I come from a country that was under Swedish rule for several hundreds of years, then under Russian rule for about a hundred years. Finnish independence is one of the most important things in my life. I cry tears of gratitude every Independence Day (6 December) that my “wee, stupid and poor” country is independent, since 1917.
The first couple of decades were quite a turbulent ride but WWII galvanised us and now, we, a small nation of approximately 5 million, are a united country. We’ve done well from an agrarian backwater to a modern industrialised and then post-industrialised country, and still a welfare state that looks after the weak and vulnerable and educates the young to the highest PISA standards and beyond – no tuition fees in our universities. We could not have done it if we hadn’t been independent.
Of course, the case for Scotland is different. Finland has fewer natural resources (like oil), fewer opportunities for hydropower (Finland is a very flat and boggy country, imagine Caithness x 10), no chance of tidal power (the Baltic Sea doesn’t have tides), we have Arctic winters (need to sell different kinds of diesel fuel summer/winter, by law two sets of tyres (summer/winter) compulsory for every car), houses/blocks of flats required to clear snow from pavements etc. Living in Finland is a real drag. All these problems, but yet we are a rich nation and are mostly happy in our own country.
From the outside, it seems that Scotland is being hood-winked into believing that it cannot stand on its own two feet while at the same time being asset-stripped to pay the debts of a dysfunctional larger neighbour. I’m baffled as to why all Scots can’t see that. I’m baffled why anybody would vote for the unionist parties. They don’t want what’s best for Scotland; they want what’s best for the UK, which usually isn’t what’s best for Scotland. Of course, there are Scottish voters who want what’s best for the UK (read London/SE), and I cannot for the life of me understand WHY. But each to their own.
The tragedy of Scotland is that it gets bogged down by UK politics and can’t fully function, realise its potential. Look to Norway – a small nation with a multitude of potential infrastructure problems including sparse population, hilly terrain and semi-Arctic climate. But they’ve made it, because of their oil and wisely spent oil revenues. Why didn’t Scotland fare as well with the oil? Because England (officially, the UK) hoovered it up and squandered most of it.
Maybe Finnish independence wasn’t so “financially viable” in the beginning, but sometimes you have to think with your heart, not numbers. As to Scotland, Scotland is richer in natural beauty, natural resources, education, history, just about anything (except land area) than Finland. Begs the question, why isn’t Scotland independent again? You’ve got more going for you than we ever had, and we made a success of it.