If a Scottish independence would be at first, and obviously, a national momentum that would emancipate the democracy and the economy of the country, the positive impact it may have for the whole progressive forces in Europe is often underestimated, or even forgotten. Maybe this is due to an excess of humility, which is noble; but as a foreigner, I can say it without any fear of vanity: the independence of Scotland may lead to the first concrete alternative to austerity in Europe.
Indeed, if Yes wins on September 18, it would be a clear disapproval of both the neo-liberal and social-liberal forces coalized in Better Together. Such a reversal would be highly symbolic as it is precisely in the UK, under Thatcher’s government, that their harmful ideology currently ruling Europe has broken through to the extent we know.
Cuts, cuts, cuts, privatizations, Union-bashing, deregulation, undermining of the Welfare system, and cuts, cuts, cuts again: this has been the gloomy refrain my generation has been listening to since we can remember. In the face of this, any alternative seems unlikely as all the major European ‘left wing’ parties have incrementally began to support the neo-liberal ideology at work in austerity policies. With Blair’s ‘New Labour’, the UK has been one of the unlucky pioneers in bridging the gap between socialist (or even social-democratic) thought and free market fanaticism. Following the Labour Party, the German SPD, the Greek Pasok, the Spanish PSOE, the French PS and all the other European traditional left wing parties have change their policies in a dangerous reactionary way. This steady turn has ended up in a democratic nightmare in which it becomes harder and harder to see sense in one’s ballot. For a great deal of Europe’s left-hearted citizens, it now seems impossible to escape the neo-liberal logic, for alternance no more implies alternative.
Thus, for the first time in recent European history, a People and a Land have the possibility to break this chain and to show that aye, this is possible. Tory and Labour have achieved the trend triggered by Blair nearly twenty years ago and are now coalized against the only possibility for a real change. This unbearable snub for all of these who have given their votes for two decades so as to enjoy a fairer and a more democratic society, and who have only received bitterness and a sentiment of deception, shall now cease.
The Scottish people walk ahead, but they are not alone. All their European sisters and brothers will have an amazing breath of hope if on September 18 they become a new nation.
Paul Malgrady studied at St Andrews as his year abroad during 2013-14. He is now a 4th year student reading History at Institut d’études politiques de Paris (Sciences Po Paris).