absolutely clear that right now independence cannot be achieved safely. If you vote for independence knowing the damage it would do to Scotland, the poorest in Scotland most of all, you are clearly not a fool for you have the intelligence to understand what you are doing. If you put your desire for independence above the suffering of others, both here and elsewhere, you are obviously a fanatic who cannot be reasoned with. If you think it would be worth it you have lost all sense of moral values. To understand what I have just written and vote Yes is not an act of folly it is the act of a knave. 

If you like my writing, please follow the link to my book Scarlet on the Horizon. The first five chapters can be read as a preview.

Saturday 6 September 2014

Don’t sell your birthright for a mess of nationalism.

Sometime in prehistory a group of people arrived on our island from Europe. They were Celts. We know next to nothing about the people who lived here before that. All that is left of them are the monuments they left behind, places like Stonehenge and Scara Brae.  The Celtic speaking people of Britain, as far as we know, spoke more or less the same language up and down the country and if we’d been left alone, no doubt we still would be speaking the language of the Picts and the Iceni. But that wasn’t how history played out.  Our island has always been attractive to immigrants and they have made us what we are. We are all immigrants and we are all mongrels.

The successive waves of Romans, Angles, Saxons, Vikings and Normans were not always absorbed without a struggle. There was conflict. But the mix proved beneficial. We are all equally the children of all of these ancestors. We all have the same heritage no matter which part of the UK we come from. There is no fundamental difference between someone from Scotland, from Wales from England or from Northern Ireland, just a variant on a theme, a slight difference in the mixture.

Someone whose parents arrived on our island more recently is equally a part of our island story and an equally welcome addition to the mixture of our melting pot. We are all part of the same story of Britain, where people have arrived with hope because life here is good and always getting better. We’re good mixers the British and the mix that makes up the British people has been most fortunate for it has meant we have been at the forefront of much that is good in the world.

We gave up feudalism centuries before many parts of Europe. We developed nascent forms of democracy and human rights earlier than anyone else; we gave up absolute monarchy while most of Europe still believed in the divine right of kings.  We developed free markets and free forms of trade, while most of Europe still had serfs. We were the vanguard of nearly every development that made Europe prosper from the agricultural revolution of the 18th century to the industrial revolution of the 19th century. But all these revolutions occurred here more or less peacefully. While Europe was rocked with revolutions in the 18th and 19th century, while they were torn apart by nationalism, we concentrated on slow, rather dull progress. Change came to Britain. We became gradually a fairer and more democratic country. We became wealthier and everyone shared in this wealth more and more. But we never revolted, we never overthrew. That was never the British way. We took our time and acted with due care.

It is not accidental that French philosophers of the 18th century, like Voltaire admired Britain and the liberty that was to be found here.  There was something in the British character that avoided extremes. Something in the mixture means the British have always liked moderation and so we looked on when the French chopped off the heads of their nobility, we looked on in 1830 and 1848 when Europe revolted. Instead here we had dull reform bills that gradually extended the franchise. Here we developed trade that brought prosperity to us all.

Because we have always loved liberty and because we have always been a tolerant people, we don’t like bullies and tyrants. For this reason Britain has made some of the greatest of contributions to defeating tyranny. We did this three times in the 20th century. Our grandfathers and great grandfathers fought not only for Britain, but for others who were victims of aggression.

Without the British Army, France would have lost the First World War. In 1918 it was the British army that made the decisive contribution to preventing defeat in March and enabling victory in November. It had been a terrible conflict but our great grandfathers were proud of the contribution they had made and for the fact that they fought for Britain. Really they did all fight for Britain. They were not mercenaries.

Two miracles occurred in 1940 when this island was more in danger of invasion and defeat that at any other time since 1066. The British army should have been defeated in the fields around Dunkirk, but somehow by a miracle escaped intact. Our fighter planes later saved us again. We remained calm, though fighting alone, and the whole of Britain united to fight the common enemy. We should have been defeated in 1940, but our grandfathers stuck together. Every one of them who fought did so for Britain and of course they had no hatred for the country they were fighting for, but rather kept their hatred for the enemy. Britain’s contribution in the year 1940 made a decisive difference to the history of the world. If we had been defeated, if we had not remained united, the world would be a very different place today. It is as if this island was specifically constructed with its location and with the mix of its people for this role, as if all history was so that we could be there in that year, because the world would need us.

We stuck together too during the Cold War and made our contribution to defeating the tyranny of communism.  There were long fearful years that many of us remember with a fence dividing Europe.  We played our part by being one of the few significant military forces that underpinned NATO.  Without that unity, there is little doubt that conflict would have broken out some time between 1945 and 1991.

The fact is Britain is one of the great countries. People want to visit us.  Our history and literature are known the world over. People want to come and live here too. Thank goodness that they do. They add to our mixture and the mix just gets better and more beneficial. It’s not accidental that people want to come here. We speak everyone’s second language. The whole world learns the language we speak every day.  We are the English speaking people of this island. That is what makes us British.

Because we are British and such a mixture of peoples, we are also more welcoming and tolerant than most other countries. After all we’ve been doing it for so long. Owing to the fact that we’ve had a market economy for so long we tend not to be as restrictive in our practices as most other countries. It’s easier for someone from Poland or Pakistan to get a job here, because we don’t put up petty barriers to their finding a job. This is one reason why we prosper while other European countries flounder.  We absorb those who come here, it’s not always easy, there are challenges, but because we are welcoming and tolerant we have more harmony here than elsewhere. The British identity is inclusive available to anyone who comes here to live simply because we have been including for centuries.

We have always weathered storms together and defeated every challenge, every enemy. We stuck together in 2008 when it looked for a moment as if the world economy was in meltdown. We weathered the storm because we had unity and because we are united. We were willing to share and we used the power of our treasury to rescue those who had lost everything, such as when an Icelandic bank failed. We did this even when strictly speaking we didn’t have to.

Britain is a great country. The British are a great people.  Don’t expect any of this to continue if Scotland votes Yes. Even the name of our country would be something of a parody. It would be better then for us to be called the “Divided Kingdom.” Great Britain could no longer sensibly be so described if we had our head chopped off. Rather it would be better if we were to be called something like “Diminished Britain” a headless chicken that had done so much but was now left broken. What a final victory for all those who have hated Britain through the centuries.   

Remember the thousands of years of history that have brought us to this point and don’t throw it away for transient reasons such as you don’t like David Cameron or George Osborne, who will probably be gone by next May.  Don’t vote Yes because you have a rather irrational hatred of a dead prime minister who hasn’t ruled anywhere for nearly 25 years.

The story of our island is how a Celtic speaking people became an English speaking people. That is our story, the story of each and every one of us whose ancestors have arrived here from overseas. All of us are immigrants; we are that mix of peoples, that happy mix that has formed the British. We are the opposite of nationalists, because in us can be found all nations, the whole world. That is our birth right. It is what we would lose if we voted Yes. Don’t sell your birthright for a mess of nationalism. 

If you like my writing, please follow the link to my book Scarlet on the Horizon. The first five chapters can be read as a preview.