An independent Scotland affects Scots in ways they might not even realise…According to today’s Scotsman, an independent Scotland would not be able to supply sufficient donor organs to support its citizens, and would be forced to rely on post-Union cooperation with its neighbours. To be fair, this is hardly a reason to call off the National Conversation on Independence (which I disagree with for other reasons): an independent Scotland would not be an island, and very much connected to the rest of the UK through physical, social and economic ties. Plus, the NHS in Scotland is already a slightly different beast from the NHS in other UK members: this wouldn’t stop the Scottish NHS being closely linked with the UK NHS and its counterparts in Europe.
This is more of an illustrative example than a counter-example. It doesn’t provide a compelling argument for why Scotland should not be independent, but it tells us about something that many people prefer not to think about – the devil in the details of constitutional change. We have enjoyed great benefits as part of the UK (and vice versa: one look at the Scottish Enlightenment or the recent domination of Westminster by the Scots bears this out). We also take a lot of UK services for granted (like organ donation) which are not guaranteed to us if we split from the UK.
It is easy to fall into the trap of glitzy, saccharine jingoism, and Scotland deserves better than that. We have an excellent reputation as producers of some of the greatest thinkers that this planet has ever seen – let’s honour that by thinking a little bit harder about the minutiae that could dramatically change your life.