Let's have a go, shall we?
“You just so completely don't get where we are coming from Smee it's almost comical.”
I do, actually. It's just that what you call “aspiration” I call “half-baked, ill-informed naivete”, and I start from objective, quantifiable facts while you don't.
“We will be a small European nation that yeah doesn't play with the big boys, we'll be in with the smaller nations”
Right. With as little influence as they have.
“The reason why we want to be independent is because it will bring government closer to the people.”
Non-sequitur. You can have closer, more responsive government without “independence”. That's what devolution does. You could even try devolving more power down to the local tier – although I keep detecting a Nat tendency towards having smaller, larger councils. Are we going to get the Regions back again?
“The big boys are all mega capitalists and in the nuclear club. We want to join the other guys. The ones who have options.”
What “options” would these be?
On the economic front, you are ignoring the fact that it is not 1905 or 1922 or even 1973, it is 2009. Corporate globalisation has happened. There is no Scottish currency, central bank or stock exchange. There is no such thing as a “major Scottish company” - they are all “British” at least, if not international. (There might be an exception or two to that, but I doubt it.)
The cold, hard, unpleasant fact is that Scotland is and will be a “branch-office” economy. The choice is between staying part of the Union and having some entrenched say at head office (or at least at one of them), or having none.
Politically, I also fail to see where there are any “options” that we don't currently have. Oh, we could do an Ireland and choose to free-ride our security on other people's efforts. Morally despicable and also pretty dangerous, if you have any idea at all of the quantity and quality of intelligence-sharing which happens under the UKUSA agreement. (Hint: look it up.)
This argument seems to rest on the notion that once “independent”, the nutty bits of the world will somehow leave us alone, just because of that.
Hmm. Lockerbie. Glasgow Airport. Denmark. Do I need to say more?
“We have done Empire and power for so bloody long and what has it got us?”
No, actually we stopped doing “Empire and power” around 1956 (if not earlier). Since then, what we've done is a bit more than our fair share of defending and securing the liberal democracies against the various totalitarian / theocratic threats facing them. And where we've felt that our Septic chums have gone off on a bit of a tangent (e.g. Vietnam), we've left them to it.
Similarly, on the economic and social front we have developed a solution which is balanced between the high-tax, high benefit situation of Continental Europe and the free-for-all of the US. Personally I quite like it. What's your problem?
“My finger will be pointing to Norway - not an Imperial power any more. Never was.
But who do you wanna be like? A big bad nuclear power or Norway?”
Nothing like a false choice as a poor debating technique.
I don't want to be a “big bad” nuclear power, I think continuing as a “small and cheap-as-possible” nuclear power is quite appropriate, thanks.
As for “being like Norway”, that is simply not possible for Scotland. It is 2009, not 1905 or 1973. Norway has always had, and continues to have, a lot more oil and gas than we do. (See here and here.)
And as pointed out above, globalisation has happened. The next-door-neighbour isn't the small and inoffensive Sweden / Stockholm, it's England / London. Oh, the alternative is to do what the Irish did and put Germany / Frankfurt in charge of their economic policy. That worked for a while, but didn't turn out too well, did it? I assume you've taken on board the incontrovertible fact that if we had joined the Euro back in the 90s then our property / equity boom-and-crash would have been even worse than it is.
Norway was independent in 1905, Ireland in 1922. Pre-globalisation. Entities like Bank of Ireland, Den Norske Bank, StatoilHydro could be set up and protected. No more. Look at who really owns and runs corporate Belgium, Slovenia, Lithuania, etc etc. It's French, German, Swedish, Austrian companies. So what does those countries' “independence” really mean?
As you say, “D'oh.”
The other thing I'd like to point out is that no-one has challenged my main point, which is that an “independent” Scotland wishing to join the EU will find itself paying more than £300m a year than it currently does.
Can I just write that one up as a “hit, a palpable hit”?