- September 8th, 2014
- Write comment
Please excuse my indulgence in this, but I think it’s only fair I use this platform of opinions for expressing an opinion. I know, shocking isn’t it? But I also wanted to explain to my friends, why my Twitter and Facebook accounts are filled with politics, and will likely be more so in the coming ten days or so.
To my friends,
As you surely know, Scotland is currently in the process of making the biggest political decision of my lifetime; to leave behind the United Kingdom, Westminster rule, the safety of having a parent looking over our shoulders, backing us up and helping us fight our battles. The alternative is to go it alone, and I’m sure you know by now that I am a fervent support of independence.
Let’s get this out the way first and foremost. This is most certainly not about Scotland against England. As neighbours, we have a lot to offer each other. Trade between the countries will continue, tourism will be shared, and for the love of God I’ll still be heading over the border – Berlin-style wall or not – to see City conquer all in front of us.
What it is about is my nation – and we are a nation, not a region – being able to raise and spend our own money rather than being handed an allowance by the olds. Essentially we want to move out. You can visit any time, and we’ll be round to share a bottle of wine every now and then, but we’ve the means to pay our own way and that’s exactly what we want to do.
The campaign, as has been run so far, has been a big wake-up call. I make no pretence to have had any interest or real understanding of politics previously. I’ve voted in elections, both the UK and the (devolved) Scottish Parliament, but we as a nation have traditionally known that our vote makes next to no difference in the grand scheme of things.
After the Conservative party committed hari-kari under Thatcher, by ending our traditional industries and to all intents and purposes waging a war on Scotland similar to what the current regime are doing to the underprivileged, we’ve been treated again to Tory governments we didn’t vote for. The party are all-but dead in Scotland, but they still have the power to make decisions about how our country is run.
That’s a massive factor in this.
But it’s not just the Tories. The political environment south of the border has moved to the right. Cool Britannia ended because Labour no longer stand for their traditional core values. The Lib Dems have jumped into bed with Cameron’s Tories and shot themselves in the foot. UKIP exist for Christ’s sakes.
UKIP and the Tories plan to hold a referendum over EU membership. That scares me. In the same way we’ve had Governments we didn’t vote for, we could be removed from the EU against our express wishes. That’s also a factor.
We’re not a bunch of raving lefty looneys up here, but we do have principles. Free education, free healthcare. These are important to us. Not having enough nuclear weapons parked up within 30 miles of a million people is quite important to us.
It was a surprise, a shock even, when the SNP overtook Labour in the 2007 Scottish elections and formed a coalition government. That was multiplied when they took a clear majority in 2011.
I’ve no doubt there was a feeling that all this had come too soon. The SNP had run with a manifesto to seek a referendum. Returning a majority in 2011 forced their hand; they had to go ahead with it.
But things have changed up here. It feels like the entire nation has suddenly taken an interest in politics, how to better our position, how the country should look going forward. How we can best capitalise on our resources, our people, our positive attitude. That’s been exemplified by the Yes campaign. It’s not politicians running it. It’s everyday people.
I’ve not been an active campaigner, I’ve not chapped any doors and tried to convince people how to vote, but I know people who have. People who have given up their evenings for months, going round doors, engaging people in vibrant discussion and debate.
Yes, there’s an agenda, but most importantly these people are helping to ensure the eligible populace use their vote, and that’s a massive thing with so much at stake.
Who knows, maybe a Yes vote would help re-align the political landscape south of the border, show the people that they CAN make a difference to their own lives, and those of others.
In all honesty, September 18th could go either way. The polls show a momentum in favour of Yes, but there will be a final assault. It’s going to become more intense over the next few days. There will be mudslinging, there will be propaganda. There will be lies and half-truths from both sides.
That’s been evidenced already over the past 48 hours since the Sunday Times/YouGov poll woke Westminster up to the reality that Yes may do the unthinkable and win this referendum.
This is just the first step, and if it doesn’t happen this time, I’m sure it will in the near future. Whatever happens, though, please be assured it’s nothing personal. You’re all in my life for a reason and that won’t change.
Please be patient and accepting.
I’m going to leave you with some music that perhaps tells some of the story: