Wednesday, 30 July 2014

A rant about Scottish Independence prompted by a video from Stephen Paton online.

A great video (and series of videos), well presented, with excellent content research and sound reasoning. For more in this series  see Stephen Paton on Youtube.


At 3:27 in this particular video, it is stated that Scotland voted NO to devolution in 1979. This is a small point but this is not correct. In Scotland a majority actually voted YES, but, because of the terms of the Act passed by Westminster no devolution was given. These terms that 40% of the total population had to vote YES. This meant that dead people actually counted as NO votes; those that could not be bothered to vote counted as NO votes; those people who felt that it didn't concern them who also had a vote but did not use it also counted as NO votes. For any other referendum or election these terms are completely ridiculous and outrageous but for Scotland it was okay according to Westminster, the Labour Party and the Conservatives. The fact that we went into the Common Market on a simple majority which was a far bigger constitutional change for the UK as whole didn't matter.

The results of the Referendum in 1979

Scotland in 1979 by any reasonable democratic measure therefore did vote YES in 1979! Never let it be said that they didn't. Westminster wouldn't know the meaning of the word democracy unless of course people vote in a way that suits them (but if you are Scotland then that doesn't matter much given that we have only affected the outcome of a General Election twice in 100 years. Good luck for 2015 if we vote NO?). How can this be the great EQUAL union of nations that the UK is according to Better Together when you are dominated by England 59 to 533 (which incidentally works out as 9% representation). 

 I want Scotland to be normal and be able to make its own decisions without being dictated to by Westminster in which Scotland has such a small stake.

I want Scotland to be free of nuclear weapons, which are currently situated here because they are too dangerous to be situated in the Thames just beside the Houses of Parliament in London.

The simple way to rid Scotland of nuclear weapons of mass destruction.

 I want to get rid of the absurd notion that being run by a Parliament we did elect in Edinburgh with no real power and one which we most definitely did not vote for in Westminster is actually 'the best of both worlds'.

Scotland deserves better than this. Best of both worlds? Best for whom?

I want to live in a country that actually utilises its resources wisely rather than completely squandering them like the UK has done with the oil from Scotland's waters in the North Sea. This is completely unlike one of Scotland's nearest neighbours Norway (who with a similar population, similar oil reserves but a less diverse economy, has invested their proceeds wisely, and the money from those oil revenues will benefit the Norwegian people forever). Scotland is also unlike almost ANY OTHER OIL producing country in the World (except Iran) in that it has not invested the oil proceeds for the future. This was another decision again taken by Westminster on the Scots behalf as they knew best! Scotland has very little to show for discovering oil and indeed it can credibly be argued that Scotland has suffered because of it. To quote Margo MacDonald 'The economic management of Scotland's resources by London has been awful, surely we couldn't do it worse ourselves?'

A quote from the late Margo MacDonald, a greatly respected politician in Scotland and who is much missed.
 As has been proved by the Scottish Parliament YES WE CAN make better decisions ourselves if we have control over our own affairs. We have decided to prioritise our spending (as that is all we in actuality have any real control over at present) in different ways i.e. abolishing tolls on Scottish bridges, making prescriptions free so you are not taxed for being ill, making student fees free so again the person wishing to improve themselves is not taxed more than once for the audacity of actually wanting to improve their own, their family’s, and their descendants lives, and ultimately improving their country's and the World’s future. We have prioritized infrastructure spending to boost our wide ranging and diverse economy both now and in the future. Before this wouldn’t have happened – As Boris Johnston says ‘My argument to the Chancellor and the Treasury is that a £ spent in Croydon is of far more value to the country (UK?) in strict utilitarian calculus than a £ spent in Strathclyde. Indeed…’

We have tried with limited resources to mitigate the effects of policies that are an anathema to Scotland like the welfare cuts but in our current position we can do only so much. Why does it make economic and social sense to have a few so very rich, when the poorest and most vulnerable must rely for food-banks for their very survival whilst living in freezing homes because they can’t afford to heat them, if indeed they have a home at all? (Why is it you need to be sent to prison in the UK to be assured of having a roof over your head, and enough food to eat? Why is it you can have a full time job, due to the low UK minimum wage, but still not earn enough to have enough money to actually live on without additional assistance? Indeed in such a rich country (referring on this occasion to the UK as whole) are these things and many other similar examples not obscene?)

