Why I will be voting no to Scottish independece
As it stands I will be voting no on September 18th, I say as it stands because I am not saying my mind cannot be changed just that the yes campaign has yet to convince me that independence is a good thing. I have too many unanswered questions.
I am a student nurse, and I work part time for the National Health Service and although healthcare is a devolved issue anyway I am yet to hear a definite answer as to what will happen to it should we become independent. I and every other student nurse in the UK get a minimal bursary for doing our degree, will we still get that? where will the money come from? will there be jobs when I graduate? I know I already said that the NHS is a devolved issue so none of this matters, but it does if the government needs to make savings because it doesn't have the money it needs to fund things. No one has given me any guarantees with regard to my education or my job.
I hear a lot of noise from the yes campaign about tuition fees, I don't even understand why they are talking about this. Scottish students studying in Scotland do not pay tuition fees, the rest of the UK does. Why would a no vote change this? I have never heard any plans to charge fees in Scotland and cant imagine this happening. All nursing students in the UK get their fees paid by the NHS anyway so this would not affect me personally even if it turned out to be true. If we are part of the UK just now and we don't pay them, why would we pay them all of a sudden if the decision was to stay as we are?
The big issue for me, and many others is the European Union. No one has given me a definite answer as to what would happen with the EU. An independent Scotland would technically be a new country and therefore could potentially be made to apply to join the EU as such. If you actually do a bit of reading and see what happened when Romania and Slovakia joined the EU and became the 'A2' countries you will see why this could be a terrible thing. Everyone seems to think that joining the EU meant that people from the A2 could come here and claim benefits, get houses and all manner of other things. This may have been true with countries who joined the EU at an earlier stage, I can assure you it is not the case for the A2 countries. These people were entitled to nothing, not even housing benefit which left many of them living like sardines in tiny flats with several families under one roof doing what they can to try and keep it. I have seen it first hand on one of my community placements, the stories of some of these people would bring a tear to a glass eye and before you say 'well they should go home then' many don't have the money to do that.
If we were treated as a new EU country we would almost certainly be subject to work and travel restrictions, bearing in mind the rest of the UK would still be a member of the EU so could this affect my ability to work in England like so many graduate nurses from my university have done in the past? I don't know the answer to this question and that is exactly why I wont take the risk by voting yes. A new EU country also has to join the single currency, it was not in the rules when the UK joined and that is why we got to keep the pound, but new countries have to change to the Euro most people don't want to do this.
The yes campaign talks of a currency share deal with what is left of the UK and I know they had all sorts of talks about it and the Bank of England said it would be possible but how would this work? Can it really be done if we do in fact get treated as a new country if we join the EU? Again I have no answers.
Would we even join the EU? would they accept us? What if some idiot decides that we should not join and we end up with no common market or right to free travel? This would have a devastating effect on the economy that we are assured by the yes campaign would be much better if we were independent.
We are apparently going to be an independent country, but share the monarch. How does this work? I guess in the same way other commonwealth countries like Australia do, but I am guessing here there are no answers from anyone official that I have seen. Do the Scottish people want to share the monarch? has anyone asked this question?
Is the economy going to be better off? they go on and on about our oil and that's great but it is not infinite and relies on having people to trade with, which can be affected by the EU questions they are yet to answer for me. Yes we do have other things going for us but is it enough? can we sustain things like the NHS or state pensions? What happens to our benefits system? If I get tax credits from the UK government will I automatically get them from the Scottish one? will everyone have to apply again meaning they go months with little or nothing while they wait on the backlog of every single entitled person reclaiming something they already know they are entitled to?
These are just some of my unanswered questions and until they are answered I will not vote for independence. Perhaps even the answers wouldn't change my mind but until I have them I cannot take the risk of being in any way responsible for us becoming independent.