I’VE not read all of the Growth Commission report yet, what with me not being Alastair Darling and possessing his mysterious ability to read the entirety of 2014’s independence White Paper in less time than it takes to say, “Ye cannae use the pound”. Reading and digesting a long and complex document takes time, unless of course you’re one of those people on social media who resolutely defend the nationalism of the British state because you hate nationalism so much.

The reaction of opponents of independence to the preliminary accounts of the contents of the report have been richly amusing. They don’t possess Alastair’s magical speed reading skills either, and let’s be honest, neither did Alastair, but that didn’t stop them rushing to condemn something that they’ve not read yet. The Growth Commission report has to be wrong because, reasons. Mostly that reason is, if it’s Scottish it must be useless, and it’s mad to imagine that people who actually care about Scotland and understand it could make a better fist of governing it than a Westminster which knows little about this country and cares even less. Because wanting to have a government that understands your issues would be crazy, right? Thae nats, whit are they like?

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British nationalism in Scotland is characterised by a fundamental and deep rooted refusal to believe that Scotland could ever achieve anything for itself that might be better than what the UK has done. Those who hold that belief and the publicity that they get are a peculiarly Scottish phenomenon.

It is unlikely that there are many people in Finland who squat on social media telling all and sundry that everything that Finland does is rubbish and the country would be so much better off if one of its larger neighbours governed it because nationalism is evil. It’s quite possible that such people exist, however the difference is that they don’t get their views represented by the great bulk of the Finnish media and dominate the airwaves on the telly.

The Growth Commission report talks about the economic potential of independence. It demonstrates that a Scotland which takes control of its own destiny would unleash economic opportunities which are currently denied to us. The flip side of that is that there is an economic cost to Scotland for remaining a part of the UK. There is no status quo any more. Many, if not most, of those opponents of independence who took to social media to condemn the Growth Commission’s finding were acting as though Brexit isn’t happening, that there will be no economic costs attached the British nationalist pursuit of xenophobic parochialism.

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But there will be costs to Brexit. The key message behind the Sustainable Growth Commission report is that we are no longer in the same situation that we were in 2014, there is no status quo any more. There is no certainty and economic security within the UK, there are only the risks and uncertainties of Brexit. The message of the independence movement in 2018 is that Scotland is in for change, that things are not going to remain the same. The choice facing us is the change of independence, change which Scotland controls, change in which the Scottish people have the only say. Or there is the change of Brexit which will be imposed upon us without any say or input from Scotland.

We face uncertainty, but the one thing we can be sure of is that the likes of Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, and Jacob Rees Mogg are not seeking Brexit in order to improve our working conditions and civil rights. There is a cost to Brexit, and it will be paid by ordinary working people, not by the Brexiteers in the Conservative party.

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The response of the usual suspects to the Growth Commission Report illustrates another cost to Scotland incurred by being a part of the UK. Scotland pays a psychological cost too. People who have internalised the belief that nothing Scotland could do for itself could possibly be better than trusting in Theresa May or whoever is the latest to climb to the top of the Westminster greasy pole. Nowhere in their response is a demonstration of any belief that an independent Scotland is perfectly capable of doing very well for itself, but that it can do even better by being part of the UK. The reason for that is that, as a part of the UK, Scotland is self-evidently not doing as well as it could. Life for Scotland under the rule of parties in Westminster that we didn’t vote for is not as good as it gets.

There are heavy costs to Scotland for remaining a part of the UK, those costs are economic, political, and psychological. The question facing Scotland as we stand on the brink of another independence referendum campaign is no longer “Can Scotland afford to become independent?” The real question now is “Can Scotland afford not to be become independent?” The answer to that question is a resounding no.