Today is the day that most of the Scottish electorate get to decide whether they want Scotland to break away from the UK and be an independent country.
Well independent notwithstanding the passionate desire by its First Minister to tie it to the Pound Sterling, meaning that its monetary policy and by default fiscal policy (as it will affect public borrowing) will be driven by the Bank of England.
Now that isn't a bad thing in itself, for if Scotland were to be truly independent, you can imagine the Scottish Pound being worth much less than the already devalued Pound Sterling, primarily because virtually all of the advocates for independence are socialists, committed primarily not to the earning of wealth, but the taking of it and "redistributing it" to those they deem worthy. Such a vision isn't one that inspires confidence in money created out of nothing.
Furthermore, "independent" Scotland aspires to be a member of the EU, as it will lose EU membership the day it breaks away from it, and seeks to be a member so it can "earn" its cut of subsidies etc, although curiously the "Yes" campaign seems to think Scotland could be like Norway - except, of course, Norway has its own relatively solid currency and is not a member of the EU, because it doesn't want to share its wealth with Bulgaria or Greece, or its fisheries with anyone else.
"Independent" Scotland of course is happy to share its fisheries with the subsidised fleets of the rest of the EU.
"Independent" Scotland will still have the Windsors as head of state.
All of that is just political posturing by a campaign led by a megalomaniacal habitual liar.
There are solid reasons to not vote for independence, but there are also arguments in favour of the union.
The main argument against independence is that Scotland will be poorer, because it will no longer have the tax base of England to prop up its welfare state. It will also be poorer because its politics are dominated by socialists, so anyone in Scotland who owns a business or is on above average incomes will have to watch out, for their taxes will go up.
However, the Scottish independence debate has been retarded by politicians talking about the short term, talking absolute nonsense about the NHS (which is and will still be the responsibility of the devolved Scottish government with a No vote) or other matters which are up to the government of the day.
I think the biggest argument FOR the union has largely been ignored. It was alluded to by George Galloway - yes THAT George Galloway - in a recent debate, where he talked about how the UK singlehandedly fought off the Nazis in the Battle of Britain and went on to proudly defeat fascism in Europe.
For the UK in its 300 or so years of existence has done so much to shape the world and humanity.
Not all of it good, and indeed the British education system since WW2 has spent a lot of energy teaching British kids what was bad, whether it be slavery, colonialism, racism or the difficult life in the Industrial Revolution (ignoring how much worse it was before).
In fact because of that, driven in large part by leftwing academics facilitated primarily by the Labour Party, that I think Labour has been unable to drive a solid campaign to support the UK. It's campaign has been focusing on the details of what is wrong with independence, rather than what is right about the UK.
Parliamentary democracy, for all its flaws, is still the least bad system out of all of the ones that have ever existed, to paraphrase Winston Churchill.
The industrial revolution and the inventions that made it, created by British, that being Scots as well, inventors. It created enormous improvements in the standard of living. Think that only 200 years ago the idea of moving beyond your own village by any means than by horse, was fanciful, unless you sought to sail.
The spread of English Common Law, including concepts such as property rights, the rights of man (which eventually did get to include women and men of all races) and liberty.
Yes, it isn't hard to think of appalling acts done in the name of the UK, see the Boer War, see the Irish potato famine... However, unlike other powers (Russia, China and even France), the UK is only too aware of its dark past, and that
The UK went through periods of religious repression like so much of Europe, but came out with a secular tolerance that others would envy.
and yes, the UK fought against industrialised fascism in the 1940s, and then was on the forefront of facing down Soviet fascism through till 1989.
The UK, for a country of 60 odd million people does have more weight in the world than that population would suggest. Not because of nuclear weapons, nor the UN Security Council permanent seat, or the Commonwealth and the former colonies, but because of its history.
Today I am sitting in Hong Kong (at the airport) a city that would not be what it is without the British influence. English is the lingua franca for business because of the UK, and of course those Britons who went forth into the New World to do something different. It is no coincidence that those countries where Britons colonised in large numbers, they brought the same success in living standards, albeit not always bringing the same rights to the indigenous people there.
If Scotland leaves it behind, the UK will be smaller, weaker and less significant. That is why Marxists like Billy Bragg are cheering on the independence movement, for they hate the land that was at the forefront of free trade, capitalism, property rights and individual liberty at one time.
Yes, today the USA is the superpower, but where did its principles of freedom and individual rights originate? Had it been colonised by France or Germany what would it have looked like?
Yes, individual UK governments have seen the UK decline, and Thatcher only partially stemmed that, and yes, freedom and individual rights are at constant challenge in the UK today. However, you wont see a shred of those expressed by the SNP or the Scottish independence campaigners, for their campaign is not one of freedom - but socialism in one country.
The United Kingdom today is noticed, influential and is globally significant, and it is for good reasons. Language, culture, heritage, history, law and business. It is where so much of modern civilisation originates, and been central to some of the most important battles in history. It was created by the English, Scots, Welsh and yes the Irish too.
Scots can continue to be a part of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, or they can go on a narrow, nationalistic, socialist path tinged with sectarianism. Scots can be a small country, that's curious for whisky, kilts, haggis, bagpipes and strong accents, selling tourism, whisky and oil, withdrawing into themselves, or they can be part of a big one, with their own self government and be part of the ongoing history of that country they contributed much to make great.
After today, it is the UK - advocating free trade, freedoms, secularism and rule of law, or a smaller UK, with Scotland turning in on itself, with a vision of smallness, turning away from the UK (except for borrowing, the head of state and currency), and being a little country that seeks to recreate Michael Foot's 1983 vision of socialism in a democracy.
I dearly and sincerely hope they don't throw away the UK, and I mean that as a UK citizen, descended from a long line of Scottish men and women.
Vote No for independence.