Indeed why should we have to try to reverse the effects of a decision that we in general strongly object to (by spending part of a finite amount of money, so graciously given back to us by Westminster, thus damaging some other person as a result), when we and our own Parliament could have made a better decisions for the people of Scotland in the first place?

It has been said many times that a decent society should make decent provision for the poorest and most vulnerable, and this is a mark of true civilization. Where does this fit in to the current UK philosophy, particularly since all the London based UK parties generally agree on the current fiscal package and the current political trajectory. Scotland seems to have developed, over a long period, a different political and social philosophy summed up by the saying ‘We’re all Jock Tamson’s bairns’. It seems finally to be realising this no longer applies if it decides to stay in the UK.

Iain Duncan Smith, UK Government Minister, Department of Work and Pensions, heckled by Willie Black [27MAR2013] 

The choice between YES and NO is almost nothing to do with Bannockburn, tartan, bagpipes, haggis (and dare I say it Tunnocks Tea Cakes, or Barrs Irn Bru and the like after the Glasgow Commonwealth Games 2014 opening ceremony last week) and Scotland’s romantic past as portrayed by Sir Walter Scott and continuously perpetuated by perplexed media persons of all nations who seem unable to understand. 

It is nothing to do with traditional anti external forces of nationalism which the UKIP is espousing which is striking a chord mainly in voters who feel disenfranchised in England, and much more radically the National Socialists did in Germany prior to the Second World War. It is not about ethnicity, nationality, sex, or sexuality either, as is illustrated by the diversity and inclusivity of the YES campaign (see English Scots for YES, Africans for YES, Cabbies for Yes, Academics for YES, YES LGBT, NHS for YES, etc.). Who would have thought that we would have Labour activists campaigning for the same goal as the SNP, the Scottish Greens, the Scottish Socialists, and even right wingers too?

It is not about putting up borders where none existed as they do all ready in Scotland’s every-day life. Indeed it is about removing some barriers and lowering some borders to people from around the World, including the 800000 people who reside in the remaining UK who currently have no jobs here to match their talents and aspirations. It is about ending the almost obligatory requirement for Scots to go to other parts of the World, and the UK, in particular London, to fulfill their cherished ambitions. Why can these ambitions not be equally achieved currently in Scotland? Does this not mean the current set up doesn’t work well? To me it is obvious things are not fine the way they are, and that little seems likely to change in the foreseeable future if we stay in the UK.

A YES vote will show that Scotland has finally shown it needs to join the world on its own terms, free from the often toxic filter of Westminster which still seems to hark back to British power, imperialism and Empire. 


A YES vote is about normalism, self determination, internationalism, the future, and the settled belief that we have a very good chance of being able to do things better (as we certainly have all the resources to do so – as the YES and the NO campaigns agree, or at least say they do).

We would have an equal place in the World as a nation, just like any other. I have heard the arguments that Scotland’s voice at the UN, in Europe and in other international bodies would be much diminished if we are an actual member state and for some reason, I just don’t know why, I just don’t believe it. 

Scotland’s Future is in Scotland’s hands on the 18th September 2014. For the first time all the residents of Scotland will hold their own country’s sovereignty in their own hands in a single moment. Whose hands will that sovereignty will be in the day after?  I know whose hands I want it to be in. I don’t want to be as reckless as the UK has been, with Scotland’s resources and people, up until now. It is far better to have more control in an uncertain World.  I am risk averse so I am voting YES.