Will we be able to mark our Xs in white on blue?
So we're to get our referendum on Scottish independence, in two years' time. Not only will that give the SNP a couple of years to try to win over the undecideds and doubters (support for independence currently runs at around 33%), but it will put the vote at the tail end of a string of feel-good Scottish events: the Ryder Cup and Commonwealth Games both in Scotland, plus the 700th anniversary of the battle of Bannockburn.
As things stand I intend to vote for independence, but there are still details to be sorted out. Would an independent Scotland join the Euro? stick with the pound (in the same way various places not in the USA use the dollar)? go it alone with a whole new currency? Would we stay in NATO or leave? The SNP seems to be changing its policy there from a straightforward "leave NATO" to "stay in but get rid of the nuclear weapons". The leadership seems to think this will prove more popular, but I don't know: I was speaking last week to someone who said that if we would be staying in NATO he couldn't see any point in voting to separate from England. For him, getting out of NATO and becoming non-aligned was the main selling point for independence. While I'd be disappointed if an independent Scotland stayed in, it wouldn't be a deal-breaker for me. (Update: bugger.)
Of course, there is the question of my nationality. Hilary was born in England but her father was Scottish so there should be no problem for her. Our children were born here. I, on the other hand, have two English parents and was born in Manchester. After thirty-one years here I don't foresee any issues with my residence qualifications, but I wold presumably have to apply for citizenship (and presumably would be eligible for dual nationality, as would Hilary, I guess). Interesting times ahead.
Still, first we have to win the vote, a struggle not helped in the least by people like Gordon Wilson, former leader of the SNP who is so resolutely set against full equality for gay people (to wit, legalisation of gay marriage) that he is threatening to campaign at the polls against any MSPs who vote for it. Yes, that's right, this clown during whose time as its leader the SNP could at best be described as "irrelevant" is so puffed up with his own importance, and so utterly in hock to a fringe of religious fundamentalists, that he is happy to put his hatred of gays ahead of the struggle for Scotland's independence. He has described progress towards legalisation of gay marriage as "lurching down the road to fascism", which suggests that he thinks Hitler and Franco were bastions of gay rights. It seems that his problems with gay marriage are that schoolteachers would have to "promote" it (though as they are not currently obliged to promote heterosexual marriage I'm not sure which planet that "fact" came from) and that gay unions do not lead to children. So in Gordon Wilson's ideal - and resolutely "non-fascist" - Scotland, all contraception within marriage would clearly also be forbidden.
I was about to hope that the voters of Scotland would put the poor fool out of his misery, but as he's never been an MSP in his life and was last a Westminster MP in 1988, that won't be necessary. The Scottish National Party, though, should give serious consideration to expelling this vile reptile so that he can slither off and join the British Freedom Party or some other body more in tune with his own ideology.