On September 18th, the people of Scotland get to vote on whether to leave the United Kingdom.
Before 1707, Scotland was an independent nation, quite separate from England. It currently has a partially devolved government structure, so many local issues and policies, including some educational matters, are addressed by a Scottish parliament that meets in Edinburgh:
I don’t want to bore you with a detailed argument for each of these but here are some of the reasons everyone should consider joining me in voting yes:
An independent Scotland will be:
- Legistlatively better placed.
- Politically better placed.
- Financially better placed.
- Environmentally better placed.
- Culturally better placed.
- Socially better placed.
- Historically better placed.
All these things are true and all these things have been argued all over the place. For many people here it is currently an equation about money and in that scenario, a Scotland able to arrange its own policies on mineral wealth, set its own tax rates and able to adapt as a small, flexible, mature democracy in a globalised economy is going to be better off.
But the specific reason why Christians should vote yes has nothing to do with the rich traditions of Scottish culture that are very different from England or even the fact that a yes vote is just a reversion to the historical norm or the secret reason that takes up a large space of my reasoning which is that it is a new thing and new things are exciting.
No. The reason Christians should vote yes is simple.
Submarines. Tanks. Jet planes. Soldiers. War.
Sorry to beat a drum, but I live in a country where men are trained to beat drums while other men march off to war. The Scottish people don’t like this but because of historical circumstances, they find themselves part of the most war-hungry state in all of history. There are only 22 nations on planet Earth today, out of over 200, which the United Kingdom has not invaded.
In my lifetime, Scotland has gone to war with Argentina, Iraq, Afghanistan and then Iraq a second time. Scotland has deployed military assets (meaning men who were trained to kill people and destroy things) in the former Yugoslav states, in Sierra Leone and in Pakistan. Scottish income tax has gone towards the development of the largest spying network in history and subsidises the most heavily surveilled population in the world (yes – the UK is now officially much more committed to surveilling its citizenry than East Germany ever was).
Scotland is the base for the British navy, including nuclear submarines and the fleet that can carry nuclear weaponry. The Highlands is a common place where their jets are tested and their pilots trained. Their council estates are one of the chief recruitment centres for the infantry.
If you are resident in this country and you think the invasion of the Falkland Islands was stupid, that Desert Storm was questionable, that Afghanistan was confusing and that the current occupation of Iraq was scandalous, then for God’s sake and the sake of the world, vote yes.
You don’t have to be a pacifist. You just have to recognise that this state of constant war and fear and threat, with non-stop talk of terror plots and cameras watching you by the side of the road everywhere you go is not the right way to live. An independent Scotland won’t be pure in the face of this violent culture. Scottish boys will still be lured away to fight in the British Army, attracted by the video games they have habitually played and the glossy television ads they’ll see. Scottish manufacturers will still cast bullets and make vacuum packed nutrition pouches and camouflaged buttons that the English armies will buy. If Allied victims can suffer rendition via Irish airports (which is what has repeatedly happened), then the likelihood is that Scottish runways will be likewise implicated in this nefarious practice.
But a vote for yes is a vote for never having to on an anti-war march again to convince YOUR politicians not to go to war. After all, YOUR politicians didn’t want to go to war and the London government still over-ruled them.
Christians can take a range of positions on war, just like they take a range of positions on nationalism or capitalism or Breaking Bad. But Christians are agreed that war is bad. Sometimes, some people are convinced it is necessary but nobody was convinced the last 30 years of conflict was needed. All of it was a sham. And not for one second did that make it any safer.
Christians should vote yes for Scottish independence.
Your Correspondent, Believes that all anyone really wants in this life is to sit in peace and eat a sandwich.