Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Scottish Independence and Some Lessons For Alberta

Last Sunday was the second anniversary of Scotland's independence referendum, which as you may know, was for me a day of great disappointment.

And one I'll always remember.

But I haven't dared even mention the anniversary when talking to my family in the Scottish highlands, because for them it's a day best forgotten.

They don't want to talk about it. It's too traumatic.

And they all voted NO.

While I alone supported the YES side, so I'm seriously outnumbered eh?

But still believe that independence is the only way the Scottish people can free themselves from the brutish policies of the uber right-wing Cons in London.

And become a more left wing, kinder, gentler, less militaristic country, which most Scots want it to be. Free to decide it's own destiny.

Two years later independence remains a dream.

Scots remain split down the middle on the issue of leaving the UK, the Panelbase poll for the Sunday Times finds with 48% saying they would vote Yes, while 52% want to remain in the union. This up from the 45% who voted Yes in the referendum two years ago today, while 55% said No. 

With support for independence up, but most Scots opposed to holding another referendum in the near future.

Still, with the Brexit result pulling Scotland towards Europe and away from the rest of Britain...

Who knows what might happen.

And in the meantime, that small country is making progress on another front, the war on climate change. 

The launch of the world’s first large-scale tidal energy farm in Scotland has been hailed as a significant moment for the renewable energy sector. A turbine for the MeyGen tidal stream project in the Pentland Firth was unveiled outside Inverness in the Scottish Highlands.

By planning to install giant underwater turbines in the Pentland Firth at the northern tip of Scotland. 

Where the sea swirls with a powerful almost menacing energy that has to be seen to be believed...

And by so doing, along with its many other wave, tidal, wind, and solar power projects is rapidly approaching the day when all its energy will be renewable.

Which since it has oil, can provide some useful lessons for Alberta. 

Scotland had the foresight to build on its natural endowment of readily available ocean energy. Alberta is similarly endowed with wind, solar, and geothermal energy, and already possesses world-class expertise in geosciences and drilling required to build a thriving geothermal sector. With Scotland reaping the local employment benefits of deploying clean energy solutions at scale, Alberta could do the same.

Rachel Notley and her colleagues at the Alberta Legislature can learn from Scotland’s experience. Energy independence and the transition to 100% renewable energy is a politically empowering experience.

So two years after the bitter referendum loss I'm happy.

Despite the restrictions placed on it by the brutish Cons in London, Scotland is still trying to set its own course.

And although I realize most of you, like most Canadians, probably don't share my independence dream, which is fine.

You are going to have to indulge me on this one, because I can't explain the hold that mystical country has on me.

You really have to be there...

But what I do know is that place and its long struggle to be a nation speak to me.

It is a good dream, as good as the one I have for Canada.

That small country is still marching proudly to the beat of its own drum, or drums...

And the dream will never die...

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