A fine array of academics led by Professor Hugh Pennington have quite clearly been banging their learned heads together to come up with a few more ‘reasons’ why it is better that Scotland does not have the right to make all of its own decisions on issues of great importance to the people who live here.
The primary one appears to be that the excellent tradition of great Scottish thinkers contributing to global problems would come to a regrettable end with independence; in other words, our world leading reputation for innovation and discovery could be irreparably damaged because we would no longer be able to share ideas outside of Scotland and would no longer be able to benefit from UK funding.
Professor Pennington is quoted in various newspapers as saying that ‘the absence of barriers allows not just funding and people, but ideas and innovation, to flow freely across borders’.
I find it incredible that he would make this type of comment whilst arguing against independence. Which type of barriers does Professor Pennington think would suddenly be erected in an independent Scotland that would create a hermetically sealed bubble around Scottish ideas and innovative thinking?
More than that, I find it utterly astonishing that he would think that we would believe that two or more independent countries could not collaborate on significant international research programmes and access appropriate funding for that purpose! How on earth would we have progressed thus far?
Good ideas are not stopped at the borders of an independent country any more than disease causing bacteria are held up for checks at passport control; but unfortunately, when it comes to political interest, it seems to be much easier for influential thinkers to spread bad ideas that frighten people today, than it is for the rest of us to share good ideas that will bring real benefits in the future.