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The New Weegie: I won't be frightened into voting No

Now I've been in Glasgow five months, I'm on the cusp of becoming the not-so-new Weegie.

 So it's time to put aside thoughts of macaroni pies, football and ornate plaster cornices, and turn my attention to more important things.

With only nine months to go until the referendum, I'm still genuinely undecided about independence. Recently, however, I've found that every pronouncement from the No camp nudges me a little further Yes-wards.

Take, for example, a recent statement by Donald Houston, a major donor to Better Together: "Ripping up [the] union to satisfy the SNP is a ridiculous idea."

Oh dear, ho-hum and so on. Mr Houston may have some very sound reasons for supporting the No campaign, but someone really needs to take him quietly aside and explain how a referendum works.

To give Mr Houston his due, at least his support of Better Together seems to be motivated by positive enthusiasm for the Union. Too much of the No campaign is underpinned by a more or less explicit negative message: Scotland isn't big enough/rich enough/economically strong enough to thrive as an independent nation.

Many people I speak to who have already decided to vote No seem to share this view. But are they right?

According to Scotland's Future, the SNP's blueprint for an independent Scotland, we have the means to thrive as an independent nation. But according to the No campaigners, there are big holes in the SNP's sums. It's difficult for voters to know what to make of these conflicting arguments.

Most of us don't have the time or the economic expertise to examine the provenance of the data or to analyse the calculations.

However, unpicking the 'Scotland hasn't got the wherewithal to stand alone' argument has started to make me think that independence might be the way to go.

It seems to me that whether or not Scotland currently does have the capability to thrive as an independent nation, surely it should have that capability. Because if Scotland is being propped up by the rest of the UK (and, let's be clear, I'm not making a judgment on that here), can we rely on that support continuing?

Of course, the Conservative and Labour parties both have expedient reasons for wanting to maintain the Union. Labour would find it difficult to achieve a majority at Westminster without Scottish votes, and there would be a big loss of face for a Conservative-led government if Scotland opted for independence under its watch.

And, in the short term at least, a UK government of any political hue is likely to see Scotland as strategically important enough (not least in terms of defence and energy) to be worth subsidising.

But that might change, which could be very bad news for Scotland if (and please note the 'if') we really aren't pulling our weight economically within the Union.

So, to my mind, it's essential that Scotland has a robust and sustainable economy - an economy that makes it capable of being an independent nation whether or not we choose independence. And while there's no guarantee that an independent Scottish government would build/maintain/develop such an economy (take your pick, depending on your view of the current state of affairs), it seems to me that it would have a better chance of doing so than a UK government that appears to believe Scotland would inevitably struggle on its own.

When I made this point to a (bright, thoughtful and proudly Scottish) convinced No voter recently, he admitted that his choice was largely attributable to his being a "big feartie" - not surprisingly, perhaps, because most of us are unnerved, if not scared, by the prospect of change.

There's no doubt that the No campaign is exploiting this fear. The SNP too is playing the business-as-usual card - albeit a card of a different suit - with its assurances that an independent Scotland would keep the Queen, the pound and Strictly Come Dancing. (Although what I really want to know is if we'd get to keep Eddie Mair.)

But whether Scotland votes Yes or No, there's little chance of business continuing as usual - something the No camp tends to gloss over. The world is changing fast and so is our position in it.

In fact, for me one of the biggest attractions of an independent Scotland is that - as a small, newly autonomous state - it might be better placed than the existing UK to make the changes I believe are necessary to create a sustainable, prosperous and equitable society.

I'm more than open to being persuaded otherwise by positive arguments from Better Together, but I won't be frightened (or irritated) into voting No.

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