Tag Archives: Scottish Independence

I love me

The selfishness of unionism

Ever since the first skirmishes of the independence referendum something has been irking me, nibbling away from the inside, anxious to be enunciated. I’ve been mulling it over, trying to express it in words. It was always just a feeling you see, but now that we are in the thick of the general election campaign the time has come.

Nick Robinson (hope he gets well soon) finally managed to shine a light into the gloom of my mind and illuminate the wee moose that had been bugging me for so long. His post-surgery blog (hope you’re better soon Nick (Enough already, Ed)) expresses his own views on how people decide who to vote for and the reasons that he gives are purely selfish. It’s all about me. Not you, not we, never us, just me.

Thinking back to all those Better Together arguments, they were all about money. It was all currency this and pensions that. Banks and businesses moving away and jobs lost. All of those arguments were focused on the individual, hitting the me and placing the question mark after the I. They were all inherently selfish arguments.

For me, the most tantalising argument for independence was the idea of a better society. One where the people were respected for who they were, not one where their future was mortgaged to bail out corrupt banks. There were no illusions in my mind that the transition to independence would be tough, Any divorce is tough, a divorce after a 308 marriage is bound to be especially so. But the short-term pain would be mitigated by the longer term gain. The arguments for independence were mostly focused on the us, the we not the me. The altruistic not the selfish.

The unionists are still thinking of themselves, as witnessed by the lies being peddled by all of the main unionist parties as part of their pitch for our votes in the general election. It’s arguments like “you’ll be worse off under” whoever and “our plans will save you” how much. These arguments are essentially selfish, focused on the individual. None of them give me any hope that any of these parties will bring about any meaningful change in the UK. A vote for any of the main unionist parties is a vote for the status quo, one with blue bells, the other with red whistles and the other with a little yellow ball. You would struggle to get a silver Rizla between any of them.

I’ll leave you with these questions:

  1. What kind of UK would you like to see?
  2. Which party is most likely to deliver that vision?
Wheelie Bins for Yes

Referendum Recollections

According to the unionist press the dream of independence split the nation. Is this true? In a way I suppose it could be said that it was. Some voted that Scotland should be an independent country while others voted to remain under the heel of the Westminster system. Indeed the September 18th result was obviously the focal point for the British Nationalists, as was demonstrated by the George Square Riots.

After a day of being a sovereign country, we were returned to colonial rule. This begs the question of who was really trying to divide Scotland and whether they were successful? Was it the positive and inclusive grassroots YES campaign organised by the people of Scotland? Or was it the AstroTurf Project Fear; a scare and intimidation campaign run and funded by a Westminster government who became increasingly desperate to hold onto the revenues from our nation in order to prevent the inevitable bankruptcy of the rest of the UK.

For the people of Scotland I believe the lead up to the big day was actually way more important. Far from the hatred and division portrayed in the unionist controlled main stream media the residents of this country actually experienced a reawakening of a sense of community and compassion. For perhaps the first time in their lives the voiceless had a voice and the nation was gifted with a sense of hope.

Contrary to the reports of violent division before and since September, my personal experience was, and indeed continues to be, that of a coming together of people from diverse backgrounds. It has become irrelevant which social class you come from, what race or religion you happen to belong to, which sex you are, or even which country you were born in. People came together then and continue to work for a common cause. Perhaps for the first time politics was being openly discussed in homes, workplaces, pubs and public meetings the length and breadth of the land.

New phrases, such as social justice, flooded social media sites. People who had previously been unaware of just how large the gaps between the well off and the poor had become joined forces to attempt to redress the balance. Food banks became headline news and the levels of poverty, which had been at best ignored and at worst deliberately hidden, were thrust into the spotlight. The people were coming together to help those most in need in our society and continue to do so.

Divisive? That’s a matter of opinion. I have made a lot of new friends through the YES campaign, both on social media and also locally, nationally and worldwide. People I would never have met or interacted with if not for the referendum. I am not alone in this as the sense of inclusion is repeated hundreds, if not thousands, of times over in Scotland and around the globe as many looked on and stood with us in anticipation of the triumph of hope over fear.

Alastair G Rennie (Wheelie Bins for Yes)

Great Seal of Irish Free State

Jim Murphy says Independence within our grasp

If Amazon were to call me and say that they have placed my order in a box, would that mean that my order had been delivered? Of course not, the order would only be considered delivered once I had it in my hands. So why is it that the various Unionist parties keep saying that “The Vow” has been delivered?

Even our saviour, Jim Murphy MP, was at it in the Daily Ranger. He wrote, “Home rule for Scotland is now a prize within our grasp. With the delivery of the Vow on more powers for Scotland, we can now leave behind the old divisions of the past and work together for Scotland.”

I’m guessing that the old divisions of the past are between those that vote Labour and those that don’t. But I was intrigued by the Home Rule part, what exactly does Home Rule mean? The Oxford Dictionary defines it as: “The government of a colony, dependent country, or region by its own citizens, in particular as advocated for Ireland 1870–1914.” The dictionary goes on to say this about Home Rule:

“The campaign for Irish home rule was one of the dominant forces in British politics in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, particularly in that Irish nationalists frequently held the balance of power in the House of Commons. A Home Rule Act was finally passed in 1914 but was suspended until after the First World War; after the Easter Rising of 1916 and Sinn Fein’s successes in the general election of 1918, southern Ireland became the Irish Free State in 1921.”

Notice that it states that Irish Nationalists frequently held the balance of power. Is that not a possibility for Scottish Nationalists after GE2015? It goes on to say that the Irish Free State was created in 1921. I’m not sure if I believe that history repeats itself, but it would certainly be nice if it did.

Great Seal of Irish Free State

Great Seal of Irish Free State

Posh Tories

From EVEL to Independence

There’s an interesting piece in the Tory press tomorrow which is titled, “Ban Scottish MPs from becoming Chancellor, Tory MPs demand.” Just think about that for a minute, if these plans go ahead Scotland would never have a man in the UK Treasury again. Even though we would still be a part of the UK. But, why stop there? UKIP’s Nigel Farage said, “Ultimately if you can’t have people voting on English laws then you can’t have them holding senior office either.” I’m sure he speaks for a lot of other MPs too.

So that would mean that no Scottish MP would ever hold a position of authority in the UK Parliament ever again. How do you feel about that Scotland? Does that sound like representative politics to you? We would end up as second class citizens even though we pay the same rates of taxes. We would never have a voice at the top table of politics in this land. We would be unable to have any influence upon any decisions which directly affect our lives.

In more briefing of the Tory press apparently the Tories are pledging to stop Scottish MPs from voting on  English taxes, even though those decisions will directly affect the funding to the Scottish Government via the Barnett formula. It is clear that the Tories are ramping up the rhetoric over EVEL but they have not considered the effects on Scottish people, they are playing to an English audience.

Posh Tories

Posh Tories

So what are those effects? My prediction is that the people of Scotland will see each move against the voting rights and the rights to hold office in the UK Parliament as an affront. They will be disgusted with the rewards of voting to remain within the UK. They will move towards Yes and they will clamour for another referendum, which the Yes side would probably win.

But all of this is speculation. None of these things will happen if the Tories, of whichever flavour, don’t retain power in the next general election which would be a good reason not to vote for them or their cronies. But they will get in eventually, such is the joy of the two party political system in Westminster. What then?